The most common phrase used in 2016, so common it feels like it needs to be added to the Merriam Webster dictionary next year, was “Fuck 2016.”
I appreciate that sentiment, and certainly have said that phrase as often as anyone else who considers themselves plugged into the inner workings of the the world. But I’m not fully ready to say “Fuck 2016,” especially as it related to the world of music and to this blog (and by proxy myself.)
This year sucked in regards to losing musicians. We lost icons left and right, including David Bowie and Prince, two of the biggest stars to have ever stepped foot into a recording booth. But throughout all the loss, and there was a lot, I can’t help but consider how incredible our ability to mourn these musicians together was. We all wallowed together over the fact that none of Prince’s music was available online. We all had the opportunity to educated and re-educated ourselves with music from acts like Motörhead and the Eagles and Sharon Jones. In a few exciting and tragic cases, we even got to hear their new music in a different light.
I had more meaningful conversations about the music of the past this year than any other year, and part of that was BECAUSE we lost so many immensely talented artists. Had it not been for Glenn Fry passing away, I don’t know I would’ve chosen to sit through a 4 hour documentary about The Eagles. Had it not been for Merle Haggard passing away, we likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go back and really assess what made country so essential in the 60’s and 70’s. And had it not been for George Martin passing away, many people likely wouldn’t have realized how essential he was to making The Beatles the groundbreaking act they were.
So sure, “Fuck 2016.” I’m right there with you. Of course, we shouldn’t have to begin appreciating these artists only after they’ve left us. But I’m glad that so much great music, from so many incredible artists, was able to be written about and re-discovered this year. Would I have listened to “So Long Marianne” as many times as I did had Leonard Cohen not passed away this year? Probably not. But I’m glad I’ve gotten to.
Top 5 Worst Albums of 2016: 5. The Party’s Over by Prophets of Rage
4. This Unruly Mess I’ve Made by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
3. New English by Desiigner
2. True Sadness by Avett Brothers
1. Hymns by Bloc Party
5 Underrated Albums of 2016: 5. Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music by Various Artists
4. Good Luck and Do Your Best by Gold Panda
3. Seth Bogart by Seth Bogart
2. Away by Okkervil River
1. Lamentations by Moses Sumney
Best Live Shows of 2016:
Sheer Mag (Primavera Sound 2016)
Brand New (The Forum)
Japandroids (The Echo)
The Cure (The Hollywood Bowl)
Every Fucking Time I Got To See LCD Soundsystem (The Fox Theater, Primavera Sound, FYF Fest)
Being black out drunk and buying way too much merch and meeting Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.
Some dude yelled out “Punk you fucks!” before Parquet Courts started playing a song at an American Legion in Highland Park and I will never forget that for all of my life. That guy was the realest.
Getting to DJ at the Blindspot.
Seeing a couple fly all the way from Georgia to Barcelona to see the Black Lips, and that man proposing to her on stage. It was beautiful.
Taking over a jukebox at our local dive and putting in 60 dollars worth of music so no one for the entire day could listen to any music. I suggest trying this some time. PS: 60 dollars won’t be enough if its your birthday and you’re drinking. A lot.