The Key's Year-End Mania: Matthew Shaver's songs I danced with my daughter to in 2016 - WXPN
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Beyonce’s All Night | still from video

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, Key contributor and new dad Matthew Shaver wonders how he’s going to one day explain this year to his infant daughter.

In September, my daughter was born, I know you all were wondering where I’ve been. As a gift (for when she is older) I created a 24 hour playlist of songs that I’ve liked throught my life, up to the point she was born. I’m proud of it, i think she’ll hate most of it by the time she is old enough to listen (a lot of it is not for young ears). But then my editor, John Vettese, made a light hearted comment that made me think long and hard. He wrote: “I love that you, as a parent, are putting ‘Norf Norf’ on a playlist for your child.”

Summertime ’06 was an album I listened to a lot in 2015, placed among my favorites, but it did make me think. 2016 was not kind to women, in the news, and in society. I have to explain to her at some point that we elected a man in to office that said it was ok to grab women by the pussy. Hip-hop is the result of many facets of society that are not so kind to people of color. I can explain that to my daughter when she’s older, and I’m certain she’ll understand, but I’d still have to explain that I “liked” a song that has the line “Where the ladies at, where the ho’s, where the bitches, every real ni**a knows the difference.”

So, I was going through my head thinking of lists that I could write instead. There have been a lot of positive people in Philly, a lot of positive women throughout the world I could name, but then I thought, that 18 years from now, will that list have as much weight as I hope. Maybe, but I don’t like to gamble, so instead, here are 7 songs I danced to with my baby from 2016, songs I wouldn’t be worried about telling her about when that time comes.

Beyonce – “All Night Long”

It’s a song about losing trust, but fighting to get it back. About hope, and that love will always trump hate. My favorite song of the year too.

Sting – “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You”

I love that Sting has a longevity that allowed me to dance with my mom to his music when I was a child, and now my daughter can do the same.

Later ft. CASISDEAD – “Before This”

I really think that she’s going to hate when I do this later in her life, but right now, in her infancy, she really seems to get a kick out of me rapping, especially when I do it with a British accent.

Harriet – “Ten Steps”

I actually found this little gem while my wife was finally sleeping during an intense, 41 hour labor. I immediately added it to a hospital playlist, and I was listening to it in headphones the first time I was up at 3 a.m., pacing back and forth trying to get her to sleep.

Honne – “Someone That Loves You”

A lot of the songs we danced to are about love, and then the realization that someday she is going to date people sets in, and I stop dancing. But then I remember I have at least a decade to worry about that, so back to dancing.

Tourist – “For Sarah”

Hopefully she never loses her (apparent) love for gentle electronic music. When she fell asleep to this on my shoulder, every worry I have about the coming days melted away.

Chance The Rapper – “All We Got’”

Such a positive, happy song. We were bouncing around the room, and I held her up and said “Music is all we got” and she spit up all over my shirt. Then she smiled.

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