It would be ignorant to say that 2016 has been a good year. Without getting too political, we all know we’re entering into darker times. It is not surprising this year was cursed, after it kickstarted with the death of walking angel, Mr David Bowie. The 10th of January marked the loss of a mystic being, who graced our earth with beauty and talent, and without whom, culture wouldn’t be the same. In perfect Bowie fashion, he left one last gift , ‘Blackstar’ , one of the most memorable albums of the year.
Our luck didn’t change, as April brought the loss of another legend Prince, a creature so mystical he had people questioning if he’d predicted his own death in 1986 with ‘Sometimes it Snows in April’. This April, it actually did.
With it being Christmas, we mustn’t dwell on sadness. 2016 brought some good musical moments. Tour wise, we saw the return of The Libertines. Let’s be honest, nobody knows how long that will last, so we had to make the most of it! Not only that, but Foals had their first arena tour and they did it in the most utmost of fashions. However, we can’t forget the release of Kanye West’s ‘Life of Pablo’, where we witnessed Kanye singing about how much ‘He loves Kanye’. We were also blessed with Mr Alex Turner and Mr Miles Kane, charming us with their peculiar tracksuit/loafer combo, confusing accents but also, The Last Shadow Puppets second album, ‘Everything That You’ve Come to Expect’, brought us a seductive sound with glassy strings combined with a cinematic sound, making risky album number two a good one.
Summer brought fantastic fresh music; Chance The Rapper released ‘Coloring Book’, the first album to chart on streaming alone. Radiohead were back, dropping ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ to widespread critical acclaim. Manchester’s Spring King released their much anticipated debut, ‘Tell Me If You Like To’. Twin Atlantic gave us ‘GLA’ and an accompanying tour, selling out Y Plas and hinting to new work soon. Bastille released ‘Wild World’, sold out the Motorpoint and scored a second number one album. And a welcome release from Ed Nash, bassist of Bombay Bicycle Club, who toured ‘Toothless’, the first release from a band member since Bombay’s split last year.
On the topic of splits, The Maccabees announced their disbandment, after a blinding festival season this summer culminating in a headline set at Latitude (but not before announcing three farewell shows in June 2017). Festivals this summer were, on the whole, blessed with good weather and even better music. Foals headlined Reading and Leeds, their biggest audiences to date, and now have their eyes set on Glastonbury. Glastonbury saw the return of LCD Soundsystem, Adele’s first headline slot and a massive set from Two Door Cinema Club, exhibiting their new album ‘Gameshow’. The 1975 and Foals have both hinted at headlining next summer, and if past performances are anything to go by, they’ll deliver.
As the new semester rolled round, Solange Knowles released her album ‘A Seat At The Table’ along with her single Don’t Touch My Hair which proved extremely successful. ‘The Greatest’ by Sia was released in September, in memory of those who were killed in the Orlando night club shootings in America this summer.
Lady Gaga returned with a simple and stripped back version of herself, bringing with her a ballad called ‘Million Reasons’. Rock band Avenged Sevenfold brought us ‘The Stage’, kicking October into high gear in terms of rock and indie music.
As sure as the disappointment of an advent calendar chocolate, December brought us Christmas songs, new and old. Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ was been once again overplayed, but Michael Buble has been distinctly absent, despite the release of his ‘Nobody But Me’ album.
The always exciting Christmas No.1 is normally bestowed on the winner of the X Factor, however this year was different. Clean Bandit’s song ‘Rockabye’, featuring Anne-Marie and Sean Paul took the award with a 7 weeks at the top, and staying there for Christmas.
2016 has been an amazing year for music, if nothing else! It’s brought numerous comebacks, a plethora of solid releases and a tasty hint of festival headliners next summer. It’s been a pleasure to edit Music for Quench this year, made possible by all our contributors, labels and most importantly, you, the reader. Thank you.
Here’s to a great 2017!
Mark Sweeney, Erin Brown & Sophie King
Quench Music Editors 16/17