Top 25 Songs of 2016

Snow carpets the ground outside my window, orange juice sloshes around my anxiety-ridden belly, and the end of this horrible year is upon us. So, it’s time once again for me to embarrass myself by rattling off the list of the 25 songs I listened to the most during the year.

It might be surprising, given the losses of David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael that there’s not much of a nostalgia trip on this year’s list. But I think the thing to keep in mind there is that I, like many people I’m sure, turned to music as an escape this year. There was so much terribleness in 2016 that my eardrums didn’t seek out reminders of all those we’d lost.

At any rate, here are songs your favorite pop bubblegum whore listened to the most in this annus horribilis:

  1. “I Want It All” by Bonnie McKee
  2. “Don’t You Give Up on Me” by Lissie
  3. “Make Me Like You” by Gwen Stefani
  4. “Talking Body” by Tove Lo
  5. “Cool for the Summer” by Demi Lovato
  6. “Hey Hi Hello (feat. Fran Hall)” by Hollywood Wildlife
  7. “Cry” by Carly Rae Jepsen
  8. “No (90s Mashup)” by Kina Grannis & Nataly Dawn
  9. “Boyfriend” by Tegan and Sara
  10. “Too Young” by Dagny
  11. “On My Mind” by Ellie Goulding
  12. “Easy Money” by Karmin
  13. “Part of Me (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix)” by Katy Perry
  14. “New Romantics” by Nataly Dawn & KHS
  15. “Good for You (feat. A$AP Rocky)” by Selena Gomez
  16. “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande
  17. “Blow (Deconstructed Mix)” by Ke$ha
  18. “All the Rage” by Allie X
  19. “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” by LCD Soundsystem
  20. “Wait For It” by Leslie Odom, Jr.
  21. “Running On Empty (Live)” by Jackson Browne
  22. “Monolith” by p.g.lost
  23. “Closer (feat. Halsey)” by The Chainsmokers
  24. “El Barrio” by Eden xo
  25. “Somebody Else” by Vérité

I kept in place my occasional rule that no more than one song per artist may appear on the list (thus preventing a Hamilton-dominated back half) and I reinstated a rule I’ve used here and there that no song that appeared on a prior year’s list may appear again (thus preventing last year’s 25th song, “Sleepwalker” by Bonnie McKee, from being this year’s #1).

The resulting list is a pretty accurate portrayal of what I listened to the most, though if I allowed myself more freedom to rearrange song order then I think I would have a list that flowed better. There are a couple of songs further down the order that feel more emblematic of what I was feeling and what I enjoyed listening to most this year. “Wait For It” by Leslie Odom, Jr., for instance, was my anthem. I remain convinced that iTunes isn’t keeping careful enough track of what listen to, especially when I’m mobile, given how low on the list that song appears. And then there’s “Too Young” by Dagny, which is one of my favorite discoveries in years — which came to me thanks to Apple Music’s weekly “New Music Mix,” one of the reasons I stick by the much lamented iTunes (still and always my favorite Apple product, given that it was my first). I’m too old to like “Too Young” as much as I do, but I feel too young in my heart, and I swear that song should be much further up the list as a result.

To look back on the Top 25 lists from previous years, give these links a clickety-click: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.