Conner Youngblood Brings The Summertime Heat at No. 6.

This time of year, it’s become a bit of a tradition around here for us to not only count down the last few pages on the calendar, but also the best songs to come out of North Texas in the past 12 months. As I think we’ve shown in years past, the results are pretty much always diverse, with a few seemingly out-of-left-field choices in some pretty high-ranking slots. This year, in a countdown that will be unveiled in chunks day by day for the rest of the year, you’ll find some Grammy nominees alongside brand new bands that just started up this year, as well as some high school acts and, well, everything else in between. The one thing they have in common? They all put out fire in 2016.

After spending months in Europe traveling and playing shows, Conner Youngblood came home earlier this year and re-released his 2015 The Generation of Lift EP through Ninja Tune subsidiary Counter Records. The batch of songs can best be described as minimal. At the same time, Youngblood chooses opportune moments to add electronic flourishes, dabbles of horns or layers of lush harmonies to his otherwise low key, down-tempo tunes –never moreso, though, than on “A Summer Song,” an early version of which appeared online in 2012, and which was remixed for the re-released EP.

Noisey called it the most conventional thing he’s ever done.

• The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 20 to 11.
• The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 40 to 21.
• The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 60 to 41.
 The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 80 to 61.
The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 100 to 81.
The Top 100 Local Songs of 2015.

That’s a take we wholeheartedly agree with. To revisit something we said about the track upon its initial release this summer: “Largely comprised of acoustic guitar and some pretty, harmony-rich vocals, Youngblood’s latest single [‘Summer Song’] is made infinitely more interesting by frequent drastic edits that clip the otherwise pleasant beat from underneath him. It’s harsh and jarring every single time it happens, and we couldn’t love the uneasy feeling it leaves us with any more. It’s weird to feel your heart racing after listening to what’s otherwise a quite affable little diddy.”

Since then, we’ve learned about the “millennial whoop,” which Youngblood makes use of in his choruses. The familiar vocal pattern has been used ad nauseam by dozens of the world’s biggest pop songs because of its “comforting familiarity.” It helps songs like this one, which might have otherwise taken a few spins to really latch onto, become instantly recognizable and ear-wormy.

So, yeah, it probably is the most conventional song in Youngblood’s arsenal. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At the very worse, it serves as a gateway drug, an entry point into the rest of his more tonally sparse output.

At its best, it’s a masterfully arranged pop song, capable of hooking those whoop-loving Fall Out Boy fans and opening their eyes to a new world of possibilities — one baring landscapes as rich and fertile as Youngblood’s own music videos.

The Full List: The Top 100 Local Songs of 2016.

100. Unlikely Candidates – “Ringer”
99. Hextape – “Candy”
98. FXXXY – “20 Taliband”
97. Ronnie Heart – “Smoovie”
96. Mimisiku – “I Can’t Sleep”
95. Sarah Jaffe – “Did David Feel Like This?”
94. Essay EyE – “Ultra Super Saiyan II”
93. Matt Tedder – “Down the Road”
92. Picnic Lightning – “American Ruin”
91. Joe Savage – “Your Drinkin'”
90. Snarky Puppy – “Tarova”
89. Sur Duda – “Fort Night”
88. KissedKilled – “Come Home With Me”
87. Giant of the Mountain – “Crawl”
86. Saint Clair – “Cookin'”
85. Cut Throat Finches – “Moon Beast”
84. Kino Kimino & Son of Stan – “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”
83. Siberian Traps – “New Friend in Town”
82. Tony Ferraro – “The God of Homosexuals”
81. Vanesa Jessie – “Who I Am”
80. Court Hoang — “(I Should Have Done This) A Long Time Ago”
79. Cosmicide — “Everything’s Under Waves”
78. Starbass Laboratories — “Digital Age”
77. Rei Clone — “Ready to Die”
76. Joshua Dylan Balis — “Modern Gospel”
75. Grey Matter — “Scared Man” (feat. Alsace Carcione)
74. Kevin England — “I’m Stuck with this Commercial Rock (Put This Song In Your Business’ Next Commercial!)”
73. Medicine Man — “You Are Safe”
72. 88 Killa — “Boomerang”
71. Ari Roar — “Dove”
70. War Party — “Jellyfish”
69. Danny Diamonds — “Rachel”
68. Fat Pimp –- “Moves to Make” (feat. Lil Ronny MothaF)
67. Maren Morris — “80s Mercedes”
66. Party Static — “Wasted Waster”
65. The Longshots — “Fire Gospel”
64. Drakulas –- “Neon Town”
63. Gensu Dean & Denmark Vessey — “The Meek”
62. Corner Suns — “Borrowed Time”
61. School of Seven Bells — “On My Heart”
60. Oh Boy Prince — “Astronaut”
59. EB Rebel — “Colours”
58. Jacob Metcalf — “Cut Your Ties”
57. Danny Cainco — “I Do”
56. Native Fox — “Heart Will Never Change”
55. Rikki Blu — “All In”
54. Serrandon — “Late Night Meltdowns
53. Becky Middleton — “I’m Still Here”
52. Ish D — “Holding Aces”
51. Power Trip — “Firing Squad”
50. Devy Stonez — “Slow it Down” (feat KissedKilled)
49. Honor System — “Horror Scope”
48. Sad Cops — “Its Eating At Me”
47. Cozy Hawks — “True Pair”
46. Charley Crockett — “Silver Dagger”
45. Takeez — “Stokley Carmichael (feat. Bobby Sessions)”
44. Ishi — “Bring the Thunder”
43. Camp Anawanna — “Cool Shoes”
42. Quaker City Night Hawks — “Mockingbird”
41. Post Malone — “Leave”
40.  The Phantom Sensation — “Firewalkin'”
39. Bowling for Soup — “Don’t Be a Dick”
38. The Misteries — “Love Drugs”
37. Thin Skin — “Trump Is a Pig”
36. Xes — “Troll”
35. Relick — “Offering”
34. Bruce Parker — “Blindside”
33. True Widow — “Theurgist”
32. John Congleton & The Nighty Nite — “Animal Rites”
31. RC & The Gritz — “The Feel”
30. Tiger + Man — “Wondering”
29. NEONNOAH — “Dreaming With the Lights On”
28. Trai Bo — “C U L8R”
27. Lizzie Boredom — “Crunk Punk (So… You’re a Mixologist)”
26. Motorcade — “Recover”
25. Norah Jones — “Flipside”
24. EATQS — “Symmetry”
23. Jesus Chris + The Beetles — “I’m a Bad Person and I’m Going to Hell”
22. Pageantry — “Teenage Crime Wave”
21. Sam Lao — “Gold Link”
20. RVNES — “Code 10” (feat Lil Ronny Motha F, Fat Pimp)
19. Conor Wallace — “Asshole in Your House”
18. Ashley Myrick — “Stay for a While”
17. Coach Tev — “Lefty”
16. Felix — “peanut butter an yo…”
15. Paul Cauthen — “Still Drivin”
14. Jack Ingram — “Blaine’s Ferris Wheel”
13. Parquet Courts — “Berlin Got Blurry”
12. Leon Bridges and Lecrae — “On My Own”
11. Astronautalis — “Attila Ambrus”
10. Medasin — “Public Service Announcement” (featuring Josh Pan)
9. Pueblo — “Drive Safe”
8. A.Dd+ — “Dallas Flexas”
7. Curtis Mayz — “Candy Coated Caddy”
6. Conner Youngbloood — “A Summer Song”
5. ?????
4. ?????
3. ?????
2. ?????
1. ?????

Cover photo by Karlo X. Ramos.

No more articles