The Best Music of 2016
In a world as divided as it has been in at least a lifetime, perhaps the only sentiment that unites us all is that 2016 could teach a vacuum cleaner how to suck. Most of the world is still attempting to get over the realization that Donald Trump is about to become the most powerful man in the world, and we probably won’t; in the same way you never really get over having HIV. The polarizing effects of the election solidified a societal divide that made facts irrelevant, and turned routine disagreements into perceived wars between good and evil. This year politics became the new religion.
If politics cost us our souls, our hearts were simultaneously broken by the deaths of musical icons like David Bowie and Prince, which hit so many of us like a drunk driver on an icy road. These weren’t just celebrities, these were geniuses. These were people we owed for being alive in the first place.
As the near year unravels, we’ll be poised to learn if this one represents a singular low point, or the start of a downward trajectory that will make Mad Max seem like a documentary in retrospect. Until then, at least we have music. This year kept this decade on pace for being better than the last, proving that not all downward trajectories result in a spiral. This selection isn’t meant as a definitive list, but rather a considered arrangement of musical bright spots that served to illuminate an otherwise pitch black year.
Burial – Young Death
Nicolas Jaar – Killing Time
Mick Jenkins feat. BADBADNOTGOOD – Drowning
The Invisible – Life’s Dancers (Floating Points Remix)
Tiga – Blondes Have More Fun
Michael Mayer – Blackbird Has Spoken
Kuedo – In Your Sleep
Seekersinternational – StillUgly!
Mark Pritchard feat. Thom Yorke – Beautiful People
Beyonce feat. James Blake – Forward
SBTRKT feat. The Dream – Bury You
Frank Ocean – Godspeed
Chance the Rapper – Same Drugs
Tribe Called Quest – Melatonin
Anderson Paak – Celebrate
Soft Hair – Lying Has to Stop
How to Dress Well – Made a Lifetime
The Weeknd – Stargirl Interlude
Yumi Zouma – Barricade (Matter of Fact)
Maria Usbeck – Moai Y Yo
Angel Olsen – Those Were The Days
Andy Shauf – Early to the Party
LUH – Future Blues
Arca – Sin Rumbo
Brian Eno – The Ship
David Bowie – Blackstar
Radiohead – Daydreaming
Camara – Just Waking Up
Aphex Twin – CHEETA2 ms800
Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat
The Caretaker – All That Follows Is True
Avalanches – Zap!
Postiljonen – The Open Road
Kedr Livanskiy – Razrushitelniy Krug (Acapella)