Musicandotherthingz Best Songwriting of 2016

There’s been a lot of content for songwriters to ponder over this year and amongst shocking deaths of icons, social exclusion, war and political upheaval, they’re pretty much all covered by the songwriters in our long list. Mitski and Christine and the Queens delved deep into gender issues and identity whilst Pinegrove offered up an almost quaint and close personal narrative. All came close, but did not crack our top three. 

3. Paul Simon – Wristband (12.20%)

There aren’t many people better at providing a social commentary of America than Paul Simon. He’s been identifying and observing it with every last crumb of detail for over fifty years and it’s only fitting that in 2016 of all years, he was spot on again and producing some of his best work for well over two decades. Here, he takes the small event of him being locked out of his own gig, because he didn’t have a wristband as was required and equates this to American society. A society in which no one has a wristband and no one can get through the door. His words becoming more ominous given how the election played out just a few months later. It was also reassuring to have a legend like Paul Simon firing on all cylinders when so many of his contemporaries were lost. 

2. David Bowie – Lazarus (22.00%) 

There is little else to say other than ‘David Bowie – Lazarus’. It is typical of Bowie to go out in such a way as he almost flaunts and projects all of his fears and reflections of his coming death and the life that he had lived. Again, only Bowie could make death appear to be like a release from the shackles of limited time on earth. This is a strong concept in general, but made even more terrifying and astounding is that less than three days after his final album was released, he had passed. Even in death, Bowie did it in his own unique and bold fashion. 

1. Kendrick Lamar – untitled 03 | 05.28.2013 (24.39%)

It shows the measure of Kendrick’s songwriting ability to win this category for the second year in a row and not only that, but do so with an album of throwaway tracks from last years album To Pimp A Butterfly. In a way, he is almost a modern Paul Simon in that his commentary of America is so distinct if not a little more direct in his case. Untitled 03 is a prime example of this as he takes stereotypical advice from all the different peoples that make up everyday American society. In doing so he highlights the diversity, but also the hypocrisy of all of them and how they are at least the same in that sense; each motivated by selfish goals. It almost acts as a commentary of humanity itself which sounds like an ambitious task, but Kendrick just rolled out that task with ease and it still didn’t even make the cut for his album in 2015. 

Owen Riddle 

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