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Music of the year 2020

A list of my personal favorites

My friends and I have a little tradition. Every December, everyone compiles a list of their favorite albums/eps/mixes that came out that year. There're no criteria and no rules. This year I'm starting a new tradition – I'll also be posting all my lists on this website. So without any further ado, here's my favorite music of 2020, in no particular order.

Daniel Avery and Alessandro Cortini - Illusion of time

I've really gotten into ambient this year. I guess that's mainly because there have been plenty of great releases in the genre in 2020. However even among so many incredible records, this particular album stood out to me. Simple, warm, cozy, and calm, yet emotional, inspiring, and trippy at the same time. So many lonely self-isolation evenings made magical by this record. I've managed to snatch it on a limited edition transparent vinyl, pretty proud of this buy!

Soccer Mommy - color theory

Don't know how to put it, but it's something about this album's sound that always makes me feel nostalgic and hopeful. Even despite its rather depressing subject matter, there's a particular optimistic quality to Sophie's songs. Perhaps, I'm the only one who feels this way. What I'm certain is objective, are this album's absolute honesty and openness. After all, this is one of the main reasons it's one of my this year's favorites.

George Clanton & Nick Hexum - George Clanton & Nick Hexum

I've been following George Clanton since forever, so of course, I wouldn't miss this project. Ever since singles started to drop I've been hyped. And man, I wasn't disappointed! This has been a tough year for everyone, and I don't know how we would've made it without albums like this one. Every track is catchy and feels fresh. A very satisfying, and thoroughly enjoyable album overall.

Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma and Divorce

I've been told this isn't Mike's best album. Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with his body of work, so I don't know if I'd agree with this take. But even if this's true, boy am I excited to check out his other work, because I liked this record a lot! Never would I thought that I would enjoy an album about a middle-aged man going through a divorce, but AT&D managed to pull me in with its clever and witty storytelling. Legitimately funny, relatable, and surprisingly nerdy album.

Armand Hammer - Shrines

I find this album to be very demanding from a listener. The lyrics are convoluted, obscure, and hard to follow, although very witty and engrossing. The moody instrumentals are very basic and dry, but also quite creative. It's a very "rough" album all around, in a good sense, and that's exactly why I like it!

Dua Lipa & The Blessed Madonna - Club Future Nostalgia(DJ Mix)

This year, Dua Lipa has released one of the best pop albums of an entire decade. I believe this to be an indisputable fact - Future Nostalgia is packed with viral hits. Why did I put a remixed version on my list? I wouldn't say that I usually prefer remixes over the original songs, it's just that I've been listening to the club version way more. So what more can I say? It's great! If you like pop music... You probably already love this album!

Container - Scramblers

Such a powerful, energetic, and fun record. It's basic and barebones, it's forceful and dancey. If you can listen to this and not at least bob your head, please check yourself, you might not be a human. All in all...Woah, what a trip!

The Soft Pink Truth - Shall We Go on Sinning So That Grace May Increase?

Another ambient record on my list, this one is quite special. This album sure can take you places. It can excite and surprise even after multiple listens. And above all, this album fills my heart with hope. Hope, that we can heal, that perhaps things can get better.

R.A.P. Ferreira - Purple Moonlight Pages

Smart, playful, charismatic, and classy. In my opinion, this is Rory's best record to date, which is a remarkable achievement in itself, given how high he has set the bar. 100% style, 100% substance, zero compromise. An absolute masterpiece, and a must-listen for all jazz-rap/abstract hip-hop fans out there.

Even more good music:

  • Code Orange - Underneath – fun metal record, albeit very corny at times.
  • Kid Cudi - Man on the moon 3 – a proper hip-hop record from one and only. Almost no humming!
  • 070 Shake - Modus Vivendi – this album makes me really excited for Danielle's future!
  • Bullion - We Had a Good Time/Heaven Is Over – chill and "vibey" (if this is a word) EPs that provided me with so many positive emotions.
  • Undeath - Lesions of a Different Kind – a very solid, maybe even a bit too orthodox death/black metal.
  • DJ Python - Mas Amable – helped me focus on multiple occasions.

I've been listening to LOTS of club techno in 2020. HÖR Berlin is one and only true source for the best of the best DJ sets to listen to in isolation, thoroughly recommend it. Here're some of my favorites:

I would also like to recommend this channel if you're into 90s DnB. It was an accidental discovery, and boy am I glad I've found it! I've been listening to these albums a lot:

And there you have it, folks. Did you find any of your own favorites on this list? I hope I helped you discover new music, and perhaps some of it would become your personal MOTY as well. Thanks a lot for reading!