20. Naps – Social Skills: Back when we were bachelors, there were weekends we wouldn’t have any meaningful contact with the outside world. Coming on like a modern day Belle and Sebastian, Naps broke up soon after this single was released. Our only quibble is that the band really should have realized that after repeating “three full days without speaking” ad nausea, the last one should have been “three full days without speaking UP”
19. Desiigner – Panda: More than any other track here, this will always remind us of the summer of 2016. Listening to it in the car on the way to soccer games, it never failed to get heads nodding. “I got broads in Atlanta” is surely an anthem that every Winnipegger knows far too well.
18. Clams Casino – All Nite: This menacing track from Clams Casino featuring Vince Staples was certainly not our most played in 2016 but it never failed to grab our attention every time it came on. The violent flow of Staples gets extra energy from the muffled cymbal in the second verse and onwards.
17. Lee Bannon – 3m12 disc 2 – side D: Given away for free on Soundcloud – this demo from Lee Bannon would not sound out of place on Moby’s great 90s album, Everything Is Wrong. The synths, the digital squiggles and echo on a few of the percussion notes evoke a feeling late night sadness.
16. Weyes Blood – Do You Need My Love?: Sounding like it came straight out of 1975, this Carpenters like track is hard not to like. It grabbed our attention right from the get go. At over six minutes this one never drags and still sounds as mysterious now as it did back in the summer. “Do you need my love? babababa” indeed.
15. Mick Jenkins – Drowning: This would not sound out of place in a 70s Blaxploitation flick, however, the subject matter is still just as relevant today as it was way back then. Comparing police brutality to drowning, this is powerful stuff. “I can’t breathe” is the haunting phrase used by Eric Garner that sticks to the listener long after the music is over.
14. lil Peep and lil tracy – White Wine: Not every song on this list is high art and this is one of them. lil Peep and lil tracy take the melancholy of Drake and mix it with the drugginess haze of Salem. Lyrics like “I’m going to get a Maserati just to take my life inside” and “when I get a castle I’ll let no one inside” make this a sad, sad bleak anthem.
13. The Lumineers – Ophelia: There’s nothing we enjoy (hate?) more than handsome young men wearing beards and looking like they are sixty…. Maybe girls in high waited shorts but we digress. We initially heard this on the great Song Exploder podcast. “Ophelia” instantly had us humming along and with a charming video, it never gets old.
12. Michael Kiwanuka – Cold Little Heart: The lead off track from Kiwanuka’s second album that clocks in at over 10 minutes long. This modern soul masterpiece takes half that amount of time before we even get to hear from the man himself. The beauty and grit go hand in hand throughout. This is truly timeless stuff.
11. Margo Price – Hands Of Time: A very late entry into the mix. We started reading about Ms Price a few months ago and then finally heard this track in December. The autobiographical track tells it like it is, warts and all. While we’re not experts and our knowledge of the genre is limited, this is the best country song we’ve heard in a while.