This Year In Records 2016

What made 2016 tick, from ANOHNI to The xx.


September 2nd: Bon Iver – ’33 “GOD”‘

If you give Bon Iver’s 22, A Million the attention its fascinating shell demands, the emotion that seeps through, aided by cutting-edge instrumentation, makes it one of the clear contenders for the year’s best. This week, I wrote at more length on exactly that topic, and the multiple runs of the record that filled that session made the simple passion of ’33 “GOD”‘ (“I’d be happy as hell, if you stayed for tea / I know so well that this is all there is”) shine rather brightly.

September 9th: James Arthur – ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’

If you’d told me at the start of the year – or even on the day it started – that James Arthur would ever make any significant return to the charts, I would have chuckled. Now, with a number 1 single, number 1 album, and a review on The Edge that’s picked up more hits than even a piece on Southampton’s Pokémon Go hotspots, egg and my face are in alignment.

September 16th: Francis And The Lights – ‘See Her Out (That’s Just Life)’

When he wasn’t busy inventing instruments or genuinely having the best name ever given to a human being, Francis Farewell Starlite was collaborating with Chance The Rapper on Coloring Book and The Hamilton Mixtape, enchanting crowds with his eccentric moves and quirky vocal augmentations, and bringing all his friends under one roof for Farewell, Starlite!. Its lead single, performed with Bon Iver and Kanye West as you do, may have stolen the headlines, but it was ‘See Her Out (That’s Just Life)’ that expertly set the tone at the top.

September 23rd: Will Joseph Cook – ‘Sweet Dreamer’

There’s a lot to love about Will Joseph Cook. Here are the most important points: each one of his singles this year (‘Girls Like Me,’ ‘Take Me Dancing,’ ‘Sweet Dreamer’) has been a delight adorned with a light-hearted video and he gives great high fives and pouty post-show pictures. He’s out on the road with Sundara Karma in the new year and, signed to Atlantic with an album surely due, can’t be far off from taking his joys to far bigger places. Do head along if fun and quality songwriting are things you appreciate.

September 30th: Craig David – Following My Intuition

I’ll spit a sixteen, a sick, quick sixteen
Craig’s been doing this since he was sixteen
So he’s earned the right to rhyme just sixteen
And stick it over Jack Ü in 2016
But he put it on an album before track sixteen
And “freestyled” one verse in about sixteen
Different places – but he’s not sixteen
So we can’t excuse this in 2016
FMI wasn’t too bad
But it fell in bland traps, surrendering to fads
Beyond its singles the filler made me sad
And the best track on it came from Kaytranad’s
Yet though his Twitter feed is like an ad
Common People proved him to be glad
To be back home as Southampton’s nomad
At least he’s back – I just cannot be mad

Author: Xavier Voigt-Hill

I write words. Sometimes say them on the radio too.