Mental Jukebox Best of 2016 Countdown: 21-25

Yep, it’s that time of year again already – where I highlight my favorite musical offerings of the year gone by. These are the tunes that graced my iPod most often in 2016 and are definitely worth another listen. (Some were easy calls, but with time for only 25 songs, paring the list down was often tough, never mind deciding the order!) If you haven’t yet acquainted yourself with these great tunes or artists, here’s another chance to do so:

#25 – Run River North “Run or Hide”

Run River North is a Korean-American indie folk-rock sextet currently residing in California’s San Fernando Valley. The band released a self-titled debut in 2014, and their new album “Drinking from a Salt Pond” was released in February 2016. The infectious single “Run and Hide” is a foray into alternative rock that shifts between reflective and emotionally charged intensity, as it explores the dichotomy of fear, and the choice between fighting or giving in.



#24 – Finish Ticket “Color”

Finish Ticket is a pop quintet from the San Francisco area that self-released two EPs (2009-2010) and the album “Tears You Apart” in 2013 before being signed to Elektra in 2014. With a solid local following, they expanded their fan base with energetic live performances opening for artists like 21 Pilots and Ed Sheeran, and have garnered many “artist to watch” and “next best thing” accolades. Their single “Color”, from the EP “What Night Becomes Day,” is a danceable rock tune that really hits the sweet spot.




#23 – 888 “Critical Mistakes”

Denver based alternative-electro band 888 includes several former members of the metalcore band Drop Dead Gorgeous (a band highly recommended by locals during the time I lived in Denver – they were last heard from in 2013). The 888 debut EP “The Decades” (now re-titled “Critical Mistakes EP”) unveils a softer melodic pop-synth sound that is catching on at several alternative stations around the nation, and has been receiving rave reviews and prediction of a bright musical future for this reincarnated band. The lead track “Critical Mistakes” is accompanied by an emotional video about forgiveness.




#22 – Temper Trap “Fall Together”

Australian band Temper Trap is back on the scene! Best known in the U.S. for their 2009 hit “Sweet Disposition” (from their debut album “Conditions”), the band has won numerous awards in their native Australia, including Best Group and Best Rock Album in 2010. Their eponymous 2nd album in 2012 was an experimental diversion, but “Thick as Thieves” sees the band returning to their traditional rock roots. The gorgeous new single “Fall Together” speaks of a tangled love-hate relationship, and has been described by critics as a “triumphant electronic rock opus”.



#21 – Bastille “Good Grief”

UK alt-pop band Bastille, who broke through in 2013 with hits like “Pompeii” and “Flaws”, came back in 2016 with a wistful yet upbeat 80s-influenced ‘summer anthem’ that was an instant ear-catcher for me. Singer Dan Smith describes “Good Grief” as a song about the ups and down of moving on after loss. The transcendental tune is accompanied by a surreal and slightly NSFW video that has caused a bit of chatter. Their latest album, “Wild World” was released in September.



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