Once again, I’ve had a lot of songs technically from last year that I’ve been listening to through the first half of this year, and once again I’m giving my usual disclaimer that it is arbitrary and subjective, some might not even have come from last year. There’s also the case of some, such as ‘Lush Life’ by Zara Larsson which I love and technically came out about a year ago, but didn’t become a hit until this year in the place I am based.(Which is currently the United Kingdom. It might not even be called the United Kingdom for much longer given recent events, but God, let’s not get into that right now). Anyway, here’s my list.
5) Pink – ‘Today’s The Day’
The new theme tune to The Ellen DeGenres Show, this is just quite a nice song, pleasant to listen to, fairly uplifting, good as you are listening to a radio or walking while listening to your iPod. I listened to it when it came out late last year, but mostly through the early months of this year.
4) Catfish and the Bottlemen – ‘Cocoon’
It’s a sign of getting older I suppose, but while I had heard of Catfish and the Bottlemen, I hadn’t actually heard any of their stuff before they won the Best British Breakthrough Act at this year’s BRIT Awards. The One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest inspired video shows a love story. It has very good performances by Edward Hayter and Victoria Emslie, and spoiler alert while it ends with them being together, it is still a very sad ending. Technically, this track is from 2014, but the album The Balcony had a lot of sales in 2015, so what the hell.
3) Major Lazer feat. DJ Snake & M0 – ‘Lean On’
This was a case of a song which I’d heard in the background during the late months of 2015, and I thought it was OK but didn’t take much notice of it. It grew on me though, and during the first half of 2016 I’ve listened to it a lot. The production is masterful, and extremely catchy, and all three of the artists involved, Major Lazer, DJ Snake and M0, bring something to the table and the elements come together well.
2) Catfish and the Bottlemen – ‘Homesick’
2016 has seen a lot of success for Catfish and the Bottlemen, as well as the BRIT Award their album The Ride went to number one. To be honest though, I think I like their older material more. On the whole, I prefer The Balcony to The Ride. Despite it not being from this year, ‘Homesick’ has been one of my favourite and most played tracks I’ve heard in 2016, I particularly think the instruments and music in this track are great.
1) Viola Beach – ‘Swings & Waterslides’
While again I can’t claim to have heard of Viola Beach before their tragic, untimely deaths earlier this year, like many people once I’d heard their songs I wished that I’d known about them before.
It is a terrible tragedy that a young band and their manager died, and it’s a shame they’ll never realise their potential. ‘Swings & Waterslides’ is a lovely, summery and cheerful song, and by all accounts Viola Beach were very nice, fun-loving, enthusiastic and optimistic lads too.
Tragic and untimely death has defined the first half of 2016 sadly. I’d love to say the second half of the year could see happier times, but, frankly, at present time everything looks very, very, very bleak for the rest of the year and beyond. I suppose though you could say that at times like this, people need things like music more than ever as a way of getting through it all.
Edit – I have to add though that Coldplay covering ‘Boys That Sing’ by Viola Beach at the end of their Glastonbury set was a lovely, heartwarming moment. Chris Martin said they wanted to “Create Viola Beach’s alternate future and let them headline Glastonbury for a song”, with Coldplay doing a great cover version of ‘Boys That Sing’ against a screen showing photos of Viola Beach performing. It was such a nice, thoughtful gesture and the sort of thing that makes you feel a bit better about the world in these uncertain times.