Ok, so todays date is the 30st Dec 2016 and I’m pretty sure I can sum up my music-year. Although there are often days in which I discover a band or a song I haven’t heard of before I am sure I can write “…of 2016”-posts even though there is yet another day to come.
So, what were the songs that coined my personal 2016 and that I learned to love in this year?
First of all, I have to admit that I’m pretty sure I’ll forget to mention some in this list. A year is a way too long period to remember correctly. Second, it is important to note that the songs here were not necessarily made in 2016, but were very important for me in this year.
I will try to list them in chronolocial order and explaining what they mean to me:
David Bowie – “Blackstar” and “Lazarus“: David Bowie passed away in january 2016, releasing his album “Blackstar” two or three days before his death. Since it immediately was clear that Blackstar wasn’t a normal album or a record to make money with (at least not from Bowies point of view) this peace of prog-(/avantgarde-)pop as I like to call it became very important. At first I was fascinated by Lazarus, especially because of the music video and the meaning that revealed itself right after Bowies death. Later this year I listened to the whole album and watched the video of “Blackstar”, the titletrack. The images and metaphors got me once again, the whole album is at the same time pure art and pure realism.
At the same time I was still listening to Devin Townsends “Epicloud” a lot. Since I liked the album and listened to a few other songs on youtube I bought Devins record “Biomech: Ocean Machine”. It is beside “Infinity” my personal album of him. Four songs especially had my attention: “Seventh Wave“, “Life“, “The Death Of Music” and “Thing Beyond Things“. Seventh Wave, the opener of the album is just an epic and powerful piece of art, a style element typical for Devins music. Seventh Wave is a bit dark and creates some kind of tremendous yet dangerous atmosphere. The record continues with the song “Life” which celebrates the fullness of life, again using a lot of wall of sound elements to give a hint of how colourful life can be. In contrast to the beginning, Devin concludes Biomech with “The Death Of Music” and “Thing beyond Things”. Both are very dark and silent but still contain the same power of the whole record. Especially the scream at the end of Things beyond Things describes the enormous pain of the lyrical I in a very genuine way. I like both varieties of the power Devin presents, the happy and joyful as well as the sad and painful side.
After listening to these rather dark tunes while at the same time enjoying the feeling of Devins “Life”, I got to know more and more songs of The Pineapple Thief, especially of their highly recognised album Magnolia. “Simple as That“… I don’t know how often I listened to it. The song gave me power and joy in times where I really needed both. I still feel the urge to run around like crazy when listening to this song. Wonderful!
The band is generally one of the best I ever listened to, so I bought Little Man shortly after Magnolia. The song “Snowdrops” does cheer me up like “Simple as That” but unlike the last one, Snowdrops uses a continous crescendo, a way up to a very beautiful soundscape at the end of it.
Short after this my search in the genres of postrock and ambient intensified. A friend of mine sent me the youtube playlist to Alcests album “Shelter”. The joy and again the wall of sound elements used here do well describe my state of mind at this time. The setting was just like this: Being free, being full of joy, walking in the sun, following the clouds (it was about spring to summer while doing this) and listening to Alcest. In my opinion the music wraps up exactly these emotions. Especially the song “La Nuit Marche Avec Moi” contains a lot of the described feelings.
Throughout the year I listened to Dream Theater a lot. This band didn’t let me go in 2015 and also in 2016 they have undoubtedly the highest amount of playtime in all of my music devices. “The Astonishing”, a concept album set into the future is more a stage play than a usual music album. I hardly listened to it as a whole (maybe six or seven times), but as a pars pro toto piece I did enjoy “Our New World” more often. The song being rather an unusual Dream Theater one contains old fashioned rock wrapped in a modern style with beautiful lyrics. Great!
While having more calm and thoughtful times, I also liked to listen to “Hollow Years” and “Misunderstood” a lot. Hollow Years is a very pieceful and motivating song about life, whilst Misunderstood tries to complain about life in an agressive way. I listend to them in different times. Though they didn’t reflected my feelings, both records spoke to me in the respective situation.
Although I know Dream Theater for a very long time (measured by my lifetime) I didn’t noticed the suite “A Change Of Seasons” until the last few months. But since the beginning riff is being stuck in my head, I love it, mostly because of its variety.
Continuing with progressive metal, there was another band this year that got my attention. Arcane do no longer exist due to intern differences in style, but at least their records remain. The double-album “Known – Learned” contains a lot of great songs, but “Nighingale’s Weave” exceeded them all. The power of the voice, the setting… the energy transmitted is beyond words. Some kind of sad but still unbelievable emotional and thus great!
Before I name my personal song of the year, I want to make an honorable mention to a song that was written in 1970 named “Lola” by the Kinks. In 2016, a friend gave me the link and a lot of memories from my childhood came up, so the song was not new to me but still was important in 2016. It’s another tune that is really honest and cool.
So, 2016… in some years it is difficult to name the best song but choosing from the selection I know now, my personal favorite is “In Celebration Of Life” from NoSound. The title really says it all. I simply love it… and as always, instead of describing what it means, the song should speak for itself. Listen to it here:
So that was my musical journey through 2016. Although there are plenty other songs, artists, genres etc. I listened to, I am pretty sure that the mentioned ones are really the most important records for this year.
Let’s see what 2017 comes up with 🙂