The Top Ten Songs of 2016

All good things must come to an end. 2016 was a special year for me in that I met a lot of amazing people and a wild time. Now, in 2017, it’s time to be a real boy and stop living like Peter Pan in Neverland (or not, fuck that).

Each and every song I have listened to while composing this list has taken me back to a special place. True, I never had a “one” that I knew would top this list (as in recent years). What follows, though, indeed represent special quotients of the CJ Morgan factoring experience. People say smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. For me, it’s these songs. They are portals to the past which can even illicit emotions you haven’t felt since hearing them.

On with the list, on with a new year. 


50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

Since 2002, I have obsessively tracked and categorized the music I listen to. It started as a way to share the songs and artists I discovered while working in college radio with friends. I would regularly rip audio files, make quarterly Windows Media playlists and even burn CD’s.

Now-a-days , I use Spotify and YouTube  to organize these MixTapes. Still, at the end of every year,  I track my stats, use a little (okay a lot) of emotion, and craft a list. It usually takes several drafts and a lot of reorganizing but at some point I end up with this. Thank you for following along!


10) Explosions in the Sky – Disintegration Anxiety 

ALBUM The Wilderness
MIXTAPE 06.16.16

This makes me feel like I am riding through a forest towards the enemy village. Ready to exact revenge and lay waste with my sword & bow. Post Rock quartet Explosions from the Sky hail from our hometown of Austin of stand ready to raze us to the ground with their latest album, The Wilderness.

9) Young Magic – How Wonderful

ALBUM Still Life
MIXTAPE 11.16.16

For whatever reason, this song reminds me of Sound on Sound Fest (though they did not play the festival aka Fun Fun Fun Fest inside Ren Faire). Perhaps it’s because my wonderful camping and tripping experience at Sherwood Forest during SoS comes out in the in this tune. I do recall playing it again and again while dancing around my house like a tribal fool.

8) Bonobo – Ghomrassen

ALBUM Star Wars Headspace
MIXTAPE 03.16.16

Ghomrassen is part of an amazing EDM tribute to Star Wars in which many artists & DJs sampled sounds from the movie and created unique music for a long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away.

This song is special to me for two reasons. First, I vividly remember playing it on repeat while painting in the garage back in early March while my dog recovered from neck surgery. Second, I used samples from it during the highlight of my year: editing the D&B+M Morning Show’s under five film festival.

7) James Blake – Points

ALBUM The Colour in Anything
MIXTAPE 06.16.16

This song has taken on more meaning after losing a friendship. Besides that, James Blake always finds a way to pull you into his loops with that wonderful voice.

6) Radiohead – Daydreaming

ALBUM A Moon Shaped Pool
MIXTAPE 05.16.16

This was my favorite song, from my (probably) favorite band’s latest album. This one is reminiscent in some ways of the Kid A and Amnesiac Radiohead I love. It flew further under the radar than it should have but not on my list!

5) M83 – Go! (feat Mai Lan)

MIXTAPE 05.16.16

At first, I disliked the radio friendly pop hit from M83. Then it twisted and grew on me like a vine (seeing it live also adds to the fun). The song has also reminded me of meeting the perfect woman but for whatever reason, just losing it.

4) Massive Attack – The Spoils 

ALBUM Come Near Me
MIXTAPE 09.16.16

For a brief moment, I thought this could be a number one. It slowly slipped over time but I still find myself getting lost with every play.

3) James Blake – Timeless

ALBUM The Colour in Anything
MIXTAPE 06.16.16

My roommate introduced me to this song after the album dropped this summer. I distinctly remember listening in the kitchen as the beats swirled & grew around me (gets really awesome a few minutes in) and thinking how this would be a top ten song. From then on, The Colour in Anything was regularly on repeat at my house.

2) The Range – Florida

ALBUM Potential
MIXTAPE 10.16.16

If I were to take all the good things in my life and  use them to make a video montage of 2016, this would be the soundtrack. Something about this song just makes everything feel like it’s going to be alright.

1) M83 – Solitude

MIXTAPE 03.16.16

There was one song this year. One that I just knew would be ‘it’. Solitude has stuck with me since hearing it back in February. Calling a song ‘epic’ is fucking cheesy but there is something about the orchestral arrangements that make you want to take a walk and reflect on your past while looking over the side of a cliff.  So many things I did right, did wrong, and things I wish I had done.

M83 and this track in particular have been a piece of so many wonderful memories and failures in 2016. More so than another, therefore, it must me number one.

Thank you for listening and reading my silly little lists! If you have enjoyed yourself, please follow me and my monthly MixTape Playlists on Spotify.

Cheers to an even more memorable and wonderful 2017!

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