2016 In Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2016


Every January, I list my fourteen favorite songs of the previous year and, every January, I include the same disclaimer.  My fourteen favorite songs are not necessarily the fourteen favorite songs of any of the other writers here at the Shattered Lens.  We are a large and diverse group of people and, as such, we all have our own individual tastes.

If you ever visited the TSL Bunker, you would be shocked by the different music coming out of each office.  You would hear everything from opera to death metal to the best of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.  And then, of course, you would reach my office and you would discover that my taste in music pretty much runs the gamut from EDM to More EDM.

Now, usually, I do try to listen to a variety of music.  You can go to my Song of the Day site — Lisa Marie’s Song of the Day — and see that I do occasionally listen to other types of music.  But, I have to be honest.  2016 was not a year that inspired me to really leave me comfort zone.  If anything, music provided me with some much needed consistency in an otherwise chaotic year.  2016 was a year that made me want to dance until it was all over and, for the most part, my favorite songs of the year reflect that fact.

Before I list my 14 songs, I should make something else very clear.  These are my 14 favorite songs of 2016.  I’m not saying that they’re necessarily the best songs of 2016.  I’ll leave that debate for others.  Instead, there are the songs that I found myself listening to over and over again.  These are the songs made me dance.  These are the songs that made me sing.  A few of these songs relaxed me when I needed to be relaxed.  One of the songs made me cry but I’m not going to say which one.

It might make you cry too.

Or it might not.

That’s the beautiful thing about art.  Everyone experiences it in their own individual way.

Here are my 14 favorite songs of 2016:

14) David Bowie — Lazarus

13) Afrojack & Hardwell — Hollywood

12) Cedric Gervais (ft. Juanes) — Este Amor

11) Matoma (ft. Becky Hall) — False Alarm

10) Radiohead — Burn the Witch

9) Gorgon City (feat Vaults) — All Four Walls

8) Penthox — Give It Away

7) Britney Spears — Clumsy

6) Martin Garrix (feat Mesto) — WIEE

5) Tiesto, Oliver Heldens (feat Natalie LaRose) — The Right Song

4) The Weekend (feat Daft Punk) — Starboy

3) Radiohead — Daydreaming

2) Coldplay — Up&Up

1) The Chemical Brothers — C-h-e-m-i-c-a-l

For my previous picks, check out 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015!

Tomorrow, I will be posting some of my favorite things that I saw on television in 2016!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  6. 2016 in Review: Lisa Picks the 16 Worst Films of 2016!
  7. Necromoonyeti’s Top Ten Albums of 2016

The Things You Find On Netflix: XOXO (dir by Christopher Louie)


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I just watched XOXO, the latest Netflix original film and what can I say?  Well, I better figure out something to say because otherwise, this is going to be an extremely short review.

XOXO is the latest attempt to capture the American EDM scene on film and, if nothing else, it’s better than We Are Your Friends.  In the style of Richard Linklater, the film takes place over one night at the XOXO Music Festival (which should not be confused with the real-life annual festival that takes place in Portland) and follows the adventures of several different characters, all of whom are linked together by their love of a track called All I Ever Wanted.  In real-life, All I Ever Wanted is the work of Michael Brun.  In XOXO, it’s the work of a YouTube sensation named Ethan Shaw.

Krystal (Sara Hyland) comes to XOXO specifically so she can meet Jordan, a boy that she has previously only talked to online.  Despite having never met him face-to-face, Krystal is convinced that she is in love with Jordan and she wants to hear All I Ever Wanted with him by her side.  While her friends run off without her, Krystal wanders around the festival, trying to meet up with the continually elusive Jordan.

(Should I mention that Jordan was also the name of the online predator who attempted to molest Emma in the first episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation?  I guess I might as well…)

And then there’s Neil (Chris D’Elia).  Neil is old.  Neil is burned out, almost as if he spent two years co-starring in a sitcom with Whitney Cummings.  Despite having rented a party bus to take people to the festival, Neil claims that he hates the whole scene.  Neil, it turns out, is still stuck in the 90s.  Is it possible that, after making a lot of cynical comments and wandering around looking glum, Neil will eventually start to dance and get caught up in the redemptive spirit of PLUR?  (If you already know what PLUR stands for, you’ll probably enjoy XOXO more than someone who doesn’t.)

Shannie (Hayley Kiyoko) and Ray (Colin Woodell) are attending their final festival together.  Shannie will soon be moving away and she and Ray are going to have to try to do the dreaded long distance thing.  When they lose their tickets and then discover that the festival is sold out, they don’t riot like everyone else.  Instead, they duck into the sewers and try to sneak into the festival.  Of course, they get lost along the way but that gives them a chance to talk about their relationship.  Shannie and Ray didn’t get as much screentime as some of the characters but I liked them.  I related to their relationship and you know what?  I also would have found a way to sneak into the concert and hear All I Ever Wanted too.

DJ Avilo (Ryan Hansen), who is hopefully not meant to be a stand-in for the real DJ Avilo, is a superstar but he’s also a jerk.  He and his manager (LaMonica Garrett) are notorious for cheating up-and-coming young artists.  Fortunately, Avilo does get punched in the face at one point.  He deserves it.

And finally, there’s Ethan Shaw (Graham Phillips)!  Ethan has suddenly been given a chance to perform at XOXO but he only has 8 hours to get there and get prepared to perform!  Will Ethan make it and, once he arrives, will he be tricked by Avilo?  Ethan, of course, is an idealist whereas Avilo brags about how he just views everyone in the audience as being a dollar sign.  But, Avilo also says that he can make Ethan a star.  It doesn’t help that Ethan’s current manager, Tariq (Brett DelBuono) shows up late for the festival and is then kissed by a random girl who just happens to have a tap of LSD on her tongue.  While Tariq trips, Ethan struggles to maintain his integrity.

XOXO has been getting a lot of negative reviews but I actually kind of liked it.  It’s not a great film by any means but it does a good job of portraying an admittedly exaggerated version of American EDM culture.  (If you go to the film’s imdb page, you can find all the usual dismissive comments from Europeans bitching about American and western culture.  Any film that pisses off a snooty European can’t be all bad.)  The film’s totally predictable but the cast is pretty and the music’s great and really, isn’t that all that really matters?

As one character says, “I created this festival because I like to dance.  Dancing is important.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

The Joy Of Under the Electric Sky


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There’s a moment in the documentary Under the Electric Sky that moved me beyond belief.

For the first 90 minutes of the film, we’ve followed different people as they experience the 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival.  Some of them are sweet, some of them are oafish, some of them are people that I would want to hang out with, and some of them I definitely would go out of my way to avoid.  The one thing that they have in common is that they love EDM and that love has brought them to Las Vegas.

One of the more likable of them is a young, wheelchair bound man named Jose.  Up until this point, we’ve seen Jose wheeling his way through the crowd, having a good time but still frustrated by the fact that he can’t see the stage from his wheelchair.  And then, while Hardwell is performing on stage, a group of strangers lift up Jose’s wheelchair, literally holding him on their shoulders so that he can see the stage.

And you know what?  I fully realize that this could have been arranged beforehand.  I understand that someone involved in production could have asked those people to lift up Jose because he or she knew it would make a perfect film moment.  But I don’t care.  It’s such a wonderful moment and it perfectly encapsulated everything that I love about the EDM scene.  It’s a moment that brought tears to my eyes when I saw it and it’s still bringing tears to my eyes as I write about it.

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As far as the rest of Under the Electric Sky is concerned, if you’re into EDM, you’ll enjoy it.  And if you’re one of those people who doesn’t get EDM — well, sucks to be you, doesn’t it?

Admittedly, the film was produced by the same people who put on the EDC and, at its weakest, it felt like a mix between an infomercial and an A&E reality show.  But at its frequent best — like in the moment described above and in the brief moments where artists like Avicii, Armin Van Buuren, and Above & Beyond open up to the camera — it’s a wonderful and heartfelt tribute to one of the most loving and misunderstood subcultures in the world.  At it’s best, Under the Electric Sky is a blast of pure musical joy and, with the world the way it is right now, we could all use a little joy.

Under the Electric Sky is currently available on Netflix and yes, I recommend it.

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