sun 30/04/2017

2016

Albums of the Year: Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

Popular music works best when it strikes a chord that goes beyond the beauty of the hook, the seductive quality of the melody, or the catchiness of the lyrics. The resonance can be personal or universal, or perhaps, in order to qualify as a critic’s...

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Albums of the Year: Anohni - Hopelessness

Much like the year itself, 2016's strongest albums tapped into a spirit of restlessness, defiance and disorientation. But unlike the punk explosion of 1977, there was no real sound or even genre that this mood of rebellion cohered around.Grime came...

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Albums of the Year: Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Context in rock is everything. Popular music is, after all, essentially a reaction to a moment in time. So, whilst in another year, an album like A Moon Shaped Pool may just have lurked in my top five, political...

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Albums of the Year: Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger

Paul Simon has always been as eclectic as anyone in popular music, tapping into latin music, gospel and reggae long before they dreamed up the term "World Music". Simon is now 74, but he's as restless and inquisitive as ever. For Stranger to...

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Albums of the Year: Christine Tobin - Pelt

Despite all of the challenges – more venues going to the wall, scarcity of funding, lack of column inches, and more – jazz in 2016 showed its seemingly endless capacity not only to survive and thrive, but also to innovate and invigorate. As one of...

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Best (and Worst) of 2016: Film

Prepare to disagree. 2016 has been getting bad reviews all year long, but for film it was actually pretty strong. So strong, in fact, that there are big omissions from this list of our best films from the past 12 months. Our method of selection was...

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Albums of the Year: Dolly Parton - Pure & Simple

The unsinkable Dolly Parton turned 70 in 2016 and the new year marks the 50th anniversary of her debut album, Hello, I’m Dolly. Pure & Simple is her 43rd studio album, its genesis a brace of stripped-down concerts given at Nashville’s Ryman...

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Best of 2016: TV

If there's one big question hanging over the television industry, it's "how long can the old broadcast networks survive in the new era of subscription and downloading services?" No doubt there will be a variety of answers, with different hybrid...

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Best of 2016: Opera

It was the best and worst of years for English National Opera. Best, because principals, chorus and orchestra seem united in acclaiming their Music Director of 14 months, Mark Wigglesworth, for his work at a level most had only dreamed of (“from the...

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Best of 2016: Classical

Revelations in the classical year never stop coming. Even the week before Christmas yielded two performances as good as you're going to get: the sheer effervescence and light-flourishing of Lucy Crowe in ecstatic Bach and Mozart with La Nuova Musica...

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Albums of the Year: Sia - This Is Acting

I am an official Sia wanker. If you tell me you love "Titanium", I’ll be all like “Yeah, I prefer her early work with Zero 7”, and if you tell me about a major Coachella gig you saw recently, I’ll tell you about when I was basically the only one in...

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Best of 2016: Theatre

Life threw numerous, possibly irrevocable curveballs at us all during 2016, which in turn made one even more aware of how lucky we were to find ourselves in the midst of so much sustenance by way of art. Time and again throughout the year, one...

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