If this year’s mix of my favorites is any guide, 2016 was a good year for mainstream music. And I think that’s fair: Beyoncé’s incredible concept album signaled a shift in how high profile artists approach their audience as they move from roles as ‘top selling’ artists towards ‘most streamed’ artists whose exclusive content could make waves amongst the competition between streaming sites. So the music industry is still looking at music as ‘content,’ but at least there is an acknowledgement that art will draw people, where previously the industry looked to catchy hooks grabbing attention through repetitive play.
I’m happy with what I heard. Here are some of my favorites:
Suuns‘ 2013 album, Images Du Futur, ended with the droning and mesmerizing track, “Music Won’t Save You.” The lyrics are delivered empty and dejected, as if the comes as a disappointing realization from a place of wisdom. We want them to be false, though. We want to think that the music will save us, and so time and again, in places of joy and in pain, we return to it: those songs we love to dance to; those songs we fell in love to; and those songs that expressed our sorrow when it seemed like no one else understood.