Top 10 Songs of 2016

I keep trying to write my top albums of 2016 list and I’ve been failing pretty miserably. I decided to do something much easier until I can figure out how to order the albums, which was to make a top 10 songs of 2016 list. Well, it was much easier once I decided that each artist can only have one song on the list, because otherwise this list would have been impossible to make. I’ve listed some runner-ups by the same artist for a bunch of these, because some of these were still incredibly hard choices to make.

10: Strong Hearts Bleed Out First – Chatterbox and the Latter Day Satanists

Chatterbox and the Latter Day Satanists have been on my radar since their 2013 release Talk Is Cheap, Guns Are Expensive, but this was their first song that strongly resonated with me. Maybe it’s just because I’m fucking angsty and this song is the epitome of angsty punk, but with killer fiddle and banjo parts.

Get the split here.

9: TV Dreams – Katie Ellen

Chumped was one of my favorite bands that I got to see in 2015, and I was so happy when I heard that Anika, their lead vocalist, was forming a new band, Katie Ellen. Well, Katie Ellen definitely didn’t disappoint. Despite only having a 3 song EP out, it’s clear that they’re going to be one of the best bands for the next few years. I first heard TV Dreams at a show in Richmond the week after a shitty break-up, and Anika’s killer voice singing out “I hope you’re happy/I think you want the same for me/You can call me /If you can’t sleep and you feel lonely/I guess I called to say that you can call me,” was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.

Runners-up: Wild ❤, Lucy Stone

Get the EP here.

8: I Did Something Weird Last Night – Jeff Rosenstock

I couldn’t wait for Jeff Rosenstock’s third solo album, WORRY. to come out. Jeff Rosenstock is probably my favorite musician of all time, and songs like this one only reinforce that opinion. The pop punk sound, Jeff’s unique cadence on the chorus, and lyrics about falling in love with someone and having extreme anxiety wondering if they’re actually into you or not combine to make one of the best tracks of his career (which is saying a lot, like a fuckton).

Runners-up: Staring Out The Window At Your Old Apartment, Festival Song, Blast Damage Days, Wave Goodnight To Me

Get the album here.

7: Won’t Come Down – Death Has 1000 Ears

Douglas Fur is one of those artists that no one knows about and I have no idea why. The former banjo player of Ramshackle Glory, Douglas just started a new two-piece project called Death Has 1000 Ears, releasing a self-titled album at PIX Fest this summer. Backed by just a piano and a tuba, Douglas’s vocals are at the forefront of this track. While many people would argue that his voice sounds strange, I find that there’s something beautiful and truly authentic about his voice.

Runner-up: Hands of Kings

Get the album here.

6: Remember Me When You Sing – Stick and Poke

I talked a lot about this song already in my review of Stick and Poke’s newest album. Rather than repeat myself, I’m just going to link that here.

Runners-up: Every other track on Never Going Back.

Get the album here.

5: Into the Wind – Ramshackle Glory

Alright, so this album has only been out for a couple of hours now, but as soon as I heard this song I knew nothing else on the album stood a chance. Some of you might think this is a strange choice, because it doesn’t even really sound like a Ramshackle Glory song. There’s minimal vocals by Pat and it’s just got a very different style. Immediately, I’m reminded of old Nick Berger songs off of Voler, which is still one of my favorite albums ever. Their voice is completely stunning, and Alyssa’s performances on the bass clarinet really shines through as one of the best parts of this song.

Runners-up: Face the Void, Broken Heart, Homeward Bound

Get the album here.

4: Neurotic Decay – We The Heathens

When I first popped on The Blood Behind The Dam, I listened to the first track and thought to myself, “Alright, this is pretty damn good, can’t wait to hear the rest.” Then this started playing. As soon as the fiddle started playing, I was dancing. When the mandolin cut in on top of the fiddle, I knew that this album would be one of my favorites of the year. When they started singing, I knew that this album would be one of my favorites of all time. The song describes the struggles of living with mental illness and the absolute candor of lines like “The worst of thoughts are killing me/Either way I’ll say I’m fine,” is completely refreshing.

Runners-up: Fucked Drunk Life, Where No One Goes, Last One to Fall, Lung of Lies

Get the album here.

3: Call of the Void – Rail Yard Ghosts

The Rail Yard Ghosts are one of those bands that has a completely unique sound on each of their albums. Their newest release, Hiræth, slows things down a lot more and has a lot more of a traditional folk and Celtic sound to it. Call of the Void, the penultimate track on the album, is probably the best example of this. This 14 minute long song doesn’t waste a single second of that time. From the spoken word poetry at the beginning to the sound of a fire crackling at the end, every moment of this song seems necessary. Highlights include the transition to harsh vocals and a storm of energy around the seven minute mark.

Runners-up: Fear Not, Warriors of Light

Get the album here.

2: Old Glass Table – My Pizza My World

I tried writing a review of this whole album a few weeks ago, and I had to scrap it all because it ended up being three full pages about this song and how every single lyric in it hits home for me. I love how Whitney and Grayson don’t try to sing in harmony at all, but somehow manage to sound perfect together. I love how honest the song is about their personal struggles with death, depression, anxiety, and addiction. I’m gonna leave it at that before I end up pasting every lyric in the song because they’re all so good.

Runners-up: Rewind, Splits, Canarys

Get the album here.

1: Anarchy of Dirt (Kropotkin’s Grave) – Pat the Bunny

Unfortunately, the version I’ve embedded here isn’t the one I’m talking about. It’s still a great song, but the version from the vinyl only split Pat did with Ceschi adds an accordion and a banjo, and what isn’t infinitely improved with the addition of an accordion and a banjo? The lyrics, as always with Pat, are completely phenomenal. I’ve often thought about how, even if I won’t ever see a world I can stand to be in when I’m alive and even if I can’t make myself live in a way that could bring about that world, in death there is no more hierarchy, there is only a state of pure becoming. Sadly, what I think is the best song Pat the Bunny has ever written (yes, I’m including all of the Johnny Hobo/Wingnut Dishwasher’s Union/Ramshackle Glory stuff in there too) came out on his last album. I can’t help but want for more after hearing it, but I also feel happy knowing that Pat went out on top, putting out the best song of his career.

Runners-up: Teenage Anarchist, I Don’t Know

Normally, I’d link you a place to download or buy the album, but I just learned both pressings sold out and they aren’t going to repress it, so I guess you’re out of luck cause only one copy has sold on discogs (for over $100) and I doubt many people will part with their copy. I’m not going to link it here, because I respect the decision to make this vinyl only and keep it off the internet, but there is a YouTube page out there with pretty good versions of all the songs from this split.