If you have been missing from the blog this week, this post marks the final chapter of my top 25 songs of the year. Once again, this isn’t based on any statistics, or what is necessarily popular or the biggest hits of the year. Just my personal hot track playlist. Ideally, I wanted to make a list of ten, but I couldn’t quite narrow it down that far. So I did twenty-five; figuring it was a nice number that wouldn’t drive me crazy, or you for that matter. Before I list the final five, you can go back and read about numbers one through twenty (by alphabetical order):
And so, on to the finish:
BJ The Chicago Kid, “Turnin’ Me Up”: 2016 has proven to be a good year for BJ. His first official album, In My Mind, was released to critical acclaim. Besides sold out shows, collaborations with some of the industry’s best and personal acclaim for his work, he is nominated for three Grammy awards in the R&B categories, including Best R&B album. He may not win, but the album was one of my favorites of the year. This song, a self-described tribute to Marvin Gaye, never fails to make me hum along. To me, it also has a hint of D’Angelo in the grooves and the vocals. And once he says “music take me away,” the band just jams the track and grooves out until the fade. Well done.
Renee Neufville, “Watching Me”: If you miss Zhané, the group that Ms. Neufville was a part of (“Hey Mr. D.J.”, “Groove Thang”, “Sending My Love” or “Crush” to name a few of their songs), this song brings back the vibe of their collaboration, if not the actual group itself. Another song I found on Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, I bought it the moment I heard it. Here’s hoping she can build on this single to bring us some more music, because this one is still getting play months after the first listen. I’ve almost worn it out!
Lindsey Webster, “Where Do You Want To Go”: I became a fan of Ms. Webster’s after hearing her previous album, You Change. Her song from that album, “Fool Me Once” hit the top spot on Billboard‘s Contemporary Jazz charts, though it was the song “Open Up” that I loved best. Now signed to Shanachie Records, she is getting a big promotional push and is touring behind her current album, Back To Your Heart. The title song is being pushed as a single, and is also doing very well on the Contemporary Jazz stations, but it is this song that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I love the feel of the song and her vocals are outstanding. I admit I bought the album based on the single, but I think this song is even better. She recently did a show in Bethesda (about a 2 hour drive) from my home that I had to pass on, but I’m sure she’ll be back.
Vivian Green, “Work”: Her record label felt it needed to label this song’s remix as “Grown Folks Music.” If you just listen to the original version of the track, I think that’s pretty obvious. The song was just fine without a remix; and I’d give anything to feel as good as that bassline sounds. This was one of the first songs I featured once I began posting and writing about music, way back in February, and I still love it even now. I keep rooting for Vivian to have a breakout hit, but there hasn’t really been anything “big” since “Emotional Rollercoaster,” over a decade ago. Not that she’s had bad songs, and this one certainly isn’t; it’s just that the stars haven’t aligned to give her that one great song that makes her the star that she should be. Regardless, she’s star enough for me and this list—especially with a track as good as this.
Leon Timbo, “You’re My Darling”: Last, but certainly not least, comes one of the best debut singles I’ve heard in a long, long time. Leon Timbo has been playing music for years, but had never really been pushed into the spotlight. Reportedly, he impressed singer-actor Tyrese Gibson enough that he began mentoring the artist. He’s also been helped along by Babyface. With those two in his corner, it’s no wonder that he finally has come out on the scene. And with this song, he’s got himself a winner. For those of you who like strings, this song has them in spades. But it’s not just the trappings the pull you in, it’s his voice, and the arrangement in total, and it just grooves. From his fine album, What Love’s All About; if Vivian Green’s song was Grown Folks Music, this is Grown Folks Music to the extreme.
So there you have it: my top 25 songs for 2016. Of course, I had a few honorable mentions (in no particular order):
Zo! featuring Dornik, “Lifelines”
Guordan Banks, “Keep You In Mind”
Take 6 featuring Stevie Wonder, “You Know You’re In Love”
Anderson Paak, “Room In Here”
Calvin Richardson, “Hearsay”
Noel Gourdin featuring Hil St. Soul, “No Worries” (Remix)
Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna, “This Is What You Came For”
Dornik, “Stand In Your Line”
Adele, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
Ashleigh Smith, “Best Friends”
Frank McComb, “Feelin’ Some Kinda Way”
Phonte & Eric Roberson, “It’s So Easy”
Nathan East featuring Yolanda Adams, “Feels Like Home”
Usher featuring Young Thug, “No Limit”
R. Kelly, “Backyard Party”
Leela James, “Don’t Want You Back”
Avery*Sunshine, “Come Do Nothing”
Kevin Ross, “Long Song Away”
Yeah. Twenty honorable mentions. Look for them on YouTube if you’re interested.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little exercise in listmaking, and hopefully you’ve found a song or two that you might like, or even better, might put in your heavy rotation list. Thanks to you all for your patience, comments and support, and as always for reading and listening.