2016. You know, the year that wanted a poly-amorous relationship after you caught them cheating. The year that (almost!) convinced you the way you talked about White people was racist, even though you definitely graduated summa with a degree in Sociology. The year that called you a cunt behind your back, but for some reason was the only one that called when you needed to get wasted and lose your job the next day. Basically, 2016 was garbage and will probably see its fair share of hard drug users come into being just so they can cope with its likely-to-be-shittier sibling, 2017.
Still, while 2016 treated us like drugged-up hardcore porn starlets from Gary, Indiana it's hard to deny that it was the year of the music. From Solange's self-care masterpiece A Seat at the Table to ANOHNI's supremacy of the creative and political, at least 2016 made sure we had a soundtrack to all the doom, gloom, and alcoholism that defined the past year for many of us.
Wussy reached out to ATL area aficionados--all local DJs and promoters with beautifully alive queer followings--^M^RYLL^H GOLD, DJ Headmaster, and Morph co-founder JSport for their takes on the past year's musical harvest. We asked them to list their favorite songs, in no particular order, and to create playlists for our readers here. The results are eclectic, emotional, and perfectly capture the spirit of Atlanta's night crawls and DIY altars.
2016 is definitely a year that none of us will forget. Full of loss and change often times the queer dance party was the only thing that got us together. These spaces aren’t perfect but I don’t think any of us could say they don’t serve a purpose. These parties gave us a time to turn up and celebrate that we’re still here and we’re still strong and beautiful.
Musically, the south always has it’s own hard hitting vibes and Atlanta clubs would be nothing without Trap music. QTs like to twerk to trap anthems just as much as everyone else, so a lot of Trap anthems stay in the queer dance party rotation. (RIP Bankroll) That being said no queer dance party is complete without a wide selection of club hits by the best up and coming black and brown artists and producers. (Shout out to Jersey and Baltimore for providing the hardest hitting queer club anthems of 2016.)
Enjoy this list its all hits.
My favorite songs from 2016 are at least partially influenced by the visuals that went along with them. ANOHNI’s “Drone Bomb Me” video, with Naomi Campbell lip syncing defiantly until she gives way to tears, makes the song even more powerful. Rosamund Pike in Massive Attack’s “Voodoo In My Blood” is mesmerizing as her mind is taken over by a floating orb straight out of Phantasm, causing her to writhe and flail around a subway station as she channels Isabelle Adjani in Possession.
A couple of my choices were bittersweet. The David Bowie and Leonard Cohen songs would have been in my top picks for the year regardless of the circumstances, but they were made even more poignant when it became clear they had written their own eulogies.
Despite those huge musical losses, there were many reasons to be optimistic about music in 2016. Charlotte Day Wilson’s smooth R&B in “After All,” Shura’s slinky synthpop in “White Light,” or Angel Olsen’s defiant rocker “Shut Up Kiss Me” all point to bright futures for relative newcomers. Meanwhile, some more established artists, like Niki & the Dove and The Radio Dept., changed up their sound in ways that point to exciting new directions.
If you want to hear many of these songs and more, come see me at Mary’s. I’m there almost every Friday night, the next one being December 30 for New Year’s Eve eve. See you there!
JSPORT broke into the Atlanta scene a couple years ago as the Creative Director and resident DJ of the underground MORPH dance party. We interviewed Jay and his MORPH partner, Leonce, about their plans earlier this year.
"Before moving to Atlanta just last year, I knew I wanted to conceive some type of creative entity. I moved here with two missions: Get my degree and create something from scratch," said Jay.
The crew returns for MORPH 5 on December 23 at Space 2.