This Year In Records 2016

What made 2016 tick, from ANOHNI to The xx.

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April

April 1st: Bibio – A Mineral Love

Whether or not you know Bibio’s name, you’ll recognise his music well – ‘lovers’ carvings,’ from one of the three albums he released in 2009, transcends divides between tech giants by appearing in ad spots with charming regularity. No individual component of A Mineral Love quite has the same soothing effect, though a number of its songs do rest splendidly atop comforting guitar melodies or near-disco impetuses: ‘Town & Country’ is a tale of urban frustration right in that ‘lovers’ carvings’ vein, ‘Feeling’ picks up on a saxophone solo and a squelchy groove that his voice embraces somewhat ostentatiously, and the haunting ‘The Way You Talk’ gives somebody that you used to know their first credited release as a solo artist in three years.

April 8th: MK & Becky Hill – ‘Piece Of Me’

Tipped by The Edge for great things back in 2015 and becoming an impeccable staple feature on dance tracks two years prior, Becky Hill remains the only graduate from The Voice‘s UK incarnation to have made the ITV-bound show look in any way justifiable. This year, ‘Back To My Love’ and ‘Warm’ provided excellent signs that a real solo career is going to be a fabulous occurrence in 2017, however it was two collaborations with – shock horror! – big names in their respective house niches that got her all over our radios this year: ‘False Alarm,’ a tropical flurry with Matoma, Norwegian bloke who she “hadn’t fucking heard of” before he approached her about making the track; and ‘Piece Of Me,’ the first of two incredible tracks from MK that deserved far more success than they have (so far) received.

Also, a moment of appreciation for this tweet should be an annual This Week In Records ritual.

April 15th: Drake feat. WizKid & Kyla – ‘One Dance’

Although streaming is the dominant force in how music consumption takes place today, that has never typically been what charts have aimed to reflect. Equating 100 streams to one sale for compilation purposes may have seemed at the time like an acceptable method of subtly embracing the change whilst maintaining some connection to more antiquated (and tangible) delivery methods, this shift has allowed records that people will listen to repeatedly, whether deliberately or through label-owned and/or self-perpetuating radio-like playlists, to win out over far more exciting releases. FOR FIFTEEN WEEKS.

(PS: Because Drake never even bothered with a video for this – maybe driving people to stream it a billion times is how to make sizeable money from Spotify’s algorithms – and I’m stubbornly refusing to bother with Spotify embeds aside from the complete playlist of these picks, here’s Dua Lipa singing it for some reason.)

April 22nd: Gwen Stefani – ‘Make Me Like You’ (RAC Remix)

RAC could stick a new bass guitar part on anything and make me like it. Take this lead single from Gwen Stefani’s first album in a decade, for example. On playing This Is What The Truth Feels Like at around 3am in a coursework panic, the first half seemed pretty decent before it fell off a cliff so suddenly that my ears actually took note. Others I’ve spoken to (after an extremely strenuous search to find anyone who’d actually heard of the album) echoed the same thoughts with the slight removal of any positive sentiment towards its opening. Yet, equip it with a subtle new groove courtesy of a twotime Grammy nominee and you have utter gold – at least at 3am, as I write this paragraph to escape a return to the sheer disappointment of Katy B’s Honeypot.

April 29th: Meghan Trainor feat. Kelli Trainor – ‘Mom’

We review a lot of things here at The Edge, but rarely does something draw the ire of our writers sufficiently to earn one solitary star. Meghan Trainor’s mother-flaunting was the first. Here’s a comprehensive list of our most scathing musical moments of the year.

Join us next year where we shall continue listening to music so you don’t have to.

(PS: I’ve gone for the tacky fan-made YouTube lyric video here because I really don’t care for the thing. You’ll probably understand why.)

(PPS: Before I realised we needed to honour these one-star moments, the track that was going to sit here was an unorthodox one: Hayden James’ remix of ‘Embracing Me’ by compatriots SAFIA. That, unlike ‘Mom,’ is certainly worth your time.)

Author: Xavier Voigt-Hill

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