Just in time for the year to be more than half over, it's the latest installment of of my yearly roundup of HEAVY TUNES. (Sorry so late: right when I would normally have typed this up, I broke my hand. As my hand was healing, I changed jobs. Enough excuses.)
If I'm honest, the song of the year was a toss-up between Roundabout and Starship Trooper. I spent a lot of time this year defaulting to Pandora and that meant I spent a lot of time this year defaulting to the "Classic Prog Radio" station I thought was a joke at first. Anyway, I spent the bulk of my year humming to myself IN AND AROUND THE LAKE (bawmp bawnp bawmp baaawmp) MOUNTAINS COME OUT OF THE SKY -- AND THEY STAND THERE! (I spent roughly an equal amount of time doing grooving chair-dances to the "Wurm" section of Starship Trooper. It's a very groovy section.)
Also worth noting is that I listen to a LOT of podcasts. More accurately, I listen a lot to a couple podcasts, meaning that I have heard the theme songs to The Flop House and The Best Show more times the last few years than I've heard probably any other songs over that time.
Also powerful that I would otherwise have forgotten: Dio. Also also: Diamonds and Rust. Also also also: Patti Smith doing Bob Dylan (and then writing about it.)
That's what was clear from looking back at the year from here in the middle of December (when I drafted this). Also clear: I listened to very, very, very little new music in 2016.
Newer-music highlight was absolutely the four-song set Andrew Cashen and Sabrina Ellis played on The Best Show, introducing me to the undisputed Song of the Summer 2016: "Too Much Makeup". I mentioned this amazing set once before, and hinted at their songs' power elsewhere and I recommend you check it out.
The Song of the Year 2016 came from previous HEAVY TUNES of the Year provider B.D.s, who you may remember as the Bad Daddies. Their demo was brilliant: Camille's vocals were more scathing than ever, also prettier; Matt's guitar was noisier and racketyier than ever, also also prettier. And nothing they did on their demo was better than "How Do You Like Your Coffee"—great melodies, huge fuzz, tumbling anarchs of pure noise.
Crucially, 2016 began with and was saturated by a great deal of David Bowie. I never really got to Blackstar; The Next Day, somehow, made incredible sense all year long, though it was often too intense for me to turn to often. Yet another reason to think Spotify sucks: The Next Day ain't on there.
Other than Bowie, most of my year was older stuff I've talked about before: Windhand, Okkervil River, Future of the Left. Records I really enjoyed this year that I hadn't really before included Richard / Linda Thompson's I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, Anthrax, Spreading the Disease, and Vince Staples, particularly Summertime '06 and Prima Donna.
Nobody gave me anything free this year.