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.
Best songs of 2016: (35-31)
35. Amir “A ta manière”
Sung entirely in French, it’s a melancholic affair. Language aside, this could easily be one of Måns Zelmerlöw’s “serious” songs. (Padraig)
34. Aminata “Red Moon”
What we said: Upbeat and danceable, “Red Moon” strays somewhat from her previous singles “Fighter” and “Love Injected” and wouldn’t feel out of place at the club or the bar. The song makes you move to its rhythm even if you don’t want to.
The tempo may have quickened, but the “Love Injected” vibe still comes through in the EDM sound, soulful feel and flash of the avant-garde.
The lyrics invite you to dance under the red moon — another term for a “full moon”, which is associated with all sorts or changes and transitions. Aminata asks you to take her hand and take her out of this world. And she lets you know you’ll be a criminal if you let her go. (George)
33. Elaiza “Hurricane”
What we said: At Eurovision 2014, Germany’s Elaiza asked “Is It Right” and Europe responded with a massive shrug of indifference, placing them 18th in the grand final. Their painfully twee follow up “Green” failed to light our fire and we were all but ready for them to slip into obscurity.
And then “Hurricane” dropped, blowing all our previous perceptions away. The track is the first cut from the trio’s sophomore album Restless and sees the ladies shed their cutesy image. The sound is still very much indie folk-pop, but now the group are the ones calling the shots.
They’ve reinvented themselves. Before they were pleasant and inoffensive, now they’re fierce and independent. You’ll be tapping your toes and humming to this tune for some time to come. (Padraig)
32. Soraya “Long Time”
What we said: Out with the old, in with the new. That’s certainly the case with Spain’s 2009 representative Soraya. She’s traded her trademark blonde bob in favour of black cornrows, but her hair isn’t the only thing that’s changed.
“Long Time” marks a huge shift in direction for the “La Noche Es Para Mi” singer. Classy, sophisticated and effortlessly cool. The chilled out track demands sunshine, making the perfect soundtrack to an afternoon of sunbathing and sipping drinks.
The lyrics are repetitive, but there’s enough variety to keep us hooked — the auto-tuned bridge is inspired. Soraya, we love you long time! (Padraig)
31. Anna Rossinelli “Speechless”
What we said: The single ties together both the smoky melancholy and heady optimism of the album’s previous cuts. Opening to a series of solitary guitar strums, Anna sings of past hurts.
But she doesn’t seem too hung up as she launches into a soaring chorus. Lyrics such as “You leave me speechless, speechless, broken into pieces” belie the song’s underlying mood, which, while not quite jubilant, is far from downbeat.
The music video sees Anna get up to some bedtime shenanigans with the renowned choreographer Viet Dang. And by shenanigans we mean amazingly abstract dancing… be good! (Padraig)
How’s the list shaping up? Are these among your best songs of 2016? Let us know below.