The silver lining to the otherwise messy year…MUSIC! My love and obsession for it will never change. I am such a fangirl, it’s unhealthy sometimes. Too many good songs came out from across genres all over the globe. Now that 2016 is over, it’s time to look back and see what songs made my day so much brighter. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it but here they are. I was actually able to pick at least 20 songs from a pool of what? Hundreds? Just. So. Many.
Note: If you think my taste in music is shit, I’m not gonna hold that against you. We all have preferences, okay? I based this list on two things: 1) most repeated (there’s a play count on my music library), and 2) my attachment to it (how much I loved and enjoyed the song). So even if some songs are so damn catchy—they ranked high on my play count—if I didn’t feel some sort of “connection” to it, it’s off the list. Also, I only considered songs that I have in my music collection.
#20 Boys Republic – Get Down (listen)/GOT 7 – Fly
First spot and I’m already cheating. These two Kpop boy group songs are a tie! Get Down got me into Boys Republic (they are so underrated, Kpop fans should give them more love) and I think Fly is probably GOT 7’s best title track yet.
#19 FAKY – Candy/Brave Girls – Deepened (listen)
I’m cheating again. Both are “idol” girl group songs but one is Japanese, the other is Korean. FAKY slayed my existence with them vocals and funky song! On the other hand, I’m not really much of a fan of Brave Girls but I am so obsessed with this one song from them.
#18 Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex (listen)/Fifth Harmony – That’s My Girl (listen)
Sorry if I keep cheating but I always played these two songs together so they have the same play count—that’s why it’s another tie! Both songs are so damn catchy and make me wanna dance all day.
#17 Major Lazer – Cold Water ft. Justin Bieber and MO
This was a case of love at first listen. I didn’t recognize the voice at first but I’m not complaining that it was Justin Bieber. The song suit his breathy, nasally voice, and I just love the lyrics and this whole water-boat metaphor.
#16 The Chainsmokers – Setting Fires ft. XYLO (listen)/Don’t Let Me Down ft. Daya (listen)
I couldn’t choose between the two. I just put them together in a spot because both songs are by The Chainsmokers. Play count-wise, Don’t Let Me Down wins but I just love Setting Fires as much.
#15 Phoebe Ryan – Chronic
This is song is so bubbly cute yet chill. Phoebe Ryan’s voice is oddly addicting too. Sometimes, I find it hard to associate her face to her child-like voice but I ain’t complaining either.
#14 Seventeen – Chuck (listen)/HIGHLIGHT
Again, I couldn’t choose between Chuck and HIGHLIGHT. Chuck was my favorite Seventeen song. I wanted it to be their title track instead of Pretty U. Then I heard HIGHLIGHT from their latest album and I just fell in love.
#13 MY FIRST STORY – Alone (listen)/ONE OK ROCK – I Was King
Another tie with the Moriuchi brothers. Technically, Alone was released 2015 as a single but the album got released just last year so I’m counting it. I Was King, on the other hand, is still too weak for an OOR song but it’s their best single this year and I still love it!
#12 MONSTA X – Stuck (네게만 집착해)
This one is another song that should have been the title track. When I listened to the whole mini-album, I was like, “This. This is the one.” ALL IN, which is what they promoted instead, is not a bad song but Stuck was everything I wanted in a MONSTA X song.
#11 Ariana Grande – Bad Decisions (listen)/Nick Jonas – Good Girls ft. Big Sean (listen)
Bad Decisions is so addicting. Say whatever you want about her diva attitude but you can’t deny it, Ari’s got one hell of a powerful voice! She’s currently my Pop Queen. Then there’s Nick Jonas with a sexy song and a matching sexy voice. He surprised me with his latest album.
#10 Bolbbalgan4 – When You Fall In Love (listen)
Best song in their debut album, in my opinion. It sounds like an OST for a Korean drama, I badly want them to win at least one rookie award. They deserve it.
#9 Against the Current – Wasteland
This song gives me strange feelings. Whenever I close eyes and listen to it, I feel like I’m being brought into a different world or dimension. It has that kind of effect.
#8 Panic! at the Disco – LA Devotee
Maybe I’m just too dumb for this ’cause I still don’t get the lyrics but that doesn’t stop me from loving this song. My favorite song in Brendon’s latest album. The music video is slightly weird though.
#7 BlackPink – Playing with Fire/Whistle (listen)
Another case of both-songs-are-so-good-I-just-can’t-pick-one. Well, since both are by BlackPink I just cheated again and put them in a tie. I already did it in the earlier spots so why not?
#6 NCT U – Without You/The 7th Sense (listen)
I’m sure you’re wondering now why I even bothered making a “Top 20” list when I’m just going to put over 20 with ties. But this is my favorite NCT unit. These two songs might be polar opposites in genre and concept but they are equally good. And I did not expect this from an SM Entertainment artist. So it’s another tie!
#5 Ariana Grande – Sometimes (listen)
One more Ariana Grande song. Promise there’s only two! Honestly, I love her Dangerous Woman album so much and I could pick out two or three more songs that deserve a spot on this list. (Okay, I’ll name them anyway: Into You, Touch It, Greedy, and probably Dangerous Woman itself.) But this song is so lovely, I’m in love with it.
#4 Fifth Harmony – Scared of Happy (listen)
Best Fifth Harmony song in the album! I find the lyrics to be simply beautiful. It’s not too overly “lyrical” or deep but I feel that there’s actually honesty and sincerity in the words and the way they sing it. The way the song is composed (and that beat drop) is perfect. That’s just me.
#3 BTS – Blood Sweat and Tears (피 땀 눈물)/EXO – Monster (listen)
Oh yes! BTS and EXO both exceeded my expectations when they released these songs. I gotta say, their best songs yet! Even though these two songs are totally different in style, I find both songs refreshing for a Kpop release and it’s unlike their previous titles so I think it’s great that they’re evolving their style.
#2 DEAN – Bonnie and Clyde
Freaking DEAN with Bonnie and Clyde ripped my heart and soul out of my body. This song is everything to me! If I could marry this song, I would. But of course I would marry DEAN too! In fact, I would fly to South Korea just to confess my love for him and ask him to marry me. His sexy voice, my goodness! Imagine waking up to that.
#1 Porter Robinson and Madeon – Shelter
Here we are finally. Best song of the year! This song just gives me all the feels. I’ve never been this obsessed with a song. It makes me feel emotions. Even though I hear melancholy in the song, it’s also hopeful. This song has the ability to tell a story without having to say many words. I can’t believe I would feel this way for an EDM song. No doubt, my favorite this year! The moment I planned this list, I knew i just have to put this song in the first place.
Honorable Mentions: Troye Sivan – Wild ft. Alessia Cara (listen), Hailee Steinfeld – Starving ft. Zedd (listen), BTS – Save Me (listen), Block B – Toy (listen), Alessia Cara – Wild Things (listen), Nick Jonas – Voodoo (listen), B.A.P – Skydive (listen), VIXX – Fantasy (listen), Zayn Malik and Taylor Swift – I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (listen), Melanie Martinez – Mrs. Potato Head (listen).
(Obviously, there are more than 20 songs on this list but to be fair, I combined Western, Korean, and Japanese music in one mega chart. Let me know what 2016 hits are your top favorite in the comments below. Happy First Day of 2017!)