Tim’s Best of 2016

Rihanna Anti Tour

2016 came to an end and with A Bit of Pop Music’s Fan Panel we look back at all the great releases of the year for one last time. Read all about Tim’s musical highs and lows right here!

Best Singles

1. Rihanna – Love on the Brain
“Wait: this one wasn’t released as a single, was it? Yes. It was. But almost nobody knew about it. A damn shame, ‘cause this might be the best thing Rihanna has ever done musically. The production is awesome, the lyrics are truly strong and her singing is better than ever before. Could and should have been a worldwide #1.”

2. MØ – Final Song
“I’ve loved MØ for years – already when she was still considered ‘indie’, her songs were catchy as fuck. This year she proved that she could treat us to even catchier hooks. Not only does Final Song have one of the strongest sing-along choruses of the year, its production is also very contemporary, without ever losing that typical MØ feel.”

3. James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
“I’m usually not the singer-songwriter type. I mean, they’ve got some nice songs and all, but it’s just not my go-to kind of music. But when I heard ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ for the first time, I was genuinely touched. I rarely heard such a pure, heartfelt love song. A few months later it’s a huge international hit, and it completely deserves it. (ARE YOU HEARING THIS, RIHANNA?)”

Best Albums

1. The Weeknd – Starboy
“I’ve been a fan of The Weeknd for years already. What I love about him the most is that he’s never changed his formula, although he’s a huge pop star now and no longer a semi-underground Canadian musician. Like last year’s Beauty Behind the Madness, Starboy is filled with melancholic yet catchy ‘R&B on narcotics’. And also the more up-tempo songs are really fucking good. Album highlights for me: ‘Party Monster’, ‘Secrets’, ‘A Lonely Night’, ‘I Feel It Coming’, ‘Starboy’, ‘False Alarm’. Best record of the year, hands down.”

2 – Rihanna – ANTI
“I said it before but I’m still not over it: it’s such a shame that ‘Love on the Brain’ was not promoted properly and never became the hit it deserved to be. And there’s a lot more gems to be discovered on ANTI. The hypnotizing ‘Consideration’, the beautiful ‘Never Ending’, the 80s inspired ‘Kiss It Better’ and the chill-as-fuck ‘Needed Me’, for instance.”

3 – Zayn – Mind of Mine
“I wanted to put Gwen Stefani’s This Is What the Truth Feels Like at the #3 spot, but then I realized I hadn’t listened to Gwen for months – but the last few months I only started to listen to Mind of Mine more and more. A lot of the songs on there are growers, but ‘Pillow Talk’, ‘Rear View’, ‘It’s You’, ‘Befour’, ‘Drunk’ – they are so, so good. (Side note for this #3 spot and speaking of growers: I probably should’ve listened to Frank Ocean’s Blonde a bit more.)”

Best Videos

“Can I just say 2016 wasn’t the best year for music videos? Usually there is tons of vids I really want other people to see, but this year a lot of big music video releases just kept me indifferent after first watching them. Thank god there was Beyoncé, with her visual(ly stunning) album Lemonade. Especially (the message of) the video for ‘Formation’ deserves a lot of praise. But although ‘Formation’ is a close runner-up and really made an impact on me, for me personally it’s Sia‘s ‘The Greatest’ that truly moved me while watching for the first, and second, and third time. Relevant, well-executed and touching, it’s Sia’s most amazing video so far (and, in combination with young dancer Maddie Ziegler, she made quite a lot of amazing videos). Also worth mentioning are The Veronicas’ ‘On Your Side’, directed by Ruby Rose (sexy and adding to the message of the song); OK Go’s ‘Upside Down and Inside Out’ (they just keep on out-doing themselves); The Weeknd’s ‘False Alarm’ (gruesome and provocative) and Britney Spears’ ‘Slumber Party’ (she looks like she’s having fun!). The biggest let-down of the year for me video-wise was, by the way, also from Britney: who the hell thought that the awful Make Me… music vid was a good idea?”

Most anticipated comeback for 2017:
“Definitely Lorde. Pure Heroine will turn 4 next year and she recently told fans on Instagram that she’s been working “like a dog for a year” on the new record. Which means she’s taking her time. Which means she’s not taking the easy road. Which means album number two might be even more genius than her debut.”

New(ish) artist to watch in 2017:
“I think there’s a good chance that that’s gonna be Anderson .Paak. Most of you probably already know him: his solo album Malibu received critical claim in 2015 and his latest effort – Yes Lawd! with producer Knxwledge – was hailed as a musical masterpiece last October. Add to that that Andersons name is getting mentioned more and more in mainstream music media and that he’s up for Best New Artist at the 2017 Grammys, and he might really blow up big-time with his next record.”

And as a bonus, Tim also selected a top 3 of his least favourite songs!

Worst Singles

1. Robbie Williams – Party Like a Russian
“You probably haven’t heard it, but this was Robbie Williams’ comeback single this year. It charted at #68 (!) in the UK and guess what? That’s higher than it deserved. Truly the worst comeback single ever (and this is the guy who gave us Rudebox).”

2. Maroon 5 – Don’t Wanna Know
“Second worst comeback single ever: Maroon 5’s uninspired, monotonous and truly just crappy Don’t Wanna Know. I’ve never been a Maroon 5 hater. At all. They’ve been getting criticism for sounding too generic for years, but I still enjoyed most of their songs. But this… come on. Adam doesn’t even sound like he wants to be singing this song anymore.”

3. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
“You thought Fergie’s ‘M.I.L.F.$’ would be on here, didn’t you? Na-ah: that’s somewhere in my top 25 of favorite songs of 2016. (I’m not joking.) 24k Magic was a big hit, but for me it’s a truly disappointing comeback where Bruno forgot all about the authenticity and personal growth of ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ and ripped off his own ‘Uptown Funk’ and a lot of other funky hits.