Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The 2016-40: No.40-31

40. Glorious - Måns Zelmerlöw.

It was indeed a "glorious" 2016 for the 2015 Eurovision winner.  Måns returned to the Eurovision stage as co-presenter with Petra Mede in Stockholm.  Their presentation raised the bar so high that they will probably never be topped.  He also had a massive hit in France with the French version of "Should've Gone Home" and released a new album "Chameleon".  We don't often get big pop bangers from Måns these days so this was a little treat.  It's a shame that he doesn't do much uptempo pop these days.

39. All In The Name – Bright Light Bright Light feat Elton John.

A very catchy and appealing pop song featuring a guest appearance from Sir Elton.  Sadly, there no longer seems to be space in the charts or the radio for quality pop music as we know it, so if I hadn't discovered it through a Twitter recommendation then I wouldn't have heard it at all.  

38.  Love Manifest – SunSay.

During what seemed like an interminable national final/selection process in Ukraine - which was obviously worthwhile, given Jamala's eventual ESC win - this rather strange little song grabbed my attention.  Do you ever get songs where you wonder why you like them, but you just do?  This is like that.  It doesn't have any melodic qualities, it's minimal, it feels as if he's just making it up as he goes along, and there isn't much more to it than "love, love, love is the only way".  But for some strange reason, I like it.  

37. Kizunguzungu – SaRaha.

Sara Larsson - not to be confused with Zara Larsson - made her Melfest debut in 2016 with this song which brought the ultimate feelgood factor.  Ridiculously catchy, although admittedly with more than a whiff of "Waka Waka" about it, "Kizunguzungu"made it to the final (via Andra Chansen) and placed 9th.  

36. To Stjerner – Muri and Mario.

I didn't really enjoy DMGP this year, but that was probably more to do with a lot of other distractions around that time I guess.  The main battle was between fan favourites "Never Alone" by Anja Nissen and "Heart-Shaped Hole" by Simone, but if I might just bring an #unpopularopinion here, I didn't really like any of these two songs.  There was a shock winner of course - "Soldiers of Love" by now-defunct 'man band' Lighthouse X, which attracted much criticism from the fan community after it was selected to represent Denmark.  My own DMGP fave this year was this lightweight synth-pop song which I liked in spite of those annoying vocal effects at the beginning of the song....!

35.  Lieblingsmensch – Namika.

Now here's one of those annual little chart-anomalies: a song released the previous year but which only came to my attention in 2016.  This is a bright and breezy, happy and uplifting song, which seemed to provide a bit of light during the darkness of an otherwise horrible year. 

34.   The Real Thing - Highway.

Every year in ESC there are some songs which you don't really bother about until the contest itself and then they start to grow on you thanks to a performance which completely elevates the song.  In 2016 this was one of them.  Despite poor lyrics and not much of a tune, the band from Montenegro performed the hell out of this.  The live version was much better than the recorded one, the vocals and harmonies were spot-on, and the staging was just perfect for this energetic rock number.  And that riff still kicks ass.  

33.  LoveWave – Iveta Mukuchyan.

This has something in common with no. 34 in my chart as I never really rated it before the contest and couldn't understand its appeal.  That was until the semi-final, when Iveta absolutely blew everyone away with her performance.  "Lovewave" epitomises how to get it right in the modern-day Eurovision Song Contest:  take a strong singer who is also a visually stunning and confident performer, add some terrific camera work, some very effective staging and visual effects and voila! There it is.  Armenia "gets" Eurovision and I can see them winning the contest sooner rather than later. 

32. Anlatamiyorum – Mor ve Ötesi.

One of the few musical bright spots of 2016 was the return of my favourite Turkish band, who celebrated their 20th anniversary.  No new album to celebrate, however there was a retrospective release covering 1996-2004.  We did get two new songs though and this is the first of them: a piano-driven piano ballad.  The second song will appear later in my chart.... 

31.  Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots

I knew nothing about this band until this song popped up earlier in the year.  A catchy atmospheric pop with an absolute killer chorus.  This was one of the very few 'top 40' songs which I could be bothered with in 2016.    

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