Thursday, December 29, 2016

Twostepcubchart's Best of 2016: Part Nine - #20 to #11...






I'm almost through with this year's recap of the biggest hit songs on my weekly music chart, as I enter the top-20. You can click over to check out parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight, as well as the 25 that almost made it...

#20 - "All We Ever Knew" - The Head and the Heart
          from the album Signs Of Light (2016)
          Highest rank: #2 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 25 (still charting)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart
          Songwriters: Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, Charity Thielen, Chris Zasche, Kenny Hensley, Tyler Williams (The Head and the Heart)


The Seattle indie-folks outfit claim their biggest rock hit to date with this ethereal yet sing-along-ready reminiscence piece. The sunny side of regret, perhaps.

Killer lyrics: We've been here before,
                      Don't drag me through this again,
                      We tried everything under the sun...

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


#19 - "When We Were Young" - Adele
          from the album 25 (2015)
          Highest rank: #1 (five weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 20
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14
          Songwriter: Adele Adkins (Adele), Tobias Jesso Jr.


Adele returned in the biggest of ways at the end of last year, and while this second single from 25 just missed the American top ten on the pop chart, it was my favorite from the album, with the combination of bittersweet memories and current resolve ringing so real to my heart.

Killer lyrics: Let me photograph you in this light,
                     In case it is the last time,
                     That we might be exactly like we were,
                     Before we realized,
                     We were sad of getting old it made us restless...

#18 - "Don't Let Me Down" - The Chainsmokers featuring Daya 
          from the album Collage (2016)
          Highest rank: #5 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 28
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3
          Songwriters: Andrew Taggart (Chainsmokers), Emily Warren, Scott Harris


The bro-DJ duo's second top ten pop hit in America was their biggest of their three on my recap, and was the culmination of "trap music" infiltrating the mainstream (read "white") audiences. Pop singer Daya gives her best performance in this track basically built around the "drop".

Killer lyric: I think I'm losing my mind now,
                    It's in my head, darling I hope,
                    That you'll be here, when I need you the most...

#17 - "Brand New" - Ben Rector
          from the album Brand New (2015)
          Highest rank: #5 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 29
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #82
          Songwriters: Ben Rector, David Hodges, Abe Stoklasa


This Oklahoman took the "affable indie-pop singer/songwriter" spot (or the "Andy Grammer") on this year's countdown with this bouncy positive little ditty that just makes you smile. A lot. The videos help as well.

Killer lyric: I feel like a young John Cusack, like making big mistakes,
                    I feel like for the first time in a long time I am not afraid,
                    I feel like a kid, never thought it'd feel like this...

#16 - "Way Down We Go" - Kaleo
          from the album A/B (2016)
          Highest rank: #3 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 31 (still charting)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart, "bubbled under" at #118
          Songwriters: Daníel Ægir Kristjánsson, Davíð Antonsson, Jökull Júlíusson, Rubin Pollock (Kaleo)


Icelandic music isn't all just Bjork anymore, with Of Monsters and Men landing at #48 last year with "Crystals", and this year's breakthrough of the dark modern rock band from the southwestern town of Mosfellsbær, with this bluesy chant that slowly won fans in multiple radio formats. It's still doing that, finally reaching adult pop radio as we speak.

Killer lyric: You let your feet run wild,
                    Time has come as we all oh, go down,
                    Yeah but for the fall oh, my
                    Do you dare to look him right in the eyes?

#15 - "One Call Away" - Charlie Puth
          from the album Nine Track Mind (2016)
          Highest rank: #5 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 28
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12
          Songwriters: Charlie Puth, Justin Franks (DJ Frank E), Maureen McDonald (MoZella), Matt Prime, Breyan Isaac, Shy Carter


The young singer/songwriter from ritzy Rumson, New Jersey was on my year-end in 2015 with "Marvin Gaye" with Meghan Trainor, and this year at #51 with Selena Gomez on "We Don't Talk Anymore", but it was his solo turn on this bubblegum take on gospel music that landed him on my top 20.

Killer lyric: You and me can make it anywhere
                     For now we can stay here for a while,
                     'Cause you know I just wanna see you smile...

#14 - "Adventure Of A Lifetime" - Coldplay
          from the album A Head Full Of Dreams (2015)
          Highest rank: #3 (three weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 26 (was on for four weeks in 2015)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13
          Songwriters: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, & Will Champion (Coldplay), Mikkel Eriksen & Tor Erik Hermansen (Stargate)


Supposedly inspired by Chris Martin's short-lived post-uncoupling romance with Jennifer Lawrence, this single was the British band's most fun offering in quite a long time. Couple in a CGI redo on 2001 with a Beats Pill speaking filling in for the monolith, and you've got a party. And I can't get the "Tree Fall Down" background out of my head... (The band's "Hymn For The Weekend" was back at #22.)

Killer lyric: Turn your magic on, to me she'd say,
                    Everything you want's a dream away,
                    Under this pressure, under this weight,
                    We are diamonds taking shape...

#13 - "Heathens" - twenty-one pilots
          from the album Suicide Squad: The Album (Original Soundtrack) (2016)
          Highest rank: #1 (six weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 21 (still charting)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2
          Songwriter: Tyler Joseph (twenty-one pilots)


It was a risk for the modern rock duo, who came in at #30 on last year's list with "Tear In My Heart", to release this single from the dark comic book adaptation right during their peaks of their other two singles of this year (which will come later), but the song did better than the movie, becoming one of the biggest rock hits of the year, and actually drawing people to the film.

Killer lyrics: We don't deal with outsiders very well,
                      They say newcomers have a certain smell,
                      Yeah, I trust issues, not to mention,
                      They say they can smell your intentions...

#12 - "HandClap" - Fitz and the Tantrums
          from the album Fitz and the Tantrums (2016)
          Highest rank: #5 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 30 (still charting)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #63
          Songwriter: Sam Hollander


The funky modern rock band led by Michael Fitzpatrick, who looks like if Taran Killam and Nick Swardson had a baby, got bank already from this single from the incessant ads from Fiat, but he and Noelle and the band gave this farmed-out jam had enough attitude to slowly make this a legitimate pop hit.

Killer lyrics: My flesh is searchin' for your worst and best, don't ever deny,
                      I'm like a stranger, gimme me danger, all your wrongs and your rights,
                      Secrets on Broadway to the freeway, you're a keeper of crimes,
                      Fear no conviction, grapes of wrath can only sweeten your wine...

#11 - "First" - Cold War Kids
          from the album Hold My Home (2014)
          Highest rank (in 2016): #9 (one week) (peaked at #3 for four weeks in 2015)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 29 (was on for 20 weeks in 2015)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart, "bubbled under" at #105
          Songwriters: Nathan Willett, Matt Maust, Matthew Schwartz, Joe Plummer, Dann Gallucci (Cold War Kids)


Out of the three songs that made the top 100 in 2015 and this year, this did the best, landing at #25 last year and now almost reaching the top 10. It was unavoidable on rock radio, and its dreamy backdrop of angry lyrics was an enthralling mix.

Killer lyrics: Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth,
                     Heavy as a feather when, you hit the dirt,
                     How am I the lucky one?, I do not deserve,
                     To wait around forever when, you were there first...

Well, we've only got nine more songs to go until we reach the top of my year-end recap, and I'll roll them out tomorrow with two acts with two songs apiece in the top 10, as well as indie-folk stars, an animated summer anthem, and some Danish.

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