Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Top 116 Songs of 2016, #60 - 51

by Amanda Palmer

You get the drill now don't you?
It's not a will or won't
You can't keep making symbols out of nothing. 

When you left, all those years ago, I didn't know what was to come, I didn't know all the the days I'd have to face and I didn't know how I'd see them all without you. Everyday seemed like I called you up yesterday and everyday was 24 hours further away from yesterday. When you left, there was nothing left, there was nothing in front and there was nothing behind and time stopped the stuff, and what was I to do with all the stuff? It's been fifteen years and I hear the piano and the strings and it still seems like yesterday you were alive and it's still as if you never really died. You would have loved Amanda Palmer as much as I do. She lost her best friend so recently, she has so far to go without him and I know how hard some of that so far is going to be. But she writes songs like 'Machete' to make it all a little less lonely and she gets it, like you, my best friend did. You would have loved her as much as I still love you. (Jo Michelmore) 

by The Naked and Famous

Tonight we bury this in fire, fire
Under the shape of years, and the weight that brought us here.

There's a lot to love about The Naked and Famous, but I think what I love the most about 'Higher' is that feeling of triumph it gives you. Like you've totally achieved something spectacular, even though you're sitting in front of a computer and dusting some Doritos dust off your pyjamas at four in the afternoon. Released as the lead single for the New Zealand band's third studio album, Simple Forms, 'Higher' is as jubilant and heartwarming as anything that's come before. It's 'Young Blood' on steroids and will, quite literally, have you raising your voice higher and higher. How it didn't crossover to massive commercial success is beyond me. (Matt Bond

I love this band. Like, I mean, I really love this band. Every time I hear that distinctive vocal of Alisa's, something triggers and a sense of hope and happiness washes over me, every time another beat makes it way out of my headphones something awakens and I want everyone in the world to know I like them. I didn't think I could like them more, but when they added that pop of 80s rock beats and guitar, and those words "tonight we bury this in fire" my little mind was blown. How can something so damn happy be so damn sad be so damn happy? I don't even care. I just love it. (Jo Michelmore)

by Lisa Mitchell

I think that I'm beginning to care
I think that I'm beginning to care. 

'The Boys' is a song that instantly won me over. Right from the very first beats, you can tell that it's a song that you'll fall in love with. Lisa Mitchell creates a euphoric atmosphere that holds up a track with undeniable charms, her performance is tender and full of understanding and it truly feels like she's found her corner of the musical world that is hers and hers alone. This could very well be the most perfectly chilled out pop song of 2016. The recently released (and absolutely stunning) third LP from Mitchell, Warriors, is full of gems like 'The Boys', but I've got just that little bit more love for its carefree nature that leaves you thinking of the happiest of days gone by. (Matt Bond)

#57. DRIVE
by Gretta Ray

Now I'm invested I am captivated and consumed
Seems you're my latest muse. 

How could you not fall completely, hopelessly, head over heels in love with this song? Gretta Ray struck gold in every aspect of 'Drive', proving at the start of her career that she's already an expert storyteller and melody maker. Is it any wonder the track took out this year's Vanda and Young songwriting competition? No. No it is not. There's wisdom far beyond Ray's young years on this planet in lines like, "and sure your taste and touch are two things that I want, but babe neither are what I ponder on the most." There's a strong message there when a young artist isn't saying 'love is everything' and it will carry Gretta Ray's career a long way. She's only just finished school and will be heading over to the U.S.A to lay down tracks for a debut album and that's going to be one mighty fine collection of songs if 'Drive' is anything to go by. (Matt Bond)  

And here I am, thinking I'm a success if I manage to wash my hair and get to bed before midnight once in a while, when someone like Gretta Ray is writing fabulous indie pop like 'Drive' and winning things like JJJ Unearthed High and the Vanda and Young Songwriting comp, all before she finished high school. Such a beautiful track, infused with feels of country and beats that really do make me wanna get in my car and find a long open road, she deserves all the accolades she's going to get as her talent grows along with her. (Jo Michelmore

by Montaigne

You say to me as we get home
There's no one like you. 

These are always my favourites, the poppy songs that make you want to dance madly, while madly crying little tears because they're so damn true. Everyone has done it, everyone has convinced themselves that something or someone is better than it is because they can't let go, because they want things out of their control, because love. What even is that? Probably an answer too big for these little words of mine, but something I might leave Montaigne to answer with that incredible voice of hers in another punchy kind of pop song in her next album. (Jo Michelmore)

Young love. The kind where someone says horrible things to you and you love them and you try to look good for them and you drive them places and wait in the car and everyone in your life is telling you this person is so wrong for you and you're drinking too much you feel super alone. Wait... no, that's totally fucked and not love at all, but I doubt there's many of us who haven't seen someone they know in a totally messed up relationship and they just can't see it. Or you've been in that relationship yourself and you haven't been able to see it for what it is. Even on Montaigne's 'poppiest' number on the brilliant debut album album Glorious Heights, she distances herself from the pack with a heartbreaking story that is the complete opposite of the boppy nature of the song. Brilliant. (Matt Bond)  

by Lady Gaga

I've got a hundred million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good one to stay. 

One must assume that some very important people in expensive suits decided that 'Perfect Illusion' would be our introduction to Lady Gaga's fifth studio album, Joanne. It's so out of place with the tracks it sits alongside, songs with beautiful artistry like 'Million Reasons' that strips away all the glitz and glam of the Gaga we've known and loved. Here the focus is on that powerful voice, the expertly performed bare bones instrumentation and the story of a woman looking for just one reason to stay with the man she loves. 'Perfect Illusion' aside (which is still a decent track on its own), Joanne was LGG's most consistent and enjoyable collection yet, showing that there's still a very long career ahead for one of the most talented artists in the world. (Matt Bond 

A few weeks ago, during some random chat, Matt asked me what the last song was that made me cry. We have really uplifting conversations you know. I'm not sure he was expecting the answer I gave. Perhaps it was because it's perfect pop, perhaps it's the way I feel about piano, which always has a way of desperate loneliness. Maybe it's the sense of genuine in her voice which is sometimes lost amongst all of her brightness. Perhaps some songs like this are so popular because they are built for memories and sadness and maybe some of us are still hoping for that one amongst millions. (Jo Michelmore) 

by E^ST

You think you're righteous
I think that's priceless.

I used to be a believer in karma. I'm not anymore. What I do believe in is a track I can't get out of my head, with so much attitude, if karma is a thing then karma best watch itself because E^ST is coming to deliver her own personal brand of it; hand delivered with a simple beat, some serious attitude, a sound that gets totally stuck in your head and a handclap, straight across your face. Take that karma. (Jo Michelmore)

Does this song not make you feel like you're bulletproof? Like, you could get up to some Bad stuff (with a capital 'B') after you've listened to 'Here Comes Karma' because it makes you feel invincible. E^ST is Australian music's biggest badass and it doesn't even feel like she's trying to be. She just is. I was introduced to the music of E^ST when I saw her supporting Little May on tour earlier in the year. It took approximately fifteen seconds into the first song for me to want to hear everything she had ever made. Pretty much the week after her Get Money! EP was released and I was in looooove. Especially with the track that we've already discussed makes you feel like the baddest M.F. in town. "I said a bad word, I made some hearts hurt." Gets me each and every time, right from the start. It's going to be really exciting to hear what comes next from E^ST. (Matt Bond)  

#53. DECAY
by Stevie

So far from home, out on your own
You moved away from me, so independently. 

When I wrote about this song earlier in the year, I wrote of all the Stevie's I had to cross paths with before I got to this one. As I googled this time, I came across a guy on Facebook whose username is Stevie Decay. He's pretty dull though. Phoebe Imhoff and Miro Mackie on the other hand were far from dull with their brand of Brisbane electronica, which was simple and elegant with a creepily stark but gorgeous clip, kind of like Brisbane. Or not. The perfect song to listen to in the middle of the night while casually stalking random people on Facebook. Or not. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Babaganouj

Oh girl, you make me insane, you make me do things I just can't explain
Well, oh boy, what can I do, you gotta pull through, you gotta pull through now.

Babaganouj have had a HUGE 2016. By the end of the year, one of our favourite Brisbane bands will have released not one, not two, but three EPs, they delivered an ace set at BIGSOUND and they've gone and got themselves all famous in Japan. Because why the heck not, that's an exciting market to break into. 'Do Rite With Me Tonite' was released as a single from Charles, Ruby and Harriette's first 2016 EP, Pillar of Light and it's definitely up there as one of the catchiest tracks they've come up with yet. You get boy/girl singing combos, that delicious Brisbane garage sound and some tenpin bowling in the video. What more do you want? Nothing. That's what. Spoiler alert, this isn't the last you've seen of Babaganouj on this countdown. Sorry about it. Get it? Eh... you will. (Matt Bond 

#51. IT AIN'T ME
by Katy Steele

Let's go straight in from the start
Of this here tragedy.

When you hear 'It Ain't Me' for the first time, you're left wondering why it's taken so long for Katy Steele to get around to releasing some solo tunes. Because this right here is the business. You get to sing along and clap your hands and I already know that you're going to have the biggest smile on your face while you're doing it. It's a break up song, but not a downer. It's the opposite of, 'it's not you, it's me', because it's most definitely not Steele as the title would imply. It's soulful and as fun as it is smart. And it leaves you wondering why it's taken so long for Katy Steele to go down the solo route. At the end of the day though, whether it's solo Katy Steele, Little Birdy or something else, I'm just happy to hear new music from one of my most loved voices. (Matt Bond)    

Here's a confession. I was never really a fan of Little Birdy. I don't know why, I can tell you all about their talent, but you know how some bands just don't gel no matter how hard you try? Yeah well I'm not sure what was going on there, because this song, from ex-Little Birdy frontwoman Katy Steele is the biz. Does that mean good? Well, that's what I mean. You know, it's real good. All sass, all smart, all I'm fine on my own plus handclaps, that's exactly what Katy Steele is. Absolutely fine on her own. (Jo Michelmore) 

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