Sorry about being two months late. It took me that long to get over the worst year in modern pop music history. There are so many ways and so many times to say, “this year sucked,” so instead I will say, “in 2016, we got what we deserved.” And what we deserved was bland, slow, boring, auto-tuned mumble core, third-rate derivative blues-esque noise, packaged to us as pop music. The worst part is that I just described the alternative-rock scene. Don’t even get me started on the Top 40 crap.
Since we are into the month of February, you probably thought I just cancelled the Omnis for 2016 in disgust/protest. I wouldn’t blame you. I have awards to have out, it will be, much to the dismay of my podcast’s partner, and podcast’s namesake… a little limited. Many of my criticisms of the 2016 music scene have already been said, and said much more eloquently by several music critics on YouTube. So to avoid redundancy, I’ll omit the “Worst of” Awards, and just assume it was a 100-way tie for Worst Of The Year.
In defense of last year, I’ll confess to having some guilty pleasure songs. But hey, they were the only three g-damned UPBEAT, PEPPY songs of the ENTIRE ACCURSED YEAR! I’ll mention those in a bit.
The music scene is at a crossroads. But they have been here before. The last time the top of the charts were dominated by such drippy, downbeat, maudlin tunes, it was almost exactly four decades ago, in the mid 70’s. And the music scene responded with a two-front assault. From one side, came disco. Sure you can boil it down to a simple math equation D = R + B – S (Rhythm & Blues, minus Soul), but hey, you could dance to it! (Which makes it better than 2016’s “Treat You Better”). On the opposite end of the audio spectrum came the punk scene, with its battlecry to return (or regression) to just 3 or 4 chords played in such an extremely fast tempo that songs were 2 or 3 minutes, tops. Maybe the punk scene will once again rise from the underground and kick the Top 40 sound in the groin. Once can surely dream. But at this point, I’ll settle for a neo-Disco revival, (or the EDM sounds of the early 2000’s).
And now… on with the show:
- The Best Cover Song Of The Year Award: “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed. When I said we got what we deserved, I meant that we (collectively speaking, I did not vote “Yes” on Brexit, or for Drumph for POTUS) deserved crappy music. But it regards to good music, we needed a hauntingly dark version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic. I always thought “TSoS” was ahead of its time – in its heart, it was a heavy metal song, trapped in the body of a 1960’s folk song.
- The Cadbury Award for Best Easter Eggs In a Song Award: “Into You” by Ariana Grande. Since every diva needs an army of writers for their songs, I am not sure who to credit. There are five writers credited for this song (4 plus Ms Grande herself). I’ll go on a limb and say it is one of the other four who threw in references to Elvis Presley and Mariah Carey in the chorus of this song.
- The Who Are You, and What Have You Done With My Band Award?: To The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Some bands or artists love to change their style every album (Beck, David Bowie). Others have a signature style, and stick with it through their entire discography (Foo Fighters). The RHCP solidly fall into the latter category. Up until their 2016 album, “The Getaway,” that is. It is not a complete 180° turn for the band, but they have significantly toned down on their signature ska-funk sound, and sing-song lyrics . The credit goes to the album’s producer, Danger Mouse. The album is certainly locked into its era, (i.e.: future critics will listen to this and say, “This is the product of the mid 2010’s music scene.”) But the band still keeps enough of their unique signature style, so it will not be mistaken for any inferior band of this era.
- The Best Band Name Of The Year: To The Record Company. It is a perfect fit – an old-school name for a band with an old-school sound. They were just as surprised as you and I when they first found out that the name “The Record Company” was still available and hadn’t been used before. (I figured that if anyone, the lead singer from That Thing You Do! would have taken it long ago.)
- The Best Impression of Rod Stewart Award: “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You” by Sting. I didn’t recognize his voice at first. It is much raspier from classic mid 80’s – early 90’s Sting. It is the “Every Breathe You Take” for the 2010’s.
- The Guilty Pleasures Awards: “Into You” by Ariana Grande, “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay; and “Cake By The Ocean” by DNCE: See my rant the paragraph above.
- The Honorable Mentions: “Voices in my Head” by Bob Mould; “Drive” by Joe Bonamassa; “Wings of an Angel” by Def Leppard; “I Need Never Get Old” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats; “White Flag” by Joseph; “New Song” by Warpaint; “Shine” by Mondo Cozmo; “Katchi” by Nick Waterhouse, featuring Leon Bridges; “Sure and Certain” by Jimmy Eat World; “Go Robot” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
And now, The I, Omnibus Top 9 Songs of 2016. Why nine? Because 2016 was so bad, it doesn’t deserve 10. (Yes all of these songs were played on the radio multiple times during the year. They may be obscure, but no B-sides here.) Also, I couldn’t decide on a 10th – see the Honorable Mentions above.
9. “Steve McQueen” by Brian Fallon
8. “Breathing Lightning” by Anthrax
7. “Move” by Saint Motel
6. “Help Me Out” by Wild Feathers
5. “Kiss This” by The Struts
4. “Wristband” by Paul Simon
3. “Off The Ground” by The Record Company
2. “Fire” by Barns Courtney
1. “Casual Party” by Band of Horses