“I put a banjo up into the sky
It keeps us moving, it keeps us moving”
-The Strumbellas, “Shovels & Dirt”
No one ever cares about the process, but I do put a lot of thought and intention behind the songs and albums I feature. When I finished this list, I looked at it and thought it was an odd collection. But it is well-rounded, demographically speaking.
So I listened to each track again and looked out the window. I then turned on my television. I looked down at my phone. It all matches up.
*This list excludes songs from the albums to be listed in the 2016 review.
In no particular order:
“Shovels & Dirt” by The Strumbellas
You can’t sum up a year of music without addressing the world that influenced it, and that will become more prevalent as you read on. In a year where everything seemed wrong and dark, I power through thanks to these kinds of inspiring anthems.
“Running With The Wild Things” by Against the Current
My musical profile is, above all else, pure energy. I feel 10 years younger when setting off this little firecracker.
“4 Degrees” by ANOHNI
Climate change was a hot-button issue this year, and some people are still in denial. If the world were just 4 degrees warmer, the results would be catastrophic. But it’s OK because if there is one thing I learned in 2016, it’s that science is fake. Let us burn!
“My Name Is Human” by Highly Suspect
Self worth is a tremendous power and makes for explosive music. Also, this band has been on this list two years running, which is an honor equivalent to at least 37 Grammys.
“Don’t Touch My Hair” by Solange
Did anyone else think Solange put out a better record than her big sis?
“Handclap” by Fitz and The Tantrums
They called it: I don’t even know (claps along anyway).
“Move Me” by Sara Watkins
I saw her live this year and my goodness, that voice is effortlessly flawless. She’s come a long way since those early Nickel Creek days.
“Holding On” by Gregory Porter
I wanted to throw a curveball in here, especially for an artist fully deserving of spotlight. The beauty comes from its simplicity.
“Elsewhere” by Young the Giant
I did not think a band like this could make a song like this. It seems unaware of its own emotional depth.
“We The People” by A Tribe Called Quest
Racism, misogyny, intellectual decay. What a year!
Editor’s Choice: “God Save Us All (Death to POP)” by Sum 41
I’ve seen a variety of concerts over the years, but the only times I am overcome by fandom are at rock or rap shows. Why do you think this is? The answer lies in the state of the music industry. Also, welcome back, boys.
Best Tracks of 2016 Playlist:
Shuffle through, come and go as you please.