2016 is essentially over, which means we have a fresh twelve months of exciting releases looming ahead of us, which may or may not include a new Sugababes album. Thrilling times!

But before we charge ahead, let’s take a moment (or approximately 12 minutes, depending on your reading speed) to appreciate the fantastic music that was bestowed on us this year. Alternately, you can skip all the talk and just listen to them on this handy Spotify playlist.

All of these songs are pop perfection. It was not easy to rank them, but this is how it all worked out.

So, without further ado, LET’S DIVE IN.



41. Alicia Keys – ‘In Common’

It’s a shame that ‘In Common’ represented a temporary detour rather than an actual change of direction for Alicia Keys – because the single cracked open the door to a world of possibilities for a revamped sound that still highlights everything Alicia does best.

40. Bridgit Mendler – ‘Do You Miss Me At All’

Place the Bridgit of four years ago alongside the Bridgit of today and there’s a good chance you’d never pin them down as the same artist, but her wonderfully weird rebirth was one of the best things to happen to her (and more importantly, us).

39. Handsome Ghost – ‘Graduate’

They’ve got a fab band name but ‘Graduate’ – with that killer, bittersweet chorus – confirmed that Handsome Ghost can put together a fantastic tune as well.

38. Jake Miller – ‘Overnight’

The reason we couldn’t crown Bridgit’s transformation as the GCOTY (that’s Greatest Change of the Year) is because Jake Miller finally decided to leave the rap game behind him and become a proper pop act.

37. Sälen – ‘Diseasey’

No one did casual quirk as well as Sälen. The band slid into the spotlight with ‘Diseasey’, and it was an excellent first taste of their ability to use (and bend) the English language to craft hooks you’d never have imagined.

36. ZAYN – ‘Like I Would’


Should ‘Like I Would’ have been the single that launched Zayn’s career? YES – if only so that its opening line could have had the chance to impact pop culture (and our list of most-used greetings) in the same manner ‘Hello’ and ‘Gimme More’ did.

35. Cosima – ‘Girls Who Get Ready’

Most self-love anthems crank up the tempo and go full throttle, but Cosima shone bright with a slow, indulgent jam about taking a moment to appreciate yourself and the place you’re at.

34. Hannah Jane Lewis – ‘Hide and Go Seek’

Hannah Jane Lewis burst into our lives with the very good ‘Why Start a War’, but ‘Hide and Go Seek’ is absolutely immense. J.Lew captured the earnestness and frustration of a person in a difficult relationship and wrapped it up in a glittering ribbon of synths and #gorgeous vocals.

33. AURORA – ‘Conqueror’

‘Conqueror’ sounds far more jubilant than the picture its lyrics paints, but that’s part of the charm the song holds. And as the track evolves into a glorious epiphany that the key to lasting happiness comes from realising your own strength, the writing lines up with the production for the first time, culminating in an audio experience that’s nothing short of spiritual.

32. Lao Ra – ‘Bang Boom’

One of the things we like most about Lao Ra is how completely unapologetic she is. The thing we like most about her is this song.

31. Death Team – ‘Messed Up’

Death Team told me not too long ago that their latest goals include trying harder and writing better songs. They were already doing quite well on the latter, but ‘Messed Up’ perfectly captures the duo’s hyper-fun attitude while adding more dimensions to it. Popping bottles – to push down the pain. )):

30. Hudson Scott – ‘Panning for Gold’

Hudson Scott’s voice is so immediately arresting that you almost forget to pay attention to everything else his music has to offer. Luckily, there’s always the second, third, and fifty-seventh listen to get into that.

29. Grimes – ‘Kill V. Maim’

Grimes showed off the vast majority of her brilliance in 2015, but let’s not forget that she released a third and final track near the end of January this year. ‘Kill V. Maim’ has lost a bit of its initial impact, but it’d need to haemorrhage far more than that to not make it on here.

28. Capital Cities – ‘Vowels’

‘Vowels’ spends its entire first verse setting up for the ridiculously amazing gag that is its chorus.


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