Goodbye 2016: A Reflection Through Music

Last year during the final days of 2015, I read an article on Thought Catalog that highlighted the importance of nostalgia. When another year comes and goes, it’s important to be able to reflect on the past 12 months, cherish the good memories and let go of the bad.

mad men nostalgia gif
Image courtesy of

This nostalgia we experience is often brought on with the help of photos, but the article encouraged us to document the memories of the next year in a different way – with music.

So, that’s exactly what I did. 12 months and 12 songs later, and my 2016 playlist is complete. Each month, I added a song that I was either obsessed with at the time or one that had a specific memory tied to it. Bring on that nostalgia.

Check out the songs that defined my year, and start your own playlist. You may be surprised at how easy it is to recall specific memories that are tied to each of the tunes.

My 2016 Playlist

January – “Weak” by Wet 

I remember listening to this song on repeat at the beginning of the year even though it had come out in the fall of 2015. There’s just something about this song that screams January to me. The lyrics and gentle instrumentation bring up memories of colder weather and the melancholy feelings that arise once the excitement of the holidays and the new year wear off.

February – “Ophelia” by The Lumineers 

I remember sitting at my kitchen island in my college house playing this on repeat when the Lumineers released it as a single. They have been one of my favorite bands ever since I saw them perform live three years ago. I don’t see my love for them going away any time soon.

March – “Evil Twin” by Krrum 

This song popped up on my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, and I couldn’t get enough of the horn instrumentation that carries the melody. I listened to it on my flight to California at the beginning of March to visit a friend and again as I solo explored Santa Monica. I can still feel that west coast sunshine beating down on me as I walked down the path from Santa Monica pier to Venice Beach.

Walking along the path to Venice Beach

April – “Let It Go” by James Bay 

This song simply made it on the playlist because it was one that I could not. stop. listening to. No specific memories are tied to it, but I do remember saving his entire album because I couldn’t get enough of his angelic voice.

May – “All Night” by Chance the Rapper 

This song characterized my final days as a college student and our senior week filled with events for those of us who would be walking the stage. I lived in an off-campus house with five other girls, and we were celebrating with family and friends as graduation day approached. One of my roommates had massive speakers that she blasted this song from on repeat when Chance’s album first came out. The lyrics are also an accurate representation of that final week.

Started off senior week with a boozy golf tournament.
Ended senior week by walking the stage.

June – “Once” by Maren Morris 

Growing up, the genre I listened to the most was country music. I would watch music videos on CMT for entertainment, and I still have my old Shania Twain CDs somewhere because I just can’t seem to part with them. But as I got older, I noticed a change in the genre I had once loved. It was getting more and more mainstream; pop inflections made their appearance as country artists seemed to make an effort to appeal to the masses. I started noticing this pattern in the current country artists, and it pushed me away from the genre. But, when Maren Morris released her debut album on June 3rd, I was pulled me right back. The entire album is gold in my mind, and this was one of my favorite songs that I once again played on repeat that month.

July – “Fine Ass Mess – Conro Remix” by Mr. Probz 

This song came out the Friday before July 4th weekend, and I remember blasting it in my cousin’s camper while we vacationed in the Thousand Islands. The weekend started off with this song and was accompanied by mixed drinks, fireworks, and boating with the family.

Perfect 4th of July weekend weather

August – “Cold Water” by Major Lazer, Mø, and Justin Bieber 

Okay, I am not a Belieber in any way, but I can appreciate Justin’s voice when it’s accompanied by the beats of Major Lazer. I played this on repeat during summer bonfires and during my brother’s high school graduation party, much to the disdain of his guests.

September – “Closer” by The Chainsmokers 

The radio killed this song for me because it was so overplayed, but for the first couple of months since its release, it was my go-to track. The lyric video is a must-watch as well.

October – “Circles” by Jana Kramer 

I first knew Jana as a country artist then came to love her even more when I found out she has a few acting credits under her belt. She came to Rochester in late September, and I succeeded in getting my phone case signed by her during the concert. Her show ranks among my favorite concerts that I’ve been to, and I would see her live again in a heartbeat. Her albums were on repeat for all of October.

Jana Kramer at Anthology in downtown Rochester

November – “Down With Me” by X Ambassadors 

Again, this is just another song that I discovered and couldn’t get enough of. I went through an X Ambassadors phase in November and spent the month listening to their 2013 EP Love Songs Drug Songs, my favorite collection of songs they’ve released.

December – “Hackensack – Live” by Katy Perry 

Every December, I watch Just Friends, a movie about a guy who returns to his hometown during the holidays after 10 years to win the affections of his high school crush. The original version of this song by Fountains of Wayne plays during the film, and I now always associate it with the holiday season. I also happen to love this version by Katy Perry, a welcome reprieve from her typical mainstream pop sound.

Listen to the full playlist below:

Cheers to the new year,


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