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Your Songs of 2020


TT's Resident Ace of Base Superfan
It's been a rough year, but there's been some excellent music. Here's my top 10:

10) 25 ~ The Pretty Reckless
The Pretty Reckless is my greatest discovery of this year, and quickly has become one of my favorite bands ever. While Death by Rock and Roll was a good intro track for their upcoming 2021 album, 25 is the most mature song they've released yet. Its influences are everything, from Joan Jett to Metallica to The Beatles.

9) Movin' Different ~ Wale
Easily the best rap song of the year. Wale (pronounced wall eh) gives a culturally relevant BLM track while also writing brilliant lyrics and setting them to a sick beat.

8) Blinding Lights ~ The Weeknd
The Weeknd has one of the most distinctive voices in music history, and this might be his best song ever. Take the rhythm of Take on Me, add a dark undertone, and lyrics about obsessive love, and it's an incredible pop track. Also, The Weeknd was robbed at the Grammys.

7) All Love Everything ~ Aloe Blacc
Aloe is the greatest soul singer of the 21st Century, and this song is proof.

6) Use My Voice ~ Evanescence
I've loved Evanescence and Amy Lee's vocals ever since I first heard them in a mini mart 17 years ago. There were always questions, since Lee was from Arkansas, and the band's lyrics in their first album, whether they were secret conservative Christian rock. Responding with possibly the best protest song of the year is a pretty good refutation of that.

5) Flowers on a Grave ~ Bush
My brother gave me one of the best birthday presents ever last year when we went to see Bush and Live. Gavin Rossdale is the frontperson I've been closest to physically as he came up into the crowd with no inhibitions. This song rocks and also I can say with experience that Rossdale dances like this all the time and it's awesome.

4) Caution ~ The Killers
The Killers were dormant for a long time, and then released this, a true Killers track, in all its bombastic glory.

3) Bang! ~ AJR
I'm assuming the tyrant with AJR in their username was a fan of this band, and I can see why. This track is in-your-face rock/pop excellence. Oh, and the lead singer always wears that hat. Always.

2) Break My Heart Dua Lipa
An absolute banger. A perfect pop song, and an incredible disco revival. It hits every pop composition button, and the video is perfect as well. Also the unintentional INXS tribute is perfect.

1) Who's Gonna Stop Me Portugal. The Man feat. Weird Al Yankovic
Catchy and relevant, it's the song of 2020. It is about indigenous people and was released on indigenous peoples day. It's nice to find out that Al is on the right side of history.
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Hum coming out of hibernation and releasing Inlet 22 years after their previous album, to no fanfare or build-up, just dropping it out of nowhere, was surreal and mind blowing and a much-needed respite in this shitty year. It's a stunning and incredible work that rivals even You'd Prefer An Astronaut.

Although mostly a collection of rares, covers, and live recordings, Medium Rarities by Mastodon was welcome. Even if the only song was the cover of the Flaming Lips' "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton", it would have been worth listening. The only admittedly mild disappointment is that "A Commotion" is not the Feist-included version.

Deftones continue to be one of the only "90s" bands that make music that doesn't feel like they're just mining a particular long-dead sound. "Ohms" is worth a listen, especially if you liked the stuff from Gore, Koi No Yokan, or Diamond Eyes.


10) 25 ~ The Pretty Reckless
The Pretty Reckless is my greatest discovery of this year, and quickly has become one of my favorite bands ever. While Death by Rock and Roll was a good intro track for their upcoming 2021 album, 25 is the most mature song they've released yet. Its influences are everything, from Joan Jett to Metallica to The Beatles.

Oh, I remember them. This is the band where Cindy Lou Who is the singer.
i would love to do a real song list but I have a bad enough time just getting an album list.

so here's an album list with links to the song i (maybe possibly) like the most from them

1. Petty Tyrants Meatball - Schizoid Personality Disorder
Chinese artist (granted, no idea about anything of the artist, may be expat) making entirely western music but here's an attempt to blend more of chinese comp into it. In that sense it feels a lot like that fatima al qadiri from a while back, but not so enveloped in it's concept that it doesn't just completely rip. Great jungle-esque music.

2. Black to Comm - Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens
His album last year was probably my aoty, and although this one is on the other end of the spectrum for him (much lighter/more ambient) it's still great. It's supposed to accompany a visual art instillation but it has more than enough strength on his own. I also just really like heavily conceptual music that it doesn't really matter to think about it because it's very pretty. Kind of a Burning Star Core feel on this for me. (and checking to see if c. spencer yeh has done anything this year is making me realize how far behind i am on everything!)

3. Kate NV - Room for the Moon
Russian 80-fawning synthpop. It's really incredible and re-listening for this list made me remember how much i really do love this. Can't understand a thing she's singing about but it has the same full and fun progressive pop sound of like a Picky Picnic or Simon Bookish (or also the 21 century aksak maboul stuff they had an album out this year that was very solid)

4. Sutcliffe Jungend - The Deluge
And to 180 here's one of the most hateful bands of all. I don't actually think the music is by intent to be aggressive or offensive, they're just one of those british noise bands that want to cast light on the evils of the world or whatever. This is nearly 40 years into their existence though, and 1 year into their alleged breakup (which actually is just them changing names into "slaves no more"), and they have matured somewhat beyond just listing murders or whatever. Usually they come with a content warning, but really this is more just haunting and sorrowful. They're simply extremely good at their sounds and synth manipulation

5. Abigor - Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook)
Abigor simply delivers every time (Satanized is ok-ish). My favorite from them is when they really lean into the technical/industrial/dozen-guitars-layered approach, but this one is a little more orthodox. It's still an album only Abigor would make and somehow they still release fresh and great bm like 30 years into their history.

6. Airway/Hijokaiden - The Lowest Form of Music
Two classic noise improv groups doing noise improv. Kind of a weird split but whatever, they're all great. I prefer the Hijokaiden tracks, but I'm linking Airway because it's a bit more approachable (only a bit).

7. The Soft Pink Truth - Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase
Everything he does, with this and Matmos, immediately enters aoty discussion. No exception here, and another great concept piece and it's beautiful.

8. Speaker Music - Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
Music for the times, without a doubt. Probably should be higher but this list is mostly random anyway. It's just great deconstructed and brutalized techno, and while there's more theoretical content in the track titles than the tracks themselves (at least, on a mutually understanded level) it just feels right for the theme anyway. Sociological examination through industrial? something like that. Constant reminder i should check more of what he (DeForrest Brown Jr.) creates.

9. Laetita in Holocaust - Heritage
Still room in the world for black metal with great riffs and interesting melodies. In a lot of ways this feels like a late 00s album or something but it's still fresh and really just good in all the normal ways black metal needs to be.

10. Hardy Fox - Killing Time
Ok so I got halfway through my list and found out this existed. Embarrassing! Every since Rilla Contemplates Love in 2018, and then his following death he's been about the only musician I think about. Maybe the most important rock composer that no one has heard of (because he lived his 50+ years as the main composer for The Residents under complete anonymity), and imo an unparalleled genius. Rilla Contemplates Love, this, THIS (a short memoir[maybe?]), and some other stuff was created after he knew he was dying of brain cancer, and while I don't want to add potentially unnecessary context to people who haven't heard it, I want to suggest the power and importance his work has. It's so heartbreaking and contemplative and whatever, but all of that work has been immediately impressed on me. Insane to just fall in love with a guy that I never knew existed, and probably still don't actually know anything of his life (his memoirs seem to bend reality and allegory and is written in first person, but under his pseudonym). Regardless, basically everything he does speaks to me clearly and in a language i think i understand.

This one is less important, seems to mostly be disparate, and short, pieces he created. Feel like short themes. It's still good, but admittedly i wouldn't include this if 1. I didn't want to talk about hardy fox and 2. I didn't just right now find out about it.