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Ian Schrank’s Top 10 of 2016

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2016 was full of new songs, new albums and musicians that topped the chart. Marquette Radio decided to reflect and choose 10 of their favorites from the year. Here’s our assistant general manager Ian Schrank’s picks, in no particular order:

“Favorite Liar” – The Wrecks

This was my song of the summer that I could not get out of my head. The fun, fast-paced single comes from brand-new indie-rock group The Wrecks. Their debut EP is rather short with only three songs, but that is apparently because the record was self-produced on a $0 budget when the band snuck into a recording studio for three days. I cannot wait to see what these guys do in the future.

“Diddy Bop” – Noname (ft. Raury and Cam O’bi)

Chicago rapper Fatimah Warner, better known as Noname, first starting getting attention in 2013 when she featured on Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap.” Three years later, she released her first mixtape “Telefone,” and it is fantastic. Her blend of hip-hop rhythms and jazz chords make the record unique and original from beginning to end.

“Only Just a Call Away” – The Struts

The Struts are a band that has a reputation as a phenomenal live act in England and France, where they have opened for groups like Guns and Roses and The Rolling Stones. They remained relatively unknown in the U.S. until their single “Could Have Been Me” found its way on to rock and alternative charts. In 2016, the band toured all over the country and reissued their 2014 album “Everybody Wants” with five brand-new tracks. One of those tracks was “Only Just a Call Away,” a 1980s-inspired power ballad that feels familiar and fresh all at the same time.

“Awesome Day” – Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club is known for their unpolished indie sound that dominated their early works. The band changed things up with their 2014 effort “Forcefield,” but the produced pop-rock songs of that record were met with mixed reviews. I think their new song “Awesome Day” perfectly blends their old and new styles together, making it something that all fans can enjoy.

“Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots

When I heard that Twenty One Pilots was going to make a song for the “Suicide Squad” soundtrack, I was very excited. Although the movie itself was a huge disappointment, “Heathens” surpassed my expectations. Leave it to Twenty One Pilots to strike a balance between catchy and creepy.

“If I Believe You” – The 1975

If you told me that the band behind “Sex” and “Chocolate” would go on to write a slow song about an atheist contemplating the existence of God in the face of despair and loneliness, I probably would not believe you. On top of being lyrically interesting and introspective, “If I Believe You” finds a way to combine synthesizers with a gospel choir and then throws in an extended trumpet solo. Definitely my favorite song on “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” and one of my favorite songs from The 1975.

“Riot” – Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino’s new album “Awaken, My Love!” is a departure in style from his previous work. As a big fan of “Camp” and “Because the Internet,” I was initially disappointed to learn that he was moving away from rap and hip-hop for this record. When I finally listened to it, I found that the psychedelic funk style of the album was easy to get into. Songs like “Riot” show that Donald Glover is a man of many talents.

“Mrs. Hippopotamuses'” – Relient K

Speaking of departures in style, Relient K’s 2016 album “Air For Free” embraces the group’s softer, indie side. “Mrs. Hippopotamuses’” is an upbeat reflection of singer Matt Thiessen’s childhood growing up in small-town Ohio. The lyrics are full of colorful descriptions and imagery of his home, and they even include the classic chant for the Cleveland Browns in the music.

“Impossible Year” – Panic! At the Disco

With lyrics like “There’s no sunshine this impossible year,” this song could be the theme of 2016. Panic! At the Disco’s 2016 album “Death of a Bachelor” gave us many catchy and creative pop songs, and it ends with this somber finale. In an interview Brendon Urie gave after playing the Big Snow Show last year, he said that he hoped to one day write a song like Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” With this beautiful jazz ballad, I think he has accomplished that.

“Hand of God (Outro)” – Jon Bellion

Much like the last song, this is the final track on an album, and it really is a finale. The first three minutes of the track play out like a regular Jon Bellion song (a good one at that), and then it comes back with Sheldon Ray, a symphony orchestra and the Andrae Crouch choir singing back-up. As the music builds, the choir begins incorporating other songs from the album such as “Guillotine” and “80’s Films” (songs that almost made this list as well). It culminates in an epic finale to the album that gives me chills every time I listen to it.

 

I wanted my list to be all original songs, but there were some fantastic covers this year. Here are some honorable mentions:

Since U Been Gone” – Postmodern Jukebox

Closer” – Walk off the Earth

The Sound of Silence” – Disturbed

Dear Theodosia” – Regina Spektor

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About the Writer
Ian Schrank, Assistant General Manager

Ian Schrank is a senior studying in digital media and  marketing. He is the general manager of Marquette Radio and the managing editor of Marquette's...

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