Top 100 songs of 2016 (tracks 30-21)

21.)
Saint Pablo by Kanye West (listen on Spotify)
Hip hop. The closer touches on many themes such as the need to say no. “400 years later we are buying our own chains”. Samples Yvonne Fair’s 1975 Let your Hair Down.

22.)
White Privilege II by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Pop rap. A thought-provoking think-piece that doesn’t dumb it down. About what it might be like to be white in the face of black lives matter. The production is as epic as the lyrics

23.)
Untitled 03 by Kendrick Lamar
Jazz Rap. How is this a B-side?!

24.)
Movin Backwards by A Tribe Called Quest (listen on Spotify)
Conscious Hip Hop. Possibly the most overlooked (and best) song on the album. Great beat. Found on the second disc.

25.)
Final Credits by Midland
House/ Dance. A few publications named this the ‘song of the summer’ at festivals

26.)
Closing Shot by Lindstrøm
Nu-Disco instrumental. Keeps building, love the layers of synths. Beautiful and meticulously crafted.

27.)
Irene by Courtney Marie Andrews
Singer-Songwriter. There’s a sincereness about her, the album was made with friends, with no studio intervention.

28.)
Growing Up by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Pop rap. About parenthood

29.)
Blue Remembered Hills by Ultrasound (buy)
Prog Rock. An epic that reveals new aspects on each listen. Thanks to Rol for the recommendation.

30.) Burn the Witch by Radiohead
Art Rock. There’s a political message to be decoded in the ‘Wickerman’ imagery

Find anything you liked? Already know some of these? Which are your favorites from these albums? As always, comments are welcome. Tracks 20-11 coming soon!

7 thoughts on “Top 100 songs of 2016 (tracks 30-21)

  1. Very nice set, right here. I could have went with several different tracks from A Tribe Called Quest's album, including the one you picked, so nice choice. Saint Pablo is an excellent track, and of course so is the Kendrick Lamar. The answer to that question, by the way, is isn't the whole album a collection of b-sides? If you're asking why didn't it make To Pimp a Buttefly, well yeah, it probably should've, but I could say that about every song on Untitled. We'd be getting into double-album territory and I'm not sure he wanted to do that.

    White Privilege II is a bit perplexing to me. On the one hand, I applaud the effort and it is a wonderfully executed song, so no arguments there. On the other hand, it feels rather cocky of him to assume (black) hip hop fans don't feel the same way about him as they do the other artists he admonishes. I hate to break it to him, but as authentic as he thinks he is, they (we) generally do. Personally, I like Macklemore, but I know tons of people with no use for him or his music. As a sidenote that highlights this, in the song Growing Up, he suggests reading Langston Hughes, one of the greatest American poets of all time, and who happens to be black. Nice gesture, but then Macklemore suggests reading “A Raisin in the Sun” as if Hughes wrote it. He didn't. He inspired the title, but it's actually a play written by Lorraine Hansberry. It might seem to be no big deal, but it eats at the authenticity he constantly goes out of his way to claim. Then again, all of that might be missing the point of “White Privilege II” because it's clearly directed at white people. Sorry for the rant.

    I just can't with the instrumental disco tunes. I get the artists are going for a truly retro sound, and they nailed it. That doesn't mean I have to like it. In the case of both songs, it felt like they were imitating late 70s disco, but injected no personality of their own. Sorry. They just didn't work for me.

    I did really like that Radiohead song, though.

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  2. @Wendell: Yes, the whole Lamar album is technically a collection of b-sides. Like you say, at the end of the day probably a good decision to split up into two releases. Would have been too bloated as one package.
    Hip hop fans on Rate Your Music unfairly hate on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and haven’t forgiven them for beating Kendrick Lamar’s Good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012) at the Grammys.

    Thanks for your perspective on White Privilege II. I like how the song (attempts at least) to tackle racial issues from various perspectives. Quite a lot of recent black lives matters songs I find rather shallow, but this one made me actually see things in a new light. I think their latest album has a number of good songs, even though there are a few iffy self-indulgent tracks (and as you pointed out iffy lyrics).

    No problem you didn’t enjoy the instrumentals.
    Burn the Witch is my favorite from Radiohead’s latest.

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  3. Out of curiosity how do you keep up with current music Chris as just not able to nowadays? – Do you subscribe/purchase/download??

    I did subscribe to a trial month of Microsoft's version recently and learnt a lot but couldn't justify keeping it up once time to stump up the monthly fee! Have heard of most of the above but wouldn't be able tell you what they've produced recently – Going to have to stick with revisiting the “oldies” for the time being.

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  4. @Alyson: I have a Spotify account, which is legally free music service available in most countries. The artists get payed. They have thousands of albums. Both older and newer music to stream. It’s a great service.
    With the option to pay a monthly fee for no ads, downloading option, and higher audio quality.

    If you use Spotify free service and get tired of the ad interruptions, it’s possible to download (also free) adblockplus, which blocks the ads.
    Hope that helps

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  5. Thought so – that's what my daughter uses although she does pay something monthly. She is totally au fait with all the new stuff but as it is mainly played via her phone I just don't get to hear it. Sadly when she was around 10 I did hear everything she played (but often wished I hadn't!).

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