Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Twostepcubchart's Best of 2016: Part Eight - #30 to #21...

I'm heading higher up my countdown of the top 100 tunes from my weekly music chart for 2016, and as we enter the top-30, you can click to check out my recaps on parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven, as well as the 25 "also-rans"...

#30 - "Die A Happy Man" - Thomas Rhett
          from the album Tangled Up (2015)
          Highest rank: #20 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 26 (was on for five weeks in 2015)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #21
          Songwriters: Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas, Joe Spargur (Joe London)

Thomas Rhett, son of 90s country singer Rhett Akins, was on last year's list at #49 with "Make Me Wanna", and we saw him on yesterday's post at #36 with "T-Shirt", but it was this John Mayer-ish love song that made him claim the longest reigning #1 country airplay song of the year, spending six weeks at the summit. The track also became a respectably big pop hit as well, with its straightforward wooing words.

Killer lyric: If I never get to see the Northern Lights,
                   Or if I never get to see the Eiffel Tower at night,
                   Oh, if all I got is your hand in my hand,
                   Baby, I could die a happy man...

(Click below to see the rest of the post)

#29 - "Faded" - Alan Walker
          from the single release (2015)
          Highest rank: #17 (four weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 26
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #80
          Songwriters: Alan Walker, Jesper Borgen, Gunnar Greve, Anders Fr√łen (Mood Melodies)

The DJ/producer who was born in England but grew up in Norway reworked his 2014 instrumental single "Fade", which garnered over 200 million YouTube views, by adding vocals from the Ellie Goulding-ish Iselin Solheim and punched up the production and ended up with a massive international hit that ends up the biggest hit on my year-end recap that didn't reach the top 10 (though it spent half the year on the chart). The pulsing low-tempo EDM track was perfect for chilling out and "fading".

Killer lyric: These shallow waters never met,
                    What I needed I'm letting go,
                    A deeper dive,
                    Eternal silence of the sea...

#28 - "This Girl" - KUNGS vs. Cookin' On 3 Burners
          from the album Layers (2016)
          Highest rank: #3 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 31
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #26
          Songwriters: Jake Mason, Lance Ferguson, and Ivan Khatchoyan (Cookin' on 3 Burners)

Frenchman Valentin Brunel, who records under the moniker KUNGS, took another older record, in this case Australian trio Cookin' On 3 Burners' "This Girl", featuring vocals from Kylie Auldist, and amped up the horns and threw in a trop-house vibe and conquered the world. This year definitely was the year of the laid-back groove on the dancefloor, and this was the biggest proof of that.

Killer lyric: These presents don't really come for free,
                    Your paychecks don't mean that much to me,
                    Just take my hand and hold me tight,
                    You'll never buy my love...

#27 - "Dark Necessities" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
          from the album The Getaway (2016)
          Highest rank: #2 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 21
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #67
          Songwriter: Anthony Kiedes, Flea, Josh Klinghoffer, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Brian Burton (Danger Mouse)

The veteran alternative rock band came back with an epic trek into their deeper psyches for this funky excursion that topped the rock charts yet again. The pianos on the record are a welcome touch.

Killer lyric: Pick you up like a paperback,
                    With the track record of a maniac,
                   So I'm moving in and we unpack,
                    It's the same as yesterday...

#26 - "Trouble" - Cage The Elephant
          from the album Tell Me I'm Pretty (2015)
          Highest rank: #4 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 26 (still charting)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart
          Songwriters: Cage The Elephant, Dan Auerbach

The Kentucky-bred garage rockers, who were at #42 with "Mess Around", mellow out a little for this dreamy track that took them out west in the video.

Killer lyric: We will come to pass, will I pass the test?
                    You know what they say,
                    The wicked get no rest,
                    You can have my heart, any place, any time...

#25 - "Bored To Death" - blink-182
          from the album California (2016)
          Highest rank: #5 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 30
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #85
          Songwriters: Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, Mark Skiba (blink-182), John Feldmann

2016 was a good year for pop-punk bands from the 1990s heyday, with Green Day, the Peppers, and this band, who returned without UFO-seeking Tom Delonge and with Mark Skiba for their California album, and it's like they never left on this fist-pumping anthem for the youth (or those wishing they were).

Killer lyric: There's an echo pulling out the meaning,
                    Rescuing a nightmare from a dream,
                    The voices in my head are always screaming,
                    That none of this means anything to me...

#24 - "Spirits" - The Strumbellas
          from the album Hope (2016)
          Highest rank: #3 (two weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 27
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: did not chart, "bubbled under" at #109
          Songwriters: Simon Ward, David Ritter, Jon Hembrey, Izzy Ritchie, Darryl James, Jeremy Drury (The Strumbellas)

The Canadian indie-folk sextet graced the rock chart for months with this singalong chant that seems like a battle cry for some hipster army. Still very much fun for all.

Killer lyric: I'm just waiting for my day to come,
                   And I think oh, I don't wanna let you down,
                   'Cause something inside has changed,
                   And maybe we don't wanna stay the same...

#23 - "Let It Go" - James Bay
          from the album The Chaos and the Calm (2015)
          Highest rank: #4 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart (in 2016): 24 (was on for 9 weeks in 2015)
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #16
          Songwriters: James Bay, Paul Barry

Indie-pop singer/songwriter Bay, who landed at #23 on the year-end chart for 2015 with "Hold Back The River", matches that rank this time out with this delicate and yearning plea for peace in a relationship, even if it means ending it. Powerful.

Killer lyrics: But now we're sleeping at the edge,
                     Holding something we don't need,
                     All this delusion in our heads,
                     Is gonna bring us to our knees...

#22 - "Hymn For The Weekend" - Coldplay
          from the album A Head Full Of Dreams (2015)
          Highest rank: #10 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 32
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #25
          Songwriters: Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, Will Champion (Coldplay)

The British kings of modern rock scored a coup with a prominent (but uncredited) back-up vocal from Beyonce, who dons her Indian garb and appears in the colorful video that gives this white-boy party song a more dignified air.

Killer lyric: Life is a drink and love's a drug,
                   Oh now I think I must be miles up,
                   When I was a river dried up,
                   You came to rain a flood...

#21 - "This Is What You Came For" - Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna
          from the single release (2016)
          Highest rank: #4 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 29
          Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3
          Songwriters: Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift

Scottish DJ/producer Harris, who was at #59 on last year's list with "How Deep Is Your Love", and #87 with "Outside" (and almost making it at #124 with "Blame"), dominated the gossip rags with his dating Taylor Swift. That didn't last, but their union at least produced this trop-house influenced jam which connected Harris again with Rihanna, who he had "We Found Love" topping the charts for weeks back in 2011.

Killer lyric: Lightning, this is what you came for,
                    Lightning strikes every time she moves,
                   And everybody's watching her,
                   But she's looking at you...(such Taylor lyrics)

We're getting ever closer to the top of my year-end list... tomorrow I'll be back with a Jersey Boy phoning a friend, Icelandic descendants, tobacco-sized barbiturates, and more.

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