Music is a huge part of my life. It keeps me motivated, brings me up when I'm feeling down and is my absolute favorite thing to write about. I love seeing how it changes and listening to new talent. So when it comes to this past year, these are the songs that moved me. When I look back, this is how I want to remember 2016.
#1 "Love Yourself" Justin Bieber
This is the single greatest song to come out of 2016. It’s literally the most simple song ever, but encompasses so many things that, honestly, I never really thought the Biebs could encompass. Subtlety? Thoughtfulness? Not exactly Biebs qualities. I mean, the most noteworthy thing he did, before his collab with Diplo and Skrillex in the end of 2015, was pee in a mop bucket. He’s come so far and I am unapologetically obsessed with this song.
#2 "Closer" The Chainsmokers
Category: Most Improved
Speaking of past noteworthiness, before 2016 The Chainsmokers were best known as the DJs who brought us “#SELFIE”, as in, “But first, lemme take a selfie.” For reals y’all. Obviously they are talented and have created a lot of amazing songs since then, mostly collab-ing or remix-ing. But grabbing a true talent in Halsey really knocked “Closer” out of the park. I am not sick of this song yet and considering it was being played everywhere for basically the entire last four months of 2016, that’s a huge accomplishment.
#3 "Hands to Myself" Selena Gomez
Category: Guilty Pleasure
Could I have higher standards on what really is good music? I mean I could, but why would I want to?
#4 "Million Reasons" Lady Gaga
Category: Most Talented
Gaga is absolutely an artist. She stays true to herself, empowers women and beyond that, is the most musically gifted person in mainstream music. There’s not a lot of people on the radio who could also be a concert pianist, sing opera or star on Broadway, but Gaga could pretty much do whatever she wants. And I think she is.
#5 "Shelter" Dermot Kennedy
Category: The Newcomer
When this song randomly came on my Spotify, I think it had less than 20,000 listens. He’s Irish and brings the feels. Can’t wait to see him absolutely blow up in 2017. Here’s hoping.
#6 "Hotline Bling" Drake
Category: Best Dance Moves
I love Drake.
#7 "In Bloom" Sturgill Simpson
Category: Best of Classic Country
The best new thing to come out of the country music scene in 2016. Maybe’s it’s the Chris Stapleton effect, but I feel like the good old country boys are making a comeback. There’s nothing better than some classic country to warm the soul. P.S. Also, this is a Nirvana cover and I appreciate that.
#8 "Teenage Dirtbag" Walk Off the Earth
Category: Best Cover
The original version of this song came out when I was 13 years old. I was a teenage dirtbag and it was perfect. It’s pretty amazing to re-fall in love with something that was so meaningful to your youth. So this one is just for me pretty much.
#9 "Side to Side" Ariana Grande
Category: The Only Good Thing Ariana Grande Has Ever Done
just want to remember this. Usually I pretty much hate anything that comes out of this little cupcakes’ mouth, but call it growth or the Nicki Minaj effect or getting soft in my old age, but this song is pretty fun to dance to.
#10 "Roses" Mackenzie Bourg
Category: Best of American Idol
MacKenzie first played this song at the first day of Vegas auditions, basically his first callback for the show. Keith Urban was like, “Who is this by? Oh, you?! This is good, man” because Keith Urban always say man I feel like. And this is good.
#11 "Record Year" Eric Church
Category: Best of Mainstream Country
My favorite country radio song of the year. Eric Church had my favorite song of 2015 “Wrecking Ball” and it’s hard not to love most of the things he comes out with. This is a good representation of the good he brings to music.
#12 "Please Don't Go" Joel Adams
Category: Best Humming
Where did he come from? Where is he going? Why is there no more music from him on Spotify?!
#13 "Cold Water (with Justin Bieber & MØ)" Major Lazer
Category: Best of Diplo
If I had my way, this would be a whole playlist of Diplo because I’m obsessed with him, but that just didn’t feel very diverse. Major Lazer, Jack Ü, Diplo, Major Lazer, Jack Ü, Diplo, repeat until 50 songs. So I forced myself to listen to some other stuff and I guess I’m happy about it.
#14 "Diamond Dreams" Castro
Category: Most Positive
I love this song and love even more that this is a family singing together and making beautiful music.
#15 "Low Life" Future, The Weeknd
I’m down for a little hood shit every once in a while.
#16 "Light It Up (feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG) - Remix" Major Lazer
#17 "Too Good" Drake & Rihanna
Category: Most Likely to Make Me Cry Because Why Can’t They Just Be a Couple
The thing about this song is I feel like it is legit about their relationship. But who knows.
#18 "Roses" The Chainsmokers, ROZES
Category: Most Likely to Legalize It
This was the breakout from The Chainsmokers this year. Kind of the first time mainstream music took them seriously apart from #SELFIE (although “I Wanna Be Like Kanye” was so legit in 2015). This was a huge stepping stone in creating the success of “Closer”.
#19 "Stitches" Shawn Mendes
Category: Most Likely to Be Followed by a Crowd of Shrieking 15 Year-Olds
And I 100% do not blame them.
#20 "Mayday" Wild Rivers
Category: Best for a Serious Contemporary Dance-Off
Don’t put it past me. I dance to this in my living room.
#21 "Down in the DM" Yo Gotti
Category: Best Hip-Hop
It just makes me so happy.
#22 "Nothing Arrived - Live from Spotify London" Villagers
On the other hand, this one makes me sad, but in a good way.
#23 "The Hills" The Weeknd
Abel is just pretty good at being not such an awesome person sound fun. It’s good to have that darkness a little bit every once in a while.
#24 "All My Friends" Snakehips, Tinashe, Chance the Rapper
Category: Party Anthem of the Year
This is a jam. Yeah the lyrics are a little darker, but it’s still a really fun party song.
#25 "King (Acoustic)" Years & Years
Category: Piano Ballad of the Year
I have a thing for piano music. Especially acoustic, stripped down, piano versions of songs. They give me life. This is just so beautiful.
#26 "Hallelujah" Pentatonix
Category: Better Live (which is hard to believe)
This is on a Christmas album. There are 15 million versions of this song that are all brilliant. But the live version of this blows my damn mind.
#27 "Got You On My Mind" NF
Category: Most Real
#28 "Cages (feat. Kelli Leigh)" Cages
Category: That Beat Tho
#29 "Road Less Traveled" Lauren Alaina
Category: Best Use of Megan Trainor as a Writer on Your Song
#30 "We Got This" A Day to Remember
Category: Obligatory Nod to My Roots