With the absolute mess of a year 2016 coming to an end, it is hard to remember that anything good came out. Despite some of the truly terrible things that have occurred, it would be unfair to say nothing good has come out of it. Every year around this time, I like to compile a list of my ten favorite songs from the past year. I have lists going back to 2010, but this year, it was a bit more difficult. I left the band I had been in since my freshmen year of high school, and stopped attending shows back home in Austin (which is known as the live music capital of the world for a reason). Because of all this, I have not really been in the know for new music. From eagerly anticipating the album releases for tens of bands at a time, to now being surprised when I learned that one of my favorite artists had a new album months ago, I am in a complete state of shambles for current musical knowledge. However, this wasn’t going to stop me from frantically searching the wikipedia article titled “List of 2016 albums” to put this (slightly pitiful) list together. I want to put a disclaimer here: my lists are 100% unabashedly and unapologetically subjective. I respect that artists like Kanye West, Beyonce, and Frank Ocean put out very well-received albums this year. I am sure they are wonderful pieces of art to listen to. They are however, not for me, and all I can say is:
10. Safe and Sound – Justice
Jeez I love Justice. So French. Everything about them is French. Just how my list screams IDGAF about being subjective, they have the same attitude on their Frenchness. Plus, the bass. Who can resist it? Exactly, nobody.
9. Rendezvous Girl – Santigold
I am honestly still confused as to how this was not a single. I can understand it not being the lead single, but not a single at all? C’mon record label. This is such a fun, quirky track.
8. All We Ever Knew – The Head and the Heart
It saddens me that I still have not purchased Signs of Light (THATH’s newest album). What kind of a fan am I? I’ve seen them live twice for christ’s sake. Either way, a great track that makes me feel that the band is evolving a bit out of their comfort zone of soft folk into a faster paced sound.
7. Gemini Feed – Banks
Banks is just…wow. She makes dark and empowered music that makes my lil’ old feminist heart beam with glee. If you haven’t, watch her interviews on NPR, they are so enlightening on her as not only an artist, but a human being.
6. Welcome to Your Life – Grouplove
The name makes me cringe each time I read it, it just feels so cheesy. But then again, this was perhaps my biggest musical faux pas of 2016, as I didn’t know this album was a thing. But, hey, better late than never. Why is it at 6? Cause I felt like it.
5. Radio (explicit) – Sylvan Esso
This sounds nothing like Sylvan Esso’s music that I am familiar with, and I definitely ok with that. Whatever Sylvan Esso do, I’m probably going to like it, and this is certainly no exception.
4. One Time – Marian Hill
The second song in a row on this list that is made by a band that: A) has a name that is a woman’s name B) has two members C) has a female singer (who’s name is not the band name) and a male producer. They are very different songs though! Marian Hill’s music is very good for dancing. I’ll leave it at that.
3. untitled 07 (explicit) – Kendrick Lamar
Well, I was surprised when this came out. But hey! So were most people. This time, it wasn’t my fault. But jeez, Kendrick is really just a genius. I don’t have any other way to put it.
2. I’m in Control (ft. Popcaan) – AlunaGeorge
A huge thank you to my roommate Brendan for showing me this song. I admit my silly little American brain would never have found this beautiful British track on its own. I am now madly in love with the music of AlunaGeorge, and will never go back.
1. Open Your Eyes – STRFKR
Yeah yeah yeah, I’ve shoved this song down your throats enough times if you’ve read some of my other blog posts. Just listen if you haven’t.
And a final mention to the album ★, or Blackstar. What a beautiful piece of work. While I was not yet a fan of Bowie at the time of release or his death, I am glad that all his fans at the time were able to experience this album.
One last thing, here is the podcast the my episode of Places. on 11/29/1996. As it was a birthday special for myself, there wasn’t much I could say in a blog post of its own.