As J. Mascis once said, "What a mess." If there's any silver lining to the turmoil that much of the world finds itself in as 2016 crawls to a merciful close, it's that such conditions have often led to great art. This past year was filled with a sense of unease and uncertainty, until it finally succumbed to churning upheaval and dread. A lot of this can be found in the year's music as many songs could be distinguished by representing either a tentative dance or a defiant march into the unknown. As always, there was also a healthy mix of longing, reflection and good-old-fashioned love songs.
One of music's greatest qualities is how it can reflect the difficulty, danger, pain and rewards of opening up and being honestly expressive and receptive with the world around you. Lord knows 2017 is going to need more of this - more honest expression about what really scares and motivates us and more active listening and understanding toward the concerns of others. In other word(s): empathy. With that in mind, here's a playlist - or a 7 hour mood piece, if you will, of songs that captured a little bit of 2016's essence, for better or worse.