toronto songs 2016

The top 10 songs from Toronto bands in 2016

The top songs from Toronto bands in 2016 came blazing through the occasional darkness that plagued this year musically. From hip hop to grunge to almost undefinable noise, Toronto music fans were treated to a medley of emotional songs about the future, self expression, identity, and looking forward and back at the same time.

Here are my picks for the top songs from Toronto bands in 2016.

Weaves, "Tick"

It was so hard to pick just one song from Weaves’ debut album this year, but “Tick” is just so full of effortless joy from the scream-able chorus to the nearly nonsense strings of lyrics that flow throughout the song. I was lucky enough to see Weaves play in a small space recently, and their performance hijacks the senses the same as in the video for this track.

New Fries, "Bring the Pressure Washer (BTPW)"

The album New Fries put out this year is simply called “More,” and that word seems to express a lot. Pure desire guides the driving rhythms of this song and the other excellent, spazzy, disorienting tracks on the album. This one is the most danceable of the bunch to me and features things I love like eccentric female vocals and seemingly random naming of American locations.

Drake, "Fake Love"

While Views cleaned up on the charts, I’m already looking forward to More Life with this instantly catchy tune released late in the year. It has all the classic trappings of a Drake song, whining about how famous he is and how he’s pretty awesome, but with a line like “I been down so long it look like up to me,” you’ll be humming it through the cold nights.

PUP, "DVP"

This secretly sensitive party track will bring a tear to any crust punk’s eye with its soulful lyrics that aren’t so different from the sentiments expressed in "Fake Love": a hopelessness about relationships and forgone conclusions about habits and personality. Driving chords are paired with words you can’t help but scream, including a shout out to the Don Valley Parkway.

Tasha the Amazon, "Picasso Leaning"

Rightfully deserving of the Amazon designation, Tasha’s powerful track features big bass, badass flow, and a semi-androgynous mesmerizing chorus, not to mention apparel from Toronto company Untitled & Co. This song also hints at self-destruction and misery behind its bravado and clever rhymes.

Clairmont the Second, "A Declaration"

This song has the perfect title. It begins with the lyrics “Spell my name correctly, spell my name correctly, not the way you think, the way you see me spell it,” the vocals doubled, the rapper staring directly into the camera in the video. It’s a representation of an unapologetic expression of self-identity that's befitting of 2016.

Lido Pimienta, "Agua"

I like this track because not a single lyric is in English but it's just captivating emotionally whether you're capable of understanding the words or not. At a recent performance at The Baby G, Lido had the crowd echo her chant of “Agua, agua,” and her dance moves are as intense as they are in this video.

River Tiber feat. Daniel Caesar, "West"

The video for this dreamy track splices together footage of our familiar TTC subway including Dundas West station with footage of beaches and other exotic locales. What’s more Toronto than dreaming of escaping the confines of the Big Smoke? This soft R&B ballad with high and floaty vocals and a tranquil vibe is all about that.

BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Charlotte Day Wilson, "In Your Eyes"

This one is for the jazz lovers. Vocals like honey drape themselves blissfully over the smooth jazz band sound of BADBADNOTGOOD, famous for recently collaborating with Ghostface Killah of Wu Tang Clan. Canadians aren’t only good-natured and cooperative in manners; it extends to sweet jazz collabs as well. This song is a soaring time-warp funk soul ballad.

The Weeknd, "Starboy"

This song hit number one twice on the Billboard charts, regaining the top spot weeks after its debut. The Weeknd’s songs have been more formulaic than the breathless with “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Often,” but the lilting refrain “Look what you’ve done” here is ghostly and poetic enough to elevate this simple pop tune to something brilliant.

Lead photo by

The Weeknd


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