My favorite album of 2016 was American Football’s LP2.
But it’s almost a victory by default.
One of my favorite hobbies is listening to music. It’s not really a hobby as much as it is a part of my life. There is no activity that I think would not be improved by a song. Up to and including sex. For that, I would recommend Washed Out’s 2011 album Within and Without. I’ve never actually tried it, but I think it would work beautifully. Look at the album cover.
So this is going to be a recap of the year in music. More accurately, I’m going to recap my year with music.
2011 is when I published my first ever Albums of the Year list. Back then, I did a series of Facebook updates. My #1 pick was Tao of the Dead by …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.
I don’t think I’ve listened to that album in five years.
I have listened to a lot of M83 and Tycho since then. Neither of whom made my top ten, because I had not heard Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming or Dive.
Now that I’ve established my credentials, I’ll talk about 2016.
This was an unusual year for me. I didn’t listen to many full albums. I often relied on Spotify’s Discover Weekly, which only occasionally included new music. Rarely, I would follow up and check out more of an artist’s catalog.
It wasn’t easy to commit to spending an hour with a new album when I was touring South America, with so much to see and do.
Last year, I took advantage of Spotify’s features to create a playlist of my favorite songs from 2015.
This year, I’m putting a twist on that concept. I made a playlist, but it’s not just new stuff. It’s a collection of songs that represents my 2016. New songs that stuck with me. Old songs that were in my rotation. Songs that take me back to a specific time and place.
The list ranges from Bob Dylan to Taking Back Sunday to Naughty By Nature to Enrique Iglesias–because I like a variety of music, and each song evokes a feeling or memory of the year passed. I have both American Football and Modern Baseball. Brand New didn’t put out a new record as had been rumored, but I’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of my favorite songs of all-time.
I didn’t include any Andean flute music, even though that’s all I heard for a month straight. “Noise Pollution” seemed like an appropriate reference to the reggaeton of Santiago.
I sacrificed some continuity of story to make the playlist flow better. And I occasionally sacrificed the flow of the playlist to include a song in a specific place.
The only parts I’m sure I got right are the beginning–“The Times They Are A-Changin'”–and end–“Sun Leads Me On.”
2016 was certainly a year of change. From here, I think I’ll go wherever the sun takes me.
Check out my 2016 playlist here.