Izzy Stars’ Songs Of 2016 (Part 5)

i.e. the why is this even still going part. There are tons of good songs in here today though. Another twenty of them.
#60 – #41

60 . Visions Of Atlantis – Winternight
59 . Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
58 . Jeff Williams – I Burn (feat. Casey Lee Williams & Lamar Hall)
57 . LP – Lost On You
56 . Christine & The Queens – Tilted
55 . Lil Wayne – Sucker For Pain (feat. Imagine Dragons et al)
54 . Soeur – Pass Out
53 . Ovidiu Anton – Moment Of Silence
52 . Avantasia – Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose
51 . Sigala – Sweet Lovin’

One of the highlights of the symphonic metal scene this year was from a band I’d previously overlooked called Visions Of Atlantis, who put their emotional game up to deliver a slow, gentle metal piano ballad about the dark winter nights (and how the singer is trapped in her dark mood with no one to save her). It’s kind of like Nightwish’s Eva, it does build throughout the track but it’s subtle and you only realise it later. The singer delivers all her notes with an encapturing tune and I had a couple of weeks… in the summer… ironically… because the song’s name is winternight and I was listening to it in the summer… it’s funny because it’s ironic guys. It’s lovely, really.

Hymn For The Weekend is the highest Coldplay song for this year, the other half of the era dealt with in 2015. I saw them live this year and Hymn For The Weekend was probably the highlight out of the songs done from the newest album, such a great experience being in Wembley when they have lighters lighting up the stadium and they’re singing an anthem like this. That sort of thing is why I continue to enjoy them even though they are a pretty basic band and this one even adds in another popular singer and talks about drinking to fulfil the basicness. Of course, that doesn’t make it sound worse, it sounds pretty awesome because it’s an uplifting tune with two good singers playing off each other and those beautiful synths that accompany most latter-day Coldplay songs are to die for.

I Burn is the fourth of the four character songs for the main RWBY characters, the third, From Shadows, already gone in this list, the other two, still to come. About blonde no-nonsense fighter Yang Xiao Long, who gets more likely to explode into a punching inferno the more you do damage to her. So I Burn is a pop song that honestly sounds the most Buzzjack-fodder pop song out of the entire RWBY canon, even though it still has some pretty sweet guitar bits, it’s lyrics like ‘You are standing too close to a flame that’s burning hotter than the sun in the middle of July’ and ‘Listen up silly boy because I’m going to tell you why I BURN’ that make me think of something the gays might go ‘yaassss’ over. When it’s used in the fourth trailer for the show, it bobs along in the background as a mix of the previous three themes plays until right at the climactic moment (complete with a sped up Mirror Mirror transition) it transforms into a belting chorus of I Burn to properly introduce Yang to the audience.

LP has been an interesting singer to discover and I’m still hoping she blows up big with Lost On You because it could be huge and indeed has been huge in many other countries around the globe. Her androgynous voice was the first thing that struck me about this and this got me coming back for more to properly work out which gender she was. Once I’d figured that out, the song had grown on me to the point where I just loved her voice, which does carry this. A very talented singer with a huge hit in waiting of a song. *it’s going to miss the UK completely now isn’t it, I don’t know what charts do any more*

Shall we move onto a couple of hits that amazingly did make the charts? It’s kind of weird seeing everyone suddenly be after Christine and the Queens as a classy pop singer in England, especially when she before now was so rooted in French culture. I mean, Tilted still is, but she’s about where Paloma Faith was 4 years ago or something in our eyes. At least from what I’ve seen. Tilted is of course the English translation of the first song I heard from her, Christine, and embarassingly, I never particularly thought much of Christine until Tilted emerged. Then I loved Tilted, and went back to Christine and also loved it. I don’t know what was going on but at least they’ve both grown on me now.

The other song from Suicide Squad that everyone noticed was Sucker For Pain. On here, it really got slammed, I remember. For me, the addition of Imagine Dragons alone made this the best Lil Wayne song ever (look, that wasn’t exactly a hard achievement), but the chorus they came out with is inspiring. And some of the raps in between are good. It’s mostly in here for the glorious rise that that chorus brings out in me and how that made it for a while about the only song I was listening to from the charts. I’M JUST A SUCKER FOR PAIN.

Pass Out’s ferociousness made me gasp. Like seriously, it goes right to your heart, that sort of unabashed guitar and vocal slam. And it’s not like it’s a surprise, you can feel it coming from the first note, there’s a tort tenseness to the song from the beginning, which it unloads hugely in the chorus. One of the best rock songs of the year and a band who I need to remind myself to keep an eye on because if they’re capable of producing a literally breathtaking song like this then they’re capable of anything.

There was a moment in Eurovision this year that was possibly the worst I’ve ever had ever since following the show. Out of seemingly nowhere, the EBU broke precedent and disqualified Romania from the contest months after the national selection had finished. At the time, Ovidiu Anton’s Moment Of Silence was my favourite song of the contest that year – it’s been overtaken by 4 others since, probably due to not getting contest exposure. To make matters worse, I normally don’t like Romania, so I was enjoying supporting them, it was Ovidiu’s third or fourth time trying for Eurovision so the Romanian Sanna-esque story was getting to me, other people were saying it’d be their first non-qualifier, I was adamant that it wouldn’t be and I was looking forward to seeing who was right. Turns out I was, but not in the way I’d like. It really kind of felt horrible to see a song you’d already gotten invested in and loved be out of the contest through no fault of its own. Why did I love it in the first place then? Because it’s a huge, audacious rock ballad that consists of Ovidiu singing his lungs out in an incredibly epic way, with lyrics that are very deep for Eurovision. What does ‘take a moment of silence and fight for the truth’ mean? We’ll never find out as we were denied a moment of silence on the Eurovision stage this year, instead we had Dami Im honking it out.

PART 2 in Eurovision injustices this year, I don’t need to spend as long on what actually happened, but basically, for once, anime was the wrong option as German’s otaku singer girl was cool but had no real spark, but power metal band Avantasia did with a camp song that would have captured Europe’s attention and left the UK last. SEE WHAT YOU DID JAMIE-LEE. We missed an opportunity to make the UK last again. Anyway, Avantasia were a band whose name I knew but hadn’t really gotten into but Mystery Of A Blood Rose definitely got me into that particular song from them, feeling very much like a dramatic operatic 80s song (so kind of similar to Ovidiu as it happens, except slightly better), it carries you along so well, it makes contemplating love with roses exciting as they can kill you and poison you and set you on fire and that would have been something incredible to bring to the Eurovision stage.

Sigala’s Sweet Lovin’ I think made this list last year but it carried on very well into this year and I didn’t want it gone from the charts (this was back when I still listened to them on occasion). Bryn Christopher’s soulful vocals carry the bright happy track so well that despite it’s unoriginal video it feels like a song you have to put on repeat, those stabbing synths and backing makes it feel like a song you can really wrap around you and dance yourself into. Aside: I can sometimes get amused by ‘keep me coming because you’re all that I need’. I am a very mature person.

50 . Ken Arai – Next To You
49 . BABYMETAL – Karate
48 . Otto Knows/Lindsey Stirling – Dying For You (feat. Alex Aris)
47 . The Chainsmokers – Closer
46 . Aoi Tada – Brave Song
45 . Against The Current – Running With The Wild Things
44 . Arion – At The Break Of Dawn
43 . Kygo (feat. Kodaline) – Raging
42 . Stupeflip – Stupeflip Vite
41 . TheFatRat – Epic

Next To You has that sort of tune that demands you put it on over and over again as you listen to an instrumental that traps you in time and emotion to paint a picture of someone who wants to be close but can’t quite get there. The music from Parasyte is icy and cold in feeling but warm in emotion, I think that makes sense, it fits with the dark nature of the anime, its staccato and crisp notes, but there’s a lot of human soul in it too.

Unlike many other Babymetal anthems, I took a lot of time to come around to Karate. It’s not because it’s particularly unusual but because it was initially such typical Babymetal fare that it didn’t really stick in the mind. But as the months wore on, I got into its own brand of cute idol voices yelling and the chorus melody line is actually a really great set of musical bars that feels pretty swish descending down through it.

Lindsey Stirling is normally guaranteed a good reception with me, except when she works with someone like Jessie J. So even though I wasn’t the hugest fan of Million Voices, it reminding me a bit too much about the shit club parts of being a first-year student, Otto Knows created a pretty great song with the vocal talents of Alex Aris who’s quite a compelling dance vocalist, and enlisting the talents of everyone’s favourite dubstep violinist, who leads off a most wonderful spinning and alive instrumental chorus. Not so much dying for you, rather living for your violin talents.

Closer was one of the few absolutely monstrous hits of the year I really got into, mainly because of its duet status, it grew on me very quickly. The intricacies of some messed up relationship are okay but it just sounds really wholesome. As the first really great #1 this year, I also held onto it far longer than I would have normally because it was a song I liked that was popular and everyone else was loving it and that’s recently been quite unusual for me.

Brave Song brings it back to anime. I had thought about sending it to BJSC just for the irony of it literally being a brave song to send, being a slow, meandering, quiet piano ballad that doubles as the ending of Angel Beats. The animation to go with this has each of the characters appearing against a background and there’s a lot of them, and based on their circumstances I find it really emotional so at the end of every episode I would just drift off into watching the ending go by. To this song, this beautiful, beautiful tear-jerking song. Not the most tear-jerking Angel Beats inflicted on me though, there’s one even more pronounced than this.

Against The Current started off their 2016 strong with the announcement of their album and this song, Running With The Wild Things, to go with it, which actually made a splash on a few iTunes charts and got a bit of outside interest for the youtube cover band turned amazing pop-paramore band. With ‘they can’t keep us down forever’, Against The Current make their mark ‘down as the day that we started something’. If you’ve never heard any of their songs, it’s the perfect one to start with, they have a few better songs but this gives you the perfect idea of what they’re about while starting you off with a strong pop-rock banger. One of the best new bands of the decade, and they’re not done yet.

Amaranthe has been one of the biggest bands for me of the past few years, and I’ve come to slightly worship their singer Elize Ryd, such that I kind of think I’ve started my own cult around her. A little. Meanwhile, Arion were a very exciting young metal band with good potential that emerged in 2013 doing Finland’s Eurovision selection. I was so impressed by their entry Lost that I’ve followed them ever since and so this collaboration is kind of a Scandi-rock dream collaboration for me. Thankfully, it turned out as good as the names on it advertised, it’s huge, it’s energetic, Elize and Arion share the stage equally, and the song, all filled with images about running and flying across Earth to run away from the break of dawn, so basically escaping from the weather, that’s the sort of subject matter that turns me towards metal and away from pop.

For a popular indie-rock band, I’ve never really rated Kodaline that highly, they’ve been a little dull all told with only a few songs making any mark at all on me and even then most Coldplay tracks beat them for excitement. But when collaborating with tropical house master Kygo, Kodaline’s singing potential is really unlocked to the fullest and Raging is a typically great Kygo track (those wonderful synths), but added to that is a convincing and interesting voice that I don’t remember at all from Kodaline’s other tracks, it’s very heavy on the demand to go back and listen to it. Probably Kygo’s second-best now, he definitely does better with male vocals.

Something not so accessible to the ears is Stupeflip Vite, the incredibly aggressive French rap track featuring actors dressed up in chainmail and attacking you. The song certainly does a good job of making you think you are under attack from angry French men, which is… you might guess what I’m going to say… one of it’s strengths. Really, it made me take notice and come back because I couldn’t believe something quite this epic actually exists. Definitely one of my highlights of the contest this year.

And Epic gives TheFatRat a second song in this top 50 as he released a new EP in the twilight of the year. Fortunately, Epic is as good as its word with the title and thanks to that picture posted on it by suicidesheep, I’m always imagining it serving as the ear-catching intro track to a pan over a huge fantasy world, complete with farmers and sheep and elves and dwarves.


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