Top 10 Tracks of 2016

top-10

Happy New Year! In this special New Years Day edition of the Sunday 5elect I have included my top ten tracks of 2016. These rankings are not based on anything but my subjective experiences with each song over the last year, and are not meant to be rankings of “the best written songs”, “the most talented artists”, “the songs that had the most impact on the EDM scene” or anything else that broad. These are songs that caught my attention when I first heard them and I came to love through experiences that ranged from headphone listening, to pregaming in a London flat, to live at a music festival with hundreds of other fans. The only two hard requirements for this list were that the song be released in 2016, and that it be freely available on Soundcloud. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I have.

1. Flume – Say It ft. Tove Lo

Flume’s album Skin contained multiple electronica-pop crossovers that earned unparalleled praise and admiration from the electronic community and mainstream listeners alike. This speaks to the track’s flawless, unique, and ultimately very Flume production style and songwriting ability. Grinding, rolling synths form both the percussion and melody of the track while Tove Lo’s sensual vocals fly above and interplay with the rest of the meticulously crafted soundscape. This was an easy pick for #1.

2. Porter Robinson & Madeon – Shelter

This monster, one-time surprise collaboration between legends is like candy to the ears. Unrelentingly energetic and positive, this progressive house masterpiece showcases elements of each artists’ unique style while seamlessly blending them together. The Shelter US tour was said to be one of the best live music experiences ever, and its music video is a miniature cinematic anime experience. I think that what propelled this song to greatness is its exuberant positivity and great vibes.

 

3. Ty Dolla $ign – Blasé (Louis The Child Remix)

For me this song means hilarious pregames with cheap liquor in a London basement flat, and I love it for that. Swag lyrics and rumbling bass get everyone singing along before the drop brings the beat to a screeching halt and you have no choice but to turn up. Louis The Child had a great year with a couple of high-quality original tracks like “Weekend” and “Fire”, but this remix is special to me.

4. Flume – Say It ft. Tove Lo (Illenium Remix)

Illenium is one of the all-around greatest electronic artists out there right now. His 2016 debut LP Ashes was a massive hit with emotionally intense vibes paired with beautiful musicality, his live show I witnessed at Red Rocks was a work of art, and he has put out several massive remixes in the last two years alone. None of those mixes stood out to me as much as his take on “Say It”. Doing ample justice to the vibes of the original, Illenium adds his signature rolling bass touch to the chorus with rapid, hard hitting synth chords intertwined with Tove Lo’s emphatic lyrics and iconic vocal riffs. This track is a perfect upbeat party alternative to the original.

5. RUFUS DU SOL – Innerbloom (What So Not Remix)

“Innerbloom” was a beautifully crafted gem of its own before What So Not came around and turned it into a thumping party track that defined my spring. RUFUS DU SOL’s haunting lyrics and horn-like synths echo in the forefront of the track while What So Not rapidly builds up the energy in the background with a crescendo of bass and percussion that explodes into an iconic chorus. This song dabbles with the best elements of downtempo and uptempo future-bass and pulls it off perfectly.

6. Manila Killa – Youth (feat. Satica)

The artist community surrounding Manila Killa and the label Moving Castle is one of the most heartwarming things in the electronic music scene. Established artists like Jai Wolf interact with up-and comers like Manila Killa or Chet Porter in a way that gives off the vibe of a bunch of best friends hanging out and making fun music together. This song embodies that carefree but get-shit-done attitude. Happy instrumental vibes pair with melancholy, longing lyrics that are sung in a way that gives a dismissive signal to the problems of the past and turns a bright eye toward the future.

7. Dillon Francis & NGHTMRE – Need You

I’ve been to two of Dillon Francis’s shows and both were the most turn-up, fun experiences of my life. I think Dillon’s personal brand and music interact to create this intense but hilarious vibe, and it’s a bit of absurdity that we all need in our life. NGHTMRE is one of the heavier artists on the scene right now and his presence is heavily felt in this track. His touch gives the drop the “oomph” it needs to hit you just right. This song has complemented some of the most rewarding parties and workouts of my 2016.

8. kali uchis – ridin round ft. tory lanez (oshi redo)

Honestly how could I not include this song in my list. Oshi’s vocal filters and unorthodox production style combine to create an unnervingly unique but undeniably catchy tune that you can’t help singing along to while you’re ridin’ around your city with the top down. The beat may always feel like it’s a half-step off, but it’s always right where you need it to be.

9. Speaker of the House – Redwood

Speaker of the House’s melodic vibes speak to my calmer side. This track toes the line between chill and upbeat, and does so perfectly. The bass bounces, the vocal chops soothe, and the guitar riff gives the track a natural vibe that can’t be perfectly replicated by a synth. In this track, it’s the little things. How the vocal chops interplay with the rolling synth riffs. How the bass flits around the lower register of the track but never overwhelms. How there’s the occasional touch of a synth that sounds like it’s emanating from a wooden xylophone. This track puts me in the zone to just relax and enjoy the beauty that life has to offer.

10. FRENSHIP – Capsize

This song does not fit in with the electronica vibe of the rest of the playlist, but believe it or not my musical roots can trace themselves back to poppy alt-rock (shoutout to LIGHTS). When I first heard this song it tapped right into those roots and I felt a rush of euphoria. Smooth production, a fantastic male-female vocal duo and fun guitar riffs combine to make this song a cleverly crafted feel-good track that is perfect for any setting.

Galantis – No Money (Dillon Francis Remix)

Two Dillon Francis songs in one month is an unbelievable treat. This time our favorite DJ takes on Galantis’ catchy single “No Money” and twists it into a hard EDM banger. If at first you don’t appreciate it, find some louder speakers with a bit more bass. The fun is in the energy and the fact that this track is bound to get everyone going wild on the dancefloor. Enjoy below.

Dillon Francis & NGHTMRE – Need You

Master of Moombahton Dillon Francis has teamed up with one of my favorite producers, NGHTMRE, to create a hard-hitting banger. What I like about it most (besides the insane drop) is how it seamlessly incorporates elements of many different strands of EDM under one roof. Obviously there’s the Caribbean-influenced moombahton beat and vocal sample, but also light synths during the verses that wouldn’t sound out of place in a progressive house song. Then, the drop. Somewhere in between an underground trap song and a Skrillex-y dubstep track. Altogether an extremely impressive track that will rock dance floors across the country this summer. Enjoy below.

Disclosure – Omen (Dillon Francis Remix)

Dillon rocked one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen this summer, and he definitely knows how to turn up. However, it’s nice to see that he can rock the future-bass side of electronica just as well as the festival EDM. Smooth, creative and apparently his favorite song to produce since “Coming Over,” this remix hits the right balance between chill and dancehall anthem. Enjoy below.

Who’s Who – Not So Dirty (Chainsmokers and Jenaux Remake)

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s even possible for the Chainsmokers to release a bad track anymore. They’ve had a large role in defining my favorite songs of the summer (think Roses, Good Intentions, Waterbed), and now they release their biggest banger yet. Delving deep into the realm of intense dancehall EDM bordering on moombahton, the Chainsmokers team up with Jenaux to go for the all-out rager on this one rather than their typical chill-electronica sound. This song is best for the peak of a party, or if you need to turn up as quickly as possible at the end of a pregame. Enjoy below.

P.S. – Check out the “Fun Facts” at the bottom of the song’s Soundcloud description. I respect Zedd for the flip cup prowess, but I’m more of a BP kinda guy.

Septremor

And we’re back. School’s in full swing, and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling some tectonic shifts in my lifestyle, self-perception, and goals. Luckily, my taste in music hasn’t changed. The past few weeks have provided us with a virtual treasure trove of great songs and it was difficult to narrow it down to only 53. Regardless, cuts had to be made and we’re left with only the best. If someone ever asks you “What type of music does Seamus listen to?” just play them the first 20 songs of this playlist because it’s pretty much the perfect sample with appearances from artists as diverse as Kiiara, GRiZ, and NGHTMRE. After that I took it down several notches with the energy’s nadir occurring somewhere in between Kygo’s two Piano Jams. With a few acoustic indie songs as a bridge to bring us back up to normal energy levels, I attempt a return back to an energetic, yet slightly alternative peak with a flavor of deep house courtesy of Slaptop. The rest of the playlist is a bit of a hodgepodge of random songs that I couldn’t truly make flow but was not willing to cut out of the playlist because I like each of them very much individually. Be ready for a few mood swings along this journey. Enjoy below.

Madeon – Imperium (Dillon Francis Remix)

Ever since seeing Dillon Francis live I actually haven’t been able to get enough. The moombahton master just dropped a remix of Madeon’s “Imperium” and the result is a hard-hitting, almost dubsteppy, track that is reminiscent of one of Skrillex’s calmer songs. Enjoy the track below and make sure to see him live if you have the chance.