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We’re back with another installment of our Best of the year episodes with our Essential Music of 2016 picks!
So why was this music Essential? These albums and songs acted as the soundtrack of our lives this year and brought us joy, helped us through pain, gave us life, empowered us and sometimes even made us cry. This is the music that fed our souls and we are thrilled to share it with you.
There’s no question that artists we’ve loved for years, like A Tribe Called Quest, Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani, Sia and David Bowie continued to provide music that is as relevant and vital in 2016 as it was decades earlier. But our minds were also blown (and our hearts tugged) by a younger generation of music artists — from Solange’s honest and inspiring A Seat at the Table, to Frank Ocean’s heady and heartfelt Endless and Blonde, to Blood Orange’s introspective opus, Freetown Sounds.
We also shine a light on some of the great songs of the year including works by Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Rationale, Kamasi Washington, James Blake, One Republic and Miguel.
And this list would not be complete without Sean rejoicing one more time for the Hamilton original cast album.
Amita recommends reading this behind the scenes article on the making of Sia’s This is Acting album.
Here is the emotional Gwen Stefani video for Used to Love You that Amita connected with.
Sean loves this duet between legends Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand and would love to see Beyonce and Adele recreate this incredible collaboration.
Amita and Sean both believe Solange created two of the most gorgeous videos of the year: Cranes in the Sky and Don’t Touch My Hair.
Amita here with your daily dose of pop culture for the Big Sell 30 Day Challenge! Join us and try one new piece of pop culture every day for 30 days.
Most of my Big Sells on Inside Pop and in the #BigSell30 are usually musical. I grew up playing the piano, violin and french horn and was in the orchestra, marching band and sang in choir all throughout school. Music is in my veins and I don’t think I can go a day without listening to something. So, when I started to put together a list for The Big Sell 30, it was no surprise that most of my choices were songs or music videos. #Predictable or #Reliable?
So, it’s no surprise that today’s Big Sell is another music choice! I’m selling a really fantastic Jazz/Pop/Country quartet called Lake Street Dive. About 2 years ago I found them while I was doing some online research for something music related and I was hooked. I watched their great jazzy cover of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” that was recorded on a sidewalk in Boston (They met while attending The New England Conservatory of Music). You can watch that awesome video here. The lead singer, Rachael Price has an incredible voice and the group has really strong and smart harmonies that I just eat up.
Their EP, Fun Machine features that cover along with a few others like George Michael’s “Faith” and Hall & Oates “Rich Girl”- but that’s not my Big Sell! (Fooled ya- but you should check that out)
They’ve released 2 albums of original music since the Fun Machine EP and their most recent album, Side Pony was released earlier this year. (Still not my Big Sell…keep waiting!)
As soon as I discovered Lake Street Dive, I listened to their self-titled debut album on repeat and this song just spoke to me. It has so much soul and I will always turn it up and sing along. No more fake sells- THIS is my Big Sell! The single “Don’t Make Me Hold Your Hand” by Lake Street Dive- You can listen to it here on Spotify.
Check it out and let me know you think!
Follow Inside Pop on Twitter and Instagram @PopInsiders and don’t forget to send us your Big Sells for #BigSell30!