“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–”
Charles Dickens. A Tale of two Cities
Happy Holidays from the great northern woods. The early snowfall, the sudden influx of blistering wind, the advent of thick socks, long sleeve layering pieces, and hats that now must cover ones ears or suffer the consequences, is now upon us hearty breed that choose this climate. Like the fools that choose their manipulative, allergic to truth, although fascinatingly beautiful ex’s over the possibility of healthy, stable, sane partners. We the frigid cold, runny nosed, and frost bitten toe surviving masses choose this beautifully cursed climate. Alas that’s a story best left for another time, another mind set, however, it is fitting that 2016 should end on such, with such an abrasive and painful reminder that the world we inhabit, and can find so much wonderment through music, the written word, art in its many mediums, and merriment among our kindred souls, is unequivocally filled with monsters and lest we forget monsters are real and always human.
2016 came out of the on deck circle filled with boundless potential, a rookie batting lead off at the home opener. The previous year, 2015, wasn’t terrible. We had Tame Impala making psychedelic sounds and total mood music that didn’t sound like a parody of itself or worse a parody of 60’s Psych-Rock. Kendric Lamar dropped an album of great social importance coupled with engaging lyrical flow and super creative beats meant to keep the listeners not only attentive to message but also to the shear joy of a well crafted jam packed head bobbing dance track. A personal favorite was Courtney Barnett who released “Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.” A wise ass Australian singer songwriter who’s music and lyrical gymnastics left me smiling uncontrollably and wondering whatever happened Miranda July.
However then David Bowie died. I didn’t curse the cold winds, I cried to myself and listened to my favorite tracks and watched as the whole world reveled their collective undying love for this unique musician, spaceman, outsider, genius. And I felt better knowing I wasn’t just not alone but I felt part of an underground network of fans.
Shortly after David Bowie left this planet “for a place far less boring.” Death touched every corner of musical taste and opinion.
Lemmy Kilminster. From Hawkwind, to Motörhead he was an unabashed Rock and Roll Badass. A legacy that some have followed to their very early demise but Lemmy survived and until the end partied like he lived, hard, fast, and with not one fuck given.
Glen Frey. Famed Eagle, subpar soloist, Miami Vice loving, white bread eating guy. That’s about all I have for Glen, I was never really white enough to embrace The Eagles.
The list continues… Jazz greats, country legends, George Fucking Martin!, a young band from England Viola Beach, the whole bloody band, drove off a bridge killing the band and tour manager, Prog-rock lost Keith Emerson in March and Greg Lake in December. For fucks sake I haven’t even gotten to Prince yet. Before I do get to the Great Purple One. Maurice White, who with his brothers started Earth, Wind, and Fire. Phife Dog, Tribe Called Quest. John Berry, an original Beastie Boy. Leon Russel. Vanity. Merle Haggard. Sadly this list is so much longer than portrayed in this piece. I started writing a piece about my three favorite new albums of 2016, but all I could think was David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Prince all passed away this year. Who fucking cares what was released in this cursed year? This year should be dedicated to going back and reflecting upon Bowie’s Berlin records and Looking at Cohen’s word play and dagger in your heart ability to bring a man to his knees begging for forgiveness from the toxic girl who ran away when you know it’s better that she did, and then, then we think about the pure sexuality and intelligence of Prince.
David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen. Three absolute giants of their craft. Three men who spoke to different demons lurking in people’s souls. The darkness, the raw emotional lust, the uninhibited sexual desires, the idea of artistry so far ahead of the publics general thought processes that it may take the listening masses decades to wrap their collective heads around these three performers work, and finally we, you, dear readers, me, playing my role as the lonely record collecting sad sack, and the rest of the world see how delicate life truly has become and how intertwined we are to these artists that shape our vision of this beautifully disgusting, wretchedly painful, perpetually confusing world we walk upon day after godforsaken day.
I’ll leave you with this dear readers. My three favorite albums of 2016 are as followed:
DeLaSoul…… And the anonymous Nobody.
Glass Animals – How to be a Human Being.
Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial.