Best Rock Songs of 2016 (So Far)
It's been one rocking year so far and in this list we're here to spotlight some of the best rock songs of 2016 so far. Granted, the year still has a lot left to provide, but it's never too early to showcase some of the songs that have us rocking this year.
Several of the tracks will be instantly familiar to you as they've commanded the airwaves for months, while other tracks are either just getting started or perhaps deserve a closer look than what they've received to date.
In this list, you'll find music icons, acts just getting their footing in the music industry, bands who've been away for a while and other artists who are just looking for a change of pace. So get those speakers turned up and get ready to click play on some of the Best Rock Songs of 2016 (So Far) in the players below. And if you're looking for the Best Metal Songs of 2016 (So Far), check here.
Heavy-riffing, big-sounding guitars, crashing drums and a gritty vocal showcase that shows equal parts power and restraint -- these are qualities we've come to love from the Temperance Movement in just a short time. And as the band issues their sophomore set White Bear, we're happy to see vocalist Phil Campbell and crew keeping up the solid work on this bluesy yet powerful title track from their latest offering.
It's a bit of a different sounding Red Hot Chili Peppers on their new album, The Getaway, beginning with the lead single "Dark Necessities." Starting off with a more melodic piano sound, you might not suspect who it is at first, but then the familiar funk of Flea's bass kicks in. Meanwhile, Anthony Kiedis nimbly delivers vocals around sounds that feel like they float on the night air. It's appears that there are some new tricks up the band's sleeves, aided with the help of producer Danger Mouse.
Up-and-comers Beartooth have a bright future, and though initially hitting with the title track off their Aggressive album, the preview song "Loser" caught our ear. Fitting the "aggressive" mode initially, a deeper dive into the song finds a emboldened statement about the power of individuality, finding strength in one's self and not rushing to fit in. With songs the quality of "Loser," Beartooth could be on track for a big leap forward in their career.
What does Blink-182 sound like without Tom DeLonge? This spring, fans got their first real taste with the release of the single "Bored to Death," which was met with mostly glowing reviews. The track is a fine addition, fitting in well with the band's back catalog and providing a bridge to their new work with Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba holding down DeLonge's spot.
Welcome back, Thrice! After taking a lengthy hiatus, the band surprised many with their return on the To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere album. But they are back and the strength of the dark and ominous single "Black Honey" is just a reminder of how great the band can be. The defiant rocker speaks to the ambition of someone moving forward with their goal, consequences be damned, and not realizing the cost along the way.
Some of Rob Zombie's most well regarded work has been when he and his band have been in full bombast. Such is the case with the song "In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire, We All Get High," which is frequently shortened to "Get High." Synthy electronics, big riffs, power drums, the occasional sampled dialogue -- it's all there and ready to rock your world. "Get High" is a driving rocker with Zombie on aggressive overload belting "Get, Get, Get, Get High," There's no doubt this song is bound to become one of his live staples in years to come because of it's infectious energy.
Opening with distortion-filled feedback, Deftones' single "Prayers/Triangles" eventually pulls back into a moody soundscape in the verse before kicking into a full throttle chorus. It's the ebb and flow we've come to enjoy from the band as they showcase the equal parts melodic and heavy talents of vocalist Chino Moreno. "Prayers/Triangles" is chaotic at moments, intimate at others and excellent throughout.
Volbeat kicked off the promotion of their Seal the Deal & Let's Boogie album with "The Devil's Bleeding Crown," a track with a beat so infectious it's hard to shake. Drummer Jon Larsen gets the ball rolling before the Rob Caggiano and Michael Poulsen guitars kick in and totally hook you. The song has been a hit at rock radio, soaring up the charts to give the band another No. 1 song.
Though "Rise" got the first single treatment, Sixx: A.M.'s preview track "You Have Come to the Right Place" feels like a rock radio smash as well. With an almost tribal bass and drums kicking off the song, it commands your attention as DJ Ashba's wailing licks soar over the pounding low end. As vocalist James Michael urges the listener to "rise up out of the darkness," the anthemic chorus eventually kicks in. "If you're the last on earth / Feel like you're damned or cursed / You have come to the right place," starts the empowering chorus. It's one of the heavier songs in the band's catalog and one you can envision evoking fist-pumping at shows.
Purson's "The Window Cleaner" is a three-and-a-half-minute venture into pure rock psychedelia. Opening with more whimsical moments, driven by a meandering bass line, wah-pedal effects and Rosalie Cunningham's subdued voice, the song takes a turn in the chorus. Catchy and effectively simple, the song's theme lies on the surface, admiring the beautiful day, taking the opportunity to clean the windows.
Swedish rockers Avatar brought a little bit of everything in their single "The Eagle Has Landed." Opening with what sounds like a polka beat, the song quickly crushes with heavy guitars while the undercurrent of the polka's bouncy beat serves as a through line. Add in some metal guitar solos and a somber solitary guitar transition and you have a track that feels more like its divvied up in movements. The end result is an epic adventure taking the listener on a musical journey.
Taking a break from the harder rocking Black Veil Brides, Andy Biersack stepped out with his more dark synth leaning solo project under the moniker Andy Black. The lead single "We Don't Have to Dance" ironically has a danceable beat to it, especially when the chorus kicks in. The track examines the expectations that often come with social gatherings, with Black explaining at one point, "It's so nice to meet you / Let's never meet again / We don't have to talk / We don't have to dance / We don't have to dance." Despite his proclamations in the song, one listen to the track and it's hard to imagine your feet won't start moving.
Though Mark Tremonti has mined harder-edged rock to a great degree of success in his self-titled band, it's a more melodic and somber track that grabs our attention off his latest effort, Dust. The title track starts off with a sullen solitary guitar as Tremonti sings of a vanquished relationship, and while the heaviness picks up in the chorus, the pacing fits the emotion of the song quite well, helping to make the connection to the heartbreak of the song.
It's been a while since we've heard from A Day to Remember, but the band remedied that this spring with "Paranoia," a song that gave them something fresh to play at their Self Help Festival. The band has shown the ability to morph into different styles over the years, but on "Paranoia" its full-on high energy rock with punk leanings. It's not hard to imagine pits breaking out all over the place with the driving guitar play on this song.
Blood Ceremony delivered their crowning achievement in Lord of Misrule. The album combines the band's admiration for occult rock with their passion for eerie and dark folk music with "Old Fires" striking a perfect balance between the two. Leaning more on the rock side than folk, the song employs rock-steady riffing with a flair of organ and woodwind instruments as singer Alia O'Brien's enchanting voice rises with the ascending plume of smoke.
The year may say 2016, but it might as well be late '70s / early '80s with Iggy Pop's Post Pop Depression standout "Sunday." With the assistance of Josh Homme and a killer backing band, Pop recaptures the spirit and vibe of his early solo work and offers up something fresh with a New York kind of vibe. Never has the monotony of the work week as revealed in the song felt so good.
With their album named Kentucky, it's easy to see that the roots of their home were on the minds of Black Stone Cherry. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the touching ballad "The Rambler" that features on their new disc. Co-written with former Shinedown guitarist Jasin Todd, the track is one that could bring anyone missing family to tears within just a few lines. It's a heartfelt road ballad that could just very well be for them what "Faithfully" was for Journey decades prior.
Zakk Wylde pulls back on the hard rocking guitar sounds, opting for a more reserved, bluesy vibe on "Sleeping Dogs," the single from his Book of Shadows II album. The dark and foreboding song warns that "sleeping dogs that lie" are still alive and well and should not be forgotten. But just because it's a more somber track does not mean that Wylde's guitar mastery is not on display. He delivers a solo midway in well worth your attention. In an album of more melodic Wylde moments, "Sleeping Dogs" stands tall as one of the finest.
3 Doors Down are back with original material after taking a few years for a lineup change and support of a greatest hits album, and their first taste of new music feels like a break from the norm. The upbeat "In the Dark" has a swagger to it that we've not heard from the band in some time, and is the perfect jumping off point for this next phase of their career.
Wolfmother know how to find that groove and ride it for all its worth, and apparently that groove has found its way into the song "Gypsy Caravan." The track starts off with some fuzzed out guitar, but really shines with some classic sounding riffing, spectacular drum fills and a hard rocking jam midway through. This is just one of several stellar cuts on the Victorious album, but our favorite of the bunch.