Our top tracks of 2016: (40-36)

Incredibly, 2016 is almost up. And that means one thing — the return of our annual Top Tracks countdown!

As usual, the team from wiwibloggs voted for their favourite 2016 releases and recordings by and featuring Eurovision stars. Songs which competed at Eurovision or national finals were excluded (they’ve been analysed to death in our jury reviews), as were artists who’ve yet to compete on the Eurovision stage (sorry [insert name of your favourite national final act]).

After considering well over 100 songs, we finally settled on our top 50. And now we’re ready to share it with y’all. We’ll publish five tracks daily for the next ten days. Then on Christmas Eve we’ll announce our number one, giving you just enough time to send any last requests to Santa.

What song will join Loreen’s “We Got The Power”Emmelie De Forest’s “Drunk Tonight” and Lena’s “Traffic Lights” in our Hall of Fame? Today, we enter the top 40 in our countdown.

Best songs of 2016: (40-36)

40. Softengine “Free Rider”

What we said“Free Rider” continues the sonic experimentation which they previously finessed on the likes of “Big Fat Bass Drums”. They urge us to “party like it’s 1999”, but this is so 2016.

The opening beats set a mood of epic proportions. Topi Latukka’s rockstar vocals add to the atmosphere, making this a stadium worthy anthem.

Yet the story at the heart of the song is a simple one. A former wild child has sobered up and is taking his first tentative steps on a path of redemption — “I found my way, first day sober”.

But all work and no play makes Softengine a dull band. The boys face their demons while simultaneously living life to the fullest. It makes for a clever juxtaposition. (Padraig)

39. Serebro “Slomana”

What we saidAs the title suggests, “Slomana” (Broke) is heartbreak central. The ladies’ mournful vocals ride an unhurried EDM beat that never speeds up.

They’re broken, singing of silent nights and lonely dawns. They want to repeat everything but worry it’s too late.

And while there are three people in the group, Olga is undoubtedly the star. She carries the song, with Polina Favorskaya and Katya Kischuk merely acting as harmonious support. It’s not quite a Nicole Scherzinger and The Pussycat Dolls scenario, but one suspects brand Serebro would collapse should Olga ever leave. (Padraig)

38. Robin Stjernberg “Rain”

What we said: The catchy track is 100% on trend, combining elements of funk, soul and pop to great effect and showcasing Robin’s ever-stronger vocals. His voice soars over the polished production and inviting instrumental, creating what may be his finest track yet.

We listened — and we listened again and again and again!

It’s a song about love and loss and the fact love — like the seasons — comes and goes, though not always when we want it to. (Jordi)

37. Sandhja “Love Me High”

What we said: Bubbling over with uplifting melodies, rising piano lines and a general air of cheeriness, “Love Me High” sets Sandhja well on the path to becoming Finland’s answer to Jess Glynne.

A sombre opening gives way to a fizzy chorus, packed with drum beats and summer vibes. Whilst similar to “Sing It Away”, this single is a more cohesive offering. The shift between tones is smoother and the overall package sounds much more modern. (Padraig)

36. Michal Szpak “Rosanna”

What we said: Michal revives the beloved sounds of Aerosmith and Bon Jovi — admittedly slightly dated reference points.

But just like at Eurovision, he gives the sound new life, selling it to a new generation through his stellar vocals and natural charisma. Steven Tyler, eat your heart out!

The video has a melancholic “end of the album” feel, featuring some original clips spliced in to shots of Michal performing live. It’s simple and will induce lighter-waving, and is a vast improvement on the official video for “Color of Your Life”. (Chris)

How’s the list shaping up? Are these among your best songs of 2016? Let us know below.

<< OUR TOP TRACKS (45-41)

OUR TOP TRACKS (35-31)>>

RELATED LINKS

LISTEN TO OUR TOP TRACKS OF 2016 PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY.

FOLLOW OUR TOP 50 COUNTDOWN SO FAR.