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Ryan LaCroix's Top 20 Songs of 2016

Ryan LaCroix, host of KOSU's All Things Considered and co-host of The Oklahoma Rock Show, shares his 20 favorite songs of 2016:

20. Dams of the West - "Tell the Truth"

The first solo record from Vampire Weekend drummer Chris Tomson, under the name Dams of the West, comes out in 2017. This is good first taste of what's to come.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYBK0Jjhj6Y

 

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19. Cat Clyde - "Mama Said"

The lap steel here is delicious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqXdU1IK2JI

 

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18. Banks & Steelz - "Giant"

RZA and Interpol's Paul Banks make an unlikely pair, but this totally works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jtf5isao73E

 

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17. Mitski - "Your Best American Girl"

The volume jump between the verses and chorus is astounding and is part of what made Mitski's album one of the highlights of 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_hDHm9MD0I

 

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16. Phantogram - "You Don't Get Me High Anymore"

Equal parts serene and boombastic, Phantogram methaphorically deals with addiction on this track.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jryzEU7WAlg

 

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15. Radiohead - "Burn the Witch"

The music from A Moon Shaped Pool is really the first time in about a decade that I've really cared about something new Radiohead released.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI2oS2hoL0k

 

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14. Sturgill Simpson - "Brace For Impact (Live A Little)"

A great song about embracing the moment and living every minute to its fullest. Some great advice told here to a son by his father.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlOk5wV0DRo

 

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13. Deftones - "Prayers/Triangles"

This isn't on any other public radio list and I don't care one bit. This immediately transports me to the late 1990s and early 2000s when Deftones were releasing incredibly forceful material.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aztiwn17vpE

 

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12. Beck - "Wow"

Weird Beck is back!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyCkhPTU13w

 

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11. Nice As F*** - "Door"

Jenny Lewis' side project has a not-so-radio-friendly band name, but man the tunes are oh-so-good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMnUPy4dp4k

 

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10. Thee Oh Sees - "The Poem"

Off their second release in 2016, Thee Oh Sees seem to channel Pink Floyd here, in a fun sidestep for the band. Don't miss them headlining at Norman Music Festival in April.

 

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9. Angel Olsen - "Shut Up Kiss Me"

I've always liked the music of Angel Olsen, but this song in particular made me a fan. The chorus is just super bratty and I love it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nleRCBhLr3k

 

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8. ​Lydia Loveless - "Same To You"

Real was a big step-up from Lydia Loveless' great 2014 album Somewhere Else. Hoping for even more from her moving forward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfUDbgGN8Zc

 

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7. ​Parquet Courts - "Berlin Got Blurry"

This band seems to never stop putting out great songs, and I hope they never do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv0bBjMc6FY

 

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6. M83 ft. Mai Lan - "Go!"

Has any band ever gone through such a dramatic sound departure between albums and succeeded?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3YZTYXftzg

 

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5. Lizzo - "Good As Hell"

The Minnesota hip-hop artist had the feel good track of 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmbmeOgWsqE

 

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4. Sara Watkins - "Move Me"

The Nickel Creek fiddler strikes out on her own again and her strained voice couldn't be better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO0ph_roNbs

 

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3. Sunflower Bean - "Easier Said"

Beautiful dueling guitar work here from a band that simply doesn't get as much pub as they deserve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xykuu_pVZak

 

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2. ​Car Seat Headrest - "Fill in the Blank"

One of the best albums of the year from an unlikely indie rock project also produced one of the best songs of the year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_a1hPwXiWw

 

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1. Leonard Cohen - "You Want It Darker"

In a year seemingly framed by deaths of major music stars, "You Want It Darker" was incredibly resonating. Leonard never sounded better, even as the listener could sense the frailty in his voice. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0nmHymgM7Y

 

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Below is a Spotify playlist of most of the songs on the list, along with a dozen or so others that just fell off it:

Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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