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the interns’ 30 Best Songs Of 2016 (So Far)

Written By the interns on 07/06/2016

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Broods_20

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Broods – Free

The first time I heard Georgia Nott’s voice, it took me somewhere else. It’s elemental, and somewhat unreal. Bless the genetics that created her. I was somewhat disappointed to hear that Broods had shed the indie skin and slithered down the commercial pop route, but that disappointment was unfounded. Free is the kind of Shazam-able track that will crawl into your mind for hours, until it finally leaves in time for you to hear it on the radio again and repeat the process. As an act, they’re more exciting than their NZ predecessor Kimbra, and just different enough to cast a separate shadow to eastern queen Lorde. Free is definitely the standout on their album, and I’d almost put up with hearing Kyle and Jackie O’s brainless banter just to catch this one on the radio (but I don’t have to, TYVM Spotify). – Sean Singh

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Kendrick_19

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Kendrick Lamar – Untitled 07

Untitled 07 comes from a B-sides, well hardly a B-sides- but a follow-up to Kendrick Lamar‘s world-beating To Pimp A Butterfly. He is reaching new heights and poise, unrelenting aggression in his rapping and a restful outlook, in what Drake would call knowing yourself. It’s a short yet memorable track, simple in structure and able to host these two conflicting sides in full flight on a swollen G-funk beat. He kicks it off by listing material things that won’t get you high and lulling you with his meditative whispering “levitate, levitate levitate”, before flipping the track to let his brag prowess take over. “Shut your fucking mouth and get some cash you biiiiich”. You’d think that crown will be out of anyone’s reach for some time to come. – Ben Manassah

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Beyonce_18

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Beyoncé – All Night

“Saw the truth beneath your lies,” Beyoncé opens All Night with, the only song off Lemonade that truly offer forgiveness to Jay Z. The whole of Lemonade runs through the motions on anger, sadness and freedom, but All Night is the heartwarming resolution sitting at the end of the storm. She doesn’t excuse Jay’s behaviour nor does she completely offer her trust. Instead, she gives a commitment to try and to work hard. All this unfolds over organic, soulful production with Diplo exploring sonic pockets that he never has before. Peppered with horns, All Night brings the record to a triumphant close. Bey once again sounds sexy and sensual after the heart-shattering lows of Sandcastles and there’s never anything more goosebump-inducing than a big finale. – Sam Murphy

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JorjaSmith_17

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Jorja Smith – Blue Lights

It’s rare but every so often a new artist pops out a debut that instantly establishes them as an artist and puts a stamp on the industry. Jorja Smith’s debut Blue Lights does exactly that showcasing all her strengths in an instant. The track harnesses the same sort of vibes that were perfected on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, with her ability to flick between her raspy singing tone and her British rap tone extraordinary. From its nods to Dizzee Rascal and Mobb Deep to its mention of Apple’s “default white headphone”, Blue Lights is a strikingly vivid piece of imagery by an exciting, astute songwriter. – Sam Murphy

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MuraMasa_16

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Mura Masa – What If I Go (Feat. Bonzai)

Mura Masa is undoubtedly having a breakout year, and What If I Go encapsulates his fun, boppy, electro style perfectly. The Guernsey-hailing producer and multi-instrumentalist is only 20; but the tunes he’s churned out so far have the polish of a much older musician. Like his other singles, Mura Masa is able to seamlessly and perfectly splice a beautiful set of vocals (this time by Bonzai) into his fairly minimalist mix. The result is a light, bright track that feels airy in some places but when he brings in more of a heavy synth line there’s some real bite to it. Contrasting these two textures is absolute genius, and What If I Go with it’s tropical vibes is a summer tune if ever there was one. – Zanda Wilson

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Mitski_15

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Mitski – Your Best American Girl

This is the best release of the year, in my opinion. The whole of Mitski‘s Puberty 2 is also excellent but this song in particular is just everything good song writing is. It’s telling a narrative of cultural difference and acceptance, and its telling it calmly over angry guitars and an angst filled vocal. It’s also provided me with my favourite lyric in a long time: “You’re the one, you’re all I ever wanted, I think I’ll regret this.” The song musically almost reflects the story. The feedback on the guitar in the chorus screams the realisations that she is good enough, despite her lovers thinking otherwise which is only due to a cultural difference. Music as real and raw as this deserves attention. – Jack Cain

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Tourist_14

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Tourist – Run

In a time where dance music is littered with the same old generic junk, what Tourist has done so far in such a short time is rather remarkable. I say so far, because his star is still very much on the rise. I think it’s safe to assume that Tourist is one of the very few newbies to the world of dance and electronic music that you can have full faith in having a lasting presence. His debut album U is easily one of the year’s best, and quite possibly one of the most solid debut’s we have both seen and heard in a long time. Tourist sets himself a part from the pack with his ability to etch emotion into a genre that for some, will be blatantly written off. Listening to Run, it’s hard to ignore that even though it’s a dance beat, there is this real personal element behind it. Run is rather unique in a sense that it has the ability to talk to the listener while using few very words. It’s an excellent listen and a perfect dance tune but it’s story speaks the loudest. – Harrison Kefford

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Drake_13

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Drake – One Dance

Flashback to a year ago and I never thought I’d be writing about a Drake song I thoroughly enjoyed. Drake was always one of those artists that the R&B/Hip-Hop cool kids were fans of, so I balked at the popularity of Hotline Bling… initially. Flash forward and I’m on a bus listening to Views from start to finish for the umpteenth time and I’m wondering who the fuck I am. There’s not a lot that can be expressed in words about One Dance that can’t be surmised in the fact that it’s one of those songs that gets interminable stuck in your head but you don’t hate it for doing so. A good mate of mine has a tendency to hum a song for weeks on end – and normally it shits me; but every time he hums One Dance I don’t even care. Surely this is just about the most catchy song, and one of the biggest anthems of 2016 – and I won’t even hesitate to guarantee you that this will be in our top songs once again come the end of the year. It’s so smooth, there’s a lot much to love in that syncopated piano and tinged tropical beat-vibe – and if anyone hadn’t heard of Kyla then they do now. – Zanda Wilson

Listen here.

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Skepta – Man (Gang)

Grime is an insanely divisive genre. Its fans are often introspective, so it was treated as a massive blow to the proudly underground scene when Skepta started fucking with the likes of Kanye and Drake. But Man is a track that shouldn’t be owned by any one community, it’s just too good. Oddly enough, it began on triple j, when Skep laid down a freestyle on his Australian tour earlier this year. Some months later, we got the clean cut. It’s ruthlessly independent. He spits on his life as it is– none of the cash money bullshit that inescapably permeates mainstream rappers, it’s true grime to the core. It’s a track that made a generation of 18 year old white kids from Australia speak (with total lack of self-awareness) as though they were Tottenham originals. And not only is it written and entirely produced by Skepta, it samples Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a kind of physicality to Skepta’s narrative that keeps you hooked, and you can be sure that Man will make not just the halfway hitlist, but also the 2016 year-end roundup. – Sean Singh

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Lido_11

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Lido – Crazy

So far Lido is yet to take a wrong step in his career, producing and remixing some of the biggest names this past year whilst still churning out his own musical gold. Crazy was the perfect single to lead with ahead of his highly anticipated debut album (WHICH IS DROPPING WHEN PEDER?) Crazy features about two sentences worth of lyrical content that are repeated often which should make the song repetitive and annoying but instead Lido manages to create 3:52 of pure fire. From the expertly produced beats to the punchy synths and the catchy as all hell horns…it seems that Lido has all bases covered. His musicality does not go unnoticed throughout and if this is what we can expect in the future, then surely 2016 will be the year that he breaks out of the shadows and into the stratosphere of Beiber-like stardom. – Meshell Webb

See numbers 10 to 1.

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Broods_20

Broods – Free

The first time I heard Georgia Nott’s voice, it took me somewhere else. It’s elemental, and somewhat unreal. Bless the genetics that created her. I was somewhat disappointed to hear that Broods had shed the indie skin and slithered down the commercial pop route, but that disappointment was unfounded. Free is the kind of Shazam-able track that will crawl into your mind for hours, until it finally leaves in time for you to hear it on the radio again and repeat the process. As an act, they’re more exciting than their NZ predecessor Kimbra, and just different enough to cast a separate shadow to eastern queen Lorde. Free is definitely the standout on their album, and I’d almost put up with hearing Kyle and Jackie O’s brainless banter just to catch this one on the radio (but I don’t have to, TYVM Spotify). – Sean Singh

Kendrick_19

Kendrick Lamar – Untitled 07

Untitled 07 comes from a B-sides, well hardly a B-sides- but a follow-up to Kendrick Lamar‘s world-beating To Pimp A Butterfly. He is reaching new heights and poise, unrelenting aggression in his rapping and a restful outlook, in what Drake would call knowing yourself. It’s a short yet memorable track, simple in structure and able to host these two conflicting sides in full flight on a swollen G-funk beat. He kicks it off by listing material things that won’t get you high and lulling you with his meditative whispering “levitate, levitate levitate”, before flipping the track to let his brag prowess take over. “Shut your fucking mouth and get some cash you biiiiich”. You’d think that crown will be out of anyone’s reach for some time to come. – Ben Manassah

Beyonce_18

Beyoncé – All Night

“Saw the truth beneath your lies,” Beyoncé opens All Night with, the only song off Lemonade that truly offer forgiveness to Jay Z. The whole of Lemonade runs through the motions on anger, sadness and freedom, but All Night is the heartwarming resolution sitting at the end of the storm. She doesn’t excuse Jay’s behaviour nor does she completely offer her trust. Instead, she gives a commitment to try and to work hard. All this unfolds over organic, soulful production with Diplo exploring sonic pockets that he never has before. Peppered with horns, All Night brings the record to a triumphant close. Bey once again sounds sexy and sensual after the heart-shattering lows of Sandcastles and there’s never anything more goosebump-inducing than a big finale. – Sam Murphy

JorjaSmith

Jorja Smith – Blue Lights

It’s rare but every so often a new artist pops out a debut that instantly establishes them as an artist and puts a stamp on the industry. Jorja Smith’s debut Blue Lights does exactly that showcasing all her strengths in an instant. The track harnesses the same sort of vibes that were perfected on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, with her ability to flick between her raspy singing tone and her British rap tone extraordinary. From its nods to Dizzee Rascal and Mobb Deep to its mention of Apple’s “default white headphone”, Blue Lights is a strikingly vivid piece of imagery by an exciting, astute songwriter. – Sam Murphy

MuraMasa

Mura Masa – What If I Go (Feat. Bonzai)

Mura Masa is undoubtedly having a breakout year, and What If I Go encapsulates his fun, boppy, electro style perfectly. The Guernsey-hailing producer and multi-instrumentalist is only 20; but the tunes he’s churned out so far have the polish of a much older musician. Like his other singles, Mura Masa is able to seamlessly and perfectly splice a beautiful set of vocals (this time by Bonzai) into his fairly minimalist mix. The result is a light, bright track that feels airy in some places but when he brings in more of a heavy synth line there’s some real bite to it. Contrasting these two textures is absolute genius, and What If I Go with it’s tropical vibes is a summer tune if ever there was one. – Zanda Wilson

Mitski_15

Mitski – Your Best American Girl

This is the best release of the year, in my opinion. The whole of Mitski‘s Puberty 2 is also excellent but this song in particular is just everything good song writing is. It’s telling a narrative of cultural difference and acceptance, and its telling it calmly over angry guitars and an angst filled vocal. It’s also provided me with my favourite lyric in a long time: “You’re the one, you’re all I ever wanted, I think I’ll regret this.” The song musically almost reflects the story. The feedback on the guitar in the chorus screams the realisations that she is good enough, despite her lovers thinking otherwise which is only due to a cultural difference. Music as real and raw as this deserves attention. – Jack Cain

Tourist_14

Tourist – Run

In a time where dance music is littered with the same old generic junk, what Tourist has done so far in such a short time is rather remarkable. I say so far, because his star is still very much on the rise. I think it’s safe to assume that Tourist is one of the very few newbies to the world of dance and electronic music that you can have full faith in having a lasting presence. His debut album U is easily one of the year’s best, and quite possibly one of the most solid debut’s we have both seen and heard in a long time. Tourist sets himself a part from the pack with his ability to etch emotion into a genre that for some, will be blatantly written off. Listening to Run, it’s hard to ignore that even though it’s a dance beat, there is this real personal element behind it. Run is rather unique in a sense that it has the ability to talk to the listener while using few very words. It’s an excellent listen and a perfect dance tune but it’s story speaks the loudest. – Harrison Kefford

Drake_13

Drake – One Dance

Flashback to a year ago and I never thought I’d be writing about a Drake song I thoroughly enjoyed. Drake was always one of those artists that the R&B/Hip-Hop cool kids were fans of, so I balked at the popularity of Hotline Bling… initially. Flash forward and I’m on a bus listening to Views from start to finish for the umpteenth time and I’m wondering who the fuck I am. There’s not a lot that can be expressed in words about One Dance that can’t be surmised in the fact that it’s one of those songs that gets interminable stuck in your head but you don’t hate it for doing so. A good mate of mine has a tendency to hum a song for weeks on end – and normally it shits me; but every time he hums One Dance I don’t even care. Surely this is just about the most catchy song, and one of the biggest anthems of 2016 – and I won’t even hesitate to guarantee you that this will be in our top songs once again come the end of the year. It’s so smooth, there’s a lot much to love in that syncopated piano and tinged tropical beat-vibe – and if anyone hadn’t heard of Kyla then they do now. – Zanda Wilson

Listen here.

Skepta_12

Skepta – Man (Gang)

Grime is an insanely divisive genre. Its fans are often introspective, so it was treated as a massive blow to the proudly underground scene when Skepta started fucking with the likes of Kanye and Drake. But Man is a track that shouldn’t be owned by any one community, it’s just too good. Oddly enough, it began on triple j, when Skep laid down a freestyle on his Australian tour earlier this year. Some months later, we got the clean cut. It’s ruthlessly independent. He spits on his life as it is– none of the cash money bullshit that inescapably permeates mainstream rappers, it’s true grime to the core. It’s a track that made a generation of 18 year old white kids from Australia speak (with total lack of self-awareness) as though they were Tottenham originals. And not only is it written and entirely produced by Skepta, it samples Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a kind of physicality to Skepta’s narrative that keeps you hooked, and you can be sure that Man will make not just the halfway hitlist, but also the 2016 year-end roundup. – Sean Singh

Lido_11

Lido – Crazy

So far Lido is yet to take a wrong step in his career, producing and remixing some of the biggest names this past year whilst still churning out his own musical gold. Crazy was the perfect single to lead with ahead of his highly anticipated debut album (WHICH IS DROPPING WHEN PEDER?) Crazy features about two sentences worth of lyrical content that are repeated often which should make the song repetitive and annoying but instead Lido manages to create 3:52 of pure fire. From the expertly produced beats to the punchy synths and the catchy as all hell horns…it seems that Lido has all bases covered. His musicality does not go unnoticed throughout and if this is what we can expect in the future, then surely 2016 will be the year that he breaks out of the shadows and into the stratosphere of Beiber-like stardom. – Meshell Webb

See numbers 10 to 1.

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