Sub Pop & Hardly Art
Best of 2016

Olivia Riley

Sub Pop Airport Store

The List

  • 1.) Loss has been a major theme this year. We know these names well and our playlists look like a sea of headstones. Losing Bowie though was surreal. I’m listening to Heroes as I write this, as he helps me through another day. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to listen to Black Star in its entirety. I will probably be unlocking secrets from his final album for the rest of my life.

  • 2.) Confidence has been one of my strong themes. As I held myself together as my relationship went dark, I knew I still had me. I would listen to Crater in the morning and start to feel inspired again, like I had my own secret.

  • 3.) Friendship has been the dearest theme for me this year. I’ve been surrounded by the most beautiful, intelligent, talented and fucking hilarious feminine spirits. I’m so madly in love with all of you! I dedicate Who’s That Girl, by Madonna, to these gems who really do light up my life.

  • 4.) Hope has been my tender theme. My break-up this year was really hard, but sometimes when I was alone at night, I would put Car on by Built to Spill. There’s this line in it, “I wanna see movies of my dreams” and it fills me with a yearning for something more than what I had. Even just the possibility keeps me going.

  • 5.) Magic has been a strange and surprising theme. Sometimes reality twists into fantasy and the hallway takes you somewhere special that only exists in that brief moment. Listening to A Great Design by Black Marble reminds me of this when I need to escape. Also, Looking for the Magic by Dwight Twilley Band.

  • 6.) Fun has been a challenging theme. Sometimes I had to force myself to get out and do this. Luckily my Bread and Butter buddies make it easy. They are always having fun parties and shows and I can’t wait for their new album!

  • 7.) Love is such an intangible theme. I can feel it like electricity and light all through me and my heart just wants to shine. I saw this reflection in someone’s eyes and now I wonder what it all means. Listening to Nick Cave is so much better with a hand to hold, but I will listen to The Boatman’s Call alone.

  • 8.) Empowerment has become a mandatory theme. I refuse to feel defeated by the election this year. I started a new music project with my lady friends and when we join forces, no one can stop us. I’ve been listening to Patti Smith again recently. I love watching her perform People Have the Power.

  • 9.) Family has been a shitty theme this year. I trekked across the country for my brothers wedding while it felt like my entire world was crumbling. My dad had a stroke. And now my brother is expecting. I haven’t handled any of these things very well. Mostly I’m scared that I’ll never have my own family and I’ll have no one to talk to when my dad is gone. He has shown me how to put heart into everything I say and do. Southern Accents by Tom Petty reminds me of the gifts I will always carry from him.

  • 10.) Grateful is the theme I want to end this year with. I’m so lucky and thankful for everything that I do have. I want to share all I can. Cheers to all the music that speaks to our hearts during these trying times. I will end this year dancing into a new chapter, listening to Uncle John’s Band by the Grateful Dead and I don’t even care.