The Definitive And Not At All Subjective Top 12 Songs of 2016

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So this is a thing I am doing as if anyone actually cares about my tastes in music.

First of all, I wanna give a huge shout out to Spotify for making this process really easy with their automated playlist of the songs I listened to most in 2016. Good work, evil overlords.

Anyway, this is just what I think. I didn’t put a lot of thought into the order so don’t @ me if you think that 8 is better than 3 or whatever because life is too short for that shit.

UPDATE: By popular demand I have made this list into a Spotify playlist along with some of the other songs mentioned and minus the Like A Version Track because it’s not on Spotify.

1. Ivy League — Alex Lahey

It took some restraint to not include all 5 tracks off Alex Lahey’s debut EP in this list. From the irresistibly catchy chorus of “Let’s Go Out”, to the guitar laden romp of “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me” the EP is a gem. You should absolutely do yourself a favour and give it a listen. The highlight is probably the opening track, Ivy League. At just two and half minutes this is a brilliantly focused pop track. Packed with hooks from start to finish it’s an ear worm just waiting to happen. There is a lot of hype here, and it’s pretty warranted. Expect to see a lot of Alex Lahey in years to come.

2. Lonely Cities — Tigertown

I am 100% here for the spring reverb on the guitar riff (also the fact that the song is perfect in almost every other way too). Keep an eye out for their album next year. Judging by the songs they played at their show in Melbourne a few weeks back it’s gonna be a ripper.

3. Lost (Season One) — Camp Cope

“And maybe you were told you were special one too many times and now you’re lost”

Back when I was a student and still trying to figure out how to live life as a quasi-adult in the city there was this time I went to a party at a shitty share-house in Footscray after dropping my girlfriend off at the airport. It was the middle of a heatwave and I didn’t know a lot of people at the party. But I remember there being a lot of beer being kept cool in the laundry sink and everyone illogically hanging out in a far too small kitchen. I got really drunk with the people I knew and made fun of how hard everyone was trying. Anyway, this song sounds exactly like that.

4. January 26 — A.B. Originals, Dan Sultan

Change. The. Date.


5. Higher — Carly Rae Jepsen

You know, just casually dropping an album of off-cuts from last year’s album that turns out to be the best pop album of 2016. No biggie.

Like Alex Lahey, I really could have picked any song on this EP. It’s very hard to pick a favourite. But I picked “Higher” for the layered handclap/synth hit/cymbal/“hey!” that responds to “you take me higher than the rest” in the chorus and almost no other reason.

6. Together, Locked Safely — Safia

I was honestly a bit disappointed by Safia’s album. All the singles and EPs up to this point were pure fire and the new tracks on the album just didn’t quite reach the peaks that their singles did. But it’s grown on me a lot in the months since it was released and it is still one of the best releases of the year. There is still a bunch of filler on there but this song is definitely not one of those. Just would have been better if they included all their singles on it too. Lazy? Probably. Better? Absolutely.

“Together, Locked Safely” showcases everything that makes Safia great in a really pleasing low-key way that is still a total banger.

7. California — Blink-182

Look. I’m as surprised as you are about this. But California is so much more than a nostalgic rehashing of blink-182’s giddy peaks. Tom’s absence is a double edge sword. Without his more esoteric experimental moments blink-182 sound more focused than ever and California is their most mature and consistent record to date. But without his drive to explore new sonic territory that defined the band’s last two albums the album never quite reaches the heights of “Feeling This” or “Down” but nor does it hit the crushing lows of “The Fallen (Interlude)”. This album isn’t going to change lives, but it’s a solid return to form for a band that will always hold a place in my heart.

8. A Love Song — Ladyhawke

If you like pulsating bass synths, driving beats and soaring choruses (and why wouldn’t you?) than this song is for you.

9. Conqueror — AURORA

This song just got under my skin when I first heard it and kinda had it on repeat for a few days. I dunno, maybe it was the bouncing *kick-kick-snare* that keeps everything moving forward; maybe it was the booming piano octaves that carry the chorus; maybe it’s when all of the hooks comes together for that final chorus. Maybe it’s none of those things and I just think it’s a catchy pop tune. Whatever, it doesn’t really matter why, it’s a great song and you should listen to it.

Her cover of Oasis’ “Half The World Away” is also just fucking beautiful and shut up, I’m not crying, you are.

Aurora is also so Scandinavian it hurts.

10. Death To The Lads—The Smith Street Band

They dressed their mums up as them and put them in their music video. How could you not think that’s just the cutest thing ever, are you some kind of monster?

11. Dumb Things — A.B. Originals, Paul Kelly

Yes, yes, I know A.B Originals are already in the list. But fuck it, this performance is pure fire so I don’t really give af.

12. Your Best American Girl — Mitski

I have nothing to say about Mitski except that you should listen to her loud and often.


Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong.

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