In early June, I posted a list of 40 songs that I liked the most from this year. It’s now been about four months since then and I thought that it would be appropriate time to publish another set of songs from the summer + September that I loved. A lot of things happened in those four months. A lot of music to embed onto memories. There were some really, really great songs released in this time, even though the majority of the summer was pretty bare when it came to memorable releases. Welp, here they are. Hope you enjoy:
- The Avalanches – “Subways”
As corny as it is or maybe it was the ultimate coincidence, The Avalanches record was released when I moved to NYC and immediately became the essential soundtrack to my new chapter. Listening to “Subways” on the subway speeding around NYC and discovering new things was a fun little feeling to have for my little self. Not only was it the right song at the right time, it’s just a great song overall, recalling the classic feeling of The Avalanches’ previous material. This will likely be my favorite song of the year, but we’ll see. Not that it matters much.
- D.R.A.M. – “Broccoli (ft. Lil Yachty)”
A song that only some will realize the full impact it had on me. The lyrics “I’m feeling beyond all this fuck shit” is and will always be my reigning supreme slogan of 2016. Plenty of other vital themes are at play here: throwin’ bows, capers on a square plate, every game on Sega, spending a check on your mama, treating others as your equal while holding yourself in high regard. It’s an essential piece of positivity in this otherwise dismal year. Plus it’s fun as all hell.
- Jenny Hval – “Conceptual Romance”
A steady meditation on the self. Gorgeous vocals & instrumental. The chorus is one of the most euphoric moments of music of 2016. There’s something about Hval’s delivery that stimulates some kind of AMSR response in me. I get all covered in goose bumps. Also according to my iTunes, this and Hval’s “Female Vampire” are my two most-played songs from this year. If that doesn’t show you how much I love this, I don’t know what will.
- Frank Ocean – “Nights”
Love the shifts that happen in this song. Starting unassuming & playful, “Nights” quickly changes mood with the introduction of the drums, then they slowly melt out and things are loose and uncertain, then everything comes back again in a new form. It’s pretty nuts. Also there’s no chorus. That’s bold for a major pop release.
- Carly Rae Jepsen – “The One”
Carly Rae once again perfectly captures the super-charged pop essence that she had on her album from last year. It’s fun, catchy and endlessly replayable, all characteristics an A+ pop song should embody.
- Kornel Kovacs – “BB”
A joyous and simple house track. Nothing too much going on in this song. Starts off with funky little riff, some subtle hi-hat and average bass hits. But there’s clearly something lurking in the background, waiting to be unleashed. Things start to quiet down for a bit, the track seemingly ending without declaring anything. But about halfway through the track, one of the dirtiest basslines, in groove and in fidelity, breaks out and the track is re-energized. It hits at the perfect time for everything to come back and then slowly phases out of the picture. It’s like that one friend at the party that everyone is looking forward to seeing. They arrive, the party is bumping again, and then they fade off into the night.
- Nicolas Jaar – “No”
“No” is gloomy song with plenty of distant interference, sounding like something Burial would have a hand in. Static fuzz creates an illusion of rain, while the muted textures in the background add into this dismal atmosphere. This ambiance provides the soundscape for Jaar’s breathy, Spanish-spoken lyrics that are somewhat buried in the mix, but it works well in this case. His words are backed up by a pulsing Latin heartbeat that moves the track through the rain, like colorful neon signs reflecting off the puddles, pointing the listener towards their destination. Listening to this at night while walking through the rain was an overwhelming feeling.
- Kelsey Lu – “Dreams”
Beautiful, ethereal cello playing with a stunning voice to match. Kelsey Lu’s “Dreams” is absolutely heavenly and matches its name in sound. With a reverb-soaked mix, Lu takes her time blowing plumes of smoke throughout the dreamlike landscape of the song with her cello, while her voice comes in halfway through, acting as a lighthouse to cut through the fog. Eventually, Lu’s voice becomes garbled, leaving the listener floating alone without a guide in the mysterious cloud, until the track comes to a close with thumping pizzicato. Awoken from the dream, but eager to fall back into it.
- Japanese Breakfast – “The Woman That Loves You”
How can an album be so fun and so heartbreaking at the same time? If you haven’t read into Japanese Breakfast’s album Psychopomp yet, do it. Bring tissues. “You should try to do as little harm as you can to the woman that loves you.” This song technically came out in 2014, but so did most of this album. Suck it, 2014.
- Merchandise – “Right Back To The Start”
Diving into relatively uncharted waters, Merchandise have plunged into the synth-led post punk/rock/pop depths in winning fashion with “Right Back To The Start.” It’s got a catchy beat, the usual amount of Merchandise swagger and doesn’t sound completely derivative. That’s a W in my book.
:: 20 MORE SONGS, ALPHABETIZED ::
- Angel Olsen – “Shut Up Kiss Me”
- Chris Cohen – “In A Fable”
- Cole M.G.N. – “If U Let Me”
- Danny Brown – “When It Rain”
- Danny L Harle – “Super Natural (ft. Carly Rae Jepsen)”
- Drugdealer – “Suddenly”
- Hoops – “Gemini”
- How To Disappear Completely – “The Language Of Dreams”
- IAN SWEET – “2Soft2Chew”
- Ice Choir – “Windsurf”
- Jay Som – “I Think You’re Alright”
- Ka – “$”
- Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – “When I Try, I’m Full”
- Maria Usbeck – “Uno De Tus Ojos”
- Negative Gemini – “Body Work”
- Omni – “Wire”
- Pye Corner Audio – “Lost Ways”
- Vektroid – “Enemy”
- Vesuvio Solo – “Mirror Held To The Flower”
- Yoo-Yoo – “Eye Of The Eye”
:: & PREVIOUSLY, 40 SONGS ::
- ANOHNI – “Drone Bomb Me”
- Baauer – “Temple (ft. M.I.A. & G-DRAGON)”
- Chairlift – “Crying In Public”
- Chance The Rapper – “No Problem (ft. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne)”
- Clams Casino – “Blast”
- Death Grips – “Giving Bad People Good Ideas”
- El Guincho – “Parte Virtual”
- Frankie Cosmos – “Embody”
- Future – “Inside The Mattress”
- Holy Fuck – “Shivering”
- Hundred Waters – “Forgive Me For Giving Up”
- James Blake – “Radio Silence”
- Jessy Lanza – “Going Somewhere”
- Julianna Barwick – “Nebula”
- Kanye West – “Real Friends”
- Kaytranada – “Lite Spots”
- Kedr Livanskiy – “Razrushitelniy Krug (Destructive Cycle)”
- Kendrick Lamar – “untitled 05 | 09.21.2014”
- Kevin Morby – “Destroyer”
- Let’s Eat Grandma – “Rapunzel”
- Lionlimb – “Tinman”
- LUH – “$ORO”
- Mitski – “Your Best American Girl”
- Mt. Si – “Baby You’re The Best”
- NZCA/Lines – “New Atmosphere”
- Porches – “Be Apart”
- PUP – “DVP”
- Radiohead – “Daydreaming”
- The Range – “Five Four”
- SALES – “thurs 6-25”
- Sarah Neufeld – “Where The Light Comes In”
- Sheer Mag – “Worth The Tears”
- Sturgill Simpson – “Breakers Roar”
- Sunflower Bean – “Wall Watcher”
- Tim Hecker – “Music Of The Air”
- Troller – “Storm Maker”
- White Lung – “Dead Weight”
- Wild Nothing – “Reichpop”
- Whitney – “Dave’s Song”
- Ytamo – “You Me”