2016 was full of new songs, new albums and musicians that topped the chart. Marquette Radio decided to reflect and choose 10 of their favorites from the year. Here’s our assistant music director Cecilia Anderson’s picks, in no particular order:
“The Bird” – Anderson .Paak
Haven’t you heard? About the bird? Well everybody’s heard! The bird is the word.
.Paak is smooth as hell. If Kendrick Lamar was a singer instead of a rapper, his voice would sound like .Paak’s.
“Be Like You” – Soul Low
Our good old Milwaukee boys Soul Low really crushed it with their sophomore album. They’re getting placed on a list next to Frank Ocean and Mitski, and I listened to “Nosebleeds” about twice as much as any album here. This is for you if you like the Violent Femmes, Born Ruffians, Tokyo Police Club or Bright Eyes — the bonus perk being that these guys seem a lot more fun to party with than Mr. Oberst.
Check out our interview with Sean and Sam of Soul Low.
“untitled 05 | 09.21.2014.” – Kendrick Lamar
Lamar’s newest album is jazz. At least it is in the tradition of jazz, with its swells and bursts and the street wisdom of someone who survives. This album is purposefully undone, desperately frugal rather than masterfully minimal. Lamar confronts disparity, immorality, dysfunction and violence. This song was the most compelling to me — it drags you in like an undertow — but the whole album is something else.
4 “Hold Up” – Beyonce
“Lemonade” is cinematic, expansive, a tremendous artistic effort. This song is particularly catchy. It’s bold and angry, a standalone among mopey, desperate break up songs.
Fun fact: Years ago, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend jokingly tweeted “hold up…they don’t love u like I love u,” and is credited on this song.
“Dan the Dancer” – Mitski
Mitski’s sound contains many things: a cold fury, a guarded hurt, an observational lens and female angst. She presents a tragic story about isolation and identity as something you could mosh to. Friends who have seen her live say the experience is spiritual and healing. Mitski is a master of catharsis.
“All I Need” – Noname
This song is bright and refreshing. Chance didn’t make my list because I figured he will get enough credit for “Coloring Book,” but I will give a nod to Chano for introducing this R&B singer to the scene. Noname remains confident but humble, her music definitely is at ease without losing purpose.
“Berlin Got Blurry” – Parquet Courts
My tagline for Parquet Courts is “the Strokes, but smarter.” It’s New York rock with a conscience and an IQ. I liked this description on Pitchfork written by Mike Powell:
“Both Austin and Savage are expert mimics—the kind of songwriters who suggest a rich and variegated past without ever seeming like slaves to it … it’s the tradition of … stalking moonlit streets in ripped jeans with Rimbaud and Baudelaire tucked into their unwashed armpits, less concerned with smashing the state than with cutting through the red tape that holds them back from the wilderness within, romantics who tried to forge ahead by clawing back to the source.”
“Self Control” – Frank Ocean
It is as gentle as brutal honesty gets. “Blonde” tugs at a feeling of nostalgia. It reproduces a yearning for the memory of a person, a time, a place that doesn’t quite exist in present form (and maybe it never existed like that in the past). Ocean asks us to confront the nuances of love vs. the idea of love, loneliness vs. being alone, and memory vs. reality.
I can’t believe Frank lied to us about the release date so many times and made us wait so long. But all is forgiven. It’s that good.
“Broccoli” – D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty
I walk into tha club and hear this song and yell, “THIS IS MY JAM!” Everyone walks into tha club and yells this. Everyone loves this song.
It also features Lil Yachty, who sings the anthem of my people “Minnesota.”
“Pash Rash” – Jeff Rosenstock
“WORRY.” is delightful pop punk. The definition of “Pash Rash” is the type of face rash you get from kissing someone with a beard. The song ends with some narration describing it as “the song of the American dorm room.” It’s overly whiny and satirical, it is an angst that is aware it’s past its expiration date. When it comes to this genre I’ve always been more of a fan of Joyce Manor and The Front Bottoms, who seem to know their misery is self-inflicted and a little ridiculous, rather than Twenty One Pilots or blink-182, who come across as disingenuous.
Honorable mentions: Sylvan Esso, Yuck, Whitney, Chance the Rapper, The xx, Car Seat Headrest, A$AP Rocky, PWR BTTM, Palehound and Kanye West.
Yeah, I don’t understand my taste in music either.