Playlist | Best of 2016


They say that hard times make for great art. 2016 (a year that will live in infamy for its awfulness), has proven that saying to be true. While the world toppled around us, we were given a treasure trove of fascinating, innovative and engaging music to help get us through such hard times.

This was a year rife with the soul-crushing loss of many of our most beloved musical titans: David Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones and Leonard Cohen, for example. And the loss of those inspirational souls was a low blow that even the Brexit and The Election of the Orange Monkey (see PJ Harvey track listed below) couldn’t eclipse.

A few of the included tracks did not come out in 2016, yet they stand as markers in memoriam. Sharon Jones’ classic exploration of injustice People Don’t Get What They Deserve could very well be the Official Song of the Year, though it came out a few years earlier. Lesser known, but just as valid artists, Joey Casio and Cash Askew (of Them Are Us To) were lost in the tragic Oakland warehouse fire at Ghost Ship, and have been included. Their voices and visions deserve to be heard.

Experimental artists such as Jenny Hval and Exploded View shared their vision of the past, present and future in ways that bended the mind and challenged what is considered pop, yet theirs is music that borrows heavily from a pop sensibility and a slew of other sources (lady vampires being one that comes to mind). But far from being basic, experimental trailblazers turned out exceptional works of art that defy comparison.

This year marked an exciting resurgence of Riot Grrrl inspired DIY upstarts such as Tacocat, Dream Nails, Skinny Girl Diet and The Tuts to name a few. The girl boy revolution is back with a vengeance and its own singular Millennial perspectives prove that this fresh movement is far from a mere parroting of 90s nostalgia. More exciting still, is the intersectionality of the Riot movement. Black and Brown grrrls are claiming their own spaces in what was formerly an exceedingly white scene. Keep your eyes trained on rebel grrrls such as Noname, Mykki Blanco, Lizzo and Lilith Ai. Your ears and your soul will be happy you did so.

R&B and Hip Hop has reached peaks of creativity that no musical genre has achieved to date, and this year was ruled by the fabulous Knowles sisters. Unfortunately, no Queen Bey appears in the mix as Lemonade has not been released on Spotify (which kills me a little) but as Kurt Vonnegut used to say, “and so it goes…”.

Never fear: even if Sasha Fierce does not appear, many rising stars in Pop, R&B, Hip Hop, Punk and any and all of the above (because 2016 was a year in which genres were smashed and reassembled in a multitude of exciting new mutations) lie in wait for you to discover and become obsessed with. We hope this leads to many juicy audible discoveries for you to ring in 2017.

So sit back with a nice stiff drink (or whatever floats your boat) and turn it up for 2016, which proved that even a dumpster fire year can turn out some of the best music this side of the Millennium.

Full Track Listing:

People Don’t Get What They Deserve – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Hello, Lakisha – Kilo Kish

Drone Bomb Me – ANOHNI

Hit Reset – The Julie Ruin

untitled 04 08.14.2014 – Kendrick Lamar

Multibeast TV – Guerilla Toss

Blk Girl Soldier – Jamila Woods

Diamond Springs – BAMBOO

Everything Moves Towards The Sun – Cat’s Eyes

Highschool Never Ends – Mykki Blanco, Woodkid

Adore – Savages

Orlando – Exploded View

Conceptual Romance – Jenny Hval

You Want It Darker – Leonard Cohen

The Orange Monkey – PJ Harvey

Borders – M.I.A.

Woman Is a Word – Empress Of

Good to Love – FKA twigs

Fairweather Friend – Kadhja Bonet

Black Man In A White World – Michael Kiwanuka

Degraded – Preoccupations

Everyday – SACRED PAWS

People – Laura Mvula, Wretch 32

Con Man – The Tuts

Nasty – Janet Jackson

Don’t Touch My Hair – Solange, Sampha

Your Best American Girl – Mitski

Nobody Speak (feat. Run The Jewels) – DJ Shadow, Run The Jewels

Close Encounters – Bat For Lashes

Arist/Traveler – Globelamp

Dead Eyes – Adia Victoria

Too Dark – Frankie Cosmos

Dana Katherine Scully – Tacocat

And I Will Send Your Flowers Back – Hinds

President Bullshit – Mourn

Hairless – Tough Tits

American Valhalla – Iggy Pop

They Fuck You Over – Le Butcherettes

Shithole – Weaves

Hot Heads – Terry

Eat Shiitake Mushrooms – Let’s Eat Grandma

Better – Deerful

Intern – Angel Olsen

So We Can Stay Alive – Garbage

Soy Yo – Bomba Estéreo

Bassline Bitch – Nova Twins

Medieval Warfare – Grimes

Deep Heat – Dream Nails

rot in hell – So Pitted

Cushioned Caging – Palehound

Heavy Balloon – Tele Novella

Gaps In The Border Fence – Esper Scout

Behind the Wall – Vanessa Anne Redd

Madness – Lucius

Goblin Town – Ravioli Me Away

Mistake Me For A Witch – Little Fists

Mexican Chef – Xenia Rubinos

Wolf Pack – Skinny Girl Diet

Space Exploration Disaster – Sunflower Bean

Queen Beats King – Nina Diaz

Cursed Again – Sheer

Nothing More Than a Body – Skating Polly

Nando’s – The Wimmin’s Institute

Smile More – Deap Vally

Worship – Lizzo

Ojos Del Sol – Y La Bamba

In Cold Blood – She Makes War

Paradise – White Lung

Dre – Warpaint

Casket Pretty – Noname

Making the Worst – The Goon Sax

Pigs – Youth Man

Riot – Lilith Wray

Stare – Prince

Suburban Home – Alice Bag

Shooter – BOSCO, Speakerfoxxx

Bad Blood – NAO

Good Guy – Frank Ocean

Summer Please – Poliça

Taiga – Ziúr

Physical L.U.V – Evvol

Resurrection – Angel Haze

Such a Shame – Bloom

Tornadoland – Regina Spektor

Forest – Pascal Pinon

The Skies Will Break – Corinne Bailey Rae

Burn The Witch – Radiohead

How Does It Feel? – Psychic TV

Can U Hear Me Now? – Porridge Radio

Crab Day – Cate le Bon

Assholes – Monster Treasure

Equivocator – Peach Club

Ignite – Joey Casio

Tonight I Feel Like Kafka – Jealous of the Birds

Stringer Bell – Rattle

Never Learn – Young Romance

Confusion (I’m Alright) – Psychic Ills

Banshee – Santigold

We The People… – A Tribe Called Quest

Motherland – Fiordmoss

Running With The Wolves – AURORA

Hexes – Kamikaze Girls

Rape Me – Tanya Tagaq

Sister Wolf – Honeyblood

Trouble in the Streets – Goat

Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be – Against Me!

It Hurts Until It Doesn’t – Mothers

My Rights – Pill

Rings of Saturn – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

…To Have No Answer – Flock of Dimes

Tokyo – Teen

Do Easy – Tasseomancy

She Owns The World – Whyte Horses

Empathy – Kelsey Lu

Down for Some Ignorance – Saul Williams

Generation Why – Weyes Blood

The Problem with Redheads – Them Are Us Too

Eleven – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

Fuck the Government, I Love You – The Burning Hell

The Silver Swan – Shirley Collins


Megan Beard

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