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Why I'm Thankful For... Musical Blessings in Dark Times

2016 has been a dumpster fire of a year but we can find gratitude in all the amazing music that's graced our table.

Hey 2016, go fuck yourself

When America wasn't reeling from a seemingly unending avalanche of terror attacks, police shootings, hatred slowly but surely taking over social media like a cancer and the tragic death of our heroes, it was busy electing a white nationalist narcissist as president. If America is united in anything, it's that so many of us feel scared for our children's future. There's no other way to say it, this was a bad year. 

To look at our country through a wide-angle lens is to feel something like despair, and so perhaps the way to embrace the true meaning of Thanksgiving—to find the hope and gratitude that's so often right in front of us but obscured by our own worries—is to zoom in, to focus on a singular moment. 

And of course, as soon as I begin thinking of my one moment a parade of moments began to float in front of my memory's eye. Two weeks ago I stood arm-in-arm with 7,000 people in Oakland in a powerful moment of unity. On a more personal level, my youngest daughter turned one-year-old last month and watching her take her first bite of chocolate cake was like watching someone touch the face of God—that was a moment. 

As I think about it, I can name 1,000 other moments this past year that brought large and small measures of joy, but because I'm writing this surrounded by DJBooth, I can't help but find myself turning to music. Nearly every day, I drive from my house to pick my oldest daughter up from school and it's the closest thing I have to a meditation practice. In that car, for those six minutes, there's no family or job or politics, there's just me and my music. 



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Lately, I've filled that car ride with Childish Gambino's "Me & Your Mama," before that it was Daniel Caesar's "Streetcar," and when in doubt you can never go wrong with Anderson .Paak's "The Season/Carry Me." Vince Staples' "Jump Off the Roof" has remained a steady go-to for when I'm feeling darker and Chance The Rapper's "Blessings" has remained a steady go-to for when I'm feeling lighter. For those few minutes, with the volume cranked to eleven, everything else disappears. 

So hey, 2016, still, fuck you, but also thank you. Thank you for all the small moments when it's just us and our favorite song drowning out the rest of the world, and thank you to all the artists who created all those songs that improved our lives. Throughout it all the music's always been there, will always be there. Thank you. 


By Nathan S, occasional keyboard hitter and beard maintainer. This is his Twitter.

Photo CreditsDanny Mahoney/Instagram/Billboard



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