If music be the food of love, play on
I used this title because I played Duke Orsino in Wellingborough Prep School's year eight production of Twelfth Night, and it was my first line. I remember the experience vividly because I was the only person to play a lead part and not get a colours tie for my work. I'm still not over it, and Mrs Drye, if you're reading this, I really hate you.
I've been listening to a lot of music recently. Like, a lot a lot. I bought both a set of UE Boom 2 bluetooth speakers and a pair of Bowers and Wilkins P5 wireless headphones in the last six months, and my Apple Music subscriptions have just enabled my audiophile infancy. So I'm really into music now, and all kinds too.
At the end of the year, all the biggest and best publications post their top albums and songs lists for the world to enjoy and revere at how cultured they are, and because I have nothing better going on I decided I'd make one too.
I was initially going to put other site's lists above my own, but if ever there's a place to be conceited and self important, it's your own blog. So mine comes first. Simply titled, "Fuck 2016" (I think we can all agree it was a poor year at best), here's my offering to the year's music roundups.
To go a touch more in depth, some of my personal highlights included...
- Starting the year on some Ultralight Beams with Kanye, before the fizzled out, he went into rehab, supported Trump, and painted his head with those light beams.
- Rihanna's Anti, when she embodied the heartthrob she'd become in one cohesive album. Even the radio hits were musically rich standalone songs.
- James Blake's surprise release of The Colour in Anything. I'm such a James Blake sadboi sucker, and his beautiful, meticulous, and gloomy third album was far more expansive than his previous tighter works, and gave many more hours of listening.
- FRANK. And then a few days later MORE FRANK. I don't know how he managed to make a follow up album to Channel Orange that is pretty universally heralded. It sounded underwhelming on first listen, devoid of any real bangers, but the more time you gave it, the more it rewarded you.
- Chance's Coloring Book, then Chance's Radio 1 Live Lounge emotional cover of Feel No Ways, and then Chance's Christmas Mixtape (whaaat!?) He's been everywhere in 2016, and justifiably so. What a nice, talented person. He's the hero we need, not the one we deserve.
- Bon Iver's 22, A Million was divisive, but as I've already professed to being a James Blake sadboi, I don't need to justify my love of this album's aching, electronic sound.
- I had the pleasure of seeing the Last Shadow Puppets play live when they came to Boston over the summer, and it just cemented them as one of my favourite acts. Incredible songwriting from the British supergroup, and the cinematography the string arrangements add to their songs still give me chills.
- And honourable mentions to NAO (if you get a chance to see her live, take it. She's infectious.), Whitney for the beautifully tranquil Light Upon The Lake, and Anderson .Paak for a great album, and an NPR Tiny Desk session I can't get out of my head.
Enough from me. Here's what some people who actually know what they're talking about said, and what I have in my headphones right now:
- Pitchfork's top 100 songs & top 50 albums playlist on Apple music.
- The Atlantic's top 31 songs
- Noisey's top 100 songs and top 100 albums playlists, both on Apple Music
- Rolling Stone's best 48 songs of the year, on Apple Music
- A.V. Club's best 20 albums
- GQ's year in Black Music Spotify playlist (Black artists had their best year on the charts in 32 years!)
- Wired's 8 albums you may have missed
I'm thinking about doing a weekly Apple Music playlist to publish, to give myself another little project to maintain this semester and going forward. I'll post something about it on here if I decide to do it!