At this point, what more is there to say about what happened in 2020? I could echo the sentiments of so many others, on this blog and otherwise, but I think we get the idea. I could take this time to lament about the struggles around us, our unsustainable societal structure and all that, but that rant should probably be for another time and place. For now, I’ll just say that my hope is that we can all reflect on the events of 2020 and recalibrate what we prioritize as a society… but I’m not optimistic that will happen. And to all the calendar watchers out there, 2021 won’t magically be better just because it happens to not be 2020. Want things to be better? Make change. That applies to all of us. Status quo sucks anyway.
Enough of that, let’s spin the narrative a bit. As the world continues to burn around us (literally and figuratively), I need to express unrelenting gratitude to all the artists and musicians that continued to perfect their craft over the past several months. Without concerts, and as album sales continue to serve as minimal revenue at best, pausing these pursuits in search of other enterprises would have been understandable. In a year with so much negativity, and so much time away from friends and family, the music I absorbed in 2020 resonated on a deeper level than it has in years. So, thank you, for offering an escape from the daily chaos. A (completely self-induced) pressure to absorb more and more music had taken over in recent years, and as a result my connection to individual records was hindered. A basic quantity over quality concept in listening experience, I suppose. This past year, however, that wasn’t the case. I still consumed an aggressive amount of new music, but the exploration was more curious, and more genuine, than in years past. The result? A stronger attachment to the 2020 releases… which I’m certain will resonate long after we start our 2021 discussions. If there is a bright side to 2020, it’s the realigning, or rediscovering, of our passions and finding new ways to pursue them in the day-to-day. And that’s a mentality I hope to take into the new year.
So let’s dive into my 2020 picks. As always, nine favorites and nine honorable mentions. Side note: I can’t remember a year in which it was this hard to separate a few albums from the greater pack, and that’s probably the result of offering myself the opportunity to truly embed myself in these albums. There was just so much quality presented this year, and delivered over such an expansive spectrum. Just another part of the ridiculous journey that was 2020, I suppose. Anyway…
It’s the beginning of the end. Of the year. This shitty, terrifying, mind-screw of a year. But you know what? It’s also the beginning of list making, which by now (if you’ve been reading me over the last four years) you realize I relish even as I qualify and condition every list I make. As per usual I kicked it off with a list of great albums that – for various reasons – didn’t make my main lists, but that didn’t make them any less special. Every album does that for me: even the ones I don’t connect with tell me something about how I connect with music, and sometimes that’s just as important as finding an album that does make that connection. Continue reading →
We’ll close with a couple new videos, because that just sounds fun. The first is from Within Temptation, for a new track called “Entertain You”. You can check that out here. Side note, you should be happy that I didn’t work a pun into this bit of news.
And finally, a new lyric video from Green Carnation for “Sentinels”. In case you haven’t checked out Leaves of Yesteryear yet, it’s very good. And it’s out now through Season of Mist.