What I Listened To In 2016

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Another trip around the sun, another set of end-of-year lists to be assembled. I remain committed to exploring new music across (almost) all genres, yet despite that there are still several familiar names at the top of the yearly charts for 2016.

Top 10 Artists listened to in 2016

  1. Tegan and Sara
  2. Bloc Party
  3. Radiohead
  4. Neil Diamond
  5. Panic! At The Disco
  6. Bon Iver
  7. Die Antwoord
  8. Beyoncé
  9. Green Day
  10. The Joy Formidable

Nine out of ten of the performers in this list released new albums this year (Neil Diamond probably did too, but I don't think I've listened to anything he's done since 1982), although I didn't really listen to Green Day's latest and the Die Antwoord album was a big disappointment after the killer singles. Tegan and Sara's new one wasn't really that great either; I suspect they secured the top spot with their older, more indie-oriented material. There's also no traditional hip-hop on this list, despite listening to quite a lot of both new and old rap - I guess my taste is diverse enough to not push any one rapper or group into the top ten.

Top 10 Albums listened to in 2016

  1. Bloc Party - HYMNS
  2. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
  3. Bon Iver - 22, A Million
  4. Beyoncé - Lemonade
  5. Panic! At The Disco - Death of a Bachelor
  6. Tegan and Sara - Love You To Death
  7. Mother Love Bone - Mother Love Bone
  8. Neil Diamond - The Bang Years 1966-1968
  9. We Are Scientists - Helter Seltzer
  10. Charlotte Hatherley - New Worlds

All of the top six came out this year, and the top four were definitely my favourite albums released in 2016. Bon Iver's 22, A Million is a brilliantly electronic twist on his usual pared-down guitar folk; A Moon Shaped Pool is Radiohead's best album since OK Computer; and Beyoncé's Lemonade skips around genres while never losing sight of it's central theme (to wit, Jay Z is a bit of a dick).

Despite never really listening to Bloc Party in the past, their fifth album HYMNS captivated me from the first listen, with its electronica-meets-indie-guitar sound and quasi-religious lyrical themes. It didn't make very many critics' annual "Best of" lists, but I've been playing it almost all year.

Track of the Year

According to my last.fm charts, no one track really dominated the last year, but I think if I had to choose it would be this, the lead track from Bloc Party's HYMNS that got me listening to the album in the first place:

Matthew Pennell

Designer, developer, writer, runner, gamer, devil's advocate, INTP. Senior designer for Booking.com. Founder, Refresh Cambridge.
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