Every year, towards the end of the year, Rolling Stone magazine releases its list of the top 50 songs of that year. This year, as I was reading through the article during one of my many study breaks, I was shocked but also pleasantly surprised by the list. I am a genuine music-lover, so I delve into various genres of music and considered myself qualified (enough) to be able to review the comprehensive list, which included many genres of music.
Not to start with a spoiler alert, but Beyoncé really did earn having Formation as the number one song. It’s catchy, the music video discusses social issues pertaining to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, it promotes girl empowerment, and it was part of an album that revolutionized the world of music (at least in my opinion, and probably in Rolling Stones’ opinion, too, since they placed Lemonade in the number one spot for Best Albums of 2016). If I had to make a complaint in favor of Beyonce, it would be that Freedom deserved to be on the list as well. Beyond that, I was surprised by the songs in the top ten. I knew there would be a David Bowie reference (RS listed No Plan, although I would’ve put Lazarus on the list). A surprising addition was a Leonard Cohen song, although I’m glad it was included, to pay tribute to the recently deceased singer.
An addition that was surprising for me is the number ten slot, Black Beatles, by Rae Sremmurd. This is a fairly new song that has recently topped the charts, and although it’s inspired memes all across Twitter, I’m not sure if it’s top 10 material. A few songs that I felt guilty for saying “yessss” when I saw them on the list were Broccoli by Lil Yachty at spot number 47 and Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj’s “Side to Side” at spot number 22 (I would've put Into You on the list instead, though, sorry Nicki). These are guilty pleasure songs that I enjoy jamming out to in my car, but songs I wouldn’t necessarily place on a list of the BEST songs of the year.
The Chainsmokers didn’t get a nod, which was disappointing (their song Closer was HUGE this past year), and as a big RHCP fan, I had hoped that Dark Necessities would’ve been higher than number 12 on the list, and that more songs from the album were on the list. As a classic rock fan, I was happy to see Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan make the list, but I was disappointed in the number of indie/alternative songs on the list. This could be because I was least familiar with these songs, but I think there were enough pop and rock songs released this year that were better than a lot of these other songs. Sia didn’t have any songs on the list, nor did Rihanna or Coldplay (*gasps*). Kanye made the list for Ultralight Beam, although I would’ve put Waves on the list instead. Additionally, although country music isn’t my favorite, I was disappointed in the lack of country references on the list. This wasn’t a great year for country music, but there were a few breakout songs that deserved to be on the list, including H.O.L.Y. by Florida Georgia Line.I love Rolling Stone, and I will continue to read their articles when I’m bored and when I’m not bored (oops), but this list wasn’t their best in terms of summing up 2016. So much happened, what with the election and in pop culture, and it was a good year for music (thank you for releasing your album, Frank Ocean). This list doesn’t really reflect that, especially for a magazine that claims to support all types of music.