Favorite Music of 2016

A few months ago I noticed that every hipster bar, coffeeshop and eatery I entered was playing a very specific type of music: songs that were good between 1995-2010. Hipster music and pop hits of the recent past. Early Arcade Fire. TLC's "No Scrubs." The Fugees. "Ghetto Superstar." Radiohead's "In Rainbows." I never heard any current music being played. It's as if the proliferation of good music in the Spotify Age has rendered it exhausting to even try to filter through the glut. And so we retreat to the certifiably good music that has stood the test of time (at least 10-20 years worth), like Destiny's Child or the first Fleet Foxes album. In spite of this I have still tried to keep up with the new releases this year, and the following are some of the albums and songs I've gravitated to.

20 Favorite Albums

  1. Christine and the Queens, Christine and the Queens
  2. Bon Iver, 22, A Million
  3. Explosions in the Sky, The Wilderness
  4. Kanye West, The Life of Pablo
  5. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine
  6. Moses Sumney, Lamentations EP
  7. Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool
  8. Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book
  9. Audrey Assad, Inheritance
  10. David Bazan, Blanco
  11. Sandra McCracken, God’s Highway
  12. LANY, kinda
  13. Blood Orange, Freetown Sound
  14. Solange, A Seat at the Table
  15. Tegan and Sara, Love You to Death
  16. Frank Ocean, Blonde
  17. Beyonce, Lemonade
  18. Johnnyswim, Georgica Pond
  19. Rihanna, ANTI
  20. Bifrost Arts, Lamentations: Simple Songs of Lament and Hope

20 Favorite Songs

  1. Kanye West, "Ultralight Beam"
  2. Chance the Rapper, "Blessings"
  3. Christine and the Queens, "Saint Claude"
  4. Kiiara, "Gold"
  5. Sia, "The Greatest"
  6. The Chainsmokers, "Don't Let Me Down"
  7.  Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, "In a Black Out"
  8. Moses Sumney, "Worth It"
  9. Beyonce, "Sorry"
  10. Doe Paoro, "The Wind"
  11. Warpaint, "New Song"
  12. Animal Collective, "FloriDada"
  13. LANY, "like you lots"
  14. Solange, "Mad"
  15. A Tribe Called Quest, "We the People"
  16. Grace Lightman, "Faultless"
  17. Christine and the Queens, "Narcissus is Back"
  18. Krrum, "Evil Twin"
  19. Marian Hill, "Down"
  20. Blood Orange, "Augustine"

Listen to my unfinished Spotify playlist of these and 150+ more of the year’s best songs here.