Zuheir’s Best of 2016

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2016 has ended, but we are going to look back at the pop music highlights of the year for the last time, with our fan panel! Read all about Zuheir’s favourites over the past year, right here!

Best Singles

01. Chainsmokers feat. Daya – Don’t Let Me Down
“It is hard to narrow down top 3 songs, but I know I can not have one without this song in mind! This song is by far, the one that I enjoyed (and still do!) the most from this year. I still find myself moving my hips uncontrollably everytime I hear the song, not just by the insanely catchy hook but by Daya’s amazing vocal tone that truly is the foundation of the song. You can have Olivia O’brien sing the part, and it still wont be as good, imho.”

02. DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You
“2016 seems to be the year of EDM. And the year of Justin Bieber. So it is almost impossible to start the list without having one of the most catchy dance beats in the list. I am not really into electronica, but I am particularly a fan of DJ Snake’s mix (is that what its called?) in his previous works. Knowing that he’s collaborating with Bieber just made it that much better. After such a good year Bieber had with Purpose last year, I must admit I was almost looking forward to hear more from him. And I wasn’t disappointed!”

03. Andra Day – Rise Up
“I realized there was many good, mainstream music that swarmed out of the pop music nest this year, but saying that the best comes from them would be a bit shortsighted for someone who is an avid pop song listener. I discovered Andra Day by accident, and what a great accident it was because this girl is good! Her vocal range is remarkable, and her tone is very distinct akin to Amy Winehouse and Eartha Kitt. The song itself was excellent and don’t get me started on the music video (tears alert). Basically it has the package of the best song. Sadly, it did not catch on with the fans as much as it should.”

Best Albums

01. JoJo – Mad Love
After 10 years, Jojo made a comeback to mainstream pop with the release of her third album. And her comeback was strong. For the people who only know her from her early work (Leave, Get Out anyone?), they’ll be in for a good surprise when they see how mature she is nowadays.  It is not just in her vocal skills, but also her musical direction. Instead of reliving her good-natured pop style that brought her to fame, Jojo took a risk by being more risqué and more direct in her presentation- a gamble that proved to be a success with critics and more importantly, to me.”

02. Lady Gaga – Joanne
“Gaga has always been known to revolutionize her creative expressions with every album that she produced. From her The Fame days, to Artpop, it seems the Mother Monster has upped her delivery to such a level that I would say, is non-replicable by just about any pop singer. Hence, it was quite a surprise when she decided a gentler approach for Joanne, not just on her appearance (donning t-shirts and shorts as opposed to haute couture dresses and elaborate make-up), but also her lyrics which are much more personal and self-reflecting. Joanne is such a nice twist, that although it appears to be a play-safe tactic, it may actually be the style that Gaga needs to complete the gaps in her present repertoire.”

03. Beyoncé – Lemonade
With all the crazy publicity and methods that it takes to produce this album, it is not a surprise that Lemonade should be a contender for the title best album of 2016. I was a bit annoyed that Bey decided to milk such a personal tragedy, not only into a whole album but to have them all stylized in a short movie style into a lucrative musical endeavour, I cannot help but admit that the music was good. The heartfelt lyrics and the dynamic crescendo and decrescendo of the music to explain her turmoil was enough to make us listen to Lemonade again and again when facing the same distraught.”

Best Videos

“My favourite music video of the year was Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’, pretty much for the creative direction of the video., the sense of black pride and women empowerment that were emphasized in the fashion style and dance moves. The dance! Damn that was some nice choreography. I am also particularly fond of the videography, the mixture shot of the affluent in the bayou and the urban ghettos. and that swag pose on the new orleans cop car half sunk in the flood, who can say that that is not cool? honestly, love every inch of the music video.”

Most Anticipated Comebacks in 2017

01. Kelly Clarkson
“2017 seems to be the year of comeback for most old-timers! As one of the best pop singers of the 2000s, Kelly Clarkson’s return to the music scene is clearly highly anticipated. Clarkson never failed to produce chart-hitting singles ever since her winning Fox’s American Idol and her decision to take a breather to focus on her family in 2016 surely left some fans missing her. Thus, her return scheduled for early next year would surely be a nice way to start the new year after almost a year of wait.”

02. Thirty Seconds To Mars
“Before I was into mainstream pop, I was a teenager full of angst (don’t lie, we all went through that period once). One of the artists that are in my repertoire is none other than Thirty Seconds To Mars. I have such a huge crush on Jared Leto ever since I saw him in Girl, Interrupted about 17 years ago. It follows naturally that I would be obsessed with his band afterwards. And my obsession for him over time develops into really understanding their musical style and creativity over each single that they released over the decade (having him shirtless in most of the videos help, too). Hence, when the band decided to take an indefinite hiatus after their bitter departure from their recording company, I was quite heartbroken and was at the point of accepting them splitting up, especially with Leto’s success in the acting world. Which was why when I learned about their upcoming comeback in 2017 I was surprised and frankly elated that the hiatus is coming to an end after 3 years.”

03. Nelly Furtado
“Before there was Rihanna, there was Nelly Furtado. The original Good Girl Gone Bad, Furtado surprised a lot of people when she traded her indie-esque image of the early 2000s with a more suggestive appearance in 2006 with ‘Maneater’ and ‘Promiscuous’. After such a success with Loose in 2006, she went a little quiet in the international platform before releasing a comeback in 2012. Sadly, the response was not as commercially successful as Loose due to lack of promotion. Her return in 2017 would definitely be an exciting wait for Furtado fans after 5 years of inactivity. Based on the released cover, it seems like we will be getting more of an indie Furtado, which would definitely be an interesting change of style of music amidst the heavy EDM music that we’ve been served with these days. As a fan, I really hope that the promotion and the publicity was done right this time so that we can be reminded of this talented artist and her excellent music prowess.”

New(ish) Artist to Watch in 2017:
I am mainly interested to see what the artists who were naimed the next big thing in the past few years will achieve next year. It will be interesting to see what will happen with Zara Larsson after the success of singles like ‘Lush Life’ and ‘Ain’t My Fault’. I’m really excited to hear more from this young Swedish pop sensation.”

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