Blast the trumpets! Bang the drums! The moment has finally arrived. No, not Christmas. We’re afraid that’s still a day away, but we have something much more important for y’all — our top five songs of the year.
Have you been following our countdown so far? If not click HERE and treat yourself to an early Christmas present (yes, the music has been that good).
Just to recap — 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. We’ve already shared 45 great tracks, but what songs have made it into our top five? And 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?
All shall be revealed in our final countdown!
Best songs of 2016: (5-1)
5. Cartoon feat. Jüri Pootsman “I Remember U”
What we said: In an alternate reality, both Cartoon and Jüri Pootsmann ditched their respective Eesti Laul entries in favour of “I Remember U”. They won the competition and now they’re amongst the favourites to win Eurovision… if only.
This track represents a massive missed opportunity for the Baltic nation. Combining retro and modern elements with aplomb, it’s effortlessly cool. It’s a much better match for Jüri’s fun personality than the dreary “Play”, and allows him to put his wonderfully seductive vocals to good use.
We only catch a brief glimpse of the man himself in the official music video. Instead, the hapless guys of Cartoon take centre stage, rocking 1970s fashion as they deal with the persistent romantic advances of the girl next door. (Padraig)
4. Eric Saade feat. Gustav Noren “Wide Awake”
What we said: Just like his previous single “Colors”, “Wide Awake” is an electropop track which draws influences from everywhere — dance hall beats meet Arabic rhythms. With an inescapably catchy chorus and tropical vibes, the song is an instant earworm which becomes lodged in your brain after just one listen.
The lyrics describe how Eric is addicted to loving someone, but his love isn’t reciprocated — “I want your love but your love’s not in the air”. The “Popular” hitmaker acknowledges the problem, yet he can’t let go — “I wanna believe I can leave but it makes me scared”. (Sami)
Eric Saade released “Wide Awake” in his native Sweden back in May. But, despite his status as a three-time Melodifestivalen veteran and third place finisher at Eurovision 2011, the track failed to make much impact. It missed out on the Swedish charts completely.
However, in a somewhat surprising twist, the single has gone on to become a major breakout hit in Russia and the surrounding region.
So where is Russia’s sudden insatiable appetite for Eric Saade coming from? For the most part, he has the DJ pairing of Filatov & Karas to thank. Because it’s their “Wide Awake” Red Mix, rather than the original, that’s getting all the attention.
Riding high on the pan-European success of “Don’t Be So Shy”, the Russian duo have worked their magic once more. We’d already commended Saade for the song’s edgy sound, and that’s not lost in this version. In fact, the added house beats and vocal trickery arguably make it even better. (Padraig)
3. Måns Zelmerlöw “Glorious”
What we said: Nodding to the anthemic quality of “Heroes” while fully embracing his evolving sound, Måns serves us a romantic number that somehow mixes rock, pop and EDM. It’s a unique sound and very Zelmerlöw.
We don’t know who the lucky lady is who he’s singing about, but we definitely want to be her as they are getting down and taking their love to another level.
“Lay it bare, lay with me,” he says. “We will be glorious, in this moment nothing matters.” Swoon. (William)
2. Dami Im “Fighting For Love”
And while the style may be different the delivery is once again fuelled by her signature power. Dami, you ain’t gotta fight for our love — you already got it!
Heavy on synth and drums, the song has hit written all over it, building steadily to a memorable chorus. I dare you not to bob your head.
In the number Dami lets her lucky love know that she’s in it for the long-haul: “When the weight of the world is on your heart, no, I won’t let it tear us both apart, My love, I’m fighting for love”. (William)
1. Loïc Nottet “Million Eyes”
What we said: Unsurprisingly, for Loïc, it’s a dark, moody electro-pop track. The song also perhaps hints about why it’s taken so long for Loïc to get back in to the game. “Million Eyes”, at its heart, is raw and emotionally charged. “Too, different, I’m scared of judgement”: there’s fragility running throughout the song. The glare of the public and the “million eyes” watching, forcing him to put on a fake smile as a mask.
It’s a theme that some people will obviously both identify and sympathise with. Loïc is laying it all out in public on this track and that strength must be commended.
There is, however, an overriding sense that maybe the song is too emotional. Loïc’s vocal here is not going to be appreciated by everyone. It bounces from the raw vocal cracks to a slightly overwrought key change in the final verse. But it never feels out of control — which we wouldn’t expect from Loïc anyway. (Chris)
Is “Million Eyes” a deserving number one? We think so, but what about you? Do any of the others rank among your best songs of 2016? Let us know below.