Top 16 Songs of ’16

By most means, 2016 was not a good year. “Before-and-After 2016” memes ran rampant, if memes are any insight into the morale of the populace.

Britain’s divorce. Brangelina’s, too. Explosion of phones. Explosion of fake news. No peace in the Middle East. No peace, seemingly anywhere. All those we failed to help. Zika. Lochtegate. The many legends we lost. The U.S. Election — do I need to continue?

2016’s one possible saving grace: music. It’s been a fantastic year for music. To drown our sorrows, many of the greatest granted us new albums: Beyoncé, Radiohead, and even James Blake. Sadly, some new albums — Black Star and You Want It Darker — became last albums.

But silver linings and success stories are everywhere if you look listen hard enough. Open your inner ears to the sounds of hope! Twenty-first century technological warfare anxiety became the muse for Anohni’s new albumHopelessness. . . Maybe that’s not the best example. But, through the breakup of the Smith Westerns in 2014, we got Whitney in 2016. And broken race relations and systemic oppression gave us J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only.

Though we lost on many fronts, we gained thousands of hours of good music. Here, we present a mix of culturally-significant chart toppers and much-loved indie hits that came out in 2016:

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