What a Fool Believes: The ultimate 2016 playlist

“What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers is senior John Kennedy’s favorite song. It’s also the name of his music column, where he’ll discuss anything from hot-topic albums to hidden gems. Here is Kennedy’s take on the best of 2016 music.

Because 2016 was just one constantly clogged convenience store toilet — sucking all that is good and benevolent from our world — let’s start with the best of this year:

Best Album: Frank Ocean – Blonde

There’s not a ton I can say here that I didn’t say in my groundbreaking review after it’s release. It’s phenomenal. The album is good too.

Best R Kelly Project: “12 Nights of Christmas” (R Kelly)

Technically I’m cheating because there was only one R. Kelly project released this year, but when R. Kelly releases a Christmas album, with twelve original Christmas classics, the world stops and listens.

Best Song: BadBadNotGood “Times Moves Slow” (ft. Sam Herring)

“Running away is easy / it’s the leaving that’s hard”

Best Throwback Song: BJ The Chicago Kid – “Turnin’ Me Up”

Best Chorus: Bruno Mars – “24k Magic”

Best Guilty Pleasure Song: Drake – “U Wit Me?”

Best Meme Song: Young Thug – “Harambe”

Best International Album: Kaytranada – “99.9%”

Biggest Cry-While-Staring-Out-the-Window Song: Allan Rayman – “Tennessee”

Best EDM Crossover Song: Flume – “Smoke and Retribution” (ft. Vince Staples)


2016 MVP: Anderson .Paak

Producer of the Year: Mike Will Made-it

Only Mike Will could pump out “Formation” and “Black Beatles” and still feel under-the-radar.

Best Collab Album: NxWorries – Yes Lawd

Best Beat: Towkio – G W M (prod. Mr Carmack)

Best Rap Verse: Chance the Rapper – “Blessings”

Best Beat Composed By a 5 Year Old: Kendrick Lamar – “Untitled 07”

The third part (after ‘levitate’ and the kid singing ‘Compton / is where I’m from’), was literally composed by a 5 year old.



Best Beef: Rae Sremmurd vs. any “No shirt, no shoes, no service” policy

Most Surprising Comeback Album: Radio Dept – Running Out of Love

Most Satisfying Comeback Song: The Avalanches – “Because I’m Me”

Worst Rollout: French Montana – MC4

Best Music Video: Beyonce – “Formation”

Best Twitter Banger: Migos – “Bad and Boujee”

Best Posse Track: Kanye West- “Champions”

Best Electronic Song: Deadmau5 – “Let Go”

Most Topical Song of 2016: YG – “FDT pt. 2” (ft. Macklemore, G-Eazy)

Best Messy Album: Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

Most 6/10 Album: Drake – Views

What makes Drake so unique is ultimately what led to the advanced filler of Views. When compressing all of his global influences – Caribbean reggaeton, Nigerian afrobeat, Southern trap, 90s R&B – into a single jambalaya, a lot gets lost in translation.


God of 2016: André 3000

Iciest Song: Lil Yachty – “Minnesota” (Remix ft. Quavo, Skippa da Flippa)

Iciest Verse: Young Thug on “Minnesota” (Remix ft. Quavo, Skippa da Flippa)

Best EP: Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.

Best Dance Remix: Kaytranada – “Cranes in the Sky”

Best Goodbye Album: Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker

Best DJ Khaled Moment: Nas – “Nas Album Done”

Biggest Disappointment: LCD Soundsystem

After a surprise December 2015 single release – “Christmas Will Break Your Heart” – and several 2016 tour dates – the supposed release of LCD Soundsystem’s much awaited fourth album didn’t come.


Best Urban Outfitters Banger: Kaytranada – “Glowed Up” (ft. Anderson Paak)

Best Bonus Track: ScHoolBoy Q – “Tookie Knows II” 

Most Underachieving Album: Travis Scott – Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

Best Remix: Schoolboy Q – “That Part” (Black Hippy Remix)

Best Get-Your-Parents-Okay-With-2016-Music Song: Anderson Paak – “The Bird”

Most Okay Feature: Kanye West on “That Part”

[Verse 2: Kanye West] “Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay!”

2016’s Gangnam Style: Desiigner – “Panda”

Song That Exceeded My Massive Expectations: Travis Scott – “goosebumps” (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

Best Campfire Song: Father John Misty – “Real Love Baby”

Most Beautiful Song: Radiohead – “True Love Waits”

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s breakup with his partner Rachel Owen drove the emotional themes for their 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool. The album’s closing song, “True Love Waits,” was first premiered live at a December 1995 show in Brussels.

An acoustic version ended the 2001 Radiohead live-compilation album I Might Be Wrong.  Producer Nigel Godrich explains,  “We tried to record it countless times, but it never worked… To Thom’s credit, he needs to feel a song has validation, that it has a reason to exist as a recording.”

Beyond music, a world that had been coming together seemingly came apart in 2016.

Prince died.

The Cubs won the World Series.

Desiigner dabbed so hard he got motion sickness.

Still, Gucci Mane got out of jail and Simone Biles won a gold medal. Let’s not freak out just yet. Time moves slow.