Songs for the heart: My Breakup-Playlist for 2016

As one of those horrible SJW, one of those politically correct “Gutmenschen”, I obviously watched John Oliver’s farewell to this year which felt quite amazing. And since I am right now working on the playlist of my last radio show for the year, I decided to – a once in a lifetime occasion – also recreate it on this blog because as of late I am not really doing playlists in my show anymore but concentrate on whole records. You get something out of it because I usually write about one or both of the albums I present in the show.

But a December show should have some feeling of closure to itself and I think the best closure that we can get is being done with this year.

Don’t get me wrong, on a private level, this year was as good as they come. But I am not just a private person who doesn’t care about politics because I know that politics have the unfortunate habit of creeping into your life at some point.

So, here it is. My sad, angry, petty playlist to break up with 2016. Enjoy.

Beyonce – Don’t hurt yourself

I first heard the song at the EMAs (you know, when it was supposed to be all about Rihanna but then Beyoncè was like ‘Nah, not gonna happen’ and slayed EVERYTHING!) The song was written by Jack White which is one of those fun facts that leave no surprise whatsoever when you hear it. That’s one hell of a Jack White-song. But it’s also one hell of a Beyoncè-song. And even if I never know how much of her music is amazing marketing research and how much is the real Beyoncè Knowles, it doesn’t matter with “Lemonade”. It’s an amazing piece of art (including the video).

I also would like to note that the poem at the beginning is by Warsan Shire. The whole concept would carry a lot less impact without her work. The quote at the end is Martin Luther King talking about black women. When I talk about pop being where art comes together for everyone, I am talking about this album.

Beyoncè – Sorry

Ok, I actually won’t post other artists with more than one song. But this album defined serving tea and serving it hot and this song will probably be as often cited as “Single Ladies” because it is all the ‘tude and a hat full.

By the way: one of the reason why Beyoncè reigned over Rihanna this year was the fact how she and her dancers don’t feel like they’re really there for the male gaze. It’s obviously sexy but it’s also powerful and strong. I actually think we can thank Nicki Minaj for this newfound aggressive sexuality because that girl mastered it long before “Lemonade”.

Kelis – Caught out there

Kelis was a real revelation when she appeared at the beginning of the 21st century. Wanderland is so underrated, it’s a crime. Her song “Caught out there” is one of the few mainstream pop songs that are really really angry and loud. No whistled “I miss you” but just an angry woman with a stellar voice speaking out what we feel (about whomever, there’s always someone..).

Sinead O’Connor – Red Football

Fun Fact about me: for a while I was completely obsessed with Sinead O’Connor’s album “Universal Mother”. I love pretty much every song on it. “Red Football” is fantastic because the image of how you can feel in a loveless relationship – a crocodile in a small cage people throw stones at – is so on point and sad that there’s no need any further explanation why the song slowly evolves into an angry hymn for the hurt that no longer accept being hurt.

“I’m not no animal, though I am to you” – no matter what the gossip pages write, never forget how beyond this world O’Connor’s songwriting is.

Pat Benatar – hit me with your best shot

A truly successful playlist needs to have mood shifts (except party songs, get those f***ers up through the roof), otherwise it gets either too sad or too chill and then you loose the listener. So, here’s one of my famous breaks which is actually not such a big break from O’Connor’s song because Pat equally is done with X’s shit and will not get hurt anymore. I actually love this because it’s genderless, so you can sing it for every occasion. The barista is an ass? Sing it. The barista is actually really nice and asks what you want? This song doubles as a coffee order!

That’s an outfit. Wow.

Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at best

I thought I add some of those kinda songs in there for when you break up and feel like a bad bitch (heck, I started with Beyoncè, so obviously that was my plan all along). Barnett’s song actually sounds more like 2016 being a dick to us but I still allow it because I feel like Courtney looks in the video whenever someone makes a joke about how it’s fun to see what Trump will do now. I really want to punch those people…

Nadine Shah – Fool

Remember, when we all thought all of these lyrics when Farage and Johnson started to talk about Brexit and when Trump said….well…basically anything? But then those things still happened to us, so who’s the fool now? I will still add this song because I feel like we should treat this year like a douche who didn’t know better, so the coming years don’t think that we pull up with this crap.

I’d also like to add that Nadine Shah’s is the one voice that haunted me this year. Look at her, what an “Erscheinung” (we say this in German when we talk about someone who leaves an impression…a good one).

Against Me! – fuckmylife666

Laura Jane Grace is a blessing for the LGBTQ community because she is popular, doesn’t shy away from talking about those probably quite painful experiences before she called herself “Laura Jane” over and over again just to help other trans people with their experience and first and foremost, she gives hope for everyone who thought that Caitlyn Jenner will be THE spokesperson for trans issues for ever. Because…that wouldn’t be good…at all.

Martha Wainwright – Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

Legend says that this song is about Martha’s father (Loudon Wainwright) who was at times not the best of fathers. However autobiographical this song is, it is still so universal as a feminist theme. I feel like it more than ever is appropriate because this year, so much shit happened that we can all finally be loud and angry without being asked to be quieter, to not attack anyone, to be softer with our pain, to not be aggressive, to be careful that no one’s feelings get hurt. Oh no, never hurt the feelings of the racists and the sexists and the homophobes and the bloody mother fucking assholes of this world.

Angel Olsen – UnfucktheWorld

If you like alternative singer/songwriters, you have to listen to Angel Olsen. She’s a revelation. The song is super sad but also suggests that you can and should be your own person with or without someone else. So I guess with this weird analogy of breaking up with 2016 that I created it would mean that you’re still you after all of this?

Fleetwood Mac – Landslide

I love this song (not as much as “Rihannon” but still) because it’s such a sad and lovely song about change that is necessary even if all of your heart is against it. The great Stevie Nicks wrote this song when she was thinking whether she should go back to school or stay in Fleetwood Mac with her beau (and a rocky relationship).

Laurie Anderson – Slip Away

Ok, people. This will be the saddest song on this playlist, so if you easily cry because of beautiful songs, it will be now or never. “Slip Away” is not just about a breakup but losing someone to death. This song is about Anderson’s father. I think a song about how fast loss will sneak into your life, even when you expect it, is relatable to pretty much everyone.

Kate Bush – watching you without me

As usual with Kate Bush, the lyrics of this song are obvious and just out of your grasp. Personally, I would interpret it as someone realizing that their relationship has turned into two people living next to each other, being strangers, being invisible. It’s an incredibly moving song, the idea of the ghost being unable to see the narrator, the unloved, is…haunting.

Celebration – Heartbreak

Are they really as good live as they are on record? Yes, they are. Celebration are the secret tip that never got as big as it should have gotten. I still wish them to stardom because this band has released one beautiful album after the other without any loss of quality, creativity and drive. The song has this lovely feel of a crooked church hymn, I love it.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

During my endless years of singledom, I felt this song deeply. It’s actually about the already covered topic of a waning relationship but it also felt – for me – like a song for someone you’ll never get to know because they simply don’t see you. Like, 2016, we wanted to love you, but that thing with Alan Rickman was really hard.

Laura Mvula – Make me lovely

I feel like this is one of those song I always try to sneak into everything I do music-wise. But gosh, it’s such a great song. And it’s so emancipated! I already wrote this but whatever, we need this kind of music that is heartbroken but not broken. Laura writes and sings about someone who lost so much and feels the pain but knows that they are no lesser person because of this. THIS is what we need for 2017. We are not lost, yet.


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