Jake’s Take: The Top 16 Songs of 2016

It is hard to believe that in just a few short days, the roller coaster year known as 2016 will wrap up.

To commemorate the end of 2016, here are 16 of the best tracks that were released this year.

(Album cover property of Warner Bros. Records)

#16: “Sleepover” by Kaya Stewart

16-year-old Kaya Stewart kicks off our countdown! “Sleepover” is a fiery pop rock tune that has flared across numerous media outlets and on YouTube. While she may be the daughter of legendary musician David A. Stewart, Kaya showcases through her excellent voice and songwriting that she has potential to rock the Top 40 charts in the future.

High Valley Dear Life

(Album cover property of Warner Music Nashville)

#15: “Dear Life” by High Valley

High Valley may be one of country music’s brightest rising stars! Earlier this fall, brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel released their debut album on the Warner Music Nashville and Atlantic record labels. The song’s catchy lyrics and infectious positive message helped propel their album to number 14 on the Top Country Albums iTunes chart.  I predict big things for the Rempel Brothers in the future.

#14: “Just Like Fire” by Pink

Alice Through the Looking Glass may have faltered at the box office, but pop rocker Pink’s “Just Like Fire” soared above the fray and peaked at number one spot on three Billboard charts. Co-written with uber hit makers Max Martin, Shellback, and Oscar Holter, “Just Like Fire” empowers the listener to take a wrecking ball to their doubters and haters.

#13: “Do You Wanna Come Over?” by Britney Spears

If Britney Spears personally asked me that question, I would say: “Yes!” During the twilight of the summer, the Las Vegas headliner released her first album since 2013’s disappointing Britney Jean. One of Ms. Spears’ best tracks on the album was the promiscuous “Do You Wanna Come Over?” Penned by two blazing songwriting and production teams: Mattman and Robin and Justin Trainer and Julia Michaels, “Do You Wanna Come Over?” is a track that is good go-to song if you are feeling kinky!

#12: “Left Right Left” by Charlie Puth

The YouTube singer-songwriter broke through numerous barriers this year. His debut album, Left Right Left, placed in the Top 10 on 12 international music charts and appeared as Alicia Keys’ Battle Rounds Advisor on this past season of The Voice. One song that helped him score additional success was the inspirational “Left Right Left.” Written by Puth, Geoffrey Earley, Paris Jones, Marc Griffin and produced by DJ Frank E, “Left Right Left” is an impeccable track that will pick any listener suffering through a dark spot in their life and gives them to strength to overcome any obstacle in their way.

 

(Album cover property of RCA Records)

#11: “Telepathy” by Christina Aguilera featuring Nile Rodgers

One of Netflix’s biggest hits was the musical drama series: The Get Down. The Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis-created drama transported fans back to 1977 South Bronx, where disco was winding down and the seeds of hip-hop and rap were about ready to sprout. “Telepathy” was amongst the songs featured in the historical drama soundtrack and it turned out to be a hit single for Christina Aguilera and music industry veteran Nile Rodgers. Written by longtime Aguilera collaborator Sia Furler and uber producers Stargate, The Voice coach and the Chic front man fired all cylinders and left listeners with a performance that found itself at the top of Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart last month.

#10: “Outside Your Door” by Dolly Parton

The Queen of Country Music released her record breaking 43rd solo studio album, Pure & Simple, this past summer.  Ms. Parton stated exclusively to Jake’s Take that Pure & Simple was an album filled of “love songs.” One of my favorite tracks was “Outside Your Door.” Anyone who has been in love can relate to this song. I liked that Dolly finally gave introverts a chance to get out of their shell and reveal their true feelings on love.

Elton John Wonderful Crazy Night

(Album cover property of Mercury Records)

#9: “Wonderful Crazy Night” by Sir Elton John

In 2017, Sir Elton John will celebrate his 70th birthday! One year before this huge milestone, the Grammy, Tony, and Oscar-winning singer released his 32nd studio album, which featured all new pieces from his legendary songwriting partner: Mr. Bernie Taupin. The title track is one of the best piece of Elton ear candy I ate in six years. From Mr. Taupin’s superb lyrics to Elton’s outstanding piano solo, “Wonderful Crazy Night” will put a smile on listener’s faces and put them dance in their seats.

#8: “The Greatest” by Sia featuring Kendrick Lamar

Sia had a very strong 2016. This is Acting topped 24 international music charts and was nominated for three Grammy Awards. From “Bird Set Free” to “Cheap Thrills,” Sia’s songs have always left a mark on the music world and “The Greatest” takes the cake. Co-written with longtime collaborator Greg Kurstin and rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose freestyle solo remains one of 2016’s best rap cameos in a pop song, many media outlets speculate that “The Greatest” honors the memory of the 49 victims of the PULSE Nightclub massacre.  In addition to her music video’s 291 million views on YouTube, “The Greatest” peaked at number one on eight international music charts.

#7: “Ugly” by Fantasia

When the American Idol winner debuted her single, “Ugly,” during the FOX’s singing competition’s series finale, I immediately fell in love with the track.  The Audra Mae and Nicolle Galyon-penned track perfectly blended both R&B/Soul and hints of country music together for a brilliant song that showed off Fantasia’s velvet voice.

#6: “One of Those Days” by Little Big Town

Earlier this year, Little Big Town took a big detour with their sound when they collaborated with Pharrell Williams on the heavily pop/R&B influenced album: Wanderlust. The first single off their album was “One of Those Days.” I instantly had a permanent grin on my face while listening to this tune. While I know that this was just a temporary detour in their sound, but I  hope that this song is added into their set list in the future.

#5: “Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” by David Bowie

It is hard to believe that next month we hit the one year anniversary month of David Bowie’s passing. It was difficult to pick out which song from his opus, Blackstar, that would make it to the countdown. However, after careful consideration, I chose “’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore.” While non-educated music listeners might call this song: “a hodge podge mess,” I believe that Bowie brilliantly combined the obscured avant garde jazz with a rock beat that made this tune a surprisingly smash. ‘Tis a Pity, we lost him this year.

Zedd & Kesha True Colors

(Album artwork property of Interscope, Kemosabe & RCA Records)

#4: “True Colors” by Zedd & Kesha

One of the biggest legal battles that took the music world by storm was Kesha’s war against her mentor: Dr. Luke. Fans were outraged to learn that the music producer who wrote hits for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Kelly Clarkson groped his protégé and that the New York Superior Court would not decimate her contract with Luke and Sony Music Entertainment. Among the artists that stepped up to help included Zedd, who stated that he was ready to record with her. Zedd & Kesha’s collaboration on his single, “True Colors,” was epic to say the least. Kesha unloaded her frustrations on this debacle with fiery dance track that peaked at number eight on the U.S. iTunes chart.

 

Alexander Jean Head High EP

(Album cover property of Alexander Jean Music)

#3: “Head High” by Alexander Jean

Earlier this year, Mark Ballas and his wife, BC Jean Ballas, released their first EP: Head High. I had the privilege of interviewing them earlier this year and through our conversation, I learned how dedicated they were to their craft. One of their best tracks on their EP was the title track. “Head High” blends pop, singer-songwriter, and gospel elements together that created an inspirational track that should have reached the Top 40 radio charts. I am looking forward to hearing Mark and BC’s next musical offering.

 

(Photo property of Image Group LA/Getty Images)

#2: “Daddy Lessons (CMAs)” by Beyonce & The Dixie Chicks

One of the biggest collaborations that happened this year was when Beyonce collaborated with the Dixie Chicks at the 50th Country Music Association Awards on the international superstar’s hit from Lemonade: “Daddy Lessons.” Seeing Beyonce and Natalie Maines trading verses on the Americana/country song lifted my spirits and their on-point harmonies between all four women was out of this world. I was so glad that both artists released a digital version of the collaboration, because it is on all my playlists.  Congratulations, Beyonce and The Dixie Chicks, you had the best team-up performance in 2016!

 

Justin Timberlake Can't Stop The Feeling

This dance track might win a Grammy! (Album cover property of DreamWorks Animated LLC & RCA Records)

#1: “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” by Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake takes the top spot in the 2016 Top 16 Songs countdown! The “Drink You Away” singer co-penned this tune with former *NSYNC hit maker Max Martin and Martin’s protégé: Shellback for the Trolls: Original Music Soundtrack. “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” was a disco pop jam that ignited the excitement for the movie, topped over 30 international music charts, and made everyone get up in dance. Currently, the track received two nominations: The Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media. I hope that JT will be dropping an album in 2017!

I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this article. They belong to the artists and their respective record labels.

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar