Top 89 Staff Picks: Scott Olstad, digital commerce


Top 89 of 2016
The Current's staff shares their top picks for 2016 (MPR graphic)

Two Rules: My list of songs doesn't include tracks from my favorite albums. Music from December 2015 is eligible for this list, just as music from December 2016 will be eligible for next year's list.


10. The Weeknd, Daft Punk -- "I Feel It Coming"
This feels like it could have been on Random Access Memories. Daft Punk's best pop jams feature strong vocal performances -- from "Get Lucky" and "Fragments of Time" all the way back to "One More Time" and "Face to Face." The Weeknd proves he is more than up for the task.

9. Thundercat -- "Bus In These Streets"
Thundercat's nimble, syncopated, groove-heavy basslines feel like additional voices in his music. The cheeky lyrics push this song over the top:
"From the minute I wake up I'm staring at the screen
Watching the world go insane
Gotta stay connected so I know what's happening
In these streets
Thank God for technology 'cause where would we be if we couldn't tweet our thoughts?"

8. Dawes -- "We're All Going to Die"
Albeit not as good of a memento mori as this Thundercat jam from a few years back, the message is the same. After the year we've had, the title is more promising than it is threatening. Take solace.

7. Bon Iver -- "8 (circle)"
After the dissonance at the end of "21 M00N WATER," "8 (circle)" slowly resolves that tension with its building triumph.

6. Aesop Rock -- "Blood Sandwich"
The vibes and electric guitar carry the tension until the beat drops at the end.

5. D.R.A.M. -- "Cash Machine"
I don't care if everybody likes "Broccoli" more, I love the cash machine sound and the simple piano hook. Winner of the "This Makes Me Smile Like An Idiot Every Time I Hear It" Award for 2016.

4. Young Thug -- "Kanye West (feat. Wyclef Jean)"
Everybody has a favorite Young Thug song from this year. "Kanye West" is mine.

3. Pinegrove -- "Old Friends"

2. MrDougDoug -- "69 StarSpangled 420"
"On the track "69 Starspangled 420,P there is literally audio from 69 different videos of the The Star-Spangled Banner ground into a fine paste over the course of a half hour. A thick mush of nationalism and anxiety that feels like walking on a soaking wet red, white, and blue shag carpet." -- Mike Haley, Tabs Out

No song expresses the existential, soul-crushing despair of our new political reality better than "69 StarSpangled 420." It sounds like a joke, but it's terrifyingly real.

1. Kanye West -- "Ultralight Beam"
This is a God dream.


10. Noname -- Telefone

Favorite Song: Forever (feat. Joseph Chilliams & Ravyn Lenae)

9. The Big Ship -- Searchlight Casting

Favorite Song: The Boathouse Story

8. PUP -- The Dream is Over

Favorite Song: If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will

7. Anderson .Paak -- Malibu

Favorite Song: Come Down

6. Frank Ocean -- Blonde

Favorite Song: Nights

5. A Tribe Called Quest -- We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service

Favorite Song: Enough!!

4. Car Seat Headrest -- Teens of Denial

Favorite Song: The Ballad of Costa Concordia

3. Solange -- A Seat at the Table

Favorite Song: Mad

2. Chance the Rapper -- Coloring Book

Favorite Song: Finish Line/Drown (ft. T-Pain, Kirk Franklin, Eryn Allen Kane & Noname)

1. Blood Orange -- Freetown Sound

Favorite Song: But You

Local Songs:

10. Night Moves -- "Denise, Don't Wanna See You Cry"

9. Har Mar Superstar -- "Haircut"

8. Moors Blackmon -- "Coldhearted"

7. Andre Cymone -- "Black Man in America"

6. Step Rockets -- "Kisser"

5. Astronomique -- "Like Junkies"

4. Fraea -- "Criminal"

3. The Jayhawks -- "Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces"

2. P.O.S -- "Wearing A Bear"

1. Lizzo -- "Good As Hell"

Local Albums:

10. Koo Koo Kanga Roo -- The Triangle of Success
Full Disclosure: My brother is the one with the mustache.

9. Kitten Forever -- 7 Hearts

8. Mark Mallman -- The End Is Not the End

7. Nazeem & Spencer Jones -- The Album

6. Guerilla Toss -- Eraser Stargazer

5. Polica -- United Crushers

4. Allan Kingdom -- Northern Lights

3. ZuluZuluu -- What's the Price

2. Desdamona -- No Man's Land

1. Prince -- HITNRUN Phase Two

Music Videos:

5. Aesop Rock -- The Impossible Kid (Full Album Stream)

A shot-by-shot recreation of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining with puppets raises the bar for future album streams.

4. Solange -- "Don't Touch My Hair"

3. PUP -- "DVP"

I love this video so much.

2. Polica -- "Wedding"

This video didn't get the love it deserved this year.

1. D'Angelo ft. Princess -- "Sometimes It Snows in April"

It's been removed from YouTube and NBC's website but you can find D'Angelo's Tonight Show tribute to Prince with a few Google searches. D'Angelo getting choked up during the last verse makes me cry every time.

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