THE COOST TEAM
“Fuck You, 2016” has become the theme of this past year. But trust us, some good stuff came out of the last 12 months. These are our favourites of 2016; the pieces of art that made us think, feel, laugh, dance, and love. This is/was Coostin’ 2016.
Traumprinz – “2 Bad (DJ Metatron’s What If Madness Is Our Only Relief Mix)”
OK, so I announced my track of the year once already, with Harvey Sutherland’s “Priestess“ taking out the prestigious Coost Cut of the Year award. I do love a second bite at the cherry though, and this time I couldn’t go past the mysterious Traumprinz. Also known as Prince of Denmark and DJ Metatron, little is known about this prolific techno producer, although rumours abound – could it really be Moby? The sample in this track makes more sense every time I hear it. If 2016 was 2 Bad, we can only hope 2017 is better.
– BRENDAN PARK
Kanye West – “Fade”
When you reflect upon the closing track from The Life of Pablo in the closing moments of 2016, something broader and deeper becomes apparent. Broader and deeper concerning Kanye West, obviously; everything’s about Ye. But while initially the repetition of “you’re love is fadin’” (from a Rare Earth song named “(I Know) I’m Losing You” no less) suggested a lament for a lover’s waning affection – Kim Kardashian or someone previous – it’s actually talking about rejection from a wider audience: everyone.
Kanye as a celebrity has never been The People’s Champion, but his “genius” diatribes could never be fully dismissed because, well, he’s unbelievably good. Just ponder the catalogue of work he has only produced. As Bill Simmons put it: “I believe that Kanye is a genius, it’s just that he knows it. And that’s the problem.” This year, though, the amount of controversy seemed to outweigh his creative output. Think Tay, “Famous,” the pro-Trump rant and subsequent tour cancellation, hospitalisation, and meeting with Trump. The popular consensus was that Yeezy had gone off the deep end. If that indeed did happen, “Fade” was a huge warning sign.
Made before any of that aforementioned rubbish went down, “Fade” is nevertheless dark stuff, and an insight into his psyche. The only words he lays down himself on the track are “Roll up, roll up; hold up, hold up; po’ up, po’ up/ I love to… I wanna… I’m tryna/ I’ma rock the boat, work the middle ‘til it hurt a little” like he doesn’t know what to say anymore. His persona is broken, he feels no love, and resorts to paraphrasing a universally loved figure. Post Malone gave a whole verse, and Kanye chose only the following to make the cut:
“You don’t even know, I’ve been so far gone/I’ve been so led on, I’ve been runnin’ ’round /I’ve been on my shit, whole world on my dick /I just need to know”
They’re Kanye’s feelings – misunderstood, self-conscious, underappreciated, lonely – expressed by someone else. This whole track is, because the population won’t accept this sorrow coming from Ye’s mouth. It would in 2010, but not in 2016. So, we get Ty Dollar $ign telling us that “when no-one ain’t around/ I think I think too much.”
Periodically, Yeezy feels OK, he “gets lifted.” But these are brief moments. “Deep inside/Deep, deep, down inside” Kanye is wounded and insecure, and the only way to get out of this hole may be to get louder and more abrasive. And over the course of 2016, he did just that. In the years to come, “Fade” could be seen as the single biggest cry for help from a figure almost universally dismissed as a joke and braggart rather than embraced as the musical intellect he is. And if it doesn’t, it will be just as fascinating.
– ZAC STREVENS
Parquet Courts – “Already Dead”
A digital only track from Human Performance, “Already Dead” plays like the bastard child of Pavement’s “Stereo“ and Grandaddy’s “Miner at the Dial-a-View“, with the former’s general ‘set guitars to wacky’ vibe and the latter’s disembodied female ship’s computer voice appearing out of nowhere to ramble for a while about God knows what. This voice comes out with some of the (intentionally, I should add) worst lyrics in recorded music history. Whereas Pavement once announced an impending chorus with “and we’re coming to the chorus now“, here we get “instrumental break,” just as the bridge kicks in, and then other garbled advice like “with your eyes open/or your eyes closed/take a moment to connect with where you are” and “rest with a sense of hearing/experience the show of sound.”
It’s a catchy song. I don’t know if it’s mainly the nostalgia it lights somewhere in me but this has definitely become a happy place tune.
– NICK STEVENS
Radiohead – “True Love Waits”
That it took over 20 years for this single to find a place on a Radiohead album is a fact not lost on me. It might be a deciding factor as to why I chose this song and not a catchy synth-pop tune like The 1975’s “Somebody Else.” Thom Yorke has been performing this song on and off at live shows since 1995, usually as a stripped down acoustic ballad on guitar that upon first listen seems almost too folky for Radiohead. Concluding their newest album, A Moon Shaped Pool, the most obvious difference between its original performance and its official release is the lack of guitar, replaced by a haunting piano accompaniment. This is a significant change and robs the track of its original youthful quality. However, “True Love Waits” is made almost more genuine when you recognize that Yorke split from his partner of 25 years, thus replacing that youthful energy with haunting honesty.
– NAT YORSKI