The 13 most memorable pop moments of 2016
One thing is for sure: 2016 is definitely going to be a difficult year to forget any time soon. Probably not for many good reasons either. Between the global political shit fights and the deaths of too many brilliant artists, getting through 2016 has been more of a slog than an easy run.
That said, there was some truly spectacular moments this year. Some of the best pop albums of the last decade have appeared this year. A lot of big hitters came through – like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Sia, Tove Lo, The Weeknd, Drake, and Ariana Grande – and a lot of new names began to emerge, like Shura, Lapsley, Olympia. In short, it’s a pretty good time to be a pop fiend.
We went through and picked up the best moments in pop from a year that was crammed full of them.
13. Sia at Coachella
Way back in January, Sia cemented herself at the top of the pop pile with the release of This Is Acting. Lead by the huge singles ‘Alive’ and ‘Bird Set Free’, it flew to the top of the charts and has stayed up there pretty much ever since. But it was her performance at Coachella that truly opened people’s eyes to just how crazily talented Sia Furler is. No other performance could match the drama, the theatricality – and no one could touch her vocal chops.
12. The Chainsmokers’ frat boy antics
They dominated the charts with tracks like ‘Closer’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, but The Chainsmokers are probably going to be remembered instead as the most annoying dude bro’s of 2016. Their Billboard interview was the most cringe-worthy interview of the year: “Even before success, pussy was number one,” said Alex Pall at one point. “Like, ‘Why am I trying to make all this money?’ I wanted to hook up with hotter girls. I had to date a model.” Get in the bin.
11. Dami Im nearly bringing it home for Australia at Eurovision
For the second time, Australia was invited to compete in the world’s greatest competition: The Eurovision Song Contest. This year, we sent along X Factor winner Dami Im, armed with her incredible power ballad ‘Sound Of Silence’. It was, without a doubt, the best song of the whole bloody shebang. We may have just lost out to Ukraine (they did need a win after the last few years), but we all know who should have won.
10. Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Run Away With Meme’
Carly Rae Jepsen continued her domination of the cult pop sphere this year with the release of the Emotion Side B, but it was her sudden explosion as a Vine star earlier in the year that really caught everyone’s attention. The iconic riff that plays at the beginning of ‘Run Away With Me’ was taken up by the Vine community and imposed on….just about everything you could possibly imagine. Dancing Pikachu’s, Mean Girls, Jennifer Garner playing saxophone…the list goes on.
9. Gaga Impala
Lady Gaga’s return to the pop arena was polarising, to say the least. ‘Perfect Illusion’ wasn’t exactly the single that the public was expecting, with a surprise appearance from old mate Kevin Parker behind the kit. Her new album, Joanne, was met with division. Some loved it, some hated it, some were just confused by the hat.
8. Ariana Grande going side to side
Ariana Grande had a good year. She released an excellent album in Dangerous Woman, appeared on Fallon to deliver a truly epic impersonation of Christina Aguilera, and managed to release a pop song that was essentially about banging so hard that you can’t walk. It took the internet of 0.2 seconds to realise what the song was about, and the everyone was shook. It even included a fiery guest verse from Nicki Minaj in which she rhymed ‘wrist icicle’ with ‘dick bicycle’.
This year in Stupid Flash-In-The-Pan Challenges: the Mannequin Challenge. People remain frozen – like mannequins – while music plays in the background (generally Rae Sremmurd’s ‘Black Beatles’.) In terms of viral marketing it worked a freaking treat: Rae Sremmurd knocked The Chainsmokers off the top of the charts, ending their 12 week run. Even Macca himself got in on the action, making sure to include his namecheck in the edit.
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) November 10, 2016
6. Kanye’s ‘Fade’ video
This cut from The Life Of Pablo slipped mostly under the radar compared to ‘Famous’ and ‘Ultralight Beam’, until its video was premiered at the VMA’s. Featuring Teyana Taylor slip-sliding her way over various gym equipment, it was the single hottest clip of the year.