Choosing our favorite 16 Boston songs of the year is like choosing your favorite child -- if you were the Duggars or some other family with a few hundred kids. While mainstream pop continued to die a slow painful death, it was another bang-up year of music coming out of the isolated Boston music scene. What we have in our region are legions of musicians making music on their terms and their own way, and the result is a fantastically eclectic batch of new tunes that proved this year was one of the best around town. The selections below, listen alphabetically, aren't any sort of ultimate Best Of, though they do reflect what we've enjoyed the most, what we've hyped on these digital pages, and what we had spun on VanyaRadio. If you read this website on the regular, you should be quite familiar; if not, then dive in and hear something new and exciting.
Parlour Bells, “Never Let ‘Em Hold Ya Back”
In 2016, noir-pop scene misfits Parlour Bells experienced a rebirth. And they called in the brass. On the roaring and rather timeless “Never Let ‘Em Hold Ya Back”, Goddamn Glenn enlisted a new crew, giving the Bells a new kind of shine from previous years. “Parlour Bells has always saved the drama for the stage, so there are no hard feelings when it comes to departing members,” said Glenn back in September. “I’m just as firmly committed to my personal project as anyone else is about the ones they are pursuing now. It’s just that my personal project isn’t named Goddamn Glenn. It’s called Parlour Bells.” With its late-’80s alt-rock funk grove, seductive croon, and full-platter sax and trumpet brass attack, “Never Let ‘Em Hold Ya Back” speaks to that tenacity.