Based on my monitored music-playing activity from last.fm, my 11 most-played songs of the year, limited to those released in or not too far from 2016:
Burn ~ Pet Shop Boys // From this year's Stuart Price-produced Super album, it's one of their best-ever stompers and the best track to emerge from the Boys' new hardcore dance phase. Not that the single choices matter much at this stage, but how was this not a single?
Living Inside My Heart ~ ABC // What a year to be an ABC fan, with the incredible Lexicon of Love II preceded by two amazing appetizers — this one from Fly (Songs Inspired by the Film: Eddie the Eagle) and the incredible Radiohead cover from the 80's Re:Covered album.
Blue ~ Marina and the Diamonds // Cannot get it out of my head and don't want to.
Say It to Me ~ Pet Shop Boys
Love Will Keep Us Together ~ Kim Wilde // Another gem from 80's Re:Covered.
Mine ~ Third Eye Blind // A stunning, unexpected, deconstructing cover … and those are the best kind. Better, to my ears, than Beyonce's original.
Twenty-Something ~ Pet Shop Boys // One of the best lyrical efforts of their last few albums.
I Can Fly ~ Lana Del Rey // Not much from Del Rey has caught my attention prior to this stunner from the closing credits of the great film Big Eyes about the artist Margaret Keane.
In Bits ~ Pet Shop Boys // The B-sides of the last three albums have not lived up to their impeccable track record, but the dour "In Bits" is a notable exception.
The Dictator Decides ~ Pet Shop Boys
Viva Love ~ ABC // From Lexicon II, it sounds like a natural extension of their run of '80s hits.
A few factoids on my year in music:
• Most played "oldies" of the year: "Blue Eyes" by Elton John, a single from 1982, and "The NeverEnding Story" by Limahl from 1984, prompted by the Spotify commercial. Forty of my 100 are from the 1980s.
• A look at Billboard's top 100 songs of the year is, as usual, a reminder of how far removed my tastes are now from the mainstream. My top 100 played songs of the year has only two crossovers with Billboard: "Sorry" by Justin Bieber (me #27, Billboard #2) and "Cheap Thrills" by Sia (not the Sean Paul version, please) (me #40, Billboard #11). If I had discovered it earlier in the year, "Stressed Out" by twenty one pilots would probably have joined those two — it's certainly one of the most interesting tunes to get radio play this year.
• Prince had gone a bit underappreciated in my playlists in recent years, resulting in a gradual slide down to #57 on the artists chart at the time of his death. I've since spent a lot of time revisiting his vast discography, resulting in a huge rebound to #21.
Go here for last year's recap and links to prior years.