2016 was the kind of year you might have wanted to burn down with fire... fortunately a lot of phenomenal music helped us keep perspective. These were some of my favourite songs...
Courtney continues to sound more like Neko while the band's wall of sound gets bigger and bigger.
Album:Wings of Love - Single
LIV is Lykke Li and some dudes from Peter Bjorn & John, and Miike Snow. They're being called a supergroup but they only have 2 songs out, so it might be premature to call them a "supergroup". Either way, it sounds like Fleetwood Mac and it's wonderful.
This feels like a pop-sibling of a Grimes song, which I realize sounds flippant, but I don't mean it that way.
The first time I heard this track I hated it. The second time I told myself I ironically liked it. Listens three through one thousand this year came from a place of euphoria.
It's ok. I get it. Lemonade wasn't produced with me, as a listener, in mind. That's ok. Why should it be? But, oh dang, "Hold Up" is infectious and full of hooks.
This might be one of my favourite albums of the year. The minimalist production paired with the nihilistic weekend (note: not Weeknd) lyrics make this track a highlight for me.
Album:Are You Serious
More songs like this please. This is a 10/10 duet.
Album:Man Machine Poem
The announcement of Gord's terminal illness and the resulting coast to coast Canadian tour was a unifying moment for Canadians, and I'm thankful to have been able to take in a small part of it. "Man Machine Poem" is the best made and most relevant Hip record in 20 years. I learned first hand this year that Cancer is a monster, and this almost sarcastic track about it is therapeutic (for me, at least).
Guys, Neko Case, KD Lang, and Laura Veirs collaborated and put out an album and you expect me to write up some sort of justification about why this made my "best of" list?
Vancouver represent. Jay Arner can do no wrong.
What if Sting put out an album powered by Ableton? Might be terrible, but D. D. Dumbo did it anyway and it's great.
This might be the best album I heard all year. Celebratory hip hop in a time of despair. Ironically, this track is the calmest one on the album.
Album:22, A Million
Is this post-folk? Doesn't matter. You can't get upset that Bon Iver stopped doing camp fire ballads and went into Kid A territory, he's been hinting at this for years. This album is better listened end to end as opposed to a single track at a time.
While easily digestible, this track is weird when you pull it apart. A kinda Chicago Footwork style beat, with sparse R&B vocals, and some sort of African drum line? Shouldn't work, but works perfectly.
Album:Radio - Single
My understanding is that Sylvan Esso is a side project of a couple of folk singers, which is great because folk has never sounded so good next to big electronic synths.
Album:Come Down - Single
Album:The Divine Feminine
I kid you not, the first time I heard this song I only caught about 10 seconds of the chorus. Such a groove. I shazammed and purchased on the spot. Hi, this is the most boring story about one of the most un-fuck-wit-able songs of 2016.
Album:We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service
This is my favourite three minutes of music in 2016. This track doesn't actually take place in a specific moment. For the first minute and a half Phife posthumously leads while Q Tip backs him up in real time. The second half of the track is just Q Tip by himself rapping about his life-after-death relationship with Phife and his dedication to preserving his legacy through creating more music. I realize that when I try to explain it sounds a bit cliche, but when it's actually delivered in the song it is WONDERFUL.
99.9% is a must listen to, cover to cover, album. The first five star album of 2016. Yeah, Lite Spots leans real heavy on a Gal Costa track but the flip he creates is so infectious.
Album:The Life of Pablo
I struggled with Kanye and TLOP in a major way. Such a mixed album, but when he dialed it in he created magic (see also: Ultra Light Beams). I chose to include Fade on the almanac because when I was in LA this fall EVERY radio station played this track three times per hour and I always turned it up.