This week, I’m throwing the usual format out of the window. So unlike most Mondays where there would normally be a song from the 1980’s to reminisce about, I’ve decided to roll out my favorite songs of 2016. Not necessarily the best ones of the year, or the most popular, but the ones that I kept in heavy rotation. Ideally, I wanted to pick a top 10, but I couldn’t narrow the list down that far. So I have chosen twenty-five songs, that I consider my favorites for the year. I will post five each day from Monday through Friday. So there won’t be a #RomanticTuesday song tomorrow, or a Funky Friday song on Friday, or any Morning Grooves on Wednesday or Thursday.
Rather than present them in order from twenty-five to one, I decided to post them in alphabetical order. Some of the songs I have written about here on the blog, others have not been featured at all. If I have written about them I will link to the post where they were featured. I don’t always write about current music, but I do listen to quite a bit of it; I wish there were more hours in the day for me to investigate as much as I want to hear. There are still quite a few albums that I haven’t been able to get to for one reason or another. These songs are a sampling of what I was able to hear during the year.
Without further adieu, here’s part one of the list:
Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”: The song is practically insescapable, which would be a pain if it wasn’t so good. There really isn’t anything totally new here: Bruno is taking a ride on an 80’s synth funk train by way of Zapp’s Roger Troutman, and he isn’t the only one covering this type of ground (Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One were in the same terrain on their 2015 project Tuxedo). Even so, it’s an awesome song that never fails to make my head bop, and it’s so much fun to hear. Mars’ album of the same name is just as much fun as this single. (Note: contains some language that is NSFW).
Trina Broussard, “Adieu”: It has been more than a minute since I’ve heard Trina Broussard sing anything, so that makes this song a welcome return for her. As one of those singers that has never gotten the due that I always thought she deserved, she’s got a song here that I love. A kiss-off to a now former lover, Broussard sounds in fine form here. I’m hoping it leads to a full-length project in the near future.
Sarah Menescal, “Adventure of a Lifetime”: This one came from out of left field. I’d heard Coldplay’s original hundreds of times; it could have been on this list as well. But hearing what Menescal does with the same song is a revelation: she takes the original and gives it a bossa nova treatment. I think I heard it for the first time on one of those Spotify weekly playlists; most likely the Discover Weekly list that features songs curated by the streaming service that it thinks I would like. They guessed right with this one. From her album Consequence Of Love, which contains more covers in the bossa nova style. I plan to play the album soon; it promises to be a fascinating listen.
Brian Culbertson, “Been Around The World”: From his awesome album Funk!, the current single from the album has never left heavy rotation since I first heard it. For that matter, the album is still getting plenty of play as well. Conceived as a sequel of sorts to his previous album, Bringing Back The Funk, it is funk done up in Culbertson’s smooth jazz style. This particular track was featured on a Funky Friday post and it’s easy to see why; it jumps at you from the word go and doesn’t let up.
Alvin Garrett feat. Ruben Studdard: “By Myself”: If I were giving out a trophy for my most inspirational song, the prize would go to this song by Garrett and his pal Studdard. I wrote in a previous Jam It or Slam It post that the song grabbed me from the first time I heard it, and that its lyrics meant a great deal to me. When I need to remember to be resilient, to keep getting back up when I face a setback, it’s this song I will turn to. Look for the former American Idol winner, Studdard, at the beginning of the second verse.
Part two, or the next five songs will post tomorrow morning. If so inclined, leave your impressions of any of the songs I’ve posted today in the comments. As always, thanks for reading and listening.