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Artist Of The Year 2016? The Rolling Stones


Musically, 2016 was a touch on the bland side. The problem isn’t the music as much as the discovery and it isn’t the pop, which does its job, but the art itself which is all over the place. Listening to music in 2016 was a constant search and a constant rush from happiness to indifference. Has pop ever been this disposable since the mid-50s? Everything seems to have a shelf life of fifteen minites, the rush is neverending, the best moments are so ephemreal even the best albums are over before you’ve listened to them.

5 – Tomas Doncker. I know you don’t see it because you don’t listen, but Doncker was behind two brilliant albums, Marla mase’s Miracles: Lost And Found and James Chance and The Contortions The Flesh is Weak, as well as writing a couple of musicals (no, really) and whenever his band, the True Groove groove Allstars are performing, simply being the best live band in the country. I’m not exaggerating and if the man would break pop, he’d be my artist of the year for sure. but he doesn’t, and as a pop guy, sales matters to me. Money matters. Success in music is money, and when you access impact you have to include sales (or streaming or whatever).

So that leaves us with big bucks guys and it goes like this

4 – Kanye west – Maybe Pablo was his worst album to date, it is still in my top ten for the year. Maybe the live concert was a great idea that didn’t work, so what? You’re watching Kanye West, how bad can it be?

3 – Beyoncé – A great album and then she saved the Superbowl and finally had one of the great Arena shows of our time. Plus, somewhere amongst all that she became Oprah.

2 – Chance The  Rapper –  After three years getting there, he arrived with a bang. Not only the mixtape to end all mixtape, not only a guest starring role in the Kanye album, and not only a terrific live show. But also, a form of R&B that was both soulful and decent, Chance is the first musician to seriously challenge Kanye’s crown in over five years.

And number One

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones.  The show I saw in Vegas was the best of the entire fucking year, and the blues album may well be my album of the year, definitely top five. “Exhibitionism” as  just a big of showoffery -look what I can do folks.

Those three things alone would be enough to put the band at the top of the class of 2016. But the gig in Havana for half a million Cuban rock and roll fans was an astounding feat of cross-pollination, in a world with no center, it took them to the center indeed.  And the gig in Havana for 500,000 fans was simply astonishing (though the set itself, at least the album of the set) was a little bland. Oldchella found Mick honing his stand up comic skills though rumor has it the weekend belonged to the Who.

That the Stones in 2016 are cooler (not to mention blacker)  than the Stones of 1976 is a miracle. When I saw em in 2012 I thought they were OK, nothing great. How did they get so fucking brilliant again? Artists of the year.

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