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: (30-26)
30. Loreen “Under ytan”
What we said: “Under Ytan” or “Below Surface” is a cover of Uno Svenningsson’s 1994 hit of the same name. And the “Euphoria” singer certainly leaves her mark. Her version is much darker and moodier than the original, with fantastically lush orchestration. Her vocals possess a haunting beauty, which lasts long after the song’s climactic final verses.
But it’s hard to get too excited about a singer of Loreen’s calibre doing cover versions, regardless of the quality. She needs to do more if she wants to cease being the butt of Edward Af Sillen jokes. (Padraig)
*While Loreen’s “Under Ytan” dates back to 2015, it was released too late for inclusion in last year’s top tracks countdown. Hence its appearance on the 2016 list.
29. Rykka “Bad Boy”
What we said: Boasting sleek production, “Bad Boy” is a mature and comfortable follow-up single to “Map Inside”. The electronic-pop combo stuns and Rykka’s vocals and delivery are on point. The hook isn’t as catchy as her Eurovision entry, but perhaps it isn’t meant to be. As ever Rykka creates mood and atmosphere — an art as worthy as much praise as drilling an ear worm into our heads.
The song recounts her experience falling for Mr Wrong before setting herself free. As she says: “I made a mistake, I crashed like a wave…I make my escape, I’m part of the brave…” Get it, gurl. (Bernardo)
28. Robin feat. Softengine “Salamatie”
What we said: “Salamatie” is all about freedom and how it can separate two people. It might hurt to leave your loved ones behind, but sometimes you have to do it in order to achieve your dreams. Robin knows this. He must have left many girls behind on his way to becoming the popstar he is now.
Originally Softengine’s lead singer Topi Latukka sang the second verse, but according to the band it started to sound too much like a lovestory between the two guys (how awful!). Luckily, they didn’t cut all of Topi’s vocals. Listen closely and you can hear him singing in Finnish for the first time. (Sami)
27. Barei “Who Plays The Drums?”
Called “Who Plays The Drums?”, the track is finally available for consumption, featuring on a re-packaged edition of her Throw The Dice LP. Like “Say Yay!”, this is another empowerment anthem. But this time, our Spanish senorita is moving on from a breakup and she’s doing it in style.
It’s an effervescent, joyous song which swells with Barei’s cheekiness and fun – “what the fuuuck? It’s all over, turn it up and shut up”. We’re turning it up with pleasure! (Padraig)
26. Darko feat. Filipa Azevedo “September Issue”
What we said: “September Issue” is the first single from Darko’s latest album — Overexpression — which the group has already released on online platforms.
They were wise to kick off the album’s marketing campaign by calling on Filipa, who channels the pop-rock-alternative vibe with aplomb.
In the process she smashes the notion that that she’s just the girl-next-door who sings ballads. Now she’s the girl-next-door who oozes pain, plots revenge and wants “to see your heart breaking”.
No, she doesn’t just sing ballads. She devours them. (Bernardo)
How’s the list shaping up? Are these among your best songs of 2016? Let us know below.