Friday, 9 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #40 - 31

#40. HOLLA
by Lanks

But our love is what you wanna see
There's hope as long as you believe.

I had pulled up 'Holla' on YouTube and kept my headphones on, waiting for it to start while I sent a text message, when it suddenly occurred to me, why is Lanks talking to me about razors and bathroom habits? How does YouTube even decide which ad to show which person with what? I'm asking questions I can't answer. Contrary to popular belief, "Holla' is not an advertistment for shaving products, nor a gansta rap song. It is, in fact, a subdued tune, making me slightly sleepy on a week night, which is a lovely thing. Much more lovely than a razor to the face or the advertisements about them, thank you Lanks. (Jo Michelmore)

Oh, Lanks. You ain’t no hollaback girl. According to a Google search of ‘hollaback girl definition’ it means one who, “responds positively to the catcalls or hollers of men.” While Lanks is no hollaback girl, he is a creative music maker that never fails to bring a smile to our faces with his music. The project of Melbourne’s Will Cuming, Lanks built up a solid collection of releases throughout the year in the lead up to the release of his Viet Rose EP. It was ‘Holla’ that sparked our imagination the most and had us celebrating the many talents of an artist who continues to work hard and better himself with each new track. The build to the closing moments of ‘Holla’, as Lanks repeats the lines, “you’re not alone,” and “reach forward, holler out to me,” is too much. And too much is never enough when it comes to Lanks. (Matt Bond) 

#39. 10 FEET TALL

Never gonna be the right time
Always got your feelings on the line... 

10 feet tall is quite tall you know, for those of us who prefer to use the metric system of measurement. As in, it's like almost three and a half metres, which, if one was to be 10 feet tall, one would spend most of their day warding off inappropriate jokes about the weather up there and the rest of the day bent over slightly, in order to hear the offensive comments from so far below. Therefore, one assumes that when Okenyo speaks of being 10 Feet Tall, it is meant in the figurative way, as in, invincible, not slightly Hunchback of ND. Which is funny, because Okenyo's '10 Feet Tall' is almost minimalist and so very smooth, her vocal shining bright and her beats almost floating, nothing at all as daunting as being 10 feet tall. (Jo Michelmore)

by Ladyhawke

You've opened my eyes to the oldest tale of time...

Now THIS is what a love song sounds like. It belongs in a movie, one of those scenes in the third act where the young lovers finally find their way back to each other in the most unrealistic fashion. The ensemble cast are all standing around with those stupid grins on their faces. Emma Stone’s laughing in the way that people do in ads where they’re having the best time with their salads. ‘A Love Song’ starts playing as the image freezes for an awkward amount of time before fading to black and the credits start to roll. I’ve got some attitude here, this is true, but this make-believe movie is something I’d watch over and over again with a tub or two of ice-cream. What isn’t make-believe is the talent that is Ladyhawke, delivering again and again with tracks like this that bring a smile to your face and put a song in your heart. With songs like this, you too can feel like you’re a character in your own amazing film. (Matt Bond)  

When 'A Love Song' was first released, it had been four years since Ladyhawke's last album, which means it had been four years since I heard those charming boys at Splendour, standing next to me in a pit at the front of stage, saying something along the lines of "oi she a bit of alright". Sigh. Three years later and we've still such a long way to go. Nevertheless, 'A Love Song' is exactly what we have come to expect from one of NZ's favourites; a super catchy chorus, some magical keys, percussion that forces one to move one's feet and a message much deeper than initially expected. Perfect pop in every single way. (Jo Michelmore)

#37. SORRY
by Babaganouj

Once upon a night at home, I sat in bed all alone
Thinking of things I wanted to say and how I never meant to go away.

The Nouj always have me thinking they could be characters in a children's story book, with such delightful names as Charles, Ruby and Harriette, I picture them in cute floral dresses and overalls, running amok amongst the gardens of the neighbours and generally getting up to no good. Alas, they are not and so we have Babaganouj and indie pop and lots of apologies and a really nice little drum break in the middle there. There's no need to be sorry Nouj, I like you in all versions of you. (Jo Michelmore)

Ruby McGregor took the lead on ‘Sorry’, the first single from Babaganouj’s second EP of 2016, Hard To Be. And so a rock star was born, but not really because Ruby, Charles Sale and Harriette Pilbeam were already stars, ‘Sorry’ just saw them shining brighter than ever before. They were like a big, grunge-loving star that shone over the universe, bringing joy to all with banging guitars and enough attitude to make Pluto take notice. Get it? Because Pluto isn’t just cool, it’s ice cold. I’m sorry, writing about 100+ songs means some of them are going to get the bad jokes and now I’ve embarrassed myself in front of Babaganouj and I’ll stop. So much love for ‘Sorry’ and our fave Brissy three-piece though. (Matt Bond)

by Cub Sport

I found comfort
I fell in love with avoiding problems.

For Brisbane’s Cub Sport, 2016 was like their graduation year. With past releases, they maintained a fun-loving vibe that can only come from a young band at the start of their career. But now they’re a little more grown up, they’ve had time to experience life for what it is and as a result their sound has matured beautifully into the songs that made up their debut LP, This Is Our Vice. Songs like ‘Come On Mess Me Up’ that hold a vulnerability and honesty that elevate them far, far above your standard pop. Love is the central theme of most songs in the world. But very few will look at what love is in a realistic way. The ones that do will hit you hardest and this right here is one of them. This year Cub Sport went from that Brisbane band everyone bopped along to with glee to a world class indie band ready to conquer whatever comes their way. (Matt Bond

#35. LOST
by Ariela Jacobs

Prepare a cup of coffee for another night of sleepless times
So I can blame the caffeine, for giving me time to think.

They say it so easily, it just rolls off the tongue, as easy to say as any other, and they say it makes you do crazy things, think crazy thoughts, accept less and expect more. We are all desperately trying to find it, keep it, know it, define it, hold it up high and somehow also hold onto it. But if it's so common, if we are so entwined in the pursuit and property of it, then why is it so hard? Is it actually anything at all or is it just a fairytale, a story passed down generation by generation and really nothing at all? The answers are not the same, the thoughts are only one's own, but is it really something we can find, this love we all speak so highly of, or is it actually just a temporary way to feel a little less lost? Ariela Jacobs knows what it is and it's one and the same thing. And it's also responsible for the souvenirs of self destruct that burn up in my head. It's not the right thing to do. (Jo Michelmore)

Speaking of our favourite songwriters, here’s Ariela Jacobs with her second gem to make our 2016 countdown. Part of me wants to ask Jacobs to stop dragging my heart around like this, but then the smarter and highly aggressive part of me is like, “you right, m8?” because when music can move you in the way that ‘Lost’ will, you’re never going to want it to stop. The delivery of these thoughtfully selected words comes from a place of hurt, confusion and a love that could very well still be there. Suitably, our leading lady finds herself as lost as the title would suggest and for anyone that’s had those sleepless nights with all those thoughts running through your head you spend all day trying to keep as far away as possible, you’re going to remember the times you’ve found yourself lost too. This is an amazing song from an exceptional talent that I want to hear so much more from and hopefully sooner than later. (Matt Bond)  

by Asta

Don't tell me it's not real
Don't say it's only physical.

YESSS, ASTA. A million times Y-E-S! Like a force of mighty fine/disco-inspired nature, Asta slayed with the total jam that is ‘Wild Emotion’. Try not to put your hands in the air and wave them around like you just don’t care while you listen to it. You can’t, can you?! No. No you can’t. ‘Wild Emotion’ was pure pop perfection, ready to lift you up at a moment’s notice with its ‘against all odds’ disposition. This should have been a #1 hit on charts worldwide, but Asta’s day will come. With songs like ‘Wild Emotion’ to her name, she won’t be denied for long. (Matt Bond) 

Is it possible for this song to get any catchier? Nope. Is Asta the answer to all my dance electro pop needs? Yes. Why is it that disco seemed so lame for so many years? No one knows. With a bunch of handclaps smashed in the middle there, it's pretty much impossible for me not to love this song. It starts as suddenly as it gets stuck in your head and if anyone has the ability to sit still while it's playing, I suggest they lay off the valium. Was this song built for happiness? Yes. Yes it was. (Jo Michelmore)

by Bec Sandridge

It's high tide, I know that this will break us
It's high tide, I know that this will change us.

Have you had a chance to listen to Bec Sandridge’s In The Fog EP yet? You haven’t? Go and listen to it now please. We can wait. You have listened to it? You’re awesome and might I say congratulations for having such a fabulous taste in music and you look lovely today. I think if someone came up to me in real life and was like, “have you heard that new Bec Sandridge EP? Isn’t it the flipping best?!” I’d be all, “yeah it is and now we are friends for life, do you enjoy espresso martinis and eating your feelings at four in the morning too?” Convoluted introductory sentences aside, I’m trying to get across how much love I have for Bec Sandridge’s music. You’ll only need one listen of ‘High Tide’ to get it. It reaches a part of your brain that’s reserved for only the finest of tunes. The ones that make you wonder how someone could possibly come up with something that captures everything you love about music. If you still haven’t gone off to listen to the In The Fog EP, do yourself a favour and do that right now please and thank you. In the meantime I’ll whip us up some caffeinated dranks and get us a bucket of fried chicken. Because we are now best friends. Yay! (Matt Bond

#32. COAT
by Jack Colwell

Oh, all good things
Must come to an end.

I think I will always love Jack Colwell. He has the ability to make the goosebumps wash over, ask all the hard questions, light all the lights and then provide all of the answers with every track he writes. He is pop star, he is tortured artist, he is a humble fan and he is so, so talented. With a voice from another world, 'COAT' is as dramatic as it is breathtaking and as tragically sad as it is inspiring and it is alive in a way only Jack Colwell  can bring to life. I haven't said this about anyone yet, but here's hoping we see so much more of Jack in 2017. (Jo Michelmore)

One of my favourite live music moments of 2016 was finally getting to see Jack Colwell live when he supported Sarah Blasko at The Tivoli in Brisbane. The entire audience was captivated by Colwell’s artistry as he put his heart and soul into his performance. And that’s exactly what he puts into all of his music; all of his heart and all of his soul. His background in classical music allows him to orchestrate songs that are passionate, dramatic and cinematic and those three words are perfect when describing ‘Coat’. Running a four minute emotional gauntlet that’s heavy on the type of anger that could only be caused by a broken heart, ‘Coat’ evolves from lover scorned to the quiet relief of saying goodbye. That final line, “you don’t see me,” is delivered in such a devastating way that you’ll find yourself heading back to the start to experience ‘Coat’ and all of its wonders all over again. (Matt Bond) 

by Tired Lion 

Look at the people just lying around
To get you back up they just pull you back down.

I'm not much of a TV watcher, so I'm not going to pretend I understand half the references in Tired Lion's clip for 'Not My Friends', but I do understand a good rock song with a huge hook and I totally understand crunchy guitars and a big bassline. I also understand the concept of desperately needing to fit in with people who don't deserve the title 'friend' and I'm pretty lucky to now understand how pointless that need can be, which means I have actual friends that I adore and I like this track more now than I would have in some of my past existences. Also, on a side note, one of those friends of mine and I happened to wander by Tired Lion on the street as they were filming this clip late one night. If you look closely enough you can see us trying to be calm in the background. Maybe. (Jo Michelmore)

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