Music News & Reviews

Should it be from Bowie? Prince? What song best represents 2016?

In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 file photo, tributes lie beneath a mural of singer David Bowie by artist Jimmy C in Brixton, south London.
In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 file photo, tributes lie beneath a mural of singer David Bowie by artist Jimmy C in Brixton, south London. AP

Constructing a playlist for 2016 could be seen as an exercise in melancholy. Pick one song from each of the singular artistic voices we lost this year. It can speak to whatever existential crisis (or triumph) 2016 was for you. “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen, “Stranger In A Strange Land” by Leon Russell and “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy” by Mose Allison come to mind. More personal are David Bowie’s “Lazarus” and Prince’s “Pink Cashmere.” For one song to represent the year, though, I’d look to the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature. Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” is a blistering assault on American hypocrisy and contains such memorable lines as “he who is not busy being born is busy dying,” and “even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.” The song ends with a defiant “it’s life and life only.”

Marcus Crowder

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