Listen to This: 2016 in Review

As a follow-up to my 2016 #top, part 1 post, I made a playlist of my favorite new songs of 2016 to share with you all. I have been a big fan of making playlists since the mixtape days of my youth, but I feel like I’ve gotten a little out of the habit in its purest form now that everything is digital and therefore of pretty much unlimited length. Most of the “playlists” I currently have on my Spotify are more rambling, stream-of-consciousness mood soundtracks rather than carefully curated sonnets on particular subjects. But I tried to actually limit this one: It’s just 20 songs, and I even spent some time arranging the songs and thinking about the musical flow. It contains only songs from 2016 releases, and only my true favorites. There’s at least one track from each of my favorite 2016 albums, as listed in my previous post, with the obvious exception of Beyoncé, since Lemonade is famously not on Spotify. I think listening to this will give you a pretty good idea of the types of genres, sounds, and voices that make me happy.

For what it’s worth, my actual most-listened-to songs of 2016 included a LOT of music that was not released this year, including lots of old Bowie, Renaissance choral music, and, as featured on my 2015 best-of, the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording (yes, still, always). And I definitely discovered some new-to-me music that came out before 2016. But there’s real value in seeking out and celebrating the newest, most interesting work being made in this moment and for this moment, so I focused only on new releases. Hopefully there are a few things in there that you haven’t heard yet and that will resonate with you. I’m going to work on listening to even more new music in 2017 and I’d love your recommendations