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TwistedElegance™ last won the day on February 17 2017

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  1. Technically, they were talking about a number one song. Let's not pretend like Top 10 singles aren't hits. It's also worth noting that the writer of that article has a history of being as impartial about Beyoncé as you do with the iPhone. I'll tell you what I'm tired of. The Recording Academy itself defines a Grammy as an award representing artistic or technical achievement. They even specifically state that it is not based on sales or chart positions. We all know that's garbage, but the argument is used very selectively where Beyoncé is concerned. It's not enough that she's at her artistic peak 20 years into her career, now suddenly the Grammys can only validate such creativity with a "monster single" or "less costumes." Save it. As for this committee of songwriters, the article selectively pointed out that several songs on Lemonade are credited to at least a dozen writers, but it made no mention of the number of sampled works, some of which recognise multiple names for a single interpolated line. This article dissects the argument perfectly, but if you'd prefer the TL; DR: a writer count, high or low, doesn’t determine whether a piece of art is good or bad. It’s simply a reflection of how many people are getting credit (and money) for the work. Should that lead to an argument on the artistic merits of sampling, let me point out that it didn't stand in the way of Daft Punk, OutKast, Santana, U2 or Lauryn Hill (to name a handful) collecting AOTY. And your point about lyrical substance is hilarious given Taylor Swift is literally a two-time winner. I viewed this board with fresh eyes recently after a lengthy break, and for whatever reason, I took a look back through Beyoncé's official thread and also Grammy discussions from previous years, and nothing has changed. She is still the only artist that agitates some of you to such an extent that you simply abandon all logic and reason to make what you think is a point. That same misguided fury has now spread throughout this base onto Twitter where a slew of wrong or foolish shit is posted on a daily basis in what must be an impassioned attempt to look as stupid and as misinformed as possible. Beyoncé didn't win, but she's not the loser here.
  2. Thanks guys, much appreciated.
  3. Thanks. I do love it, just not as much as others. Aw, I only stream now. Apple Music ruined the merging of my existing library and their streaming platform so I cut my ties and subscribed to Spotify. Still love that song.
  4. 10. Dog Years by Maggie Rogers With an early Adele-like placidity and a gift for spacey sentimentality among her best features, Maryland's Maggie Rogers earned praise from Pharrell during his Masterclass at NYU's Clive Davis Institute earlier in the year. Subsequently, video of the super producer vibing to her song Alaska spread online and fans basically spent the rest of year waiting for its follow-up. What a relief, then, that Dog Years was a thing of such striking artistry. Cold and warm in equal measure, she instructed the song was about trusting the universe, being a good friend and never having enough time, and each of those themes was discernible within the first frame. Rogers' doe-eyed delivery won't be everybody's cup of tea, but the beguiling collage of sounds procured here is something I would urge all music lovers to experience. 9. In Common by Alicia Keys Considering how prolific and consistent Alicia Keys proved to be through the 2000s, it's an absorbing task trying to pin her commercial undoing to any one moment. Her career is relatively unblemished, save for the odd wobbly vocal or familial drama, and there's only so much blame you can put on the pop landscape, which leaves her post-As I Am output to take the fall. In Common passed practically unnoticed, a real shame given it's her truest leap of faith to date. As ever, her greatest talent lies in taking otherwise average ingredients and combining them to make a sound that's both intimate and strangely joyous. 8. Lazarus by David Bowie Almost 50 years after his self-titled debut landed, 2016 sadly claimed David Bowie, bowing out as ringleader of one of the most vibrant circuses in rock history. In true artistic fashion, he left a parting gift in the form of Blackstar, which, incredibly, turned out to be a commentary on his own impending death. Thinking out loud on Lazarus, he cut to the bone with the line, "This way or no way / you know I'll be free / just like that bluebird / ain't that just like me." Amid the inevitable end approaching, he still had a way with an irresistible tune, so much so that 6+ minutes somehow felt not long enough. The album couldn't help but take on a new form in the aftermath of his passing, and where in most cases that would negatively impact upon the listening experience, here it proved strangely uplifting, knowing we were being invited into his extraordinary world one last time. 7. We the People... by A Tribe Called Quest It's a stoney heart that wasn't roused by either the cause or response to the wave of dogmatism and fear that gripped 2016. A Tribe Called Quest's fiery and intense response came loaded with the still raw anguish and fury induced by the loss of founding member Phife Dawg, one in a stream of celebrity deaths this year that began with David Bowie and really never let up. Hip-hop is built on metaphors, but We the People... found ATCQ passing on double entendres in favour of direct address, tackling racism, homophobia, elitism and gentrification in what was essentially a one-song Sign O' the Times. While it's certain the group would have opted not to suffer for their art if given a choice, the warm reception from both audiences and critics should hearten them enough to know it wasn't a totally gainless experience. 6. Sorry by Beyoncé For all the political wrangling triggered by Formation, it seems the most controversial cut on Lemonade belonged to Sorry. The self-imposed restrictions on Beyoncé and Jay Z's relationship have basically been in effect since the couple's initiation, and although 2013's Beyoncé lifted the veil slightly, it wasn't until the likes of Sorry, Don't Hurt Yourself and Sandcastles that the superstar finally achieved a sense of lyrical frankness in her work. Not just frank, but inspired. Where past attempts at impressing as embittered have resulted in the mawkish Resentment or Broken-Hearted Girl, Sorry, with assertions like "Suicide before you see this tear fall down my eyes" outwitted any such endeavours with a single line. It was also Beyoncé at her most calculating, prefiguring that "Becky with the good hair" would command social media despite barely having a presence there herself. 5. Me and Your Mama by Childish Gambino A leading light of alternative hip-hop since before it was in vogue, Childish Gambino took his great leap forwards this year with the splendid Awaken, My Love! Lush and expansive, lead single Me and Your Mama was possibly the year's greatest aural adventure, beginning in neo-psychedelic heaven before rising and falling through wondrous valleys of rock, R&B and acid jazz, all woven together by mesmeric vocals and a feel for melody that recalled every artist from Prince to Curtis Mayfield, Erykah Badu to Alabama Shakes. In the wrong hands, it's the kind of song that could easily crumble under the weight of its ambition, but Gambino saved it from earsplitting doom through nothing but sheer ability. A triumph. 4. Cranes In the Sky by Solange Even with glowing reviews for 2012's True EP, Solange struggled to lift her profile beyond that which would see it peak at 157 on the Billboard 200. If anything, it saw her travel backwards in a commercial sense, given that she had graced the Top 10 four years prior. But the record did earn her something of an underground following after the magnificent Losing You found legs long after its release. Skip forward to 2016 and the journey has taken a remarkable turn. For me, I've always found a notable trait of her work to be that she tries a little too hard, but no so for A Seat At the Table, nor its dreamy first offering. Cranes In the Sky found her wrestling with depression, hope and fulfilment, reminding me of an interview Janet Jackson gave regarding those same themes on The Velvet Rope. She said at a point in everyone's life, it surfaces. Questions obviously abound for Solange at this stage of her life and career, but so too do observations, and for the first time, it felt like she truly had something to say. 3. Drone Bomb Me by Anohni When Antony Hegarty instructed on his first single 18 years ago that he was "changing like the seasons", few would have predicted such a declaration would wind up so fully realised. Cut to 2016 and he is now she, and the Baroque pop that gratified critics over four heart-rending albums has pivoted into the experimental world of electro. From that same single, Cripple and the Starfish, the message "It's true, I always wanted love to hurt" would also be preserved all this time later, for the stirring Drone Bomb Me unravelled in a cloud of torment and misery that would overwhelm most artists. Lyrics have always been Anohni's key resource, and she effectuated them here with a sincerity that transcended even her own discography, while Naomi Campbell agonised through them in its striking video. 2. You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen So much has been written, told and broadcast about the unrelenting manner in which 2016 claimed some of our most beloved artists that the phenomenon had the effect at times of us not being allowed to process the impact as we have in previous years. Think back to even the recent untimely passings of Michael, Whitney or Amy and the blow of them leaving was at least cushioned by time either side. Not so this year. Parallels to David Bowie's departure were inevitable given You Want It Darker was released just three weeks before his death (Bowie's Blackstar within a week of his own), but also because his senses of grit, reconciliation and humour were as fine-tuned as ever, laying it down in the very first line, "If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game." Musically, it's something else, made all the more astounding by the fact that he barely sung a line of it. Realising that he, like Bowie, like Prince, remained a storyteller right until the very end was final confirmation, should anyone need it, that we were witness to some of the most imaginative and intelligent creators of our time.
  5. Another pop giant gone. This year has thrown music fans so much.
  6. 20. Genghis Khan by Miike Snow For all their combined pop power (associates of Britney Spears, Maroon 5 and Mark Ronson for starters), Miike Snow have managed three albums without doing the obvious and hiring headliners. Instead, they've spent the greater portion of a decade sharpening their credibility to now slip comfortably alongside fellow distinguished indie pop acts like Hot Chip, Passion Pit and Empire of the Sun. Genghis Khan saw them edge a little closer to their familiar Top 40 fringes, but the trio's predilection for ragged charm over shimmer and shine was further proof of their belief in storytelling, boosted by a sinister protagonist but in magnificent contrast to its infectious groove. 19. Stranger Things Theme by Luke Million In the limited genre of TV themes, a narrow subcategory is diminished even further by probing for signature tunes that can actually stand on their own as compositions (Six Feet Under, The Practice and Cheers rank as personal all-time favourites). Kyle Dixon and Mark Stein's stunningly haunting theme to Netflix's Stranger Things was every bit as '80s-embedded as the series and almost fit the brief, thwarted only by its paltry running time of just over a minute. Adelaide producer Luke Million could've simply padded the theme out, but his love of synths saw him furnish it into four minutes of spaced out bliss, tinkering with the original soundscape just enough so that it fit snugly over his pulsing groundwork. A real treat. 18. One Dance by Drake feat. Wizkid & Kyla Clearly having studied the way in which frequent collaborator Rihanna has drawn dancehall into her index of styles, Drake set about exploring elements of the genre himself on Views, eventuating in a scattering of potent hits, namely, Controlla, Too Good and One Dance. Remarkably, the latter became the rapper's first No. 1 on the Hot 100 as lead artist, having reached the summit twice already as a feature with the aforesaid Rihanna. It was also remarkable in the sense that this was probably the first time that Drake's music matched his vivid personality. While the brooding sounds of his trap hits haven't crept out of the public sphere yet, it was rejuvenating in a sense to experience a more sweet-sounding aspect of his work, thanks in no small part to Wizkid's writing and production. 17. Go! by M83 Of all the sources of inspiration Anthony Gonzales could have cited upon the release of his band's terrific album, Junk, cringe-inducing '80s TV like Who's the Boss? would surely seem one of the more unlikely, but you truly can hear it. Creative, self-contained and inspiring, it's the logical next step following 2011's double-album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, responsible for the earth-shattering Midnight City. Go! drew a parallel to that track, matching it both in tune and intensity, rising to a magnificent crescendo of electric guitar, crashing drums and the ardent chants of Mai Lan, the French-Vietnamese vocalist featured here as well as on a handful of other album highlights. As well as pleasing the senses, Go! saw M83 join the class of synthpop heavyweights occupied by Hot Chip, Röyksopp and Goldfrapp, each of whom have become a byword for superiority in their field. 16. Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane There can't be many people lucky enough to have avoided the Mannequin Challenge, be it through participating or enduring its clutch on our timelines. Such was the madness of the fad that its soundtrack, Black Beatles, helped Rae Sremmurd land their first number 1 and broke the duo internationally. It's hardly the type of song one would imagine accompanying a lighthearted social trend, with its hushed intensity and inky tone inviting comparisons to Drake and The Weeknd at their most afflicted. Amid the slew of superior PBR&B and trap artists commanding the airwaves right now, a highlight from the year has proven a challenge to endorse, but this was terrifically engaging stuff. 15. Love On the Brain by Rihanna From here on out, Love On the Brain will serve as a towering confirmation for anyone who still claims Rihanna isn't a "real artist." Regrettably, too few of her legitimately expressive moments are given the single treatment, so to see them languish when they do can be a real kick in the teeth. It's certainly a curious time in her career, feeling like possibly the midpoint between garish superstar and contemplative singer/songwriter. Clearly autobiographical, the pared-down approach proved again to be one of her greatest strengths, conveying animosity, despair and confusion in a style that validated every Amy Winehouse comparison it attracted. 14. Dark Necessities by Red Hot Chili Peppers Held against their own credentials, 2011's I'm With You was something of a misstep for the Chili Peppers. It was their first album since the departure of John Frusciante, and this year's The Getaway is their first without Rick Rubin, the band's core producer since 1991's classic, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. They certainly handled change better this time, and it has to be said that Danger Mouse added a welcome twist on the band's signature stamp of funk rock. Lead single Dark Necessities spun a tale of depression and the need for us to embrace it, arguing that "darkness helps us all to shine." It was a particularly odd move for the group, known to leave their more downcast tunes as album tracks rather than release them as singles, despite Under the Bridge, one of the best rock ballads of the '90s, being their biggest hit. Most will remember Frusciante for his way with a guitar, but what I miss most are the harmonies he and Anthony Keidis would share. Mercifully, Dark Necessities went some way to emulate them. 13. Good Grief by Bastille Having initially made their name as indie rock status seekers ahead of worldwide hit Pompeii catapulting them into the majors, Bastille returned for album number two with nice guy labels still intact, both living up to and, in a sense, defying Noel Gallagher's summation of the band, claiming that if it were the '90s, he'd have wiped them out in just one interview, never to be heard from again. The genuine big time might still be a little way off, but as they proved on Good Grief, their choruses have the goods to summon stadium status. Another consistent trick is the quaint flourishes exhibited in ther production, combining xylophone strolls and fragmented harmonies as examples, as well as their ability to employ nostalgia as a core ingredient - in this case, dialogue from '80s classic Weird Science. 12. Symmetry of Two Hearts by Bright Light Bright Light For some, electropop is less about hitting the club and more about tucking themselves away with a great set of headphones. As one of these people, such reclusiveness has always guided me towards the more sensitive side of dance, songs with an emotional sting in their tail. Bright Light Bright Light's understanding and appreciation of the core values of '80s and '90s music has enabled him to merge the essence of Roxette and Elton John with such sincere enthusiasm that it never crosses the line into satire (even with the latter actually guest-starring on the track). But for all the nostalgia it evokes, the song is equally representative of today's pop arena, his determined vocals and poignant lyrics blending to put his own stamp on the tried and tested subject of love and confusion, all with impeccable production and luminous visuals. 11. 24K Magic by Bruno Mars Seemingly, Bruno Mars is not a man who has to try too hard. Over three well favoured albums and a handful of cracking featured appearances, he's crafted an assortment of modern pop gold and performed it with the fervour of an elite entertainer, a classic illustration of the superstars who reigned over the '80s and '90s. 24K Magic, his first offering since the blistering Uptown Funk! and a second round of Super Bowl halftime glory, was a dazzling and concise exercise in post-disco R&B. But it's influences ranged far and wide, culminating in a brew that invoked the assurance of Prince and The Time, the warmth of Zapp & Roger and the spirit of West Coast hip-hop in its prime.
  7. 30. Cocoon by Milky Chance Charting the number of German artists who have successfully cracked the international market is surely an uncomplicated task. The '70s and '80s gave us Boney M and Milli Vanilli, the '90s was responsible for dance favourites like Culture Beat, Real McCoy and Snap!, but what of the new millennium? The awfully named Milky Chance emerged in 2013 with the indie pop gem, Stolen Dance, breaking the UK and US Top 30 and Top 40 respectively, and managing a No. 2 peak in Australia. Their breezily rhythmic guitar style appears to be developing into something of a trademark, so too are their jittery vocals. The greatest accomplishment here, though, was how the group managed to eclipse Stolen Dance's mighty chorus. You could almost argue that it's too busy, but their command of melody is splendid. 29. Fade by Kanye West feat. Post Malone & Ty Dolla $ign Even by his own standards, 2016 was a frenzied year for Kanye West. Kicking off with the bungled release of The Life of Pablo, it rapidly plunged into a medley of controversies ranging from claims of debt to highly publicised feuds with Wiz Khalifa, Taylor Swift and Kid Cudi, before culminating in a reported breakdown and admission for psychiatric observation. If it weren't for the music holding up, you'd almost expect him to throw in the towel. But in a somewhat poetic fashion, the jagged and unvarnished quality of his output added an almost charming element to the project, not least on the "hip house" madness of Fade. Plainly, it sounds like a hurried demo, and it's precisely that sense of unrefined wizardry that always makes for the most electrifying Kanye West music. 28. On Hold by The xx Though he produced one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2015, Jamie xx returned home to complete a third album with the band that started it all. To be honest, not much changes in the darkened world of The xx, but it's clear that's what they strive for. Not unlike fellow art rock contemporaries as varied as M83, Arcade Fire and even Florence + the Machine, they're a band who leave no genre untouched, and as ever, On Hold saw them round out an intelligently simple song with a dilated arrangement, this time reshaping a nondescript line from a classic Hall & Oates track into an enviable work of abstract beauty. 27. Perfect Illusion by Lady Gaga Lest we forget, Lady Gaga was once considered a genuine contender, the unimpregnable extent of time between The Fame and Born This Way offering the only real contest to Beyoncé and her reign as the new millennium's greatest pop star. Alas, Artpop rapidly ended in disaray and affirmed that, indeed, Gaga still had much to prove. Almost three years to the day, the first taste of its successor arrived in the form of Perfect Illusion, and to say it further subdivided her followers would be an understatement, not to mention its ability to swing casual fans and the general public proved to be almost defunct. Nevertheless, it strengthened the all-embracing spirit of her work, roping in Mark Ronson, Kevin Parker and Josh Homme to recreate the psychedelic sound each have helped define for a new generation. Stripped of the accompanying commotion, the song is a potential career highlight. 26. Adore by Amy Shark Amy Shark has already grabbed a teeny slice of the indie spotlight despite being only three songs into her career. Her most arousing is the sublime Adore, a track distinguished by its lazily plucked guitar and lyrics which stimulate memories of a first crush, something you could easily imagine being played as an old saloon bar nears closing time. Striking the right balance of winsome sing-song and Lorde-style social commentary, it's the perfect vehicle for Shark's breezy, feathery voice, which clearly knows its limits, but really gains advantage against such fine-grained production. Songs as beautifully paced as this often run the risk of coming across as too simple, but there was a real sophisticated allure at play here. 25. False Alarm by The Weeknd It's easy to credit The Weeknd's influences on his latest album to the likes of Michael Jackson and Prince, but his expansive appeal still owes a great debt to Kanye West. His mixtape trilogy echoed the temperament of 808s & Heartbreak, 2013's Kiss Land demonstrated elements akin to the indie R&B of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the Daft Punk-featuring Starboy arrived almost a decade after West first recast the French duo as electrohop titans on Stronger. False Alarm further certified the rapper's impact, adopting the dance-punk of Yeezus and draping his own melodic twists all over it. 2015 proved to be a banner year for The Weeknd, and eclipsing the potency of Can't Feel My Face, The Hills and Earned It was never going to be easy, but the pointed brutality of False Alarm speaks more to his inventive side, and if West's trajectory is anything to go by, his future output will no doubt concern itself with projects of a thrilling like nature. 24. Gemini Feed by Banks Jillian Rose Banks knows better than most how to bulldoze her way through a tune, her startling expression proving that Florence Welch doesn't have a monopoly on fervent overacting. But equally remarkable is how affecting she can be when dialling back the drama, with Gemini Feed even managing to up the artistic ante exhibited on her magnificent debut. As with previous efforts, she isn't afraid of a beat, but knows well enough to place the emphasis firmly on the melody. Alternative R&B can be a tricky beast to tackle. Thankfully, Banks has a way of making everything seemingly just fall into place. 23. Around the World by Kings of Leon Talk of a proper rock revival has persisted for some time now, but it's yet to seize the wave it needs in order to ride back into the mainstream. This is despite solid efforts this year from the likes of Green Day, Blink-182 and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Notwithstanding the fact that all these bands are past their prime, it's a thrill to see them maintain the gusto they built their names on. It's especially true in Kings of Leon's case. There's a melodic vitality that powers Around the World right from its opening riff, with the vision of perfect southern rock complete the moment Caleb's voice cracked on the first verse. Simply put, it's their best single since Sex On Fire, and if played at just the right moment, it may simultaneously conquer dancefloors as well as stadiums. 22. Frankie Sinatra by The Avalanches feat. Danny Brown & MF Doom Floating in the abyss for 15 years, The Avalanches finally reared their heads again, crashing 2016's party with an update on the plunderphonics that made debut album Since I Let You such a standout of the new millennium's first quarter. It's a cliche to say they picked up where they left off, but it's also factual. Frankie Sinatra breezed in with exactly the pomposity you'd expect from a song with such a title, but in bridging the gap between their own past glory, it also brought to mind two of alternative hip-hop's best in Cypress Hill and Gorillaz. Accordingly, the addition of Danny Brown, experimental rap's current poster child, made perfect sense. 21. I'm In Control by AlunaGeorge feat. Popcaan With their two biggest hits credited to names considerably more recognisable than their own (Disclosure on White Noise and DJ Snake remixing You Know You Like It), AlunaGeorge routinely seem on the brink of commercial prominence, but until such time, the glories of their distinctive blend of synthpop and UK garage belong to the more fashionable side of the Top 40. With more than a hint of reggae house, I'm In Control served as the first taste of their sophomore album, I Remember, and succeeded mostly thanks to the involvement of Popcaan, fresh off last year's scene-stealing turn on Jamie xx's brilliant I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times). Try as they may have through pulsing beats, labouring synths and entrancing vocals, the duo found themselves out-headlined again.
  8. I didn't realise you were a fair-weather fan. You could follow me on Spotify. I say that knowing full well you'll reply to this with sass and something about Apple Music.
  9. 40. Sunday Love by Bat For Lashes Though often aligned with contemporaries such as Lykke Li or St. Vincent, Natasha Khan is more accurately a compatriot of the space employed by '90s alt-rock queens like Tori Amos and Beth Orton, adopting several of the oddities that made them so intriguing to watch during their peak. She was at her most enterprising here, plunging into a concept album that over 13 tracks told the story of a bride whose fiance is killed en route to their wedding. After three albums of delectable art pop, Khan has become a master of her craft, and on Sunday Love, she created a blend of emotion and melody that seemed to make time stand still, pummelling us with the refrain, "Even though I'm falling apart, I want Sunday Love in my heart." 39. Doing It To Death by The Kills They may have made themselves over in terms of image and commerciality, but there's still more than a whiff of garage rock about The Kills. The thrash was wound back a notch this time around in favour of a more electronically charged setting, making for some dramatic pop on the outstanding Doing It To Death. It's a change that does them well, with the peeled back production allowing Alison Mosshart some breathing room, particularly on its hiccupy bridge. Its "oh oh oh" chorus suggests some studio sessions with Rick Rubin would make them even more accessible. Time will tell. 38. All Night by Chance the Rapper feat. Knox Fortune With Kendrick Lamar having penetrated the mainstream to the extent that featured appearances alongside the likes of Taylor Swift, Sia and Maroon 5 are now a routine practice, Chance the Rapper became the most fashionable name among hip-hop's style crowd in 2016. The classic party vibe dreamt up by the Chicago MC and producer Kaytranada was perhaps one of Coloring Book's more conventional moments, but it still ascended to the top of the tracklist for me. The one gripe, though, was its insufficient playing time, at a measly 2:20, appearing as something of an afterthought when stacked against the rest of the mixtape, but it was rounded out beautifully on Kaytranada's Extended Joint, even if the unabridged treatment did limit the rapper's airtime. 37. Freedun by M.I.A. feat. Zayn These days, even the most fashionable artists seem to be padding out their albums with pop star features. The meeting of M.I.A. and Zayn Malik supposedly came about through a mutual publisher requesting the alternative veteran contribute to the newly solo star's upcoming debut, Mind of Mine. It stalled come studio time, but finally found a home on M.I.A.'s fifth album. By comparison to, say, Sia, who added nothing of merit to her collaborations with Eminem, Freedun benefited not only from a compelling contrast of styles, but M.I.A. and Zayn also connected on a political level, each tracing their genetic lines to refugees, one of the topics the song concerned itself with. Behind them, Polow da Don's murky production conjured an image of some desolate paradise, ending sublimely in a whirlpool of reverberating murmurs. Surprisingly, one of the years finest collaborations. 36. Blood On Me by Sampha Despite a relatively minimal solo output, Sampha Sisay has built a name in electronic soul through collaborations with Drake, Frank Ocean and Jessie Ware among others. His stock in trade is maximising drama, thus, Blood On Me found him swamped by delusions of onslaught and paranoia but confronting them with a knowing sensitivity, coming off like Rockwell's classic Somebody's Watching Me given an emo makeover. The general air of self-absorbed tension may prove difficult to endure over a full-length album, but anticipation is still mighty high for its arrival in the first quarter of 2017. 35. Make Them Wheels Roll by Safia It seems that right from the start, Canberra natives Safia resolved that they would not make easy the task of appointing them to any one genre. 2013's haunting Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues kept things rather literal, last year's maniacal Counting Sheep burrowed into electro house, and here, they went full indietronica. It's an eclectic course of action that could so easily cause a group to come unstuck, but everything they do is carried out with full-throttle tenacity. Once more, they provided an experience of constant twists, this time in the form of echoed synths and a keyboard solo that sounds as if it were played underwater, but their digital experimentation was again outplayed by frontman Ben Woolner's glimmering vocal performance. 34. Lake By the Ocean by Maxwell Precious little of the youngest generation of music consumers truly understand what it is to anticipate the return of a favourite artist. Such is the world of pop we currently live in, where The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey and Fifth Harmony can release two albums in as many years and their fans still feel a sense of endurance. Imagine the hardship felt by Maxwell's base. Upon the announcement in 2005 that a trilogy of albums was in the works, fans settled in for what would ultimately become a four-year wait for part one, and a further seven years for its follow-up. The results, however, have proved worthwhile each time. On Lake By the Ocean, the neo soul pioneer sounded as sensational and honey-voiced as he did on his Urban Hang Suite 20 years ago, delighting with his sonic depth and still putting others to shame with the sickening ease of his falsetto. Until 2025, then... 33. Come On Mess Me Up by Cub Sport If it were possible for a single song to birth a band, Brisbane quartet Cub Sport would surely owe their existence to 2005's Forever Young, Youth Group's floaty take on the '80s classic by Alphaville. Indeed, you would probably have to go back to the mid-2000s to recall a time when Australian artists were so accomplished in dream pop, for they share their breakout year in an era flush with contemporaries such as Andy Bull, Safia and Tame Impala. For such a young average age, Come On Mess Me Up was a sterling example of a group in control, filled with little sonic tricks and an incredible sense of atmosphere, particulalrly on its colossal chorus, the line "Ruin me if you'll let me be one of the ones you won't forget" revelling in exquisite anguish. 32. Panda by Desiigner Numerous autotune-toting personalities extended their crop in 2016, but none made quite the impact as Desiigner. Before establishing himself as the rapper nobody could understand, he had already achieved a rather rapid rise to fame, going from independent tracks to signing with Kanye West in merely a matter of months. West assisted further by essentially remixing Panda into a voice distortion workshop for Part 2 from The Life of Pablo, but it's safe to assume the song would've impacted the same bereft of helping hands. This was perfectly realised trap music, all murky keyboard stabs and horribly repetitious, but buried somewhere in the mix was just enough character to produce something that felt daring, inventive and altogether brand new. 31. Power by Harts If Prince's untimely passing sets the wheels in motion for a psychedelic pop revival in 2017, I would be happy to see Darren Hart lead it. After all, he was another one of the lucky names summoned to Paisley Park for one of the icon's infamous jam sessions, and stamps of approval don't come more sizeable than that. It's likely Prince saw a bit of himself in the young Melbournian, and it's obvious that it was his original funk rock template on which Power was built. The track benefited from a frantic nu-disco groove that produced a wonderful discord when set against that anthemic chorus. In a sense, it was a fine tribute to Prince and other musicians with which he's been measured against, namely, Jimi Hendrix, Lenny Kravitz and Miguel, but there was more than enough of his own identity here to really punch through.
  10. Roc. Need I ask where it is on yours? Hots. Get into them. All of them! Thanks, Bu. Really appreciate you reading. You will love King. Thanks very much, Andy. They're both brilliant. Have you completed your list for the year? Good to see you.
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