2016: We Kill The Flame

Compared to last year, 2016 was not a great year for albums (or a great year, period). Still! I quickly threw together a playlist of thirty favorite songs and I could easily add on another ten or twenty. While long-awaited records like Tegan and Sara’s Love You to Death or Junior Boys’ Big Black Coat felt a little underwhelming in lieu of what came before from each duo, I played the heck out of both “U-Turn” and “Baby Give Up On It”. The Bastille single ended up as much of an earworm as “Pompeii” was a few years before. The Florence + The Machine song, a soundtrack cut, certainly didn’t feel like filler or a leftover from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. “Radio” stoked some anticipation for a second album from Sylvan Esso in 2017.

I’ve also included tracks from a few discs that very nearly made my top ten (KT Tunstall (her best since her debut), Parquet Courts, true supergroup case (Neko) / lang (KD) / veirs (Laura)) and better-than-average album cuts from the likes of Wilco, Santigold, Eleanor Friedberger and Corinne Bailey Rae, among others. If this year had a theme song, it’s undeniably the title track from what turned out to be Leonard Cohen’s final album (a good one, but not as interesting as Popular Problems). Nearly up there with “Everybody Knows” and “The Future”, it’s as much in tune with the times as my #1 album of this year.

Click here to listen to my Spotify playlist of thirty great songs from 2016:

  1. Leonard Cohen, “You Want it Darker”
  2. Santigold, “Rendezvous Girl”
  3. Sylvan Esso, “Radio”
  4. The Radio Dept., “Committed to the Cause”
  5. The Avalanches, “If I Were a Folkstar”
  6. Martha Wainwright, “Traveller”
  7. Michael Kiwanuka, “Cold Little Heart”
  8. Ben Watt, “Between Two Fires”
  9. Whitney, “No Matter Where We Go”
  10. Parquet Courts, “Berlin Got Blurry”
  11. Bastille, “Good Grief”
  12. KT Tunstall, “Turned a Light On”
  13. Corinne Bailey Rae, “Stop Where You Are”
  14. Pet Shop Boys, “Burn”
  15. The Divine Comedy, “A Desperate Man”
  16. John K. Samson, “Prayer For Ruby Elm”
  17. Florence + The Machine, “Wish That You Were Here”
  18. The 1975, “Somebody Else”
  19. Wilco, “Someone to Lose”
  20. Andrew Bird, “Truth Lies Low”
  21. Roisin Murphy, “Ten Miles High”
  22. Junior Boys, “Baby Give Up On It”
  23. Eleanor Friedberger, “Because I Asked You”
  24. Paul Simon, “Cool Papa Bell”
  25. case/lang/veirs, “Best Kept Secret”
  26. David Bowie, “Lazarus”
  27. Tegan and Sara, “U-Turn”
  28. PJ Harvey, “The Wheel”
  29. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, “Midnight Rider”
  30. Field Music, “Stay Awake”
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