i-D's top music moments of 2016

What makes a standout moment? These are the i-D team's highlights, turning points, and most exciting music happenings of the year.

by i-D Staff
30 December 2016, 3:37pm

It might have been a nightmare politically, but there's no denying 2016 was a great year for music. As our hearts broke and we bid farewell to Bowie, Prince, Cohen, and Mancuso, we welcomed the increased politicization of musicians. From Beyoncé's "Freedom" to the entirety of Solange's A Seat at the Table, Blood Orange's Freetown Sound to Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book, these powerful ruminations on race and reflections on blackness were a much-needed social commentary for this year. With brilliant music came brilliant visual albums, zines and loads of awesome merch that we didn't know we needed but definitely do. And, of course, 2016 also saw more and more musicians speak out about — and in turn help normalize — mental health issues. The music world woke up this year and everyone was watching. Here are some of our favorite moments.

Frankie Dunn, Assistant Music Editor
"Having Stormzy on the cover of i-D, and watching Björk perform in Reykjavik with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra."

Bunny Kinney, Commercial Creative Director 
"The arrival of The Lemon Twigs and their excellent music videos."

Tish Weinstock, Staff Writer
"Taylor Swift and Kanye's beef."

Kayleigh Gray Layton, Marketing Manager
"Marillion's 'Kayleigh' playing in the i-D office on Monday, December 12, 2016."

Hattie Collins, Features Director
"The Mercury Prize; Skepta and Kano battled it out against Bowie but it was Konnichiwa that ultimately triumphed. The fact that 'One Dance' ignited the careers of Kyla and Crazy Cousinz. And of course grime fully taking over."

Max Clark, Fashion Editor
"Frank Ocean's album/film coming out whilst waiting at Ibiza airport and then listening un-interrupted the whole way back."

Hanna Hanra, Global Editor of The Fifth Sense
"Seeing Björk live in Iceland the day before listening to 'Play Dead' while playing dead on a glacier. Also: All of Lemonade. I listened to 'Hold Up' 450 times."

Clem de Pressigny, International Editor
"Alice Cooper's gig was a definite highlight — he did his classic show complete with huge snake and guillotine. He's still got it."

Ryan White, Content Manager
"All of the incredible albums of 2016! The Life of Pablo, Anti, Lemonade, Blonde, Views, 99.9%, Coloring Book, A Seat at the Table, Awaken, My Love! Plus seeing Beyoncé, James Blake, Sampha, Nicolas Jaar, SZA, Vince Staples, Skepta, MØ, Young Fathers, and more."

Matthew Whitehouse, Editorial Assistant
"Iggy Pop at the Royal Albert Hall. He opened with 'Lust for Life' and I spent the entire evening staring at his stomach, proud and solemn like a weatherbeaten monument, skin the color of fudge, crumpled like abandoned flannel. 'Can we turn the fucking lights on in this dump?' he growled, 69-years-old, the last man standing, the last of his kind. 'Free the motherfucking people! Free the motherfucking hall!'."

year in review