Friday, 2 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #116 - 101

December. The last month of the year and that magical time when all of the internet music blogs start busting out their 'best of' lists and handing out awards and highlighting all of the fun times we had over the past 11ish months. We are no exception to this and so we arrive at our seventh annual Scene Awards. First up, we have our biggest songs of the year countdown ever and we only get to say that because we add one song on each year to match up with the corresponding year we're in now. That's right... over the next eleven days we get to look back at 116 songs that made 2016 an amazing year for music. So less chat and more music that will have some more chat to go along with the music. Enjoy!

TOP 116 SONGS OF 2016:

by Fitz and The Tantrums

I can make your hands clap
*clap clap clap clap clap*

Ah, what a nice little way to start our favourite songs list for 2016. So I've been loving Fitz and his Tantrums since I saw them a lifetime ago at Splendour, but this seems to be the track that's hit the commercial radio and internet world and now everyone is everywhere clapping their hands and talking about this new Fitz and the Tantrums band. Ok, maybe everyone everywhere is a slight exaggeration, but what's not exaggerated is my documented love of a song featuring the hand clap, which means I'm really glad this is the song that's given F and the T a much wider audience, for now. (Jo Michelmore)

Hey now… why would you hate on a song that makes you clap your hands? That would be crazy. Direct your hate to something useful. Alternatively, listen to ‘HandClap’ and you’ll have no hate at all. This is as catchy as any other pop gem released this year and likely the commercial peak of a band that’s been bubbling away at the brink of superstardom for some time now. So yeah, we might never hear Fitz and The Tantrums on the radio again, but we can enjoy this moment until they’ve played it so many times we never want to hear it again. Yay? (Matt Bond)

by Winters End

I know in life that all things end
But I wish I could pretend...

We’ve loved Winters End for a couple of years now, but none of their songs kicked us in the feels quite like ‘Thoughts’ was able to. Hitting all the right emotional notes, this 80s-influenced rock ballad stands as another showcase for Marissa Pinto’s vocal abilities. Her reflection on the end of a relationship comes packed with lines ready made to break your heart, before a stellar guitar solo leads us to the hopefully hopeful lines, “it’s my life, I need to find my way now.” The Sydney brother/sister combo (Marissa is joined by Chris on the drums) has been building up an awesome collection of tracks and we can’t wait to hear what comes next from them in 2017. (Matt Bond)

Winters End keep writing and releasing strong little numbers like 'Thoughts'; filled with keys and drums and emotion, Marisa's vocal offering a tinge of the 80s and Chris' instrumentation giving a nod to everything I've always loved about the strength of a good power ballad, as soon as I hit play I was reminded of why I've liked writing all these words all these years, what a great excuse this is to listen to songs like this one, over and over again. (Jo Michelmore

#114. 10 POUNDS
by Mwansa

Where's the change you promised?

There's all these words and acronyms about electronic music that seem to get thrown about all the time that probably all mean something important, but I pretty much switch off when I start reading words like dubstep and trap, not because I don't care, but because words like powerful and unique and honest and compelling mean more to me than any genre can. Mwansa is all of those words, so you just choose which one you relate to most, he can just keep writing the music and we'll all be friends and fans anyway. (Jo Michelmore)

I want to hear more songs from Mwansa. It’s as simple as that. Based in Perth, this emerging electronic artist blends stories of the differences and similarities of the two different societies he’s been part of to great effect. The delivery of his lines is as poetic as it is powerful and you’ll only need one listen of ’10 Pounds’ to understand exactly what I mean. “You grew up in the city, I grew up in the streets.” Themes of race, wealth and an examination of life in two very different parts of the world abound in ’10 Pounds’. Like I said, it’s powerful and leaves you wanting to hear a whole lot more form Mwansa. (Matt Bond) 

#113. CAN'T BE
by JP Klipspringer

My baby comes for me
I'll say that I'm fine. 

When I wrote about this song earlier in the year I spoke about how JP Klipspringer had become, over the last few years, an artist that I popped on when I needed a little calmness in my life, which is kind of funny, because I was anything but calm when he released his debut album only like, a week ago, desperate to hear what it was he had put together in a collection of ten tracks. One of those tracks was this one, released mid way through the year and perfectly placed almost midway through a beautiful collection of sounds in Brutal Politic, it's everything I love about JPK; sweet, honest, lost and found and perfectly grounded in his always alluring sounds. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Lossy 

Yes, I know where I'm going
I don't know where I'm going
I know what I'm doing
Now I think I hate it. 

I found this song only weeks ago and as soon as I hit play I remembered that as I was writing about it I had to find to guide me and find words other than 'sweet' to describe the sounds in this sweet little pop tune from a sweet girl from Lord Howe Island. See what I'm saying? The sing song rhythm and the bouncy keys sound like they belong in a sweet short animation about some kind of sweet little forest creatures. I think that's just my vision, so maybe I should keep my thoughts to myself and stick to adjectives and settle for the one that describes it all. Sweet. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. (Jo Michelmore 

by Matt Gresham

I can feel your heart from behind these bars. 

Ok, so here's something I don't think I ever knew about the man who sits at 111 on our countdown. Apparently he walked off the set of The X Factor Australia in 2013, citing artistic restrictions as his reason for leaving. Now, I know this is probably old news, but I guess that shows I should google as well as listen, because I've been much more interested in his music than his history, but this history only makes me like him a little bit more. His artistic direction need never be questioned with a track like 'Small Voices', the driving beat telling a story of solidarity with Matt's determined vocal making it a song and a voice that is anything but small. (Jo Michelmore) 

#110. JOHNNY
by Tanzer

He's the one all the girls paint their face for
So fast and wild, eyes that flash baby blue.

First things first, everyone that was involved in the creation of the ‘Johnny’ video deserves high fives for days. The boys play their lady counterparts to perfection (especially the fella/lady with the mo, bravo sir/madam) and the clip perfectly complements the song. And as for Tanzer and her song ‘Johnny’, it’s just another top notch track from her that you won’t be able to help humming along to in your head for a long time to come. The 60s revival sounds of the track might seem like a departure from the mysterious synths of ‘That’s Why Darling’, but Tanzer’s voice is perfectly suited to both and proves she’s an artist who can wear many musical hats. How she reinvents herself next is guaranteed to leave just as much of an impression as what’s come before. (Matt Bond) 

Oh Tanzer. I loved this song for all its 60s inspired goodness and I loved this clip for all its swag and what is it the kids say? Hashtag squad goals? I saw that written on a water bottle in Typo so it must mean something important. More important, that gold sequinned catsuit and that squad member on Tanzer's right, who has more sass in their eyelashes than I could ever dream of owning. It made me want to find a squad, my favourite neck scarf and cardigan and find a man with a face full of glitter, which is something no other song inspired this year, so that's got to be a good thing. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Sans Parents

I don't wanna talk 'cause they don't know my name
I just can't stop moving.

I wish I could come up with something more descriptive to say about this track from Sans Parents, but they've pretty much done all the work for me. I mean, what more do you want me to say about a song that does to me exactly what it's title describes? Don't believe me? Press play and tell me how you manage to sit still. (Jo Michelmore)

Sunny indie pop sounds oh so good when it’s coming from Brisbane four-piece, Sans Parents. And of course it’s going to sounds sunny when the band’s from Brisbane. Why wouldn’t it? It’s like 38 degrees here today, mate. All we know is sunshine and sweat and did I mention the sweating? Anyway, you’ll be sweating to this song too, regardless of where you live, because the title lives up to its name and you won’t be able to stop moving. So sucks for you if you live in Queensland because it’s double the sweat for you! (Matt Bond) 

by Highasakite

Love, I'm on your side
But we were never good, no.

If we went back to last year's countdown, or the year before or whenever we've written about Highasakite in the past, you're going to find something about how dreamy their music is and how Norway must be a magical place full of magical people and you know what? It is. It's magical and dreamy, far away and full of people still worshiping the Norse gods. Okay, the last point might be inaccurate, but I'm sure I can find a group of Norwegians that worship the Norse gods. Highasakite probably worship them. So yeah, how about that 'Golden Ticket'? Magical and dreamy and made by a band that probably worships the Norse gods. (Matt Bond)

There's so many electronic pop acts that manage to do this, but Highasakite seem to sit right at the top of the pile of those that do it well. It's something I adore, the ability to take a seriously sober subject matter and turn in into a sparkly shiny pop tune, one that makes you want to simultaneously dance and cry all and Highasakite manage to make me feel super happy and super sad all at the same time. Luckily for them and even more so for me, we all know dancing and crying and happy and sad and Norway are all one and the same thing. Aren't they? (Jo Michelmore 

by Lime Cordiale

I remember last night and it still feels good in the daylight
No running or hiding, that is so suddenly surprising. 

Quintessentially Australian, I feel like if this was thirty years ago, like the mid 80s, this would be a song Daryl Braithwaite would sing, one people would know the words to for years to come and one that would get played on classic radio stations thirty years from now. Which means now. Or then. I think. Whenever, Lime Cordiale keep telling genuine stories through their brand of indie folksy pop and they do it in a way that's totally relatable, which makes them a band I hope I hear on one of those classic stations thirty years from now. Or then. I don't know. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Moreton 

So come on and ask me if I'm happy
And I'll tell you I've been leaning on the edge again. 

You can go ahead and add Moreton to your list of artists to keep a very close eye on in 2017. With the just released Specimen EP earning rave reviews, you've got to believe there's very big things coming their way very soon. It was the title track of the previously mentioned EP that had us wanting to hear so much more from the indie three-piece. The opening guitar lines are enough to grab your attention, leading to vocalist Georgia Potter subtly wrapping herself completely around you. I'm really intrigued with where Moreton will go from here. The performance and songwriting are all kinds of amazing, so I'm going to stand by that opening line and say keep your eyes on them in 2017. I've got to see them live some time soon too. (Matt Bond)   

#105. SLEEP IN
by Take Your Time

I've been taking you for granted a little again...

When I first heard this song I thought it was a super chilled cafe soundtrack type tune, something I'd here in a cafe with plants hanging off the walls and coffee served by the ounce. Then I listened again and thought it was a song I'd be bouncing out the door to on a weekend night, making me want to move my feet and nod my head in an awkward way only I seem to be able to. Now, listening again, I hear it's a song about friendship and supporting those you love, and now I don't know whether to invite one my besties out for a coffee or a a dance. All of these things are good things, so that must mean 'Sleep In' is also a good thing. It is. (Jo Michelmore) 

#104. CAVING
by Seavera

Hold me down, so that I can feel the heat
So that I can feel a different kind of sadness... 

More gorgeousness from an emerging Australian act and this time it's coming from the uber talented duo, Seavera. 'Caving' had me in love with their music from the first listen. There's been A LOT of subsequent listens and I still love hearing it. When it gets to that chorus? Get out of here, it's perfection. I'm genuinely surprised I haven't heard 'Caving' on a television show about vampires or doctors or vampires that are doctors that definitely doesn't exist (but I wish it did), but there's still time. And hopefully a whole lot more to come from Seavera. I see they're heading out on tour with Jack River in December, so I might have to look into seeing if there's a Brisbane show as part of said tour. I've got a feeling Seavera's Toni Zietsch and Daniel Pinkerton would be most excellent live. (Matt Bond

#103. MY BONES
by Landings

There's one of us in the way
I'm tired of knowing where I haven't been. 

Brisbane's best known for The Veronicas the garage rock sound that Brissie bands manage to do better than anyone. But Landings are no garage rockers. Nay, they dance to the beat of their own glitter filled pop drums and we wouldn't have it any other way. 'My Bones' is polished, but not too polished, and has found the band favourably compared to the likes of Phoenix. And hey, that's a pretty good place to find yourself in with your debut single. They describe themselves as purveyors of 'sad dance music' and as someone who likes sad music and dancing, I'm really cool with this. Shine on, Landings. Keep on delivering the goods like you did with 'My Bones' and the dance floors of the world will be filled with salty, delicious tears. Get excited! (Matt Bond

by Hot Spoke

So many worries on my mind
Is this the way to pay for my crimes? 

This is super cute. But more than being just 'super cute', 'Outlines' is a very well put together song by a band that could release a really brilliant collection of tunes if they've got more of this up their sleeves. Ness Muir's vocals are blissfully chilled out, with some unexpected melodies throughout really making you stop and take notice. There's one guitar line that immediately had me thinking of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which would seem totally random in a relaxed pop tune, but it's working for Hot Spoke. Everything's working for Hot Spoke. Where's the next song at guys? We'd like to hear more please. (Matt Bond)   

#101. NUMB
by Lupa J

Look into your self
What do you not know?

Lupa J isn't one to disappoint. Quickly establishing herself as one of the brightest young electronic artists Australia has to offer since she was only 15, Imogen Jones has stepped it up once more with her most immediately engaging track yet. 'Numb' holds a haunting quality you wouldn't expect on an otherwise dance-y jam. It's cool, but I'm not sure you're supposed to say something's cool anymore because the kids are using all these words like lit and woke and I don't know what any of them mean, so I'm just going to stick with cool. This is one track I can say I got to see live this year and it was just as fascinating a performance as the recorded version. (Matt Bond)

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