Every song makes a huge impact on someone, good or bad, but some have that exceptional touch that you will never forget. Here are our Top 10 favorite songs from 2016.
The broken, raspy voice of Thrice's Dustin Kensrue paired with the melodic and dark guitars made 'Black Honey' unforgettable throughout the entire year. The jagged guitar chords are just infectious, while Kensrue's delivery is both badass and longing, hitting both sides of the spectrum on catchy and meaningful. The breathless chants of "This time, I'll get it right" that make up the bridge are almost sexy, but emanate such a broken-down feeling, it's hard to swallow. Thrice's comeback was huge, and 'Black Honey' stood at the pinnacle of it all.
Spidery guitars introduce this absolute beast of a song, found near the end of Deftones' Gore. Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell features on the song, complimenting Deftones' art rock textures with a grittier, powerful driving force that amplifies the song to huge heights. The song widely remains pretty dreamy, while the choruses sound big and rocky. The ending is an absolute train, giant riffs enveloping every part of you in some crazy violence. Deftones meeting Alice In Chains in one single track? Almost too much to handle.
Lots of songs on Aurora's debut record this year were special in their own right, but 'Through The Eyes Of A Child' is one of them that really hit personal spots. There isn't a lot to the song besides Aurora's sweet, silky vocals, the gentle piano, and warm synth. There's something so incredibly nostalgic about this song that its familiar warmth will bring a tear to your eye, or at least some of your fondest childhood memories back into fruition. This song makes you a better person by just bringing out your purest and most fragile memories of your past and reconnecting you to them. A truly beautiful track sung by a beautifully curious spirit.
Lacey Sturm had a lot of powerful messages delivered on Life Screams, but 'Rot' in particular was special. It's one of the tracks that truly brought light to a situation so often looked over: domestic abuse. This song is a tragic story of a woman who was beaten and broken down to her very last string by her partner, and finally stands up against them. The powerful instrumental of the song helps amplify Sturm's vocals in an effective way, and it just makes you wonder how many people have gone through this and what you can do to stop it. A song that gives you a mission statement is a truly powerful one.
All I Need is all about love and its ins and outs. 'Better Love' set the scene for the entire record, delivering a truly sweet and loving tone on top of a perfect pop instrumental. The choir backing in the pre-choruses atop the sweet piano and orchestra building into the huge and powerful choruses truly defines what pop perfection sounds like. This isn't a song for the radio that you won't be able to get out of your head; well, you might not be able to forget about it, but for all the right reasons. There's something in the longing, loving lyrics that truly make your heart beat with passion you might not have even known about.
You really can't go wrong with Panic! At The Disco. The huge alternative vibes of 'Emperor's New Clothes' rings with epic, jazzy undertones with an evil conviction. The creepy song sings of kingly, devilish fantasies that help back its evil textures. This song is nothing short of epic, everything from the creepy, distorted sample to Brendon Urie's epic falsettos in the choruses and bridge make this song a truly unforgettable jam you could go to whenever you need to let go and go a bit crazy.
There are no tricks to what makes Radiohead's 'Daydreaming' utterly beautiful. The simple piano arpeggios ring sweetly and longingly above the crystalline electronics in the background. Thom Yorke sings somberly above the piano with an eerie tone, immediately setting the mood of the song by crying out "Dreamers, they never learn." The song ebbs and flows incredibly beautifully, it's purity channeling the saddest curiosity within you. This is the sound of all the times you told yourself to not keep going. This is the sound of a love lost to choice.
Deftones snuck back onto the Top 10 Songs list by delivering the biggest rock track of 2016. 'Hearts/Wires' kicks off with a dark, bluesy guitar soundscape that slowly finds its way into the atmospheric track, Chino Moreno singing with a sensually murderous conviction. The song proceeds gently, its rage subtly creeping through until the massive, down-tuned guitar riff hits you in the face as the choruses kick in. This song is everything Deftones has become: art rock with a dreamy atmosphere accentuated by powerful, dark riffs. You can't ask or much more of an epic track than this.
Radiohead's 'True Love Waits' sings not of the regret we have of choices we didn't make, but of a choice we did make. The 20-year old track concludes A Moon Shaped Pool, the piano ballad longingly recalling the happiest moments of what has become a sad memory. The context of the song changed from its original roots in 2015, when Thom Yorke split from his wife of 23-years. It then became even stronger earlier this year when that same woman died of cancer. This song channels all of the sadness that his sweetest memories are now tarnished with, and similarly how those times will never return. The lines "Just don't leave, don't leave" and "I’m not living, I’m just killing time. Your tiny hands, your crazy kitten smile" now have a new sense of heartbreak to them. A song that is as revealing as this one deserves not only a place on any Top 10 list of the year, but a place in every listener's heart, too.
The track topping the Top 10 list is the song that by far has the strongest impact. Everything that makes all of these previous tracks so special is channeled into one tragic track in 'Murder Song.' The acoustic version rings with a lot more emotional burden than the energized studio version. Aurora sings smoothly and brokenly in this track, from the perspective of someone who just shot their partner out of blinding rage. The scene is set with haunting detail, the first verse chanting "He holds the gun against my head, I close my eyes and bang I am dead. I know he knows that he’s killing me for mercy" to acknowledge the victim's final thoughts before the second verse tells of the aftermath: "He holds my body in his arms, he didn't mean to do no harm. And he holds me tight." Aurora's raw voice emanating through the track's atmosphere makes these lyrics even more powerful. This song will bring a tear to everyone's eye once you listen to it. Trust me when I say this is one of the most powerful songs you will ever hear.
That's a wrap! Thanks for sticking with Immortal Reviews for our first real year in 2016. Check back this week for more lists and in 2017 for the latest reviews and news. We wish you happy holidays and a happy new year!