2016 was very shitty year for most things including politics and world in general but lets not talk about that right now because this isn’t place for that. Thankfully in 2016 we got very big amount of awesome music across all genres and that is what we will discuss today. Honestly, number of great songs that I had to kick out of this list is big(Starboy, False Alarm etc.). So lets start with honorable mentions.
Hate To See You Go by The Rolling Stones (great song from legendary band)
Bang Bang by Green Day (Really good vocals and instrumentation)
A Dream That Cannot Be by Amon Amarth (Doro’s part is what makes this song great)
Whelk Then by Deadmau5 (Great production)
#25 Endlessly by Amaranthe
You are probably thinking what is Amaranthe doing on this list, they are far from being remotely good. If you think that then you need to hear this song(this isn’t even best song from Maximalism). Yes, lyrics are little bit cheesy and it sounds like My Heart Will Go On,(I actually don’t mind that song) but reason why this song is on this list is Elize’s vocal perfomance. This is one of the best vocal performances I have heard this year. Its full of emotion and you can clearly hear how Elize puts her whole soul in this song.
#24 Crazy=Genius by Panic! At The Disco
Death Of A Bachelor was extremely weird album. It had some great moments(Crazy=Genius being one of them) and some very bad and extremely laughable moments like for example title track(If I decide to make Worst songs of 2016 list that song will be very high on my list). Panic! At The Disco was never my thing but I always held Brendon Urie as very good vocalist and he proved it on this song. Production and instrumentation on this song is very good. Now if only other songs from DoaB were any close to this song instead of being big pile of mess.
#23 Halo On Fire by Metallica
In 1984 Metallica released Ride The Lightning,arguably their best album to this date. Now why am I even mentioning that specific album in section where I am supposed to talk about song from 2016. Well, this song calls back to that album more precisely to one specific song. That song is Fade To Black.Metallica’s best songs are usually are 7 to 9 minutes long(One, Master Of Puppets etc.)and this song proves that again.
#22 Conquer or Die by Megadeth
I will be the one who will say that Dystopia wasn’t that much of a good album and you know what is the reason for me saying that? Lyrics. I felt like I was watching Bill O’Reilly’s show instead of listening to the album. That’s how bad lyrics of this album are. If lyrics were not that much bad more songs would make my list. Thankfully there was one song without lyrics and its actually very good. Kiko is amazing guitar player(but you already knew that). From technical standpoint this song is perfect. It starts with one minute of classical music played in finger style before it goes to full mode metal song. Surprisingly, those 2 parts worked together very well.
#21 King For A Day by Battle Beast
Let’s talk about ABBA for a second. That amazing Swedish group that was dominating through 70’s and most of 80’s. Now why am I mentioning ABBA while talking about power metal song you may ask. Well, this isn’t first time that Battle Beast is embracing sound of that Scandinavian pop only this time they threw little bit of Judas Priest in the mix. They even wrote 80’s synth pop song called Touch Of The Night. Now, that’s enough about their history lets talk about King For A Day. Why do I like this song so much? The easiest answer is Noora Luohimo. That amazing Finnish vocalist with haircut inspired by rooster(Just watch King For A Day music video and you will see what I am talking about).This is also their first song without their main songwriter Anton Kabanen. He got replaced by Joona Björkroth
#20 Square Hammer by Ghost B.C.
Lets talk about 70’s for a second. You know those years when bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Blue Öyster Cult were releasing some of their best work?While Meliora was more inspired by first two bands, Square Hammer takes much more from Blue Öyster Cult. In this song we see Ghost embracing much more radio friendly sound(which isn’t bad sometimes) while still holding things that made albums like Meliora and Infestissumam great. Papa’s (*cough* Tobias Forge *cough*)vocal performance is great too. His vocal delivery is what gives this song that signature spooky Ghost sound.
#19 Into You by Ariana Grande
I will admit, I was never big fan of Ariana Grande but after hearing Dangerous Woman(song and album) I was instantly hooked. My biggest problem was her lyrics. In that sense that they were very cringe-worthy. Don’t get me wrong “Love Me Harder” is still great song. Thing I like the most about this song is the chorus.
#18 The Other Side by Alter Bridge
Alter Bridge was always one of those bands that were sitting on the fence between rock and metal, experimenting with both sounds. With this new album Last Hero they embraced heavier side of their sound. Alter Bridge was never a band that would write songs about politics, war etc. but with this song they attacked the theme of recent terrorist attacks.
If you believe yours is the only way
Then you’re the fool who lives to die
Well you deserve the Hell, you’re gonna pay
On the other side
Once you reach the other side
Once you reach the other side
Overall sound of the song is very dark and swingy so it fits perfectly with the lyrics
#17 Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grandex
Now most of you will be surprised why is Dangerous Woman on higher spot than Into You. Answer is simple. Guitar solo. That guitar solo is easily one of the best guitar solos I have ever heard in a pop song. You may ask then why this song is not even higher on the list. Again same guitar solo is kinda part of a problem. First, lets talk about what is purpose of a guitar solo in a certain song. Guitar solo or any kind of solo is supposed to be main “weapon” of a song, therefore it should get most of presence in the mix and that is the my main problem with this song. Solo is heavily buried in the mix and I am not big fan of guitar effect they picked. Still, this is really good song and worth of listen
#16 Silvera by Gojira
Most of great metal bands are from three places. UK,USA or Scandinavia but Gojira is proving that there is great metal from France too. Even though I did not like their latest album Magma there were 2 songs that I liked a lot. This is one of those two. Gojira was always some kind of mix of Meshuggah and Tool. On this album they embraced Meshuggah side of their sound making songs more simple than on previous albums.
#15 Lost on You by LP
Lost On You is pop rock song written by American singer/songwriter Laura Pergolizzi(LP). This is her first breakout single but before this she was writing songs for other popular acts like Cher Lloyd, Rihanna and Christina Aguilera. While this song was one of the biggest songs in Europe(peaking at #1 in Belgium, Greece, France and Poland) it never made any impact on USA charts, which is big shame because this song definitely deserved it. From beautiful bluesy guitar in the background to perfectly sung backing vocals, this song has a lot to offer. And that is not even the best part of the song. Thing where this song shines the most is production, especially in the chorus. Those drums in transition from verse to chorus give this song so much bigger overall sound. Laura’s performance is really good too, so definitely check this song out you will love it.
#14 Last Stand by Sabaton
History,subject that most of people don’t like that much but I tend to enjoy a lot. It was one my favorite subjects in high school and I still enjoy reading about history. Now this song tells a story about Stand of the Swiss Guard.The Stand of the Swiss Guard took place during the sacking of Rome on May 6, 1527, when the Pope’s Swiss guards held off troops loyal to the Habsburgs long enough for Pope Clement to escape.
I remember when I’ve heard little sample of this song. It was in outro of the video for their first single Blood of Bannockburn. I was immediately hooked. This song is extremely catchy. Joakim’s singing is on whole another level. His singing makes this song stand out so much and OMG that ending. Only because of that ending this song is on the list.
#13 Sleeping Dogs (feat. Corey Taylor) by Zakk Wylde
What is first thing that comes up to your mind when you hear name Zakk Wylde? Its either Black Label Society or Ozzy Osbourne. I am pretty sure stripped down acoustic ballad with little bit of southern rock is something you would never expect from him. Stripped down songs are usually very hard to pull off. Every part of the song have to fit perfectly with each other. Its like dominoes, if one part(domino) falls down every next part won’t work(everything will start to fall apart).This year gave us example of minimalistic song falling apart. Where Gold failed Sleeping Dogs shined.
#12 This Girl (Kungs Vs. Cookin’ On 3 Burners) by Kungs
I don’t have much to say about this song. I simply like everything about it. Great vocal performance, second best drop of 2016 and very good overall sound would like to say thank you to Matt(In The Furnace) for showing me this song. Seriously check out his channel and subscribe to him.(Click here to go to his channel)
#11 Once Upon The Nightmare by Epica
Its not a secret that The Holographic Principle was my favorite album of 2016. I loved every single song from that album. Especially, songs that will be featured on this list(obviously). Since their debut album Epica always had one or two very relaxing, sometimes melancholic songs. This album was not exception. Main reason why this song is on the list is that beautiful crescendo where Simone goes from very calm and relaxing type of singing to full opera mode.Fairly simple instrumentation gives a lot of space for Simone’s voice which is a good thing this time.
This is what Simone have said about the song:
“This isn’t a typical ballad; it’s melancholic and has more of a themed vocal going through it than a chorus. I’m a big fan of classic fairy tales and the lyrics were inspired by a dark German tale about the Alder King, or Erlking, who steals children’s souls. A lot of times, parents don’t take their children seriously, especially when it comes to seeing monsters in the closet so it’s a dark twist on fairy tales. It’s symbolic of being stuck in a life without a happy ending and how our innocence is taken away from us as soon as we’re born. ”
#10 Stranded by Gojira
This song was my first introduction to this great French band called Gojira and man this song simply blew me away. I even called it Smoke On The Water of 21st century. Yes, I actually did that and I still stand by that. Let me explain you why. Both songs have great riff that carries whole song, great drum work, decent verses etc. Thing that makes this song stand out so much is chorus riff. Its simple yet amazing riff. Over that riff you have Joe singing as aggressive as he can which makes the chorus sound so much better. Honestly,this is easily best chorus of 2016. Verses are very decent, but if they were on the same level as chorus then this would be my favorite song of 2016.
#9 The Cosmic Algorithm by Epica
Sometimes is very hard to judge a song by one of your favorite bands. Epica is one of them, but this song does not fall under that umbrella. Why? I do not think you even need to ask that question but let me explain.This song has everything great Epica song needs to have. Great synergy between Simone and Mark amazing “opera” parts, guitars that suit the song perfectly and drumming that is on time but that can be said about whole album because that album is straight up fantastic. Modern masterpiece
Note:This song is not available on Youtube so here is Spotify
#8 Tears (feat. Louisa Johnson) by Clean Bandit
I judge song based on how much emotions song extracts from me or how fun is to listen to.This song is pure fun. Every part of this song is pure fun on so many levels. From great rhythm to amazing cello parts to fantastic Louisa’s vocals. Production on this song is very good and very memorable. I remember when I’ve heard this song first time. It was this summer when RGS(subscribe to his channel, he is great guy.Press here for his channel ) recommended me this song. From first few seconds I knew this song will be very high on my list and here you have it on #8.
#7 Powerless by Marcela Bovio
This year I found another great singer. Her name is Marcela Bovio. I was listening to Gentle Storm’s song called The Storm and she was singing backing vocals in that song. Holy shit, her vocals blew me away. Later that year I was listening to Ayreon and she was also singing there only this time she was singing lead vocals. Again, her vocals blew me away. Then, I’ve heard that she will be releasing solo album. Instantly I was excited for this. I expected to be something similar to those 2 projects(Gentle Storm and Ayreon), but no Marcela decided to try to sing pop and oh my God did she managed to nail that style too. I cannot decided what is better in this song. Her singing or instrumentation(which is done by beautiful string quartet). As Ethan from The Double Agent Youtube channel likes to say”This is pop perfection”.
Note:This song is not available on Youtube so click here for Spotify
#6 Lost by Death Angel
Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen Ronnie James Dio is back. Now you are probably thinking:” But Dio died in 2010.” and you are right he unfortunately died(RIP). This year we saw hologram Dio and now we get Mark Osegueda doing his best Dio impression and I absolutely love it. He totally managed to get that “evil” sounding voice that Dio was known for especially when he is using his middle register. I remember calling this song “Ignorance by Paramore done in thrash metal style”. After Fade To Black this might be most emotional thrash metal song I have ever heard in my life. While the song is very melodic its also very dark on some parts. Lyrics deal with very dark subject so they fit perfectly with music.They tell a story about kid who was bullied and how much that changed him as a person.
Believe me when I tell you now They mold the truth, and turn it upside down It took me years to see, and comes this far And still I feel so lost today
He is talking how whatever he does even though its good he will always be “lost”.Overall, its an amazing song, definitely check it out even if you aren’t fan of thrash metal.
#5Time Stands Still by Unleash The Archers
When I have seen that this song was re released as last single from their 2015 album Time Stands Still I was so happy because I instantly knew that this song will be very high on my list. This song doesn’t need any explanation but lets see why is it here.
Look, I am big fan of choirs(I was even part of one choir for fair amount of time) and singers that can sing very high notes.Hearing both of those elements in this song simply blew me away.
As I said this song is mostly carried by strength of Britney Slayes’s voice(She indeed slays). Instrumental is fairly simple which again gives more attention to her voice. Half of this song is Britney using her beautiful falsetto, especially on the outro where she reaches some of the hardest notes to reach.
#4 My Name Is Human by Highly Suspect
I remember calling these guys Weezer 2.0(check out song Serotonia), but honestly as much as I like Weezer this song sounds much better. From sludgy guitars to great vocal performance this song has everything. Songs like this show how simple drum patterns can make every song sound much better
#3 Eagle Has Landed by Avatar
Oh Sweden,Sweden. Why do you have to be so awesome? Why are you full of talented musicians? Easiest way to prove how many good musicians Sweden has is this list. Out of 29 songs that this list has(including honorable mentions) 6 of them are made by Swedish bands, but what makes Avatar better than all of those you may ask. To explain that I need to ask one question. How often do you hear album with concept written as fable about owl that is on mission to stop sun from rising? I am pretty sure answer is never. Another reason why this song (and album Feathers & Flesh) is awesome is their singer Johannes Eckerstrom. His unique vocal delivery makes this song to sound so much better. Songwriting is terrific.(It has to be since its concept album).Overall instrumentation perfectly fits the song, especially chorus(which is best part of this song). Check them out, you will not be disappointed .
#2 Universal Death Squad by Epica
Oh boy, now we get to talk about big one, song that was my favorite song of the year for a lot of time. This song is much more progressive than most of Epica songs and it talks about very weird and unusual subject,artificial intelligence.
Drums are amazing,guitar work match with rest of the instrumentation very good. Solo is very good too. Orchestration and choirs are good and they give epic sounding to the song. Overall this is amazing but its only on #2.
Lets see what was my favorite song of 2016
#1 Immortal Melancholy by Epica
This song was not even in top 10 few days ago, but while researching some stuff about Epica I found out what is this song about. Simone said that this song is about two of her friends who were married and also terminally-ill. In Netherlands euthanasia is legal so they decided to die together
” I.M. is a true and very very sad love story. Talks about two friends of my family, in Holland we are able to practice euthanasia. They were mature, rather young yet, who decided to die the same day for they were both terminally-ill or they would have suffered for a long time. So just decided “to leave” at the same time. Very touching”
This completely changed my point of view, it even made me cry several times.
Now, lets talk about other reasons why is this song #1.
Firstly, Coen is such underrated piano player. Synergy between him and Simone is very clear in this song. Simone’s vocal performance is simply fantastic. You can hear clearly sadness in her voice.
I would dare to say that this song is better than any song on Skeleton Tree(another very sad and great album).