Top 100 songs of 2016 (tracks 30-21)

Saint Pablo by Kanye West (listen on Spotify)
Hip hop. The closer touches on many themes such as the need to say no. "400 years later we are buying our own chains". Samples Yvonne Fair's 1975 Let your Hair Down.

White Privilege II by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Pop rap. A thought-provoking think-piece that doesn’t dumb it down. About what it might be like to be white in the face of black lives matter. The production is as epic as the lyrics

Untitled 03 by Kendrick Lamar
Jazz Rap. How is this a B-side?!

Movin Backwards by A Tribe Called Quest (listen on Spotify)
Conscious Hip Hop. Possibly the most overlooked (and best) song on the album. Great beat. Found on the second disc.

Final Credits by Midland
House/ Dance. A few publications named this the 'song of the summer' at festivals

Closing Shot by Lindstrøm
Nu-Disco instrumental. Keeps building, love the layers of synths. Beautiful and meticulously crafted.

Irene by Courtney Marie Andrews
Singer-Songwriter. There’s a sincereness about her, the album was made with friends, with no studio intervention.

Growing Up by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Pop rap. About parenthood

Blue Remembered Hills by Ultrasound (buy)
Prog Rock. An epic that reveals new aspects on each listen. Thanks to Rol for the recommendation.

30.) Burn the Witch by Radiohead
Art Rock. There's a political message to be decoded in the 'Wickerman' imagery

Find anything you liked? Already know some of these? Which are your favorites from these albums? As always, comments are welcome. Tracks 20-11 coming soon!

Best of Subway Organization 1986-1989 (compilation)

Suitable for those nostalgic for these 80s UK bands, or simply listeners (like me) who are curious about lesser known music from the era. The compilation consists of music from the Subway Organization, an independent music label founded in 1985 in Bristol. Cherry Red went on to distribute the 2005 Best Of.
I had already enjoyed the two Choo Choo Train tracks (High, and Flowerfield) which was how I stumbled upon the compilation on Spotify. There’s too much average material for a best of, although I did uncover some fine tunes, see below:

Shimmer by The Flatmates (1988). Haunting for the guitars and vocal, and to me the jewel of the collection. The founder of the Subway label, Martin Whitehead, is the guitarist. Debbie Haynes on vocals. Surprisingly the band would only release an EP and singles.

Glastonbury by Rodney Allen (1986). A change of pace, a slower, piano driven number. Quite endearing, despite its sentimentality. Besides his solo work, Allen had a brief spell in The Chesterfields (see below), and joined Bristol based The Blue Aeroplanes.

Completely and Utterly by The Chesterfields (1987). A Smiths-esque sound. They released four albums between 1987-1995, which I’m curious to look into.

The Subway Organisation Label previously put out the compilations Whole Wide World - The Subway Organisation Label 1986-1990 (1993) and Whole Wide World Vol 2 - The Subway Organisation Label 1986-1990 (1994).

High by Choo Choo Train (1988)

In response to The Swede's recent post, I give you a criminally overlooked single from when Velvet Crush were known as Choo Choo Train. Irresistibly upbeat.

Top 100 songs of 2016 (tracks 40-31)

Evil by Savages
Post-punk revival. I wish the rest of the album had the same punch. Amazing guitar riff. The vocal is a throwback to Siouxsie & The Banshees.

Blackout by Garbage
Alternative Rock. Musically reminded me of The Cure and feels like an anthem for introverts.

I Need You by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Singer/Songwriter. Heartbreaking, regardless if you know what transpired in Cave's life or not.

Blackstar by David Bowie
Experimental Rock. Bowie is supported by a group of jazz musicians, who may go on to have separate careers of their own. A long time Major Tom has been looking for peace or rest and he found it as the skeleton in Blackstar video.

Dystopia by Megadeth
Metal. The album was considered a return to form by critics. Excellent guitar work. The title track earned the band its first Grammy win (for Best Metal Performance)

St. Ides by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Pop Rap. About family and the non-commercial life

Try Everything by Shakira
Pop. A catchy, fun track from Zootopia soundtrack

Doing It to Death by The Kills
Indie Rock. Love the guitar. Who said you shouldn't dance at a funeral?

Downtown by Still Corners
Synthpop. Using "Downtown" as the chorus is hardly new, Petula Clark did so in 1965. Yet still very atmospheric and Still Corners make it their own.

Amerika by Young Giants
Indie Rock. Perhaps the most underrated song of the year.

Find anything you liked? Already know some of these? Which are your favorites from these albums? As always, comments are welcome. Tracks 30-21 coming soon!

Federer as a future comedian?

Bongo Cam clip from the Hopman Cup in January brings a smile to my face each time I watch. Federer is not only the most successful tennis player but apparently also a comedian. I feel sorry for Zverev who is not half as animated.

Top 100 songs of 2016 (tracks 50-41)

Alone by Pretenders 
Rock. A patchy album some fans consider not to be proper Pretenders because of who is involved. Chrissie Hynde has a sense of humor. The title track is funny and relatable for introverts.

Lazarus by David Bowie
Art Rock. Using your impending death as inspiration to look back on your life. A dark, powerful swan song.

Kiss It Better by Rihanna
Pop. That opening guitar riff is stunning. 

Murder One by Metallica
Heavy Metal. A homage to Lemmy of Motörhead. The best animated music video in a long time. Scattered Ashes by Minor Victories is a close second for the giant cat among the skyscrapers.

Ultralight Beam by Kanye West
Hip Hop/Gospel. About Kanye’s faith in God, and there’s a surprising sample from Natalie is Great’s Instagram. He is backed by a church/gospel choir.

Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales by Car Seat Headrest
Indie Rock. Catchy and well-written ("that voice in your head, giving you shit again"). Generally the lyrics are good(take note of The Ballad of the Costa Concordia). There are some good ideas on the record, but I didn't like the noisy guitars and harsh sound of most of the songs. Cosmic Hero is my 2nd favorite.

The One by Carly Rae Jepsen
Synthpop. Easily digestible retro 80s pop.

Fever by Carly Rae Jepsen

Bear by The Wedding Present
Indie Rock. An overlooked gem by a band considered past their prime. We all need someone who catches us when we fall.

Alt-Country.  Another animated video."Go and live a little".

Find anything you liked? Already know some of these? Which are your favorites from these albums? As always, comments are welcome. Tracks 40-31 coming soon!


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