This is djrobblog’s annual recap of the best songs you missed from the year just ended. These are tunes that either missed the Billboard main singles charts altogether, or they never escaped the lower reaches of them.
The chart that serves as the barometer of these songs’ lack of success is the Billboard Hot 100. If a song charted higher than #51 at any time during 2016, then it is ineligible for this list.
The 16 songs are presented here in no particular order. They represent multiple genres with artists spanning many generations. Some of the artists whose music is included here are sadly no longer with us, people like British superstar David Bowie and legendary Canadian poet/musician Leonard Cohen. But those artists released what was arguably some of their best work in years over the past 12 months, with both Bowie’s and Cohen’s projects eerily coming very shortly before their unexpected deaths.
The year was as interesting for what didn’t become popular as it was for what did. Perennial faves like Drake, Rihanna, Adele, Beyoncé, and the Biebs had good years, as did relative newcomers like Twenty One Pilots, Chainsmokers, Bryson Tiller and Alessia Cara. Mumble rap (as bad as that stuff sounds) kept hip-hop at the top of the charts with songs by Future, Desiigner, Lil Uzi Vert and A$AP Ferg scaling the upper reaches of the Hot 100.
But you won’t find mumble rap or any of the above-named artists on this djroblist. Instead, these are songs that didn’t get as much love on radio or via streaming and paid downloads…but songs that I believe should have.
I gave dozens and dozens of low-charting or no-charting singles a listen to come up with this list, and narrowed it down to what I considered the sixteen best.
Without further ado, here they are in no particular order…
These first-ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Famers reminded us how they got there with this rollicking and somewhat disturbing 2016 release. It was punk rock at its 21st-Century finest by one of the best punk bands to ever do it. "Bang Bang" had all the musical elements of the band's '90s jams, plus the lyrical genius of their 2000's stuff (think 2005's "Holiday"). The song, which is written from the perspective of a mass shooter (with a refrain of "Daddy's little psycho and Mommy's little soldier), immediately topped Billboard's rock charts, but failed to even make the Hot 100, which is why it's on this "missed" list.
You can hear all of these songs on my special Spotify playlist here.
Happy New Year!