To wrap things up, we have Dillon offering his thoughts and insight on 2016.

R.I.P. David Bowie

I’m generally not one to mourn the loss of people that I didn’t personally know, celebrities included. And particularly in a year such as this one, when I lost my Mum way too soon to breast cancer, it can feel especially hard to connect to the loss of someone that existed to me as an abstract ideal at best, however much I may admire his work or how sympathetic I may feel towards his friends and family. But having said that, the passing of David Bowie did lead me to reflect on the definition of ‘a life well lived’. I mean, how does one define such a thing? In a broader context, such a definition is perhaps too specific to apply universally, but as an artist or a creative, there is perhaps no better example of a life well lived than that of David Bowie.

This is a man for whom the act of ‘creation’ took precedence over all else, from the start of his career right up until the end. And not only that, but David came from humble beginnings, and at the start of his career had to cycle through several iterations of his act – in obscurity and at times borderline poverty – before landing on the version that would ultimately launch him into the public eye. It’s a story as old as time, but one that, in this age of immediacy and instant gratification, we still constantly seem to forget. With his dying breath, and knowing that he was on his way out, the man still chose to create. I could never dare to presume the meaning of life, but I suspect that it’s in there somewhere.

The Life Of Pablo 

The Life of Pablo easily wins the award for most excruciating album rollout of all time (sorry ‘Ye). Yeezus, what a pain in the ass that was. And even when it (eventually) came out, ‘Ye couldn’t stop messing with the damn thing! Tinkering with this song and that (the original version of Wolves is still my favourite version, and most of you have probably never even heard it). Having said that, the unabashed glory of Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1 and 2 almost makes up for all the pre-release poppycock. The album just barely misses out on my top 5 favourites of 2016, but was such an indelible part of my musical year that I simply have to give it – and the whole circus surrounding it – a shout. ‘Ye has since had an even more, um, eventful year, but we’re not gonna get into that here.

Panda

Not many music videos got me excited this year, but for some reason, Panda, directed by Paul Geusebroek, just hit the spot. Something about the kinetic blend of energy and dynamism, brought to life by zesty yet organic cinematography. I’m just saying words at this point, but I’m sure you get the idea. Look, just watch the bloody thing, and tell me it doesn’t still get you all hyped up. Go on, lie to me.

Blonde

To be honest, I was not especially looking forward to this album at all. And quite frankly, I am (or at least was) the furthest you could get from a Frank Ocean fan. But boy did this album surprise me. For 2 straight weeks after first hearing it, I simply couldn’t listen to anything else. With guest production by Rostam Batmanglij, Pharrell Williams, and James Blake, I dare say that this album transcended genre. Sure, you could call that hyperbole, but what can I say? Blonde had me mesmerised. Next to The Life Of Pablo and A Moon Shaped Pool, it was the most prominent soundtrack to my year, and I still often find myself getting lost in it all these months later.

Daydreaming

This video, directed by an up and comer by the name of Paul Thomas Anderson (seriously, this guy is going places) restored my faith in pretty much, well, everything. It is a perfect music video. Granted there are a number of videos that would qualify as such throughout the history of the medium, like this one for example, but all I’m saying is that this is one of them. Also, it dropped on my birthday, so there’s that.

My 5 Favourite Albums of 2016

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Frank Ocean – Blonde

Mutual Benefit – Skip A Sinking Stone

Bon Iver – 22, A Million

The Avalanches – Wildflower

Honorable Mentions

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

Bat For Lashes – The Bride