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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 23, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 52
BEST OF MUSIC 2016: SINGLES
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: SINGLES

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

We listened to them over and over and over again. They were the songs that were so good, and in most cases better written, than anything else we heard in 2016. In ranking order, these are my choices for the best singles of the year.

1. 'Side to Side' - Ariana Grande (featuring Nicki Minaj)
With help from dependable guest rapper Nicki Minaj, this light reggae-pop single by Ariana Grande was the perfect scorcher for a cold winter. Yes, it's about sex ('ride dick bicycle,' um hello?), but it's also about doing whatever the hell you wanna do and giving 'zero fucks' what anyone else thinks.

2. 'Cheap Thrills' - Sia
Written initially for Rihanna, the second single from Sia's This Is Acting album features a Carribbean-tinged vibe and an ever-so-catchy chorus. A remix of the song includes added vocals by Sean Paul, but this version is fine on its own.

3. 'Woman's World' - BJ the Chicago Kid
This Grammy-nominated R&B song from the Chicago newcomer is an ode to women everywhere, but especially mothers raising baby boys into fine men. Sung gorgeously with an elegant string arrangement, it's a tribute to all the mamas out there.

4. 'Kiss It Better' - Rihanna
'Work' was the biggest single from RiRi's new album Anti, but this was a better one. The song's tough lyrics - 'Who cares when it feels like crack?/ Man, fuck your pride' - folded into a synth-heavy backdrop is a winning combination.

5. 'Burn the Witch' - Radiohead
One of Radiohead's best singles was this leadoff hit from A Moon Shaped Pool that builds up to an intense, dramatic finish. The orchestral arrangement is just brilliant, as are Thom Yorke's semi-cryptic vocals.

6. 'Talk Me Down' - Troye Sivan
The final chapter of Sivan's 'Blue Neighborhood Trilogy,' this emotional pop-EDM ballad deals with the after effects of rejection and homophobia. Its accompanying music video, while heartbreaking, is a must-see.

7. 'Starboy' - The Weeknd (featuring Daft Punk)
I still have absolutely no idea what this song is about, but I can't stop listening to it. The Weeknd's newest single, from the album by the same title, features electronic wizardy from Daft Punk and an addictive, moody beat.

8. 'Better Man' - Little Big Town
It should come as no surprise that this cool, mid-tempo country number about being dumped was written by the breakup queen herself, Taylor Swift. But who's it about - Calvin Harris, Tom Hiddleston, or [insert name here]?

9. 'Come Down' - Anderson .Paak
Breakthrough artist Anderson .Paak turned heads, and ears, with this jumpy, funky single from his album Malibu. If this doesn't get you dancing, check your pulse.

10. 'This Girl' - Kungs vs Cookin' on 3 Burners
Originally released in 2009 by Australian trio Cookin' on 3 Burners, this retro deep soul number with a toot-sweet horn section was given new life this year when it was remixed by French DJ Kungs.

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Best theater of 2016
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: HOTTEST ARTISTS OF THE YEAR
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Pearl Jam selected for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: SINGLES
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: ALBUMS
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: LIVE PERFORMANCES
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WORST MUSIC OF THE YEAR
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BEST OF MUSIC 2016: A final farewell to the musicians we lost this year
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Seattle Film Critics Society announces nominations for 2016 Seattle Film Awards
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Portman's brilliance makes Jackie a hypnotic marvel
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Washington's Fences adaptation an absolute triumph
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Gracefully unnerving Eyes an abhorrent wonder
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Flashy Assassin's Creed another video game adaptation gone wrong
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