It was a stellar year for Canadian artists, and as far as international music goes, some good things were cooked up in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, Oceania, and the rest of North America too. We cannot claim to have listened to every song and album released around planet Earth through 2016 (who can?), but we checked out as much as we could and will simply stamp as best one music video, one song, and one album. Unlike the narrow focus of mainstream media, we considered music from all 200 countries performed in any language or genre.
A large assortment of great international music came out in 2016. There were wonderful cutting edge albums like Cosmic Explorer from Japan’s Perfume and chillout Gemini from the United States’ Astronautica. Norway’s Dagny released a fantastic EP called Ultraviolet. South Korean R&B singer Lyn gave us the wonderful song “Love Story” for TV series The Legend of The Blue Sea. The Republic of China’s S.H.E. made somewhat of a comeback with an EP and song that were … Irreplaceable. And of course there were nifty works from Radiohead, Keith Urban, and that cute track from Kungs & Cookin’ On 3 Burners.
International MV of 2016: Love Myself More, Della Ding
For our Chinese language readers, that’s the music video for song 只是不夠愛自己 from singer 丁当.
Della Ding’s (birth surname Wu) rise to superstardom has been slow and steady. She is a native of the PRC’s Zhejiang Province (south of Shanghai), and when 18 years old pursued a singing career, eventually basing herself in Taibei, Republic of China, which has developed a strong music industry infrastructure over the years.
Della released her seventh studio album in March, 2016, Be My Own Friend, or 當我的好朋友. Strength lies in her vocals which are just gorgeous and wholesome. The music video for track “Love Myself More” is beautiful with a very clean look. The MV tells a story while providing lots of detailed shots, crisp, clear photography, classic architecture, little trinkets, and a dip in the hot springs surrounded by snow. We even get to see Della wearin’ a tuque. A nice touch was the cherry blossoms at the end reminding us that spring is just around the corner. 13 million plus views is not too shabby either.
International Song of 2016: Home, Diana Wang
Diana Wang is a Dutch recording artist, born and raised in The Netherlands (the city of Gorinchem). When she was 19, she travelled to the Republic of China and got involved in its entertainment industry. She struck a deal with Warner Music and released Mandarin language album Love Lesson which included tracks written by Hong Kong based hit-maker Khalil Fong. Apparently, with a lack of consensus over her musical direction, Diana and Warner parted ways, though on good terms. After dabbling in acting, Wang returned to music as an independent artist and dropped the amazing single “Home”. It is an R&B song that thankfully has melody, and one of the catchiest in a long time. Her vocals are nothing short of addictive. Check out the music video below which is up to 14 million views.
International Album of 2016: My Wild West, Lissie
The United States’ Lissie pulled off an impressive neo-trad feat, lighting up the sound stage with both flickering torches and neon lights on her third album My Wild West. She even dedicated a song to Ojai, California, the dusty wild west hometown of hi-tech heroes, the bionic man and woman. At the core of the sound is roots music (rock, country, folk), but it is often dressed in handsomely progressive attire. There are some tender moments and rollicking ones when she pumps out her powerful but pleasant vocals. Pure ecstasy is achieved when she blows things wide open like an emotional tornado but leaves everything intact.
The album tames the bronco, unstoppably pulses along, ploughs through the dirt, and lets loose when it needs to. Hear big choruses of elation on “Wild West”, “Hero”, and “Don’t Give Up on Me”, and beautiful writing and delivery on cuts like “Together or Apart”. My Wild West by Lissie is a wonderful album and our international favourite of 2016. MV for track “Wild West” embedded below.