We all know that 2020 was a very unpleasant year (to say the least). You don’t need me to list all the ways it was awful. We are all painfully aware of the details, and even more so as we look back at our 2020 new year’s resolutions we had made (travel more, drink less; you know). So enough of that, let’s focus on a bit of positivity and good that emerged from the past 12 months. For instance, there were so many new and wonderful musical releases that I could not even keep up. Every new album I listened to brought some joy, some goosebumps, and some pain—but in a good, cathartic way. As usual, my super indecisive self had a difficult time narrowing down the list of favorites. I managed to finally settle(ish) on a list. These selections are different (with the exception of my number one pick) from when I weighed in on the group list and different on the EOY Podcast episode—apologies for the inconsistency but, again, I’m indecisive (and also anxious).
Here are my top 13 as of this moment (because I love all things spooky, and c’mon, we’ve already had all the bad luck brought upon us) and a little list of some nonmetal favorites.
Since every minute of every day in this year of our Lord 2020 seems hyperattenuated to *gestures vaguely at all of this*, you don’t need me to remind you of anything. If you are reading this, you survived, and I hope that continues. While I count mine (and my family’s) survival as the accomplishment of the year, other things I didn’t hate were the Domestikwom EP I put out in June titled Wallowing in Misery, along with launching a full fledged website for fellow Nine Circler Chris and I’s movie podcast Cinema Dual.
I was also able to pull focus long enough to check out some albums this year, and unlike the year that spawned them, I was pretty impressed. Hopefully you find something you like or even something new. Best of luck next year. Continue reading
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…
For this episode we go all in with most of the staff for our best of 2020 picks. We hit the high notes of what tickled our fancies for the year that was a shitstorm and even welcomed in a new member to the family. So, buckle up for an epic episode that has a wealth of stuff you may have missed and be sure to take notes, artists we mention need your support so open up those wallets and purses.
Ah, the big one. I’ve been looking forward to writing this for a while, but I also can’t help but feel like there’s no way I could possibly put everything I loved about music in 2020 into enough words to satisfy myself. If I had enough time or gumption to make a list that was twenty or thirty albums long, I still don’t think that would be enough. So much great music happened amid the Unpleasantness, and I think more than ever it was worth paying attention to all of it, whether for excitement or escape or transcendentalism or catharsis. For me, losing a twice-daily commute meant that I had to be an active listener to the music I chose to put on, and I think that made the releases that stood out to me stand out all the more. Plus, being a part of the team here has been a literal dream come true, and I had more access than ever to quality releases. Without further ado, here are the ones I’ve fallen for the hardest.