Let’s face it, of all the popular culture out there, what I mostly take in is music.
I wanted to read more books this year, but I got seriously bogged down in non-fiction. I am still reading The Warmth of Other Suns, which I think I started a month ago.
As far as movies, I’ve seen two Star Wars movies in the theaters, and a couple of animated films. So, I’m not exactly a good critic of what’s been outstanding in that field.
Music, on the other hand, has had an incredible year, both in terms of good music and of bad losses. Here’s what I listened to the most.
My top female artists (or female-led bands) this year:
1. Beyonce. I finally get it. I get chills every single time I watch “Formation.”
2. Lucius. I discovered this wildly, tunefully shrill (in a good way) band this year. So happy.
3. Florence + The Machine. Been on heavy rotation in my collection since about 2014, so no surprise here.
4. Brandi Carlile
5. Basia Bulet
My top male-led bands this year
1. twenty one pilots. I don’t think I kept my fascination with this millennial band a secret.
2. Fitz and the Tantrums. “Handclap” may have been the song I played the very most this year.
3. Afghan Whigs/Twilight singers. Greg Dulli didn’t even put out an album this year, and he’s still at the top of my playlist. Seeing his on tour in March was a highlight of the year.
4. Radiohead. Did it again, hauntingly catchy tracks on a new album.
5. Leon Bridges. Hoping 2017 brings a new album from this R&B crooner, who channels Sam Cooke.
My favorite tracks by the artists I will miss the most
I won’t call 2016 “the worst year ever”, but when the artists that formed the soundtrack of your younger years start dying, some of them suddenly, it adds up. Both David Bowie and Leonard Cohen put out amazing albums this year, but I picked different tracks that were formative to me.
1. Prince. I tried really hard to pick one song that meant a lot to me. And I just couldn’t do it. From the dance tracks to the funk anthems to the unabashedly sexy tunes, Prince made an impact in too many areas. “Kiss” ranks high, as does “Pop Life.” I always loved “Cream” and “Little Red Corvette.” The entirety of Purple Rain was ground breaking to me. And he penned so many other songs that made an impact on me, notably, “Manic Monday” by the Bangles and “Nothing Compares 2 U” as done by Sinead O’Connor.
2. Bowie. Bowie was nearly as hard to pick as Prince. Ultimately, “Rebel Rebel” and “Under Pressure” are two I will never switch away from.
3. Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows.” I imprinted on this song, that voice, the very first time I heard it. Man was a poet and a lover.
4. Maurice White, “September.” We had more kitchen dance parties to this song, and Earth, Wind, and Fire in general, than any other song and group ever.
5. George Michael. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” I can still remember dancing to this song at some of my middle school dances.
Copyright for featured image: tzido / 123RF Stock Photo
Who were your top artists this year? And who are you going to miss the most?