2016: Looking Back

A consensus of individuals with a heart shows that 2016 was an incredibly painful and difficult year. Whenever the year comes to an end, I find myself immersed in personal reflection - not by choice, it’s just where my brain seems to swim away to, and by the time I call out for it to swim back to shore, it’s already drowning in the waters of self-doubt and crisis.

If you’ve read my writing on here, you’ll know that I am not a "journalist." I write because I feel moved to do so, and I find comfort in this outlet and relaying my personal experiences in hopes that others may find comfort in it too, or at least have a smile on their face or some food for thought to take away. I never write to push an agenda, and to be completely honest, I’ve grown increasingly tired of dissecting art as if it were a frog in a high school biology class.

I feel compelled at every year’s end to write my “best of” list, and running this website, it put tremendous pressure on myself to do an "albums of the year" list. A common theme among those who have an elitist, one-upmanship type attitude, and who’s primary source of pleasure is derived from shitting on other people for having feelings and opinions, is that none of this “matters.” This attitude used to affect me tremendously, and some days, really still does. There’s nothing more discouraging than being told: “no one cares.” However, I am going to use this horrible attitude to my advantage and give the power over to the small minded: they’re right. No one cares. No one cares what my favourite albums this year were. You’ve read a thousand different reviews from thousands of different people that are just like me - a kid with too much free time and access to a computer to spout opinions on. Yeah, no one cares! We all die anyways, there’s no point, insert other fatalistically bleak statement here, etc. Well, guess what? I care. I care about the music that has helped me survive this year, and the moments that remind me of why every breath I have taken has carried this vessel better known as my body to where I am today. Telling me that no one cares will never change how I feel about what I find solace in, and use as a lifeline to transcend the veil between the secular world and the spiritual universe. 

There was a tremendous amount of good this year, despite the loss of so many incredible artists in both music and film. Part of my apathy towards writing about my favourite albums was that there were so many good ones I could hardly bring myself to sort through them. However, it really did seem to be a lot of quantity being released this year. Not to say it was quantity over quality, but I found it quite overwhelming to even keep track of what records came out this year, let alone listen to them over and over again. I did in-depth reviews of some of my favourites, as well as reflected on some who celebrated birthdays this year (If you care to read them, here they are: The 1975, Blink-182, as well as my look back's on Brand New's Devil and God and The Maine's Pioneer). Once a record is released, it stands as a testament of time. Sure, it was released on a certain day, but from that day forward, it exists in our world. There’s no expiration date, and even though it’s almost 2017 I still find myself listening to records from even before I was born, daily. However, as this is a website to promote music and not just my incoherent rambling, so I will mention a few of my favourite albums that were released this year:

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
Blink-182 - California
Panic! At The Disco - Death of a Bachelor 
Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
Two Door Cinema Club - Gameshow


On a personal note, 2016 was a year of tremendous achievement. I got to photograph the 2016 Juno Awards, work for the Arkells four times, continued to expand my videography portfolio, as well as many, many more things that I won’t list because we will be here until 2018 if I start. The moments that stood out for me this year were truly moments. Not albums, but experiences. I was fortunate enough to see Brand New live twice and I can’t quite put that feeling into words. For a band who’s music has helped me at my lowest, I’ve never felt more alive than I felt at those two shows. I genuinely hope you all get to experience what I felt over the course of those two nights. Screaming the words that are as precious to me as Shakespeare’s words are to others, was the epitome of a fire in my eyes, and a burning love for being alive flowing through my veins as my heart raced as if I were falling in love. I saw Twenty One Pilots live three times, and I understand now when people say that home doesn’t always mean a roof over your head. I was fortunate enough to be able to look Tyler Joseph in the eyes and thank him for all he has unknowingly done for me and so many other kids out there. I saw many other bands who’s music helped me at some point or other, and was able to be taken back to moments of pain but rejoice knowing that some of the toughest experiences I’ve had in my life so far are behind me. I relish in the memories that 2016 brought, and will cherish them for the rest of my life. I also look to those moments that were not the picturesque, social media facade, and I bid them farewell and gladly leave them in the past, where they belong.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read my ramblings, and I hope this was coherent enough. We want to wish all of our readers and followers a safe and Happy New Year, and stay tuned, because 2017 is going to be another big year for us at Under The Rockies.

Joshua Plattlooking back