The Good & The Ugly: 2016

Caleb Catlin
10 min readOct 27, 2020

The weird thing about 2016 is, despite all the good that happened for me this year, none of the music I cared about were from the charts. My favorite albums weren’t huge factors on the charts. 2016 was the year streaming really started to influence my listening patterns. I had my first real phone, not the iPod touch I texted on Kik with or the crappy Blackberry I had for a short time. My accessibility to music grew when I wasn’t reliant on WiFi for Spotify or the radio as a rough basis of what I should listen to. My soundtrack of the summer included albums like Malibu by Anderson .Paak, Blank Face by ScHoolboy Q, Still Brazy by YG, Luv is Rage, Lil Uzi Vert vs The World, and a few album cuts from Views. 2016, particularly summer ’16, was the happiest I had ever been in my life. Radio and the Billboard charts did not reflect the same joy I had. If anything, it seemed like it was prophesying the end of days, especially once Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. All the popular songs were mostly downbeat, a little bit moodier than previous years — once again, more proof of the impact “Royals” had on pop music. Even the more positive songs like “Can’t Stop The Feeling” ultimately felt artificial in the gloomy environment. For every positive song like “Broccoli” by DRAM, there was a depressed one like “Stressed Out” dragging its feet right after. 2016 was a difficult year to cover as a result, a year with typical highs and lows but not a ton of musical moments I could talk about forever.

Before I dive into the list proper, here are some honorable mentions: Future- “Low Life”, DRAM- “Broccoli”, The Weeknd- “In The Night”, DJ Khaled- “For Free”, Usher- “No Limit”, One Direction- “Perfect”, Beyoncé- “Sorry”, Jeremih- “Oui”, Drake- “Controlla”, Drake & Future- “Jumpman”, The Chainsmokers & Halsey- “Closer” (the biggest guilty pleasure), Rihanna- “Work”, DNCE- “Cake By The Ocean”, and Bryson Tiller- “Exchange.” That last one was a painful cut but the song I talk about next might give some clarity as to why it didn’t make it.

Caleb Catlin

I get real nerdy about music and other things