To all the music critics: 2016 ain’t over ‘til it’s over

Surprisingly, I’m mostly talking about pop culture

Chance Wellnitz

There’s still a month left in 2016, but to quote the illustrious Mr. Lenny Kravitz, “Baby, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” That said, numerous publications have already published their picks for the “best albums of 2016.”

The critics couldn’t have predicted that Beyoncé would drop her 2013 self-titled album in the last weeks of December that year. She had the critics scrambling to rewrite their lists.

We’re all guilty of declaring things the best before the dust settles. If we really stand for an artist, we’ll praise it before it even leaks online — sometimes before the album itself is even announced.

Why do we feel it necessary to give our definitive opinion on everything so damn quickly?

First impressions are certainly meaningful, and the first time hearing a song will usually shade further listens. However, for any critical dissections to occur, the tweets need to stop trending before you declare something the “best” or “important.”

It took me years to figure out if I liked HAIM, and I’m still at a point where the scale could probably shift in the other direction. Their debut album came out in 2013, and I can’t tell you whether their song “The Wire” is the best of anything, let alone important.

But I’m no critic.

I used to wish I could see five or ten years into the future and know what people think of today’s music. That way I’d no longer cringe when looking back at my old playlists. Today, I allow myself to get swept up in the hype and not feel ashamed of any of the music I used to listen to.

Maybe instant declarations of what’s the “best” or “important” are part of being present in this moment. However, if you ask me about my favorite things from this year, I’ll get back to you in January.