Childish Gambino- ‘Me and Your Mama’

‘Me and Your Mama’ was the first glimpse we had at Childish Gambino’s new album Awaken, My Love! It’s a three-part soul-sizzled banger that sinks right down into your being. It starts off with lullaby chimes and gentle gospel choir chants until a 70s-esque-guitar riff reels you into the pinnacle of the song.

Gambino screams “let me in to your heart” with strained emotion and as the choir ascends and funk and soul melodies carry you through a vortex of passionate pleads from Gambino. And then it stops. Before we know it, we’re being washed away by waves of bluesy guitars and trembling synths.

‘Me and Your Mama’ is an emotional rollercoaster. Some may be sad that Gambino has pushed his tongue-in-cheek rap ego to the side for now, but it’s clear his new path definitely marks a new era for Childish Gambino. There’s one thing we know for sure: Gambino’s got pipes.

Words by Emily Gunn @EmzGunn

Diiv- ‘Under The Sun’

Diiv’s ‘Under The Sun’ is a beautifully constructed nod to shoegaze. The song’s simplicity is what really makes it work at such a gorgeous level. As the bass comes in you almost feel like you could be listening to The Smith’s with a more psychedelic edge. It isn’t until the lead guitar line comes in you really begin to realise the dream like qualities that make this band stand out from other Dream Pop acts around today.

Words by Thomas Paddock

Creeper – ‘Black Mass’

Creeper’s career has almost been on a rollercoaster this year. From appearing at festivals such as Reading & Leeds to Butserfest as well as supporting big-hitters, Pierce the Veil, they’ve been everywhere. The tip of the iceberg for their fame comes from the first single from EP, The Stranger, released at the beginning of the year.

‘Black Mass’ captures everything that makes the perfect song, bouncy poppy hooks combined with a flawless bassline. Full to the brim with energy, it displays influences across the spectrum from Meatloaf to Alkaline Trio. ‘Black Mass’ is the song of 2016, and if ‘Suzanne’ is anything to be going by, their debut next year will be the album of 2017.

Words by Charlie Hill

Alcest – ‘Oiseaux de Proie’

After 2014’s underwhelming Shelter expanded on French outfit Alcest’s shoegaze influences, the release of the single ‘Oiseaux de Proie’ as a taster for 2016’s Kodama was the perfect response to the band’s critics.

Lyrically, the track explores the idea of nature regaining control over humanity, and so it’s quite fitting that, instrumentally, the song sounds just as dramatic and apocalyptic as the subject matter suggests. Frontman Neige’s melodic croons layer over the top of a melancholy guitar line, with reverb-heavy leads echoing in the background as the song progresses. This culminates in Neige’s absolutely monstrous harsh vocals capping off what is an utterly spine-tingling song.

Words by Lewis Edwards

Beyoncé- ‘Formation’

Beyoncé has consistently gone from strength to strength with her career and with ‘Formation’, lead single off her sixth studio album Lemonade is a tribute to that.
Knowles’ doesn’t only touch upon issues regarding race and gender within this song, she hits it square on. For a star of her scale to cover issues the way she does and still hold a sense of grace and style is astounding.

On top of the great lyrics, musically the song is immaculate. The infectious tune combined with metallic beats makes the track one of the most enjoyable tracks of 2016’s pop culture. Queen Bey has somehow topped herself since she “changed the world with that digital drop.

Words by Sam Taylor @thatsth3spirit

Mallory Knox – ‘Giving It Up’

‘Giving It Up’ is the first single from Ely five piece Mallory Knox’s third album Wired set for release in March 2017. Straight off the bat singer Mikey Chapman delivers dynamic and assertive vocals and lyrics. The chorus is strikingly catchy with call and response vocal melodies from both Chapman and bassist and backing singer Sam Douglas. This track is an exceptional come back track, following on from their last 2014 release Asymmetry and possibly one of their best songs to date.

Words by Eimer Harper

Drake- ‘One Dance’

Now if this track wasn’t on anyone’s playlist this year, 2016 was definitely a massive write off. Hitting April off with a highly addictive dance spark, somehow appearing in the current charts, it’s been a real pleasing year for the Toronto dancehall rapper.

But it’s important to credit Afrobeat artist Wizkid and British singer Kyla for the spaced out piano chords and reggae influenced beats. Drake’s Autotuned vocals polishes the track, despite its unapparent delineation between verse and chorus or dynamic range, but this doesn’t even cross your mind once immersed into the song.

Although ‘Fake Love’, ‘Too Good’ and ‘Controlla’ are honourable mentions from his recent masterpieces, ‘One Dance’ is truly a song you want to end the year with.

Words by Isha Shah @ishaphotos

DJ Shadow – ‘Nobody Speak  ft. Run The Jewels’

You’ve got to love a song that kicks off brazenly with “picture this; I’m a bag of dicks”, before a slew of ridiculous lyrics threatening to “punch a baby bear”, “kick a lion in his crack”, “kick your dog”, and then finally “fuck your bitch”. This, from the rap duo that’s released some of our era’s most hard-hitting political commentary, is the anti-serious antidote to a year that will be fondly remembered as the worst on record. Add in a ridiculously catchy chorus and a guitar riff that sounds like it’s come straight outta Django Unchained and you’ve got three musical legends doing what they do best.

Words by Tobias Pugh

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