When the history books are written, music will probably not be the first thing anyone remembers about 2016. Nevertheless, the music was excellent—memorable and meaningful enough to grant us aesthetic reprieve from a world tilting more toward chaos.
In the music we loved, we found unrestrained glee, soul-stirring explorations of love, reminders to stick close to our friends, awed encounters with death, slinky erotic chronicles, muted longings for people and places far from us. There were crowd pleasers, club-shaking bangers, best American boys and girls, too many text threads to keep track of, fancy cars that looked like you-know-whats, and at least one full-throated repudiation of the president-elect. There was a lot to love.
Here’s what we’ll remember about music in 2016.