Where’s My Year in Music 2016?
I’m disappointed that Spotify didn’t do a “Your Year in Music” for 2016 (like they did in 2014 and 2015), but they curated users’ top 100 tracks into a personal playlist for everybody, so that’s fun. Here’s my playlist for 2016. Even though I listen to a lot of analog music and watch YouTube playlists sometimes, Spotify’s list is an accurate reflection of my 2016 listening habits.
In my top 100
David Bowie tops my list this year. Bowie died in January, but we are still getting new music from him. Normally I dislike listening to posthumous recordings because artists don’t usually plan to die and don’t typically have a stack of recordings ready for release. Bowie was an exception. I desperately want the Lazarus soundtrack so I can listen to “When I Met You” on repeat.
Speaking of artists we lost in 2016, not on my Spotify top 100 list: Prince. His music isn’t on Spotify (or streaming legally anywhere, last I checked). This list should include “Sexy MF“, “Seven“, the entirety of Purple Rain, and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married“.
My 90s nostalgia binge is reflected in this playlist. My obsession started sometime in 2015 and is still going strong. My tipping point was the Kurt Cobain documentary, Montage of Heck, and since then I’ve been obsessively listening to Nirvana, Hole, Foo Fighters, and (of course) Smashing Pumpkins. My 90s nostalgia has me wearing my leopard print docs like they’re going out of style (again) and playing with makeup trends I haven’t touched since 7th grade. I maintain that the best year for music was 1994 (1995 is a close contender), with most of my favorite albums turning 21 and 22 years old this year.
On this list are artists I saw live in 2016: The Faint, Gang of Four, Crystal Castles, Kesha, Blink-182, and (of course) Smashing Pumpkins (links go to my reviews). I didn’t write a concert review for Kesha or Smashing Pumpkins. I don’t know why I didn’t write one for Kesha, but I was busy trying to finish my thesis, graduate, and get married when I saw the Pumpkins in Chicago in April. This show gave me hope for a real Pumpkins reunion as James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlain both played that show.
Goals for 2017 listening
More new artists. I gravitate towards old favorites and repeat new things I love, which doesn’t leave room for much discovery. 2016 was a great year for music, and I missed a lot. When I try new (to me) artists, I tend to listen to their whole catalog, which takes time. I spent last week listening to A Tribe Called Quest’s latest release, We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service, which I love. But then I spent days listened to their entire back catalog. I’m going to try to dip my toe into more new stuff before hitting back catalogs this year.
Hone some DJ skills. This isn’t a listening goal, but a professional (or hobby?) goal. I went to brunch at the Nightingale in Uptown last Saturday. They have a turntable setup and DJed brunches. How fun is that? I’ve DJed vinyl once and it didn’t go spectacularly, but I asked if they need DJs. Turns out they do and it’s a paid gig. I’m going to give them a call and see if I can get in on this. I don’t have enough vinyl to DJ without artist/album repeats for the amount of time they need, but I want to try anyway.
Learn more about vinyl. I love vinyl. We haven’t bought much this year because we don’t have much more space and we’re budgeting to buy a house (!!!). Before we start buying again, I want to learn more about it so we can make smarter purchases. We buy a lot of colored vinyl for the cool factor, but I found out that colored vinyl doesn’t sound as good as regular vinyl. I want to read The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl before making any new purchases. The vinyl market is booming and prices are way up, which is good because more things are getting released and re-released, but is bad because the demand creates false markets. I want to understand what makes a good purchase.
Figure out our stereo system. We have a lot of stereo equipment, and none of which is ideal. We have a few hand-me-downs from parents (my dad’s equipment I LOVE but the receiver is broken). We could use a new set of speakers and a shelving system. I want to have our favorite turntable, a good set of speakers, my dad’s receiver and tape deck as our setup.
Buy more music. I quit paying for Spotify Premium in May when my student rate went back to the regular rate. I’ve considered picking up Spotify Premium again with the 3-months for $9.99 deal, but they don’t have everything I want. Right now, I’m either listening to The Current and am deciding if I want a paid subscription somewhere (either for digital streaming or a vinyl club). The Current is dangerous because they announce all the great shows in the Twin Cities, and I don’t have a budget for that. It’s a great problem to have, I guess. I’m considering buying more on Amazon because I get a cloud copy to listen anywhere with my Prime membership. I’m planning on buying more vinyl once I’m educated, and am thinking of purchasing some music on cassette. I don’t want to get too into buying of cassettes because the format is crappy quality and we don’t have space. I am, however, interested in the hunt for original copies of 90s music since most don’t exist on vinyl. However, 90s music is on CD and I listen to CDs in my car and can rip CDs to MP3, so that is a better format. Either way, CD and cassette purchases will be limited to treasures I find in person. We collect vinyl but I don’t want to get into collecting other formats.
Create a backup digital copy of all our music. I have a copy of all my CDs. I have a copy of all new vinyl since most come with digital downloads. I don’t have a copy of Mark’s CDs or our older vinyl. I need to rip Mark’s CDs and I want to grab a vinyl-to-mp3 converter that works with our stereo system.
Well, that turned into a much longer post than anticipated. What have you been listening to lately?