[We are seven days away from 100 Songs for 2016! Between now and then, we're taking a look at some great songs that just missed the cut.]
As is recent custom here at Burn Your Hits, we have imposed a limit of two songs per artist for 100 Songs for 2016. All of today's songs would have been strong contenders for the list had they not been edged out by even better tunes by these artists.
As in years past, this list serves as a pretty good proxy for my albums of the year (these ten, plus Lemonade, which still isn't on Spotify).
That's mostly true again this year, but it's also completely false, because my favorite album of 2016 was P.S. Eliot's Introverted Romance In Our Trouble Minds ... which came out in 2009. My favorite song of 2016 was P.S. Eliot's "Sore Subject." My two favorite concerts of 2016 were P.S. Eliot at the Rickshaw Stop and Kanye at Oracle (and we'll have a lot more to say about that second one later). Music finds you from everywhere if you let it.
(1) Martha - "Goldman's Detective Agency" (from Blisters in the Pit of My Heart)
The year's best song about an anarchist.
(2) Chance the Rapper - "All Night" (from Coloring Book)
One of many, many songs to name-drop Uber this year, which is still weird to me because very few rappers ever had much to say about Quinn Emanuel.
(3) The 1975 - "Paris" (from I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it)
I would say that this is the year's best song about heroin, but I'm super-oblivious to innuendo most of the time so it could turn out that there were dozens of great songs about heroin this year and I won't find out until way later.
(4) Petite Meller - "America" (from Lil Empire)
Hey, remember when people from other countries wrote songs about how much they loved America? 2016 has been a long year, hasn't it?
(5) Kanye West - "Real Friends" (from The Life of Pablo)
You take the coda from "Transatlanticism," mix it with the drums from "Grindin,'" and you get the year's best song about being blackmailed by a family member.
(6) Anderson .Paak - "Am I Wrong" (from Malibu)
Most of Malibu is heavily jazz influenced, but "Am I Wrong" is pioneering the totally made up genre of disco-rap, with a heavy debt to Donna Summer.
(7) Cymbals Eat Guitars - "4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)" (from Pretty Years)
On my first few listens I heard the chorus as "How many universes am I alive in, Dennis?" like the singer was trying to get deep with a buddy, and I always imagined it going down like the St. Patrick's Day scene in 30 Rock.
(8) Jeff Rosenstock - "Wave Goodnight to Me" (from WORRY.)
The year's best song about gentrification.
(9) Car Seat Headrest - "Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales") (from Teens of Denial)
I feel like I'm less and less willing to give myself over to totally inscrutable lyrics, but I think CSH frontman Will Toledo might be some kind of genius, so I'm willing to go along with this one despite having no idea what it's about. A quick search turns up the fact that the "killer whales" section is a reference to the film Blackfish, which only leaves me more confused.
(10) Brian Fallon - "Smoke" (from Painkillers)
Like many great solo albums, Painkillers stripped the Gaslight Anthem formula down to the essentials, which turn out to be Fallon's voice and handclaps.