Sunday, 11 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #30 - 21

#30. untitled 03 | 05.28.2013
by Kendrick Lamar

I shall enjoy the fruits of my labour
If I get freed today.

Examining the working of the music industry as a modern form of slavery was perfectly suited to the politically charged rap anthems of Mr. Kendrick Lamar. It’s an interesting concept that makes more sense as you think about it. Artists put everything they have into creating music for us to consume and who benefits from this in a financial sense? For artists that release their music through major studios, it’s probably going to be some random dudes in suits. How’s that fair? Even at the level Lamar is at, the struggle would be very real for music makers today. Imagine how hard it is for those getting their start in the business. (Matt Bond)  

by PJ Harvey

Hey little children don't disappear...

There is a part of me that wants to write about the subject matter in PJ Harvey's ninth studio album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, and a part of me wants to write an essay about my uneasiness of living in a world with so much injustice, but one of the reasons I write words is to help me cope with all the things I can't face and I listen to music to focus on the only thing that's ever given me a true sense of peace. What this all means is that I'm not going to type much about 'The Wheel', except to repeat one line. "Little children don't disappear, all that's left after a year, a faded face, the trace of an ear..." because there is actually nothing more important than that. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Martin Solveig ft. Tkay Maidza

Let's cross the line
Show me yours, I'll show you mine...

Tkaaaaaaaay. Slay. What ARE you doing with my head, Maidza? You’ve made it spin in 2016 with the many brilliant offerings you’ve released over the past 12 months. Including this collaboration with French producer Martin Solveig that was all of the fun emoji. The fire emoji. The dancing girl emoji. All of the coloured heart emoji, but especially the purple one. Getting to team up with a world renowned DJ marked a huge turning point in Maidza’s career, introducing her to the whole world and she’s only gone from strength to strength since. We’ve had flashes of that gorgeous vocal before, but this time it’s all singing and no rapping and it is awesome. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good ‘ole Tkay Maidza rap, but it’s nice to mix things up every now and then and ‘Do It Right’ was the perfect way to do it. The sounds of this song would have filled nightclubs throughout the world and that brings a huge smile to our faces. Now, let’s dance! (Matt Bond)  

It's funny, because I had written a whole lot of words about this song and how much I loved it and how much we love Ms Maidza, when it occurred to me that this track was actually "featuring" Tkay Maidza, and technically it was Martin Solveig's song. Which is extra funny, because like so many others, let's not pretend we're so far knowledgeable that we knew who Martin Solveig was, unless you're French I guess. Which is funny, because he's actually quite talented, given the research I've since done on the googles. And that's kind of funny, because I guess parts of the rest of the world would have had to google Tkay more recently, while those of us on this island would be all like "Yeah Tkaaaaaaaayyyyyy!" Which is also funny, because that's exactly what I said when I first heard this song. (Jo Michelmore)  

by Alex Lahey

Maybe I'm the one exception that can last forever
But than can only happen if you let us be together.

It's like Alex Lahey just takes little snippets of your life and pops them in a little jar, shakes them up and comes up with super catchy indie pop tunes to succinctly present your life back to you, in the form of song. Luckily, that life seems pretty damn cute via 'You Don't Think You Like People Like Me', if not just a little more than self-deprecating, and very tasty. Probably why I like it so much. (Jo Michelmore)  

Alex Lahey picked up where Courtney Barnett left off last year as the most amazing Melbourne based lyricist in all the land, capable of carefully balancing your heart in the palm of her musically gifted hands. The rocking music does its best to hide the true nature of the words, but in those moments you really take in the story you won’t be able to stop your brain going to some sucky places. And then you snap out of it because ‘You Don’t Think You Like Me’ is the raddest of the rad. The song has one of my favourite opening lines of the year in, “All I want is to have clean-skin wine and watch Mulholland Drive with you,” and the applaud worthy lyrics just keep on coming from there. This was super smart rock music from one of our favourite new artists of the year who will hopefully be back next year so we can laugh and cry and laugh with her again. Oh, how we laughed. And cried. And laughed. (Matt Bond)

by Machine Age

But I'm afraid of losing all that I've got
It's clear to me that I don't think we'd get far.

I don’t know much about Machine Age’s Adrian Mauro. I can tell you that he’s a talented multi-instrumentalist who’s backed up some of our other music loves like BANFF and Big Scary. I can tell you he’s from Brisbane and has put out two of our favourite releases of the past couple of years, ‘Chivalry’ and ‘Don’t Look’. I can tell you that he is extremely good at this whole music making thing and has a voice that subtly passes every bit of emotion in his words to the listener in a way that will move you. I can tell you that ‘Don’t Look’ comes from a place of loss that everyone can relate to. And I can tell you that I want to hear a whole lot more from Machine Age in 2017. Hopefully we’ll know all we could ever want to know about Adrian Mauro’s music very soon. (Matt Bond)

It's like that old thing about standing on the edge of a cliff and someone telling you not to look down, which of course means the very first thing you're going to do is glance in the direction of your feet. Whether it be the keys lulling you into a sense of safety or the manic beats giving a sense of adventure, there is something about 'Don't Look' that sounds exactly like memories and Adrian Mauro's words are the key to doing exactly what he says not to. Thankfully he's so good at the production, almost as immediately as you visit old times you drag yourself back into the present to hit play again, and so the cycle begins. Don't look back please. (Jo Michelmore

by Radiohead

They never learn.

It is true, I am beginning to run out of words to write about all these incredible songs, because after over a hundred different tunes I'm not sure how to say "I love this!" in many new ways. Which brings me to a band that have left me speechless so many times over the span of their long career, it's almost pointless for me to attempt these words already. I'm still speechless about some songs I first heard over twenty years ago. So perhaps I should leave the words describing their talent and my thoughts of that said talent up to Radiohead themselves, because with every song, every clip and every album, it becomes more and more apparent. "This goes beyond me, beyond you..." (Jo Michelmore) 

So if you’re looking for a nice way to lose track of time, might I suggest listening to ‘Daydreaming’? You’ll put it on one minute, listen to it on repeat and then you forgot to go to work today and you’re still in your pyjamas and you’re really hungry. Oh well, it was worth it. I’m not going to waste your time with jokes or “analysis” here. Just listen and love. (Matt Bond)

by Beyonce

I twirl on them haters, albino alligators.

Does any other artist today compare to Beyoncé when it comes to influencing pop culture? Like, who doesn’t have hot sauce in their bags these days? At this point, if Bey stepped out wearing army pants and flip flops, a whole generation of tweens looking to twirl on them haters would also be wearing army pants and flip flops. Yoncé, she of many names, is a force of nature in music. One of the last remaining superstars assured commercial and critical success alongside Adele, which will make the upcoming Grammy awards super interesting as Lemonade and 25 vie for the top awards. Will Lemonade finally see Beyoncé take out Album of the Year? That remains to be seen, but you’ve got to think it’s her best shot yet when there are songs like ‘Formation’ on it. It’s political, it’s influential and another step up for the former child of destiny. But you know what? It’s also bouncy, catchy and brilliant pop. And that’s what makes me love it the most. (Matt Bond) 

by Holy Holy

We danced to fucked up tunes
It was okay with you.

When I first started writing about Holy Holy, they were just that guy that served me my gin and tonic and that other guy with the crazy hair. I guess technically, they are still who those people were, although Tim's hair has got a bit longer, but now the biggest difference is that a whole lot of other people know who they are too. 'Darwinism' is the type of track we have come to expect, a solid rock tune that swoops and flies with every verse and while I really like this track, I think my favourite bit is that very first line; "I fell asleep on the couch watching rage.." because seriously, anyone who hasn't done that isn't worth knowing. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Little Earthquake

I, I know I just can't be without you
I, I just want to speak to you.

Look to the stars and fall in love with the cosmic pop sounds from Little Earthquake on their track ‘Honest’. This is a track I’ve been listening to a lot since early 2016 and it never fails to put me at ease with its warmth and sincerity. The brotherly duo, comprised of Justin and Matthew (great name) Hyland craft dreamy soundscapes that make you long for long drives on summer days to the ocean that lead to long nights on the beach with the people you love the most surrounding you. If you can capture feelings like that in song form you’re doing something right and Little Earthquake are definitely doing all of the right things. Give this a listen and try to get it out of your head. Surprise! You can’t. But you wouldn’t want it any other way. (Matt Bond

80s 80s 80s. If you weren't alive then, lucky you. This will sound so exciting to you. If you were alive then, lucky you. This will sound so exciting to you. So many synths, so many keys, so much drama, so much vocals, the pop, the dance, the earthquakes. Has anyone else noticed the amont of actual earthquakes happening lately? Uncomfortable much? Not uncomfortable; this Little Earthquake. Honestly. (Jo Michelmore)

by Ecca Vandal

This happens to me every year at about this time, where I start to think about what I'm going to vote for in the Hottest 100 and I'm thinking of all the songs and then my memory stretches waaaaaay back and I start thinking "was that released this year?" about something that was released mid year, because that feels like a hundred years ago and time and the end of time is a strange concept and my memory is an even stranger one. So Ecca Vandal's super punchy track was technically released waaaaaaaaay back at the end of last year, but this is our countdown and we do our counting in December, not January, so we get to include it in this year's songlist. And as well as that technicality, we don't have to smash up our favourites into ten small songs for voting, we've got 116 of them. So there. (Jo Michelmore)  

Ecca Vandal draws on a huge range of influences to create her own unique space in the Australian music landscape and it is awesome. I can’ think of anything else right now that sounds as dangerous, as hypnotic or as FUN as what she’s coming out with, tracks like ‘End of Time’ that defy simple genre labels and stand as a musical world of their own. Sure, you could give the whole labeling thing a go and call this alternative-punk-hip hop-Bhangra-electronic-indie-pop, but… no, no you wouldn’t so let’s just agree that Ecca Vandal is paving her own way and doing it so very, very well. ‘End of Time’ is a fearless and faultless track that shows Vandal is destined for huge things. Loving the gas punk imagery in the clip too. (Matt Bond) 

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