2016: year in review

2016 was a year like no other, constantly flipping the script on us and unleashing surprises at every turn. From ridiculous internet phenomena to ridiculous politics, fantastic music to fantastic new technology. We look back at the hectic last 365 days and remind you of some moments that really stood out this year.

Planet Trump?

Obviously one of the most surreal things to happen this year, and probably this century, is that reality TV star and business tycoon Donald Trump will take to the White House next month as the new President Of The United States. After what seemed like the longest and most painful election cycle in history, complete with hacking scandals, racist remarks, #NastyWoman, #FeelTheBern, Ken Bone and a sad goodbye to Obama, the world was caught off guard for a second time after Brexit when Trump won the US Election on November 8th. Whether you support him or support Hillary or are just over the whole thing, there’s no way we would’ve called this one after the last election in 2012.

Music For The Ages

While 2016 had it’s ups and downs – Suicide Squad to Stranger

Things, Leonardo got his Oscar and iPhones lost their headphone jack, Brangelina ended but most were too busy playing PokemonGO! to care. One thing that stayed consistently good was the music. Before his unexpected goodbye, David Bowie released his swansong and one of his greatest albums Blackstar. Kanye West finally gave us his 7th album in the form of the chaotic The Life Of Pablo after one of the most sporadic album releases to date. Frank Ocean finally awoke from his hibernation and gave us his best work yet and possibly the year’s best album Blonde, an immersive journey through identity and culture that’s reflective of 2016 itself. There’s just too many to name, A Tribe Called Quest’s return after 16 years and the passing of Phife Dawg, Solange’s R&B soul masterpiece about life as a black woman in America as well as a extremely successful year for Chance The Rapper, the return of Gucci Mane and phenomenal albums from Radiohead, Nick Cave, Angel Olsen, Danny Brown and Mitski.

The Year Of Goodbyes

While 2016 was harsh in many ways, one of its most notorious acts was taking away so many of our heroes and people of cultural significance and impact. All night YouTube trips down memory lane with my Mum mourning the death of David Bowie, long car trips with Dad with nothing playing but Prince as we sang along to the gone-too-soon funk icon. Harry Potter fans and Britain in general were crushed by the passing of Alan Rickman, everyone’s grandparents remembered the beautiful poetry of Leonard Cohen, the fashion world looked back the amazing photos of Bill Cunningham, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory played on TV to remind us of Gene Wilder’s brilliance and every hip-hop DJ played Can I Kick It? as we rapped along to the memory of Phife Dawg.

I’d need a whole book to cover every crazy thing that happened this year, so I’ll cut it short and leave the rest to you. What did you think of 2016? Did you participate in the mannequin challenge? Tweet about it when Kim K took down Taylor Swift? Did you celebrate when John Key retired? Leave a comment below about what 2016 meant for you.

Words by Chris Smith

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