2016. Bloody hell.
How do you even begin to summerise the last 12 months? A year that began with Hannah & I sat sobbing in Bangkok Airport as we received the news of the death of David Bowie, through the most bizarre year imaginable, to our writers voting Blackstar as our album of the year; it has a nice symmetry to it if nothing else and it feels fitting and right.
There has been much discussion behind the doors of our staffroom as to whether that is a result of it being a brilliant album or whether it’s an emotional response to the loss of such an influential star in our firmament. Truth be told, I think it’s probably both. There is no way to decontextualise an album that was written by a man who knew he was dying from the reality of his death. He purposely tied them together and as a result was able to define how we remember him and went out very much on his own terms. Astonishing.
Whilst the wider world in 2016 has felt like the dumpster fire’s dumpster fire, and believe me there have been times this year when we have questioned the relevance of running a music blog against such a back drop, it has also been another phenomenal year for music; as evidenced by the 57 people who participated in our end of year poll nominating an incredible 586 albums (you can find the full list below).
Normally I use this annual column to shout out thanks to individual PR & label folk. I’m not going to do that this year, although we still want to acknowledge the hundreds of them that toil away behind the scenes, often thanklessly, to keep the wheels of this ‘industry’ turning; you know who you are.
Instead, this year of all years, I want to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to everybody that has contributed to the site. Over the last 12 months 119 people have written 920 album & EP reviews, 136 interviews, 99 live reviews, 54 features, 34 photo galleries, 24 festival reviews and 3 book reviews; a staggering 1270 posts or an average of 3.4 posts a day, every day.
The number of work hours that these numbers represent are mind boggling and the amount of free time given up purely for the love of the art form is inspiring. All of this hard work has attracted over two hundred thousand individual readers from 186 countries to the site with over half a million pages read. We don’t often take time out to think about what these numbers actually mean but when we do it is utterly humbling. Thank you to all of you.
Have a very musical Christmas and here’s to a better 2017, with love from all of the Echoes And Dust crew.