Listen to/Watch all the songs featured on this pick list on
ONE DIRECTION Temporary Fix
Thanks to my sister Julie I found this boy band delight. 1D has never had a big presence on my personal chart but those who know me well can tell you about my love for Hanson. This infectious pop ditty should have been a single and had 1 week at the top at the beginning of April.
ROBERT DELONG Jealousy
ATLAS GENIUS Stockholm
The rest of April was dominated by alternative, lead by the 3 week reign of Robert Delong’s quikry electro jam. Australia’s Atlas Genius had my #2 song of 2015 with “Molecules” and my #5 song of 2014 with “Electric”. Clearly their 80’s influenced synth/guitar combo speaks to me. Another quirky alt rocker from Rochester NY’s Joywave reached #3. The vid is kinda fun.
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND Anyhow
Every once in a while I’m in a jam band kind of mood and Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks provided my fix, reaching the summit for 1 week at the beginning of May. I’m sure Bonnie Raitt-esque vocal and the horn and guitar ending helped.
BRENDAN MACLEAN Hugs Not Drugs (Or Both)
ATLAS GENIUS A Perfect End
5 SECONDS OF SUMMER Jet Black Heart
The rest of May was all Australia. There was no way ‘Anyhow’ could stay at the top after seeing and hearing ‘Hugs Not Drugs’. It had the quickest ascent to the top on my personal chart ever, 2 weeks. This singer/performance artist/actor nailed it with his new wavey sound, fun lyrics and awesome video. It took ‘A Perfect End’ 7 months to reach the top spot and the song spent the most weeks in my top 150, 37. After 1D, the other boy band of the moment 5SOS did not want to be left behind but had to settle for a #2 peak. They have a more pop rock bent than 1D.
STRUTS Dirty Sexy Money
I didn’t know I’d need a glam rock fix in 2016 until the unstoppable Struts. This is possibly the most fun song of 2016 and what a way to start the summer. If this song had been released to radio and became a hit I can almost guarantee this would be a party anthem.
NOTHING BUT THIEVES Excuse Me
CHRIS CORNELL Our Time In The Universe
SHEARWATER Quiet Americans
KEITH URBAN Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)
This quartet of different sounding songs was shut out of the top spot by the Struts 5 week stay at the top. ‘Excuse Me’, with it’s amazing falsetto wail (what a hook), was the best performing song by one of my favorite new bands of the last 2 years, Britain’s alt-rock Nothing But Thieves.
Speaking of amazing voices, Chris Cornell delivered a little Bollywood and a rollicking chorus with his ultra cool ‘Universe’.
Some songs you will always remember where you heard them first (“Say You Say Me” and “Diamonds and Pearls” come to mind). With Shearwater it was on Radio Milwaukee, one of the last great radio stations. I was instantly drawn to its Ultravox style sound. In 2017 I should give the band a deeper listen.
A little banjo, a little thumping bass, alt guitar and synth. Add some twangy vocals and Keith Urban’s homage to the gone too soon, ‘Gone Tomorrow’ is the kind of mash up I can dig into. It helps that he is my favorite artist of the last 15 years.
ROYAL TUSK Fever
THE ROYAL CONCEPT Smile
ARKELLS Private School
Enter the Royals and the Canadians. Canada was, for me, a hotbed of amazing music in 2016 and it baffles me how most of it does not crossover the border. Royal Tusk spent the month of July at the summit with its shimmering and melodic rocker. Verses fueled by a throbbing bass line, chorus large and in charge.
Sweden’s Royal Concept had to settle for #2 with the infectious ‘Smile’. Starting with a hum and yeah yeah melody line, a sing songy chorus and lyrics like “I’ll step on a grenade so you can see I’m the bomb”. What’s not to smile about?
Back to Canada, I thought for sure the Arkells would reach #1 with ‘Private School’. I starts with a bassy piano line that sucks you in. The vocal has a feel of dissonance at first, which is really an illusion. Watch the video to get the full experience.”Private school kids…I just wanna love you, but it’s so hard”
THE LAST BANDOLEROS Where Do You Go?
#1 at the end of July. I spoke of Hanson earlier and this reminds me of a Tex Mex version of them. Country radio ignored them mostly, Such a shame it was not promoted properly. This could and should have been a summer pop hit if someone was savvy enough to take a chance. Could have been another great party song.
BAD SOUNDS Avalanche
ROBERT DELONG Acid Rain
Bad sounds? Not so much. Was it the “Bang! Hit it Joe” start, the monotone British vocal, the awesome organ line, the atmosphere or the whole shebang that gave this a 3 week stay at the top in August. “try as I might, I’m losing the fight to get better”. I have yet to tire of this song.
German newcomer Roosevelt had a number of good alt-dance songs this year but none better than the synthy #2 ‘Colours’. Another synth heavy alt ditty, Delong reached the top 5 the 3rd time in a year with ‘Acid Rain’.