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Kitty Empire: best rock and pop of 2016 | Musique Non Stop

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Kitty Empire: best rock and pop of 2016

Mavericks were lost, Dylan bagged a Nobel (and then went quiet), the Knowles sisters sparkled, and grime moved centre stage

• Observer critics’ reviews of the year in full

If you spent 2016 dogged by a sense of incredulous unease, as though the world had been forced into a breakdance head-spin, consider this. Mavericks are supposed to frolic on the pop stage. Boring straights are supposed to run things proficiently. In 2016, that logic seemed to invert. With the loss of David Bowie, Prince, Phife Dawg, Allan Toussaint, Lemmy, Pete Burns and Sharon Jones – to name but six grim reapings of this cruel year – pop music sustained a net loss of colourful mavericks. In the world of politics, meanwhile, unconventional, off-the-wall types unleashed seismic changes to the postwar status quo. If ever there was a natural order, 2016 certainly offended it.

Several albums resonated with bleak portent, and transcendent artistry. Bowie’s captivating Blackstar hid death in plain sight. Leonard Cohen’s small but perfectly formed You Want It Darker was prefaced by a note to his dying muse, Marianne Ihlen. “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine,” he wrote last July. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Skeleton Tree thrummed with the pain of the accidental death of Cave’s teenage son.

US rappers proved that hip-hop is in the throes one of its more purple creative patches

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by Kitty Empire via Electronic music | The Guardian