? LEM ? ON ? ADE?
Is there anyone who exemplifies a force of nature quite like Beyonce? (No, the answeris no.) This album spawned a million think pieces (on race, on women, on music, on marriage, on film, on pop culture, on the inexplicable streaming nonsense that is Tidal), bent genre/award show norms and probably really ruined Rachel Roy’s year. “Lemonade,”from an album standpoint, is Beyonce’s most musically advanced and personal album to date, but the thematic masterpiece also, more importantly, challenged industry standards for how music is promoted and presented.
Mr. Nice Guy wins the top 40
Let’s hear it for the nice guys. Walking the road paved by boy band One Direction,Drake, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, Troye Sivan and Charlie Puth dominated the 2016 pop charts, cooing their “we’re not worthy”-ness to legions of female fans. Leaving us to believe that Generation Selfie isn’t so self-centered after all.
No one want to play for Trump (SAD!)
While on the campaign trail, Trump made the broad assumption that naturally anymusician would be honored to have their song played at one of his rallies. WRONG! The Rolling Stones, Adele, Steven Tyler, Queen, Pavarotti and others asked Trump to kindly (or not so kindly) stop using their music for the duration of his campaign.
Sorrow and silver linings
This year the industry sadly lost several musical titans — Bowie! Cohen! Prince!— leaving us with no shortage of tributes, covers and memorandums. While nothing can quite makeup for the creative void, we gained a year of reliving happy memories and old classics. Among some of the best tributes: Sinéad O’Connor’s “Life on Mars,” BruceSpringsteen’s “Purple Rain” and Kate McKinnon as Hilary Clinton’s “Hallelujah.”
The life and fall of Pablo
Kanye West never had to prove to us that he was a top-notch entertainer. There wasevidence of his greatness as far back as his record catalog goes. However, “Pablo,” his seventh, was more than an album— it was his opus. There was the fashion show, the tour, the flying stage, the “Famous” video — followed the tour cancellation, the outrage,the hospitalization, the visit to Trump Tower. The rise and fall of West was as mesmerizing as any visual album. Terribly disappointing it had to end the way it did.
No thanks, North Carolina (and Mississippi, too)
The HB2 “Bathroom” Bill that restricted transgender people to use facilities thatmatched their birth certificates had a trickle down effect to touring artists who opted out of tour dates in the effective states. Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5, Pearl Jam, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, Boston and Ringo Starr were among the acts that took a standagainst the discriminatory act, cancelling tour dates and staging verbal protests. A good reminder that an artist’s voice isn’t just used to sing with.
Your required listening for 2016
BROCCOLI — D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty
Black Beatles — Rae Sremmurd ft Gucci Mane
Intern — Angel Olsen
Daddy Lessons — Beyonce
Famous — Kanye West
We Don’t Talk Anymore — Charlie Puth ft Selena Gomez
Love on the Brain — Rihanna
Fake Love — Drake
Redbone — Childish Gambino
No Problem — Chance the Rapper ft 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne
Million Reasons — Lady Gaga
Three Packs a Day — Courtney Barnett
80s Mercedes — Maren Morris
Your Best American Girl — Mitski