The Best of Me, 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I did this in 2014 and 2015 and want to keep the tradition going, to look back at my own work in addition to my various year end lists of favorite albums, singles, TV shows, etc. This year, however, for the first time, at least half of my paid writing was not bylined, meaning I can't link it here, so I kinda feel like I was less productive in 2016 even though I was actually very busy. But just in general, I had a lot of things I wanted to do that I either never finished, never pitched, or never successfully convinced anybody to publish, and generally did a lot fewer interviewers and big, ambitious pieces than I usually try to do in a given year, to an extent because I was pretty stressed out with family issues for the first half of the year. Plus, I kinda diversified my output and the things I did with music; I released an album and an EP and played shows with 3 different bands, I appeared on a couple podcasts, I spent a week doing shows with Diana Ross that ended with a day at the White House, where I shook hands with President Obama. Still, when I look back, I ended up writing a fair amount of things that I enjoyed and am happy to look back at now:

Behind 'The Breaks': A Look at the Music in VH1's Original Movie About Early '90s Hip-Hop (Complex, January 4)
Deep Album Cuts Vol. 54: David Bowie (Narrowcast, January 14)
That Was Early Kanye, This Is Middle Kanye (Noisey, February 15)
DJ Reggie Reg, a 92Q DJ and Bmore club personality, remembered (Baltimore City Paper, February 16)
TV Diary (Narrowcast, March 2)
George Martin: 20 Great Non-Beatles Productions (Rolling Stone, March 9)
Monthly Report: March 2016 Albums (Narrowcast, April 4)
It Goes Down In The Remix: The First Remix Report Card of 2016 (Noisey, April 10)
20 Songs You Didn't Know Kanye West Produced (Rolling Stone, April 11)
Tate Kobang: Walking In The Clouds (Pigeons & Planes, April 12)
Here Are The Artists You Need To See At Coachella (Complex, April 13)
The Prince 100 (Narrowcast, April 22)
'Panda' Express: Desiigner & the History of No. 1 Debut Rap Hits on the Hot 100 (Billboard, May 6)
TV Diary (Narrowcast, May 18)
Monthly Report: June 2016 Singles (Narrowcast, June 21)
The 10 Best Rapper-Producer Relationships Right Now (Complex, July 18)
Guwop Home: How Is Gucci Mane's 'Everybody Looking'? (Noisey, July 25)
Young Thug's New Moniker is Just Another Entry in the Long History of Changing Rap Names (Complex, August 15)
Pack It Up And Tear It Down: The Good and Bad of Cameron Crowe's Roadies (Stereogum, August 25)
Behind The Scenes: Butch Walker (The Dowsers, August 26)
The 2016 VMAs: Leftovers and Nick Jonas (Narrowcast, September 2)
Deep Album Cuts Vol. 80: Meat Loaf (Narrowcast, September 16)
George Jones: Drinking Songs (The Dowsers, September 21)
Power Ranking of All the Crews in Hip-Hop Right Now (Complex, October 6)
Deep Album Cuts Vol. 83: Pearl Jam (Narrowcast, October 26)
Movie Diary (Narrowcast, October 26)
Future's Best of 2016 (The Dowsers, November 21)
Dave Matthews, Graham Nash Perform Powerful Stand With Standing Rock Concert (Rolling Stone, November 28)
Monthly Report: November 2016 Albums (Narrowcast, December 2)
TV Diary (Narrowcast, December 8)

My Top 50 TV Shows of 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

I do a lot of work from home, and I had a baby last year, so I've been on the couch a lot keeping better track of 'peak TV' than any sane person should. I watched episodes of other 200 scripted series, sometimes just sampling one or two but often watching every episode. I don't recommend this lifestyle, but since I did it, here are my findings. There are a lot of new shows on here that premiered this year and knocked new shows I enjoyed more last year down the list or off of it entirely. More and more, it's easy to make a good first impression, but hard to sustain a premise after 2 or 3 seasons. Thankfully, there's more new shows premiering literally ever week, so I'm never stuck watching a show after I'm bored with it.

1. BrainDead (CBS)
Coming off of 7 acclaimed seasons of The Good Wife, Robert and Michelle King could've done just about anything with their TV industry clout. And what they did was sell the most staunchly traditional network, CBS, on a high concept sci-fi political satire in which bugs from outer space start controlling the brains of U.S. government employees and elected officials. The show predictably garnered little buzz in a summer schedule crowded with cable hits, and failed to get a renewal, but the 13 episodes they produced make BrainDead perhaps TV's best 'one season wonder' since Terriers. The fact that the brain bugs tend to make their hosts' political opinions more right wing may have threatened to make the show into a smug liberal fantasy, but BrainDead was actually smarter and more accurate about its depiction of how government works than just about any D.C.-based series in recent memory. But the show spent more time being wickedly funny and bizarre, with standout performances by Tony Shalhoub's hilariously wrong southern accent and Johnny Ray Gill as a tinfoil hatted truther who actually turns out to be right.

2. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
People who can both act and sing are in short supply in the upper echelons of Hollywood, which led YouTube star Rachel Bloom to populate her gloriously neurotic musical soap opera with actors I've never seen before who attack both her songs and her hilarious dialogue with total conviction (Brittany Snow, imported from the Pitch Perfect movies for a guest arc, is literally the first person on this show that I've seen in anything before). The show was charmingly original when the first season premiered in the fall of 2015, but it was really the second half of the season and the beginning of the second season that cemented Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as one of the most consistently funny, creative shows on TV.

3. The Venture Bros. (Cartoon Network)
The first season of The Venture Bros. aired in 2004, and has aired so sporadically since then that it's only reached its 6th season this year. But if anyone in television deserves all the time they need to make their show as densely detailed and consistently hilarious as possible, it's Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, who have continued to build their satirical version of comic book mythology into something as rich and layered as any of the shows they affectionately ridicule.

4. Westworld (HBO)
Few prestige dramas have arrived with more built-in prestige than Westworld, but it's been proven time and time again that stacking your show with recognizable movie stars isn't all it takes to keep people watching your show every week. But Westworld made great use of its insanely impressive cast, particularly when it came time to play robots who were realistic enough to entertain the human guests, and to convince us, the viewers. James Marsden made excellent use of his underrated talent as an actor who can play a cliche with incredible conviction, and Thandie Newton gave perhaps the single greatest acting performance of 2016, completely naked for a significant amount of her screentime no less.

5Billions (Showtime) 
Maggie Siff played the richest female character on the relentlessly testosterone-fueled Sons of Anarchy, and on Billions she continues to tip the gender balance in a cable drama landscape that mostly affords moral and emotional complexity to male anti heroes. Billions is full of powerful high paid men on a collision course with each other, and would be all too familiar if it wasn't for Siff, and for Paul Giamatti, who speaks in ridiculous folksy riddles like Kevin Spacey on House of Cards but actually gets normal realistic reactions from the baffled people around him.

6. The Night Of (HBO)
I have a lot of reservations about the plot of The Night Of, which felt contrived from the jump and concluded with an almost arbitrary anticlimax. But the tiny details of the story, the grace notes of the performances, were all riveting and perfect, from one of the great performances of John Turturro's uniformly excellent career to the wonderfully unglamorous Bill Camp and Jeannie Berlin.

7. You're The Worst (FXX)
You're The Worst is far from the only comedy on television about dysfunctional couples, but it's somehow at once the funniest, the darkest, and the most perversely romantic. And the penultimate episode of the third season was its most ambitious to date, with incredibly choreographed long, uninterrupted dolly shots as the three couples at the center of the show started to fall apart simultaneously at a wedding.

8. Bob's Burgers (FOX)
Loren Bouchard and H. Jon Benjamin have been entertaining me for 20 years now, from Dr. Katz to Home Movies, and now that they're 7 seasons deep into a primetime network run of Bob's Burgers, it feels like they could keep this up forever. I kinda hope they do.

9. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
Andre Braugher spent decades building up gravitas as one of TV's finest dramatic actors only to deflate it, one hilarious episode at a time, as the boss on one of primetime's silliest sitcom ensembles, and I love him so much for it.

10. Atlanta (FX)
Donald Glover's track record of track record of making exceptional television and mediocre rap music had me approaching his new series, set against the backdrop of ATL hip hop, with cautious skepticism. Thankfully, Atlanta was in keeping with Glover's TV career, with him taking the same creative freedom FX previously gave to Louis C.K. and playing with it with more purpose in a show that shapeshifted over 10 episodes, sometimes starkly realistic and sometimes existing in a surreal heightened reality to get its satirical points about race in America across with viciously unsparing wit.

11. Fleabag (Amazon)
Fleabag is adapted from Phoebe Waller-Bridge's one woman play, and a significant amount of the show features the title character breaking the fourth wall to say hilariously profane things. But over the course of 6 episodes of manic comedy, the tragic backstory on the periphery slowly emerged, held together by comedic misadventures in dating and sometimes poignant ruminations on sisterhood.

12. Broad City (Comedy Central) 
Broad City was dazzling in its first two seasons, and it's great still. But I'm increasingly interested to see what Ilana Glazer can do in other contexts and other projects, before she completely turns Ilana Wexler the character into some kind of ridiculous Kramer or Urkel cartoon.

13. Speechless (ABC) 
ABC pumped ratings and awards back into the hoary family sitcom format with Modern Family, which I haven't been able to stomach in years, but they've increasingly revitalized the format with a slate of shows that celebrate black and Asian American families and families with gay children and children with disabilities. And none of that would matter if the well intentioned inclusive programmed wasn't also actually funny, if Minnie Driver and John Ross Bowie weren't the kind of perfectly loving, pissed off parents who refuse to accept anything but the best adolescence for their teenage son with cerebral palsy, played by Micah Fowler, who's inherited their inability to suffer fools.

14. The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central) 
The backlash to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and its many spiritual children began many years ago, and there are certainly some arguments against the effectiveness of this particular stripe of left wing political satire. But what's way worse than these shows not fulfilling some promise they never made to save the world is if they go off the air, and I already feel like we've lost a very needed voice in the last 4 months since Comedy Central unceremoniously canceled The Nightly Show, which was saying a lot of things that weren't even in the vocabulary of Trevor Noah's Daily Show, let alone any other show on national television.

15. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
Samantha Bee's louder, angrier version of the Daily Show formula rubs some the wrong way, and might even get more pushback for not being the highly theoretical cable TV comedy show that could stop the world from going to hell. But at a time when TV news is dropping the ball spectacularly, comedy shows are one place where the truth gets to sneak out.

16. Preacher (AMC)
Preacher debuted almost simultaneously with Cinemax's Outcast, another comic book adaptation about a young man fighting forces rising up from hell. But where Outcast was dour and dark, Preacher was pulpy and electric, with exec producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg reveling in the over the top premise but not pushing it into the kind of gross out comedy they usually lean on. Ruth Negga as Tulip is just amazing on this show, one of my favorite new faces of TV in 2016.

17. The Exorcist (FOX)
Amongst all the Christianity-themed horror on cable this year, FOX brought back the biggest franchise of that genre. The first season of The Exorcist was a bit like The Force Awakens in that you have to get halfway through before you see how it connects to the original story, and the element of surprise really makes it work. The original movie is one of my all time favorites, and I was amazed at how much they were able to capture its pure sense of dread and evil with a different cast and modern effects.

18. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (FX)

As far as I can tell, the 30 something seasons of television produced by Ryan Murphy never contained a coherent plot until he decided to base a show on one of those biggest court trials of our lifetime. He still manages to Murphy it up a bit with with a dozen Kardashian family meta jokes when one would have sufficed and needlessly fictionalized scenes like William Hodgmann's heart attack, but Courtney B. Vance, Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown absolutely earned those Emmys.

19. iZombie (The CW)
I miss iZombie, which is currently in the 9th month of its absurd 12 month break between seasons that The CW scheduled for some reason. But I'm still itching for more, as the 2nd season concluded memorably with Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas killing off both the villain played by Steven Weber and the other Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty.

20. Black-ish (ABC)
Black-ish is only on its 3rd season but already feels like kind of a standard bearer for current network sitcoms. And I've enjoyed the unlikely guest arc by Daveed Diggs of the experimental hip hop group Clipping.

21. Hap And Leonard (SundanceTV)
I think this show probably would seem more trendy and cool if it was named after the 1990 novel it's on, Savage Season, but that's probably for the best. A fun weird southern gothic shaggy dog tale with great performances by Michael K.Williams, Jimmi Simpson and Christina Hendricks.

22. Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central) 
I went to college with Amy Schumer and acted opposite her in a film about 14 years ago, so it's been surreal to watch her become not just hugely famous but a polarizing figure who gets angry thinkpieces written about her every week. I have mixed feelings about her work overall, but her eponymous Comedy Central sketch show is by far her best achievement to date, and I think it's a shame that she's putting it on a hiatus a bit after its excellent 4th season.

23. The Circus: Inside The Greatest Political Show On Earth (Showtime)
I watched as little TV coverage of the election as I could this year, as it became immensely clear that CNN and everyone else were screwing the pooch in a monumental, historic way. But I made an exception for Showtime's weekly series that offered up 30 half documentaries from the campaign trail from January to November. The show didn't always get it right -- Mark Halperin got it wrong as much as any commentator this year -- but they got a perspective from the eye of the storm of the campaign that I rarely saw elsewhere. As we spend the next few decades puzzling over what the hell happened in 2016, I think The Circus will emerge as a useful document.

24. UnREAL (Lifetime)
UnREAL was my favorite new show of 2015, and I'm sad to say that it was one of the more notable sophomore slumps of 2016, shoehorning police brutality into its plot in a way that ultimately rang hollow and perhaps even opportunistic. But its second season was far from the disaster that many proclaimed it to be before it had even ended, and Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer continued to sink their teeth into 2 of the most complex roles on TV.

25. Halt And Catch Fire (AMC)
Halt And Catch Fire's focus shifted over its first three seasons from its male leads to its female leads, and then to the bitter, contentious end of Donna and Cameron's friendship and professional partnership. I'm still making up my mind about how the 3rd season ended with a chronological flash forward, but I'm excited to see how the 4th and final season makes sense of it all.

26. Pitch (FOX)
I'm not a sports fan and a hard sell for shows about sports, and I was skeptical that Pitch, about a hypothetical first woman in Major League Baseball, would be a bland feelgood show about a fictional athlete's inspiring imaginary achievements. Instead, it's a frank and unvarnished look at all the garbage that someone has to deal with to be the first anything in our modern hyperactive sports media ecosystem. Kylie Bunbury is great as the girl who doesn't want to settle for being a trailblazer if she's not also a winner, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar gets to deploy his considerable douchebag charisma in an actual good show for the first time in his 3 decades on television.

27. The Grinder (FOX)
Another one season wonder, and I'd be more mad about FOX canning it if it didn't feel like the show hadn't so effectively played out its original idea in the 22 episodes they got, with Rob Lowe's conceited TV star one upped by hilarious guest star Timothy Olyphant usurping his legal drama franchise.

28. The Magicians (SyFy)
SyFy has seriously stepped up its original programming in the last couple years with a number of pretty promising shows including The Expanse and Channel Zero. But the one that got off and running with the strongest first season is The Magicians, which my wife and I enjoyed so much that she's been devouring the Lev Grossman novels it's based on.

29. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Last Week Tonight gets a lot of deserved credit for John Oliver's deep digs on a different topic every week. But let's also applaud those "and now this" voiceover segments that offer a breather between segments and have often been the funniest things about the show this year.

30. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
30 Rock is an absolute classic in my book, and at this point I've made peace with the fact that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is never gonna be on that level. But Tituss Burgess alone will guarantee that I watch every episode they produce.

31. Lady Dynamite (Netflix)
Maria Bamford has been one of my favorite comics for a decade, and I'm delighted that 2016 finally brought a TV vehicle that makes use of her unique talents and sensibility. Lady Dynamite teeters along the edge of being too much, more odd than funny. But it's also a refreshingly ambitious antidote to the usual autobiographical sitcoms about the life of a comedian.

32. The Good Place (NBC) 
The Good Place is less a sitcom and more of a live action cartoon, a Futurama style of heightened universe that can bend at a moment's notice to accommodate a good joke. Now that Ted Danson lives on TV year round, I'm glad he's keeping busy with this and not a C.S.I. show.

33. Difficult People (Hulu)
TV comedy is full of show business satires, but Difficult People is the one that feels the most consistently ahead of the curve, making fun of new trends before other shows are even aware of them. And the second season had some memorably insane stories -- the episode with the "old timey" people, the episode with Method Man -- that I dare say gave me a little of a classic Seinfeld feeling.

34. Veep (HBO)
After taking a few years to recover from 8 seasons of House, Hugh Laurie was perhaps the busiest TV actor of 2016, headlining both Chance and The Night Manager. But I thought his best role of the year was his continued guest arc on Veep that kept the show lively in its fifth season.

35. Stitchers (Freeform)
In its second season, I think Stitchers started to realize that its ostensible protagonist, Emma Ishta, is kind of bland, and gave more screentime to the much funnier Allison Scagliotti, who elevates Stitchers from a lightweight sci fi series to an extremely watchable one much as she did on Warehouse 13.

36. Teen Titans Go! (Cartoon Network) 
My 7 year old watches a lot of Cartoon Network, and Teen Titans Go! is both his and my favorite show in the network's daily rotation. I understand there was a much more serious Teen Titans series before this and people are mad that it was replaced by a wacky comedy spinoff skewed at a younger audience, but Teen Titans Go! parodies TV tropes as creatively and relentlessly as anything since the early seasons of Community.

37. Fresh Off The Boat (ABC)
Eddie Huang has long since stopped doing voiceover narration for the network sitcom about his adolescence, even as they continue using his name and general biographical details. And I think it's a shame that he could never quite embrace the show or bend it to his sensibility, because Constance Wu and Randall Park are maybe the funniest TV parents on the air right now. I sure hate that Danny Brown theme song though.

38. Superstore (NBC)
After slashing and burning its once mighty comedy lineup and starting over from scratch, NBC is slowly finding its footing in sitcoms again, and Superstore increasingly feels like the centerpiece of its lineup. I'm always happy to see Kids In The Hall vet Mark McKinney on TV, but Lauren Ash deserves recognition as the most fearless and hilarious performer in the show's ensemble cast.

39. Masters Of Sex (Showtime)
Lizzy Caplan may be one of the best comedic actresses of her generation, and it feels somehow wrong to me that such an increasingly somber period drama is the first job she's had that's lasted for 4 (soon to be 5) seasons. But it's been great to stick with Masters and Johnson through this whole saga and finally see them get married at the end of the latest season.

40. Documentary Now! (IFC)
The Lorne Michaels-produced Documentary Now! is mostly an excuse for a bunch of former SNL stars and writers (Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney) to do even longer and more esoteric versions of the kind of long esoteric sketches they used to occasionally get away with at 12:50. And it's been a delight to watch these guys lose themselves in recreating the world of a movie like The War Room or Stop Making Sense and make it blown out and ridiculous and not have to worry about explaining the joke or finding a current event tie in for the idea.

41. The Get Down (Netflix)
This year two big name directors premiered big budget shows about the musical history of 1970s New York. And it was a mild shock that the embarrassing, quickly canceled disaster was the Martin Scorsese one while the Baz Luhrmann one showed a lot more promise. Luhrmann's about the last person I'd pick to film hip hop's origin story, but his sugary old school musical style that puts Grandmaster Flash at the center of his fictionalized mythology is strangely intoxicating.

42. New Girl (FOX)
New Girl started a half decade ago as an ostensible star vehicle for movie starlet Zooey Deschanel and her title character. But it very quickly became clear that Deschanel is just part of a very talented ensemble (my line has often been that it's like if the title of Friends was "Phoebe"). And this year, the show proved my point by being able to carry off several episodes with no Deschanel at all while she was on maternity leave, even if it was clear that you can't just replace her with a nonentity like Megan Fox and still have as good a show.

43. Childrens Hospital (Cartoon Network)
Childrens Hospital concluded its run of 86 perfect little 12 minute episodes this year, by which point its initial mission of parodying Grey's Anatomy had warped into a surreal little universe of its own. A shame that Rob Corddry had to put this show to bed to focus on something as boring as Ballers.

44. Agent Carter (ABC)
Last year I put Marvel's gritty Netflix shows on the list and neglected ABC's fun little Captain America spinoff, but this year I really didn't get much enjoyment out of Daredevil and Luke Cage, while Agent Carter was a delight. Unfortunately, ABC canceled Haley Atwell's show, and then canceled her other show Conviction almost exactly 6 months later.

45. Roadies (Showtime)
Before Showtime canceled Roadies, I wrote a long piece for Stereogum detailing the many foibles and flaws of the Cameron Crowe series. But in the course of writing it, I found myself becoming a bigger fan of the show than I wanted to admit, and feeling a bit sad that it wouldn't be back next year.

46. Stan Against Evil (IFC)
John C. McGinley's run on Scrubs was one of the greatest TV performances on a not particularly great show. And I'm glad he finally got a suitable starring vehicle, an asburd horror comedy created by standup and former Simpsons writer Dana Gould, who lets McGinley fight supernatural evil while delivering rambling tangents like "The thing about Hendrix was, he only made 3 albums, and Band of Gypsys was live. Now, Bootsy Collins..."

47. Suits (USA)
A couple months ago, Meghan Markle unexpectedly became an international celebrity when it was revealed that she's dating Prince Harry. So let me just say, I saw her first, I watched this silly little legal drama for 86 episodes, and I'll keep watching long after the tabloid headlines subside. I'm sad that Gina Torres is leaving the show, but her farewell episode was one of its all time best.

48. The Mindy Project (Hulu)
The Mindy Project started out with a young doctor who loves rom coms living out a cute little rom com life where she eventually marries her cranky co-worker. And then, this year, Danny Castellano turned out to not just be kind of lovably cranky but a total prick, and they got divorced and Chris Messina joined The Mindy Project's revolving door cast of former regulars. It was kind of weirdly a bummer, but the show still has Mindy Kaling and Ike Barinholtz and Xosha Roquemore, so it's still pretty funny.

49. Dead Of Summer (Freeform)
So many shows on TV these days are about parodying or paying tribute to the tropes of '80s horror movies, but Dead Of Summer stood out for its attachment to its characters, who you got to know well enough over its 10 episodes that you actually worried about the kids as the killer picked them off, and mourned some of the characters that died.

50. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle)
In a comedy landscape increasingly crowded with podcasts and memoirs and autobiographical shows and movies, it's refreshing to watch Jerry Seinfeld talk with other comedy legends in a much lighter environment. This year's episodes featured a rare look at Steve Martin seriously discussing his craft, and an episode with Garry Shandling that had a poignant nostalgic air to it even before he passed soon after.

My Top 50 Albums of 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

The years of my life where one of my children is still in diapers are, as a rule, more of a hectic blur than others. That is to say, I didn't sit and listen to music as much as I wish I had, but I never do. I heard so much, and still wanted to hear more. Albums are the artform, the unit of measurement, that mean the most to me, and in 2016 I finally released my own album, but spent more time, as usual, thinking about everyone else's albums. Here's a Spotify playlist with a favorite track from each of these records.

1. The 1975 - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
The 1975's second album is the kind of overflowing 74-minute album that a young band makes when it's trying to prove something, and they even gave it an ungainly overlong title to put a bow on their ambition to do too much and be too much. As someone who only has faint firsthand memories of the '80s, it's a little funny to hear guys quite a bit younger than me drawing so heavily on the decade's sound. But the gleam and gloss of the '80s pop in the band's sound has, by now, been incorporated into the band's own fairly distinct personality and sonic approach, with Matt Healy operating as a classic neurotic, verbose, sex-obsessed and status-obsessed British frontman in the tradition of Elvis Costello and Jarvis Cocker. They can make gorgeous, unpredictable ambient instrumentals with titles like "Please Be Naked" that don't let you forget the cheeky perspective of the band's songs with vocals, but everytime the album dissolves into a warm pool of synths, it comes roaring back with another anthem.

2. Maren Morris - Hero
Maren Morris is this year's critical darling who mostly gets praised as an antidote to mainstream country's status quo. But to my ears, she's as much as cosmopolitan product of a melting pot of influences from different genres as any bro country star, with surprising little modern production touches on "How It's Done" and "Once" that somehow feel right alongside the more traditional material.

3. Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution
Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding has won Grammys for her earlier albums, but I don't imagine The Recording Academy will know what to do with her latest album, which takes a turn into rhythmically knotty but lyrically vivid and melodically unforgettable prog rock that reminds me more of Shudder To Think's Pony Express Record than anything else. In a year when Tony Visconti got a lot of deserved recognition for his lifetime of work with David Bowie, this album was his greatest production job.

4. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
Hip hop history is increasingly littered with shoulda coulda woulda rappers who demonstrated seemingly unlimited potential on their early mixtape work and then stumbled on their way to the big time. Chance The Rapper is an exciting and inspiring rapper for a lot of reasons besides just his squirrely flow and casually brilliant writing, but most of all because Coloring Book is the sound of a rapper changing the industry instead of letting the industry change him, bringing big name guests into his self made sonic universe rather than following their template. If Kanye and Chance had swapped the two album openers they collaborated on this year, Coloring Book would be about ten times as good as Pablo instead of merely twice as good.

5. A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
The Low End Theory is my favorite rap album of all time, and Q-Tip's done enough great work in the 21st century that I thought he had another great one in him, but I never dared to dream that Tribe would give us another record, and that it would be this great, and that it would be this emotional to hear Phife's voice mere months after his death. All these years, I thought Jarobi was a glorified hypeman, and then he fucking snapped on this album. Who knew?

6. Boosie Badazz - In My Feelings (Goin' Thru It)
Boosie released a staggering five full blown solo albums in 2016. And unlike most of his southern rap contemporaries who release multiple projects a year, it rarely feels like Boosie just walks into the booth and knocks out a song as a matter of routine -- he's always fired up, worried or pissed off or excited about whatever he's rapping about. In My Feelings is the shortest of Boosie's 2016 releases, and has a rawer, less polished sound than most of the others, but it was released mere weeks after a cancer scare, and takes the emotional immediacy of his music to a new level.

7. YG - Still Brazy
Few rapper/producer duos came into the game with a more perfectly symbiotic relationship than YG and DJ Mustard, which resulted in an instant classic in My Krazy Life. But they temporarily fell out while YG was recording his follow-up album, which spurred him to step up his rhymes with a production lineup including Swish and P-Lo that gave Still Brazy a more varied but still thoroughly west coast sound. And the closing trio of songs, including "FDT," was the unexpected source of 2016 hip hop's most potent political commentary.

8. Nels Cline - Lovers
On paper, Lovers, which is full of songs penned by the likes of Rodgers & Hart and Henry Mancini along with Cline originals, might seem like an 'avant garde noise guitarist assaults the American songbook' novelty. But the 60-year-old guitarist says he's been conceptualizing Lovers for 25 years, before most of his dozens of other albums as a composer and bandleader. And it's an affectionate, creative reimagining of jazz's anachronistic status as romantic 'mood music,' from someone who's more known for sticking kitchen implements into his guitar strings, full of his beautiful trembling slide guitar and lush strings and horns arranged by Michael Leonhart.

9. Fantasia - The Definition Of...
I thought Fantasia Barrino had come into her own creatively with 2013's Side Effects Of You, having no idea how well she'd top herself with her next album. Tapping into her inner Tina Turner, the American Idol vet brings her onstage charisma into the studio like never before, purring and howling through rock and soul anthems like "Crazy" and "Lonely Legend."

10. Meek Mill - DC4
Meek Mill never stopped being one of my favorite rappers working, even when his response to Drake's "Back To Back" was too little, too late. But after he spent over a year previewing songs and snippets from his next project, I did started to worry that the 4th Dreamchasers mixtape would also be too little, too late to help his career recover from that setback. So I was relieved when DC4 finally arrived a couple months ago, not just shaking off the drama of 2015 but locking into Meek's signature sound and songwriting strengths more successfully than Dreams Worth More Than Money.

11. Maxwell - blackSUMMERS'night
In 2009, Maxwell emerged from a nearly 8 year hiatus between albums with a promise of a trilogy of albums ready to go in quick succession. So it became somewhat comical that it took him nearly 7 years to delivery the second album in the series, but I'm glad he finally came back around. Maxwell and longtime collaborators Stuart Matthewman and Hod David have always had a knack for fusing acoustic and electronic sounds into something nobody else had thought of, and there's a wealth of gorgeous percussion and keyboard textures on this record.

12. Kevin Gates - Islah
Kevin Gates is the kind of idiosyncratic regional rap hero that rarely sticks the landing on a major label debut. But Islah got almost everything right, managing to go platinum without substantially changing his sound or relying on famous guests or producers (with the notable exception of "Jam," a in-case-of-radio-single-emergency-break-glass bonus track featuring 3 R&B stars that they never needed to use). Unfortunately, Islah also features "The Truth," an unconvincing defense of the incident in which Gates kicked an concert attendee, which ultimately resulted in him getting sentenced to 6 months in jail by the end of what should have been a triumphant year.

13. David Bowie - 
My firsthand memories of David Bowie are mainly all those '90s and early 2000s album rollouts, where he tried to refresh and disrupt his legacy more than just about any Boomer rock legend, often to an indifferent public. So it's bittersweet that he finally hit a creative sweet spot just before the end, an achievement that was evident to most of us on the first listen that week of release, even before we found out that it was the end.

14. Flock of Dimes - If You See Me, Say Yes
I've been a huge fan of just about everything Jenn Wasner does ever since I caught an early Wye Oak show nearly a decade ago, and was also at the live debut of her solo project Flock Of Dimes in 2011. So it was exciting to finally hear a Flock Of Dimes full length that showed what she's capable of when producing and playing everything herself, and bringing the synths and programmed beats of Wye Oak's Shriek further to the forefront.

15. K. Michelle - More Issues Than Vogue
The 3 albums K. Michelle released in the space of 3 years (plus a pretty enjoyable mixtape) have made her one of the most prolific and consistent artists in R&B right now, and I'm frustrated that her commercial profile has slid in that time while most critics have failed to even start to notice her. The first two tracks on here that T-Pain worked on are a killer opening, I really hope he and K. Michelle continue to work together.

16. Brothers Osborne - Pawn Shop
In a mainstream country landscape with only a couple of aging guitar heroes (Brad Paisley and Keith Urban), John Osborne's fantastic playing on the platinum single "Stay A Little Longer," and the rest of the Jay Joyce-produced album that followed it, gives me hope that his brother T.J.'s voice could help shepherd more guitar solos onto the one radio format that still has room for them.

17. Beyonce - Lemonade
I'm glad that we're at a point, as a culture, where we can rightfully celebrate Beyonce as a premiere album artist, even if it means slightly overrating what I would call her 4th best album (5th best if we count The Writing's On The Wall). Lemonade is remarkable for its balance of a wide range of styles and sounds from song to song while a narrative throughline connects nearly every song (maybe every song -- does "Formation" happily conclude the story at Red Lobster?). There are just a few songs too many that I don't think I'd ever want to hear outside of the album's well constructed arc.

18. Young Thug - I'm Up
Young Thug released 3 solo projects in 2015 that averaged nearly 70 minutes apiece. In 2016 he again released 3 projects, but they averaged more like 38 minutes, and the newfound ability to release concise, digestible records was a welcome change of pace. And I'm Up felt the most like a properly sequenced album of the whole bunch, with opening and closing tracks that actually felt like opening and closing tracks.

19. 2 Chainz - Daniel Son; Necklace Don
Like Young Thug, 2 Chainz was probably spurred by the success of Future's run of fairly short mixtapes, and went even further in the direction of brevity -- his 4 projects this year average only 30 minutes. And while 2012 will probably always remain the biggest year of his career, 2016 was the year he became scarily consistent, bar for bar and verse for verse almost never stumbling or failing to deliver a memorable line.

20. Shy Glizzy - Young Jefe 2
Every year brings a new XXL Freshmen cover, a new crop of buzzing rappers who are either beginning a serious career or enjoying a brief moment in the limelight. And while there sometimes seems to be a Darwinian logic to who thrives and who falls by the wayside, I often get frustrated when young rappers seem to lose their buzz just as their hitting their stride as MCs. Shy Glizzy is still a star in Washington, D.C., but I wonder if the rest of the country is missing out on how much better Young Jefe 2 is than the first Young Jefe, which spun off his biggest hit, "Awwsome," 2 years ago.

21. DeJ Loaf - All Jokes Aside
DeJ Loaf is another rapper who rose to national stardom in 2014 and didn't get enough credit for her improvement on the mic in 2016. Her debut album is supposedly due out in early 2017, but All Jokes Aside is strong enough that I think an opportunity was missed to just put this out with a bar code while "Back Up" was on the radio.

22. Dawn Richard - Redemption
Dawn Richard has undergone a pretty remarkable creative metamorphosis since auditioning for Making The Band 3 in 2004. Now that Redemption has completed the long planned trilogy of her fist three solo albums, and she's traced this unusual journey from R&B and pop to a kind of post-EDM artsong, I'm curious if she's arrived at a sound she'll stick with, or if she'll keep reinventing her sound.

23. So Nice Yesterday - Best Party Ever
Thom and Berko really sound like nobody else in Baltimore, or anywhere else, and it was fun to hear them roll out these songs one at a time before putting it all together as an album, just hearing all the odd creative ways they put together beats and voices.

24. Tate Kobang - Since We're Here
Most of Tate Kobang's great previous mixtapes were vanished from the Internet by the time "Bank Rolls" made him famous outside of Baltimore, so I'm happy that he put out a new project that does a pretty good job of splitting the difference between the idiosyncrasies of his early work and the accessible side he discovered on "Banks Rolls."

25. Usher - Hard II Love
In 2000, Usher scrapped his 3rd album. All About U, and its misfire single "Pop Ya Collar," went back to the drawing board, and came back with 2001's triumphant 8701. For his 8th album, Usher once again went through a tortured process of shelving his first attempt and making another album, but this time the process took over 2 years, included a couple of pretty massive radio hits now orphaned with no parent album, and seemed to drain so much momentum from the project that it landed with a thud as the least successful record of Usher's adult career. And yet, Hard II Love, despite the title that begs a snarky one liner, is actually really easy to enjoy, with great vocal performances and surprising experiments like the 8 minute "Tell Me," but none of the strained stylistic misfires of Looking 4 Myself or Raymond v. Raymond.

26. Against Me! - Shape Shift With Me
Transgender Dysphoria Blues was a monumental record, and I already feel like a fairweather fan because I didn't play the follow up as much. But now that I've come around to how good this band is, I feel like I need to go back and appreciate the whole catalog more than I have so far.

27. Kendrick Lamar - untitled ummastered
In an era in which most of the best rappers have no sense of 'outtakes' or 'b sides' or any way of doing things other than recording a ton of music and releasing all of it, Kendrick Lamar has established himself, perhaps a bit self importantly but also justifiably, as a serious album artist in the classic rock mold. So untitled ummastered is less like a stopgap mixtape and more like Bruce Springsteen's The Promise, presenting a cutting room floor of great ideas that had to be carved away to create To Pimp A Butterfly. There's little here that I would've preferred to save for the 'real' album, but it's a testament to how talented Kendrick is that these scraps are more impressive than a lot of proper albums released this year.

28. Boosie Badazz - Out My Feelings (In My Past)
The 2nd of Boosie's 5 albums of 2016 isn't as raw and immediate as its counterpart In My Feelings, but it's one of the best collections of beats he's ever rapped over.

29. The Posies - Solid States
Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow are one of my favorite songwriting teams of all time, still pushing each other into interesting new terrain after three decades of collaborating. And this year I saw them play an incredible show in a church in Baltimore, not long after the deaths of two Posies rhythm section players, drummer Darius Minwalla and bassist Darius Minwalla. And the humor, political commentary and literary density that's seeped more and more into the band's lyrics since their '90s heyday has been a welcome addition to their effortless popcraft and vocal harmonies on strangely poignant songs like "Squirrel Vs Snake."

30. Justin Moore - Kinda Don't Care
Justin Moore may be the most underrated vocalist in Nashville, one of the few current hitmakers whose forceful growl actually conjures a little of the '70s legends that all of his contemporaries namecheck as a matter of routine. His songs aren't always as classic as his voice, but they're getting there.

31. Paul Simon - Stranger To Stranger
A lot of still living or recently deceased pop music legends released respectable albums in 2016. One that really stood out for me, however, is Paul Simon's latest, released an entire half century after his first masterpiece, Sounds of Silence. His way with words is still lucid and unique his, his voice has aged handsomely, and he's still remarkably experimental, piling polyrhythms on top of each other in delightfully unusual electronic and acoustic textures.

32. Dave Fell - Modern Easy Favorites
Dave Fell is one of my favorite musicians in Baltimore who's done a lot of different kinds of music as both a bandleader and a sideman and doesn't seem to stay in any particular niche. Modern Easy Favorites is the simplest, most direct thing I've ever heard him to do, singing and playing acoustic guitar live to tape, these lovely tuneful little unadorned songs. Listen to it on Bandcamp.

33. Mick Jenkins - The Healing Component
Mick Jenkins is a young Chicago rapper who writes earnestly and unapologetically about love and Christ, but he's got a deeper voice and much darker musical palette that makes The Healing Component a pretty different album from Coloring Book and indispensable in its own way. Shame about the extremely bad "Drowning" being the most popular song from this record, though.

34. KING - We Are KING
This dreamy vocals and languid tempos of this album are not really my thing enough to have kept the album in rotation throughout the year, but it was pretty impressive when I did listen to it, and some of the synth work is inspired.

35. Ro James - El Dorado
This is an album that would probably be a lot higher on the list if it was sequenced better, but it starts off with my least favorite track and takes a while to really build up momentum. It has a ton of awesome songs though, I hope a couple of them run R&B radio in 2017 the way "Permission" ran 2016.

36. SiR - Her EP
SiR is one of my favorite under the radar R&B singer-songwriters who's mostly made his name for guesting on TDE releases and writing a Jill Scott single. But he quit his day job shortly after the release of this follow up to the 2015 album Seven Days and sounds increasingly ready for primetime.

37. Dreezy - No Hard Feelings
Dreezy is one of the more promising rappers to have made their major label debut in 2016, even if Interscope chose to promote the album through the tracks where she sings. I'd love for more people to hear songs like "Spazz" and "We Gon Ride" before she completely gets mislabeled as purely an R&B act.

38. Jumpcuts - Fiber Optic Bondage
I've met or been in touch with many of the musicians on this list, particularly the ones from Baltimore, but I think people know I'm always honest with my opinions. That said, Andy Shankman plays with me in Western Blot, and made his 2nd Jumpcuts album with my producer Mat Leffler-Schulman, so you can take my perspective with a grain of salt if you want, but I loved hearing these guys make a record together and thought Andy stepped up his songwriting.

39. Dinosaur Jr. - Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not
Now that Sonic Youth aren't making albums anymore, Dinosaur Jr. kind of occupy their role for me as the '80s indie trailblazers who are still getting an incredible amount of mileage out of their particular brand of blown out guitar rock. J Mascis generally gets more credit for his blazing solos and charmingly plainspoken lyrics, but we don't appreciate him enough for the unusual song structures his sneaks into deceptively catchy tunes, for the unexpected twists that a song like "Knocked Around" can take.

40. Young Thug - Jeffery
Of Young Thug's three 2016 releases, Jeffery is the one that was framed the most convincingly like an album -- great cover art, conceptual tracklist, etc. -- but in practice, it just sounded like another grab bag of songs that were arbitrarily renamed after people to fit the record's theme. Some of those songs were pretty great, but the fact that I still don't know whether to call my favorite one "Kanye West" or "Elton John" or "Pop Man" or something else entirely kind of illustrates my point.

41. Wye Oak - Tween
Like Kendrick Lamar's untitled unmastered, Wye Oak's Tween is defined by what it isn't. It's songs that Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack recorded but decided not to use for their 4th album Shriek, perhaps less because of any quality deficiency than because they're simply not the dramatic musical departure that Shriek very deliberately was. But as much as they may have been loathe to make 'just another Wye Oak album,' they are one of the most brilliant bands of the past decade, and it's great to hear them pick up where Civilian left off even if they ultimately decided to temporarily shelve that direction.

42. Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo
"Perfectionist" is one of those words that frequently gets thrown around to describe anyone who's good at anything, and it's always been inaccurately applied to Kanye West. The haphazard first draft moment of inspiration hangs over his best work even when he's meticulously updated it a hundred times since then, and one of the reasons that Late Registration is my favorite West album is its shaggy, tangential energy. His 7th solo album went through several titles and iterations during its interminably long and public gestation. And a couple weeks before its release, when it was still called Swish, he posted a handwritten tracklist for what would've been a 42-minute album that, upon reflection, would've totally sucked. Instead, he released a much longer album, adding great songs like "Ultralight Beam" as well as utter failures like "Facts," and continued adding to it after the initial release, ultimately ending up with a 66-minute data dump. There are too many potent songs like "Real Friends" to discard the whole, but it's definitely not an album I can play front to back easily.

43. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead have an even bigger reputation as meticulous album architects, and they undermined in their own odd, subtle way, by putting the songs on their 9th album in alphabetical order by title, as if they just let an iTunes folder arbitrarily determine the shape of years of work. But somehow, it works, and as someone who's generally been a skeptic of their later work, I've enjoyed this record more than any they've made since Amnesiac.

44. E-40 - The D-Boy Diary
E-40 has made about 14 solo albums in just this decade, and it's remarkable how much more durable his sound and formula is over that kind of volume output compared to much younger rappers. Lil B, a Bay Area rapper who's become a cult figure by making hundreds of songs with a minimum of effort and a maximum of quirk, shows up on The D-Boy Diary to sleepwalk through a standard chaotic, half assed Lil B verse, but after that's over, E-40 continues to plow ahead making an absurd number of top shelf E-40 songs at nearly 50 years old. 

45. T.I. - Us Or Else: Letter To The System
In September, T.I. released the Us Or Else EP, 6 sharply political songs that crackled with a sense of purpose, and I lamented the fact that he'd probably never make a full length album in that vein without loading it up with Paper Trail style crossover attempts that have marred his last few albums. But a couple weeks ago T.I. added 9 more songs to Us Or Else and expanded it to a whole album that carries that same sound and theme, and sometimes I'm happy to be proven wrong.

46. YFN Lucci - Wish Me Well 2
When I got into YFN Lucci this year and checked out both of his Wish Me Well mixtapes, what struck me was how he sounds like a more forlorn version of his labelmate Rich Homie Quan, and how many of his songs feature plaintive piano loops. And honestly, YFN Lucci may be contemporary Atlanta rap's unlikely master of the piano ballad.

47. Chris Maxwell - Arkansas Summer
Chris Maxwell played guitar in the original lineup of the New York band Skeleton Key, which made one album, the delightfully odd and unlikely major label release Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon, in 1997, and sang one song on that album, the funky standout "All The Things I've Lost." I hadn't kept track of Maxwell in the last 19 or so years since then, but apparently he's been producing records and making music for TV shows like "Bob's Burgers." And then this year he resurfaced for the first time as a solo artist, with an impressive little set of acoustic and gently funny songs inspired by growing up in Little Rock.

48. The Joy Formidable - Hitch
The Big Roar still stands tall as one of the decade's best rock albums, and it's a shame that The Joy Formidable is no longer getting a big Atlantic Records promotional push, because they remain a fantastic band who keep adding more unpredictable elements to the kind of updated shoegaze sound they're known for.

49. Kodak Black - Lil B.I.G. Pac
In a year that saw a polarizing set of young rappers represent hip hop's incoming next generation, Kodak Black stood out from that crop as the only one in a Boosie lineage of more serious, introspective southern rappers, a sharp contrast to the cutesy likes of Lil Yachty. I probably would've been more excited about Kodak in a year when Boosie himself wasn't firing on all cylinders, but I'm still pretty interested to see what this kid is capable of, I think he's still developing as a writer but there are flashes of potential on Lil B.I.G. Pac.

50. Gucci Mane - Everybody Looking
Given the way "Black Beatles" has far outperformed Gucci Mane's solo work this year, and the way much of his best work of 2016 was on guest verses, I'm starting to picture Gucci Mane becoming the rap game Tony Bennett, only making waves when he duets with people half his age. But Everybody Looking was still this thrilling moment when this guy who'd seemed doomed for so many years came roaring back with a spring in his step, doing songs like "Pop Music" and "Robbed" that reminded me of what made him a legend in the first place. 

My Top 100 Singles of 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

As I usually do, I already broke down this list into five enre lists (rap, pop, R&B, country and rock/alternative), and now I'll wrap things up with one big list and Spotify playlist

1. DNCE - "Cake By The Ocean"
2. Maxwell - "Lake By The Ocean"
3. Beyonce - "Formation"
4. Chance The Rapper f/ 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne "No Problem"
5. Maren Morris - "'80s Mercedes"
6. Young M.A "OOOUUU"
7. MNEK & Zara Larsson - "Never Forget You"
8. Kevin Gates - "Really Really"
9. Young Greatness - "Moolah"
10. Bastille - "Good Grief"
11. Ro James - "Permission"
12. Bishop Briggs - "River"
13. Jeremih - "Oui"
14. Bruno Mars - "24K Magic"
15. Chainsmokers f/ Daya - "Don't Let Me Down"
16. Hailee Steinfeld & Grey f/ Zedd "Starving"
17. Mary J. Blige - "Thick Of It"
18. DJ Khaled f/ Drake - "For Free"
19. O.T. Genasis f/ Young Dolph - "Cut It"
20. Young Thug - "Best Friend"
21. Foals - "Mountain At My Gates"
22. Rae Sremmurd f/ Gucci Mane - "Black Beatles"
23. The 1975 - "Somebody Else"
24. Phantogram - "You Don't Get Me High Anymore"
25. X-Ambassadors - "Unsteady"
26. Kehlani - "CRZY"
27. Guordon Banks "Keep You In Mind"
28. Jon Pardi - "Head Over Boots"
29. Lloyd - "Tru"
30. Kings Of Leon - "Waste A Moment"
31. Eric Church - "Record Year"
32. Dierks Bentley f/ Elle King - "Different For Girls"
33. Chris Lane - "Fix"
34. James Bay - "Let It Go"
35. Kungs vs. Cookin' On 3 Burners - "This Girl"
36. Ariana Grande - "Into You"
37. Fifth Harmony f/ Ty Dolla $ign - "Work From Home"
38. Troye Sivan - "Youth"
39. Flume f/ Kai - "Never Be Like You"
40. Rihanna "Sex With Me"
41. Usher f/ Young Thug "No Limit"
42. Flo Rida - "My House"
43. D.R.A.M. f/ Lil Yachty - "Broccoli"
44. YFN Lucci f/ Migos and Trouble "Key To The Streets"
45. Dae Dae - "Wat U Mean (Aye, Aye, Aye)"
46. Fat Joe and Remy Ma featuring French Montana - "All The Way Up"
47. Future - "Wicked"
48. Yo Gotti f/ E-40 - "Law"
49. Amine - "Caroline"
50. Dreezy f/ Jeremih - "Body"
51. Mila J "Kickin' Back"
52. Beyonce "Sorry"
53. Justin Timberlake - "Can't Stop The Feeling!"
54. Daya - "Hide Away"
55. Chainsmokers f/ Halsey - "Closer"
56. Yuna f/ Usher - "Crush"
57. Prince - "1000 X's & O's"
58. DJ Luke Nasty - "Might Be"
59. Kevin Gates - "2 Phones"
60. AWOLNATION - "Woman Woman"
61. Vance Joy - "Fire And The Flood"
62. Metallica - "Hardwired"
63. Twenty One Pilots - "Ride"
64. Bear Hands - "2AM"
65. Ariana Grande - "Dangerous Woman"
66. Zayn - "Pillowtalk"
67. Ellie Goulding - "Something In The Way You Move"
68. Maroon 5 f/ Kendrick Lamar - "Don't Wanna Know"
69. Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello - "I Know What You Did Last Summer"
70. Rihanna f/ Drake - "Work"
71. Solange - "Cranes In The Sky"
72. Anthony Hamilton "Amen"
73. Fantasia - "No Time For It"
74. Johnny Gill f/ New Edition - "This One's For Me And You"
75. Travi$ Scott and Young Thug f/ Quavo - "Pick Up The Phone"
76. Curren$y f/ Lil Wayne and August Alsina - "Bottom Of The Bottle"
77. Kelsea Ballerini - "Peter Pan"
78. Thomas Rhett - "Die A Happy Man"
79. Maren Morris - "My Church"
80. Old Dominion - "Snapback"
81. Kenny Chesney f/ Pink - "Setting The World On Fire"
82. Chris Young f/ Cassadee Pope - "Think Of You"
83. Brothers Osborne "21 Summer"
84. Carrie Underwood - "Church Bells"
85. Big & Rich f/ Tim McGraw - "Lovin' Lately"
86. Justin Moore - "Somebody Else Will"
87. Clare Dunn - "Tuxedo"
88. Kaleo - "Way Down We Go"
89. The Lumineers - "Ophelia"
90. Fitz And The Tantrums - "HandClap"
91. Miike Snow - "Genghis Khan"
92. Weezer - "Thank God For Girls"
93. Brandy Clark - "Girl Next Door"
94. Garth Brooks - "Baby, Let's Lay Down And Dance
95. Drake White - "Livin' The Dream"
96. Coldplay - "Adventure Of A Lifetime"
97. Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Dark Necessities"
98. Sam Hunt - "Make You Miss Me"
99. Empire Of The Sun - "Walking On A Dream"
100. Plies - "Ran Off On The Plug Twice"