By Josh Schonfeld
It’s that time of year again! As I began planning out the categories and writing these little blurbs, I realized how incredibly long this was going to end up being, so I decided to break it up into parts to make it more palatable for the reader. So without further ado, here is Part 1 of the Best (and Worst) and 2016!
Best #tbt Song – “My Name Is Not Susan” – Whitney Houston
Honorable Mention – “Here You Come Again” – Dolly Parton
If you don’t know what New Jack Swing is, look it up. It’s high-energy 808s paired with action-packed spitfire lyrics culminating in powerful tirades perfect for any emotional experience. In this case, Houston belts out a scathing attack on her partner who has failed to move on from his previous lover, named Susan. The perfect blend of piercing vocals and non-stop dance-a-thon ending with one of the greatest vocal runs where Houston continuously repeats, “my name ain’t Susan,” getting angrier and angrier each time. What makes the song even better is the notion that this must’ve actually happened to poor Whitney, since the name “Susan” appears random in the context of the song. Nothing rhymes with Susan, yet she chose that as the scapegoat name to tear apart. “My Name Is Not Susan” also wins for Best Song to Do the Running Man To as well as Best Song to Pretend You’re a Diva.
Best Oceania Song – “Free” – Broods
Honorable Mention – “Say It (feat. Tove Lo)” – Flume
This was supposed to be “Best Australian Single,” but these Kiwis blew the Aussies out of the water this year with their masterpiece, “Free.” The sledgehammer beat powers through the song as if on a stair master, blasting through the caged-in feeling the lead singer is in. The only thing that could make this song better would be if Kesha had released it as the lead single to her comeback album about Dr. Luke, as the lyrics describe her desperate situation perfectly. Unfortunately, this single only managed to peak at #21 in their native New Zealand and failed to make an impact in the rest of the world, so there is no chance of a possible Kesha cover in the near future.
Best French Song – “Cette année-là” – M. Pokora
Honorable Mention – “Open Season (Un autre saison)” – Josef Salvat
Yeah, I know this is a cheesy cover of a cover of an overplayed song from the 70s, but I don’t care. The overwhelming sense of joy in this song is enough to keep you smiling for the entire day. Looks like winning Danse avec les stars (France’s version of Dancing with the Stars) served him well, as his dance moves raises the enjoyment level even more. Oh, and he’s a total babe, so what’s not to like?
Best Carpool Karaoke Jam – “Hands to Myself” – Selena Gomez
Honorable Mention – “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” – Adele
As the perennial passenger to all my friends, it is my job to procure quality tunes to jam to as we cruise around town. This year, that jam was “Hands to Myself.” No, it’s not a power ballad, it’s not a fun rap song, it’s not even that sing-able, but there is one line that makes it all worth it in the end. As Gomez repeats “Can’t keep my hands to myself” for the hundredth time, the beat drops out and she coyly replies, “I mean, I could. But why would I want to?” The beat then blasts back for the biggest damn dance party on four wheels I-95 has ever seen.
Worst Song – “Me Too” – Meghan Trainor
Honorable Mention – “Perfect Illusion” – Lady GaGa
I know I give Meghan Trainor a tough time, but it’s songs like this that give me the ammunition to do so. “Me Too” has everything but the kitchen sink, from some odd Timbaland beat to annoying bubble noises, to the most disturbing up-pitch vocals known to man. It’s about five songs in one, each more grating than the next. And let’s not get started on the lyrics, as she condescendingly tells people that if she were them, she’d want to be her too. While that wouldn’t be odd for someone like Rihanna to sing about, it is quite off-brand for a “self-empowerment” singer like Trainor to condone. We’ve all heard about the sophomore slump and Best New Artist curse, but let’s hope this isn’t the end of Trainor forever, as she is talented, albeit misguided in her sound.
Check out my Best of 2016 Playlist on Spotify for all the greatest jams of the past year!