When you’re only 10 days into 2016 and you find out Ziggy Stardust gave his final bow, leaving the world with nothing to do but dance the blues, perhaps it’s evident the rest of the year is not going to be that fantastic.
Like Michael Jackson and John Lennon before him, David Bowie was one of those forces of nature. Unlike the aforementioned artists, Bowie must have decided he wasn’t going to go so silently into the dark.
I’m not saying the Starman was the cosmic force that held Earth in balance, but when was the last time we had so much go wrong in less than 365 days? It’s almost impressive.
Bowie was far from the only tragic death in the music community this year. Prince, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, Christina Grimmie, Glenn Frey, Sharon Jones, Leon Russell, Bobby Vee, Scott Moore, Guy Clark, Matt Roberts and Frank Sinatra Jr. are just a handful of the artists who have died this year, believe it or not.
Even legendary music producer and fifth Beatle George Martin died in March at age 90. Now who do we have to replace him? Dr. Luke? Oh, brother.
If you somehow managed to forget, Kesha’s lawsuit against her alleged rapist and record producer Dr. Luke fell in the latter’s favor. All she wanted was to end her contract with Sony and work in a safer and less controlling environment, but that right was stripped from her. You know, because women under contract are property and not allowed to secure their own safety.
This was not the only musical incident that made headlines. When Beyoncé released her successful music video “Formation,” the moment “Saturday Night Live” satirically referred to as “the day Beyoncé turned black,” the public went insane over how unapologetically the song celebrated blackness in America.
It sadly didn’t end there either. During the Super Bowl Halftime Show, where Beyoncé performed with Coldplay and Bruno Mars, her performance accompanied with Black Panther-esque attire didn’t sit well with some people in the audience. The pro-LGBT message at the end probably wasn’t to their liking, either.
They are not the only ones having meltdowns, however. If 2016 was a reality TV show, I’m pretty sure it would be called “Everybody Hates Kanye.”
My God. What hasn’t gone wrong for the man this year? While “Life of Pablo” may be one of his best albums in years, that was probably the only thing he had going for him.
The man tweeted he was $53 million in debt, had multiple Twitter breakdowns, went into a massive feud with Taylor Swift, learned that his wife was robbed at gunpoint in her own apartment and had to cancel his tour after being hospitalized for “temporary psychosis.”
Everything seems to be looking up for him now, but who knows what could be in West’s future?
The only glimmer of light that passed through this year was the massive list of incredible music that was produced during this period.
Of course, there was “Life of Pablo,” but that’s merely the first chord of this magical melody. Alicia Keys, Green Day, Nick Cave, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Jenny Hval, Regina Spektor, Metallica, Usher, Britney Spears, the Julie Ruin, Aesop Rock and Bowie himself gave us the best music we have heard in years.
If these are the artists our descendants will remember the 2010s by, we’re in pretty good shape.
With that said, 2016 seemed like the absolute worst year ever. I think Bowie prematurely summarized the year best in the lyrics of arguably one of his best songs “Life on Mars?”
“Sailors fighting in the dance hall / Oh, man! / Look at those cavemen go / It’s the freakiest show.”
But let’s not walk into 2017 with the thoughts of these lyrics, but rather, those of another Bowie classic.
“And the guns shot above our heads / And we kissed, as though nothing could fall / And the shame was on the other side / Oh, we can beat them, for ever and ever / Then we could be heroes / Just for one day.”
What will your heroism be?