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50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1

10. Ichiko Aoba – Windswept Adan


[Official site] // [Spotify]

This album could be Ichiko Aoba’s identity crisis, though on the subtlest of terms. I could be projecting. There just seems to be less of… her on it; but, in all fairness, that’s contingent on the singer being personally defined by a voice and permeable space, not also the denser surrounding arrangements and instrumental narratives. Which might be a bit unreasonable. While I’ve mostly known Aoba’s music to feel cloistered — burrowed in contentment, mostly alone — this album is one of a select few cases where the singer achieves a sort of induced wanderlust, though still often doubling back on the realization of self. “Prologue” sounds like meditating mid-air in a failed zeppelin as it disintegrates in slow motion, and pardon the silly specificity. “Pilgrimage” sounds like a world’s worth of joy failing to directly resolve a deep, esoteric personal anguish, and instead fortifying the gaps around it. “Dawn in the Adan” is resilient, and one of the more grounded pieces, even as Aoba’s voice soars. It’s weird to say this as someone who’s made a bit of a hobby of overanalyzing songs, but Windswept Adan is somewhat of a rare case, where superfluous words can indeed do a disservice (more so than I’d normally admit, anyway). I don’t want to talk about it much, as I’d much rather listen to it; and, I don’t care too much what others have to say about it (I haven’t actively read any of the reviews of it yet, and doubt I will). In recent months, where sequestering has been to varying degrees of forced or self-imposed, music that perpetuates the fantasy of transportation — mystical, or pragmatic, but in this case largely the former — is a blessing. –Tristan Jones

9. Paysage d’Hiver – Im Wald


[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

Wintherr, the sole figure behind the atmospheric black metal project Paysage d’Hiver, conceives of each of his releases as an exploration of a specific element of the mythical Paysage (“landscape”; “Hiver” = “winter”; “d'” = “of”) after which his project is named and which provides the thematic backbone for his discography. To take a few early examples: 1998’s debut demo Steineiche (“Holm oak,” a kind of dark-leafed oak tree native to Southern Europe) impressionistically details the titular tree at the dead center of the Paysage; the same year’s atypical ambient release Die Festung (“The Fortress”) is about, or musically formalizes, the fortress in which the solitary traveler can take refuge from, in Wintherr’s words, the “wintry forces of this world” (“[das] winterlichen Kräfte dieser Welt”); 1999’s notoriously noisy Kerker (“Dungeon”) refers to the dungeon that lies underneath that fortress.

Now we have the latest and most epic iteration of Wintherr’s Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk, apparently his first “album” (sure why not), after some 10-odd “demos” and numerous split releases over the course of 22 years. 2020’s two-hour behemoth Im Wald (“In the Forest”) finds the reclusive artist in full control of his worldmaking practice — so in control that some have mistaken the album’s surefooted pacing and capacious sonic weave for routine, as if Wintherr were merely phoning it in. And sure, Im Wald lacks some of the gonzo nastiness of the exceedingly raw self-titled demo (1999) and the thrumming aura of 2001’s Winterkaelte, the two tapes generally taken to represent the artistic peak of Paysage d’Hiver. Yet with this here record, which is indeed recorded in higher fidelity, which is maybe a touch less melodically dynamic (and therefore operating in the vein of his previous release, 2013’s generally well-received Das Tor) than the earlier tapes, and which is, yessir, two hours long and not a second shorter — with this here record, Wintherr has successfully revealed new layers of his musical personality while satisfyingly building on the self-contained Paysage d’Hiver mythology of wind noise and razor-sharp guitars. Im Wald, in short, is a gorgeously evocative expansion of the world that Wintherr has painstakingly built over two decades, replete with dusky and ominous chord progressions, ghoulish vocals, and sufficient space between sonic climaxes to let each of them breathe.

To me, it’s also more. When I listen to “Alt” or “Le reve lucide” or 19-minute closer “So hallt es wider”, and especially when I trek through multiple tracks at a time (or dare I say the whole album), I feel fully within myself and without myself, observing and at the same time experiencing a transformation in the nature of perception, awake to the equal measure of beauty and terror in my soul and in that which lies outside myself, even things immaterial, things in between things, things for which I have no name. Possessed, it could be said, by the spirit of exploration, Wintherr has, all by himself, created an album that serves as a gripping work of art in and of itself as well as a decree on the virtues of black metal as a genre — a primer on why and how the non-representational medium of music can throw us into another world the second we hit “play”. Guitars are not dark trees; piercing screams do not exactly replicate the screeches of an owl ensconced in the pitch-black night; lo-fi production does not index the appearance and disappearance of the moon through the clouds. But in this case they do represent in their entirety one man’s efforts to bring to an audience of rapt witnesses the fruits of his experience of nature, to help this audience see with new eyes the world around them, to compel into existence a musical form which might apprehend the fall of the sparrow or the noise of the wind as it slowly, imperceptibly transforms into melody.

The German Romantic philosopher Friedrich Schiller once wrote in a letter that beauty in its purest form creates an experience that is not wholly individual nor wholly communal but some blissful, otherwise impossible combination of the two, in which a person “dwells quietly in his own hut, communing with himself and, as soon as he issues from it, with the whole [of humanity].” The promise of Im Wald, and of Paysage d’Hiver’s whole body of work, is this: staring in the face that which does not possess a face, understanding that he doesn’t understand, plowing forth “Durch Eis und Schnee und Weiss und Schnee und Eis” (“through ice and snow and white and snow and ice”), moving “Weiter, immer weiter, immer weiter, weiter, weiter, weiter” (“onward, always onward, always onward, onward, onward, onward”), the solitary traveler may one day lay down to rest knowing in its fullness the horror and splendor of his own existence, of the landscape of winter, of the world itself — and then knowing, finally, that he was able to share this knowledge with someone else. –robertsona

8. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?


[Official site] // [Spotify]

The only time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Jessie Ware live was her outdoor performance at Coachella 2018, in support of her third album, Glasshouse. As game as Ware herself was, the set itself was a strangely muted, bordering on downright lifeless affair. Candidly, Goldenvoice screwed her: scheduled against Cardi B at the neighboring main stage amid the soul-sucking heat of a Sunday afternoon in the desert, Ware, performing her weakest record, drew a sparse crowd and suffered recurrent sound problems. Months later, Ware would confide in interviews that the set and accompanying tour left her bitter, resentful, and considering leaving music altogether in favor of a newly burgeoning family (Ware had given birth 18 months before that tour and was unable to bring her daughter along) and other interests. She subsequently started a successful food podcast with her mom, had another child, and led her musical output dwindle to the occasional track dropped here and there like individually gift-wrapped treats. If this was how things ended, no one could have been upset.

Thankfully for selfish fans like myself, it didn’t. What’s Your Pleasure? immediately set a new bar in Ware’s career when it dropped this summer after numerous delays, more than fulfilling the thrilling promise of its singles. More importantly, it’s an album that served as indelible proof that a married mother of two was still our best artist at translating the romance of the nightclub, all strobing lights and skin rustling on skin — music felt rather than heard. Hearing the various singles Ware had parceled out over the prior two years — the vibrating, ascending “Spotlight”, the hitching ’80s bop of “Ooh La La”, “Save a Kiss” and its thoroughly modern take on electro-disco — in the context of the rest of the album reveals what a long gestating record What’s Your Pleasure? actually was, and all the more focused for it. Where Ware’s songs in the past were often content to simmer, here, with the aid of ace producers like Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford and Morgan Geist, she erupts into a pop supernova, taking us to her version of an underground club in the throbbing “Soul Control” or steaming up the windows on the title track, easily the most immediate, intimate song of her career. When the after-hours finally closes up and the sun begins to rise on closer “Remember Where You Are”, there’s shades of disappointment and some inevitable regret, but what stays with you is the reassurance of hearing Ware asking, “Why don’t you take me home?” amid a crackling neo-gospel backing, nighttime fantasies transitioning to daytime realities and the comforts of just being with the ones you love.

It’s a bit of a cruel joke we won’t be able to hear What’s Your Pleasure? in its natural habitat anytime soon, but I’m looking forward to seeing Jessie Ware at the next Coachella. Preferably in a tent, in the dark, with the lights low and these relentlessly exhilarating songs slithering across the dirt and through our bones. –Rudy K.

7. Protest the Hero – Palimpsest


[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

I’m frankly angry at Protest the Hero for making an album as good as Palimpsest. This band I had semi-proudly made a point of not caring for after Fortress, this band with their melting pot of operatic vocals, spindly math guitar and somewhat overwrought left-leaning album-long narratives — this band should not by any means be coming back with their strongest album in 2020. But redemption from the ashes is the entire narrative of Palimpsest even if it’s not the album concept. Post-vocal surgery, Rody Walker sounds like a man reborn, shredding his vocal cords to bits anew as he pirouettes atop the tracks. The band interlocks better than they have since the early days, providing mean, propulsive bangers which can pivot to the stunningly beautiful at the drop of a hat. This is also lyrically and thematically Protest the Hero’s best concept album, a strong rebound from satirically bad songs about bulldogs and Star Trek on their last few releases. In fact, Walker has made a name for himself as a writer easily on par with the band’s departed wordsmith Arif Mirabdolbaghi, albeit in a completely different style. Palimpsest is, in the simplest terms, a bunch of accessible history lessons, relevant to the world and its political state, undercutting its own self-seriousness with some well-deployed Canadian humour or, best of all, genuinely emotional character beats.

Those few moments are when it’s clear to me how far Protest the Hero have come. Kezia and Fortress were narratively complex and often compelling, but there’s only so much emotion one can glean from a song about, y’know, how humans are the real aliens like “Sequoia Throne”. The very best moments on Palimpsest hit you with a gut-punch that is as devastating as it is completely appropriate to the substance of the songs. “From the Sky”‘s heart-rending, screamalongable immolation coda; “Gardenias”‘ understated portrait of an actress driven to suicide; “All Hands” ending on a truly unexpected anticlimax that functions as a eulogy for all the forgotten, underserved workers of the world dicked over by selfish, uncaring higher powers. Even the weakest song on the album, “The Canary”, finds a stunning note of pathos when it quotes the words of Amelia Earhart in a bridge that is sure to piss off entitled nerds everywhere who just came to hear riffs: “women must pay for everything […] they do get more glory than men for comparable tasks, they also get more notoriety when they crash.”

Take these as evidence that Rody Walker has more on his mind than a list of facts and figures from history. “From the Sky” isn’t just about how the Hindenburg had an oft-forgotten Nazi symbol on its back that wasn’t shown on the famous picture of its fiery crash. It’s about how history can be written by a picture, imprinted onto our collective consciousness to the point where the image stays long after facts about it have faded, and how the omission of anything from that picture thus single-handedly changes history. The most poignant moment of the entire album is that song’s finale, Walker singing as the Hindenburg itself, begging, “… take my picture as I burn / and print it out for all to see.” Another beautiful machine corrupted by humanity, going down in flames; a symbol of our most ambitious failures. When Rody finally makes literal the subtext of Palimpsest by saying, “let’s make America great again,” he’s not using the slogan lightly — he’s doing it after an album unpacking all the bloviating, self-serving, facile lies of an administration that’s doing its very best to unravel democracy, still, as I type this blurb two days before Christmas of the worst goddamn year. Our most ambitious failure is going down in flames right now, Palimpsest argues, and the picture we take of it has to capture every tiny little detail, no matter how shameful or painful. Or there will be even worse years to come.

That this argument is somewhat cogent and packed into a tight 13-track album is already something of a minor miracle. That the album makes said argument while still being thrilling, touching, disgustingly catchy and occasionally funny is borderline breathtaking, and justification enough for its lofty placement on our list. I don’t think Palimpsest pulled me back into Protest the Hero’s orbit only because it slaps (though my god, reader, it really fucking does), nor do I think its placement here is just an indicator of a few staffers just really liking Protest the Hero (though a few of us really do). Palimpsest struck a nerve this year with the force of a dropped bowling ball because it truly transcended the scope of Protest the Hero’s previous concerns, valid as they were. This isn’t a math prog band with surprisingly progressive lyrics. It’s an album far more than the sum of its parts, an honest-to-god piece of art that stands far apart from any quibbles about genre or timeliness or aging well. A document of our times, a well-deserved reckoning and accounting, and wall-to-wall with absolute goddamn slappers — that in essence is Palimpsest. –Rowan5215

6. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher


[Official site] // [Spotify]

Phoebe Bridgers is above all else someone who feels very deeply about everything and everyone. Someone who ponders the big questions while simultaneously sweating the small stuff. Her lyrics are dripping with ruminating thoughts on memories and moments that are glued to her psyche. Constant references to feeling guilty about not being excited enough when a good thing happens, or the core theme of Punisher, caring for someone who hates themselves and the overwhelming burden that is to bear. What makes Bridgers’ lyrics special is the way she weaves these raw feelings and emotions into relatable situations in specific places (usually Los Angeles) and time. This all especially hits home for someone who spent their formative years as an Angelino, what with all the references to The Huntington Library, Silverlake, Elliot Smith and Los Feliz, and that bungalow from Mulholland Drive. There’s also a line about that guy who was killed at Dodger Stadium and one about those stupid celebrity spotting bus rides. All this minutiae gets you a front-row seat to a wild ride inside Phoebe Bridgers’ head. There’s something deeply nostalgic about Bridgers’ music that could only be created by someone who’s still thinking about waving back at someone who wasn’t actually waving at you fifteen years ago, and I’m not crying, you’re crying. –Trebor.

5. Run the Jewels – RTJ4


[Official site] // [Spotify]

The hype around Run the Jewels has been a bit ridiculous since day one. This is fine, because Run the Jewels are, well, ridiculous. The duo have always made their brand of kinetic, slickly produced hip-hop look easy, taking advantage of their unique chemistry to create cocky but brilliant hip-hop with an energy so many lack.

RTJ4 finds longtime collaborators Killer Mike and El-P at their most political, but they haven’t forgotten how to have a great time in the process. The fact that a song as dumb but addicting as “Ooh La La” can exist on the same album as the thought-provoking “Walking in the Snow” is a large part of what makes Run the Jewels so charming. They have profound perspectives to share — “A Few Words for the Firing Squad (Radiation)” being a career highlight in this regard — but just as many moments require you to shut off your brain entirely. Regardless of the mood you’re in, you’ll find something rewarding here.

Even after four collaborative efforts, Run the Jewels feel more relevant than ever. The eccentric duo had a lot to say in 2020, and with a new song featured on the controversy-plagued Cyberpunk 2077, they’re capitalizing on their momentum. Time and time again, Killer Mike and El-P have proven to be an unstoppable force. Personally, I’ll be one of the first in line for the inevitable RTJ5. I have no doubt it will be another excellent and over-the-top effort; I just can’t help but wonder what color they’ll go with this time. –Atari

4. Paradise Lost – Obsidian


[Official site] // [Spotify]

The Yorkshire gothic metal pioneers Paradise Lost have achieved something truly remarkable with their 16th album. Obsidian sounds like the band’s magnum opus with its diverse collection of songs that perfectly capture the essence of the band and their 32-year-long recording career. In consequence, their trademark bleakness and heaviness coalesce with soaring, melodic songcraft. It’s an album that can be enjoyed and appreciated by fans of various stages of their vast discography as it adroitly combines death, doom, gothic and alternative influences. Even though the band hardly ever step out of their comfort zone, the strength of their songwriting is impossible to deny. Opener “Darker Thoughts” starts with gloomy acoustic guitars and understated orchestral elements only to culminate in oppressive doom metal. “Ghosts” is an unexpectedly danceable foray into the gothic rock of the eighties, while “The Devil Embraced” juxtaposes organ and a splendid melody with a morose growl and growing tension. Frontman Nick Holmes is in his element, delivering varied vocals that range from devilish to infectiously melodic. Greg Mackintosh’s guitar play is equally impressive as his leads are supremely evocative throughout the record. The whole band sound rejuvenated, in fact, and Obsidian, despite its sombre atmosphere, feels like an introspective celebration of their entire career. Just like the volcanic glass the album takes its title from, it protects against negative energy, turning the bleakness into something wonderful. –Greg.

3. Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters


[Official site] // [Spotify]

While Fetch the Bolt Cutters undoubtedly deserves its high placement both here and elsewhere — frankly, any aggregated end-of-year list without it isn’t worth reading — it feels strange attempting to write about it as just another LP-sized slice of the year we are still currently in. This album came out in April, eight months ago? Just thinking about it triggers my cognitive dissonance; its cultural imprint is already so vast that it might as well have been out a decade. It’s attracted levels of attention, acclaim, controversy and successive discourse that no other album in this feature can realistically compete with (discounting the superficialities of sales figures and celebrity flim-flam). And yet, while this has been hugely exciting to observe and periodically wade into, Fetch the Bolt Cutters has not had the benefit of multiple years for the narratives to straighten out and the various strains of hype and anti-hype to sublimate into a reliable reputation. It is still enveloped in an internet-sized mushroom cloud that shows no signs of dispersing; its legacy is still under construction, and it is a waste of time to try to frame it in the summative this-is-what-this-artist-released-at-this-point-in-time terms that I am supposed to be coughing up presently. This album is history in motion: where do we start?

Well, let’s work from the outside in. Take a look at that mushroom cloud: how did it get so big? I think the world has been ready and all but waiting for an album like this for a while. Post-Trump, we are (maybe) emerging from a period of hyperentitled male dishonesty unprecedented in visibility with, perhaps, a similarly unprecedented public awareness of the power systems that create these power figures; post-MeToo, we also have a new (or newly public) willingness to scrutinise and reject sexist abuse on both a systemic and individual level. These aren’t just ‘perspectives’ — they are active, intuitive imperatives for anyone experiencing the current date and time from a Western standpoint, and they need strong voices to be conveyed and understood and accepted into our hearts as such. Music has always been a fast track to this end, but how many artists have produced works that aren’t just about this transformation of how female experiences are publicly expressed and male power is critiqued, but thoroughly steeped in the anger and overcome shame-and-self-doubt that are still fueling change, relayed in one collected statement so concrete you can all but touch it? This isn’t a rhetorical question — Fiona Apple is just one part of this movement, and I would be glad to see any further discussion of other related voices — but the depth and conviction with which she gets under the skin of these themes is uncanny. Hers is a voice to express the crux of MeToo with devastating grit and clarity (“For Her”); a voice rich with righteous fury but wise enough to know that anger alone is a sucker’s game (“Relay”); a voice self-assured enough to acquit itself equally well through fiction (“Newspaper”) and its own memory (“Shameika”); a voice of solidarity in the face of petty rivalry and internalised misogyny (“Ladies”); a voice that thoroughly understands its own value and will not under any circumstances stand for being undersold as such (“Under the Table”, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”, “Rack of His”, etc.).

That explains the size of the dust cloud; it’s very easy to account for the resonance and success this album has had, and will continue to have with swathes of people well beyond the usual indie/art pop/Pitchfork bubble associated with Fiona Apple’s brand of capital-A artiste. However, there’s much more to Fetch the Bolt Cutters than the token zeitgeist firework as which some have misconstrued it. Ultimately, that dimension of the record only packs such a punch because its underlying narrative of finding your own voice rings so true. It’s strange to put Apple, a seasoned writer of uncommon incisiveness, in the situation of voicelessness to begin with, yet a key part of this album, in its reflections of her experiences as a victim of childhood bullying and as a sexual assault survivor, is the way it refashions both her standpoint as a writer and the vocabulary of her band to say things that were previously unsayable for her. As Apple put it in a recent interview in The Guardian, “You cycle through the same things over and over but you’re seeing it a little more clearly every time.” In this case, ‘seeing a little more clearly’ necessitated an extensive process of self-connection; she goes on to remark on how the focal part of the production process was simply constructing an environment in which she and her band were able to express themselves authentically. Trusting herself, her instincts, and — as she stresses — the truth of her own memories was the key struggle, and the endless personability of her lyrics and earthy idiosyncrasies of her musical palette were apparently the natural result of attaining this rather than an end in and of themselves.

This scans. Fetch the Bolt Cutters throws out polish as a virtual anathema to the unfiltered self-assurance that serves as its lifeblood. It’s clamorous and impudent and brash and often outright ugly. It sounds bloody great. It sounds right. It feels this way because the band chemistry and the currents of intention are personable and palpable at every turn; because the bile and banter of Apple’s lyrics finds themselves backed up by the most appropriately corrosive timbres and pounding rhythms; because her vocal harmonies and improvised lyrical twists pack memorable moments for days; because the album’s overcited experimentalism is never an impediment to the clarity of its songwriting (dolphin squeals and dog barking be damned); because it never makes the slightest effort to cater to establishment preconceptions of how pop music should sound; because it tips its hat to some choice alternate realities of how else it might have sounded (I hear you, Bone Machine); because its bravery and self-trust and conviction and resolution to pin down once-ineffable content in the most relatable language all capture the spark of what happens when people express vitally relatable content in a way that no-one else could say. What a force. What a beautiful, brazen force.

So, yes, that mushroom cloud is warranted. Fetch the Bolt Cutters feels like history because it’s exactly that, but it’s first and foremost Fiona Apple’s story told in brash tones so inspirationally her own that those famous no-music-has-sounded-like-this hyperboles can be forgiven to a certain degree. It’s an unmitigated triumph. Everyone should listen to it and sing to it often and loudly, and generally get used to it because this will be the record many of the many artists paying close attention to it right now will wish they had made, and you’ll be hearing its influence for a long time to come.

Disclaimer: This should really have been written from a woman’s perspective. I have done my best to compensate for this with a close reading of Fiona Apple’s commentary, and apologise for any distortion to this that may have resulted from my own writing. The cited Guardian interview above is very good.

I mean, you’re reading about Fetch the Bolt Cutters having a 2020 podium finish on a male-dominated site with a distinctly mixed relationship with abuse allegations and wider misogyny (the irony of this album all but rounding off a list bookended by Marilyn Manson is not lost on me): Fetch the Bolt Cutters is the real fucking deal, and if we at Sputnik can hear that, so can you. –JohnnyoftheWell

2. The Microphones – Microphones in 2020


[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

We only pretend to live on something as ordered as a linear temporal continuum, as orderly as a grid of routine and the everyday punctuated by Big Moments — meeting a significant other, getting a promotion, moving places. It’s a shared misconception, emphasized by how we process time, but entropy increases always: in the recesses of memory, something as trivial as seeing a kung-fu movie can be as important to one’s sense of identity as meeting the ostensible love of one’s life, and time jumbles up and inverts and collapses in on itself into a chaotic mélange and our identities are what we can salvage from the debris. The best attempt at documenting linearity, the photograph, also get lost in drawers, “Did we do this first or rather did we do that?”, iPhones failing in planned obsolescence. Maybe that’s why so many of us are drawn to a forty-minute song consisting of a fragmented, disjointed patchwork of memory, recollection and musings, for the most part anchored only by two guitar chords. Maybe we recognise ourselves. Maybe this is the truth of all things… maybe Taco Bell should continue to release potato-based products. –Winesburgohio

1. Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now


[Official site] // [Spotify]

“So hard, the things we’ve been through…”

Charli XCX was made for this moment. In a premise so obvious it could be fan fiction, the artist born Charlotte Aitchison announced that she would begin her fourth studio album 21 days into the first lockdown of 2020; exactly 39 days later, she delivered it.

In the years since aligning herself with A.G. Cook and his PC Music cohorts, Charli XCX has finessed a place within the fringes of a pop mainstream that seems unable, or perhaps unwilling, to anoint her with the icon status she deserves. She seizes the thematic richness of her avant-pop with an auteurist attitude, prompting five years of music journalists reframing each successive entry into her catalog as another exemplar of her place in the vanguard; “the future of pop,” as they say. A cursory listen is certainly cause for confusion: the buzzy electro-pop of her early career has given way to exaggerated, is-it-ironic? plasticine experiments that rattled the mainstream for exactly all of 2014 before being subsumed into the cultural lexicon. The maximalist formulas that gifted us 2013’s “Boom Clap” and “I Love It” have been replaced with a deadpan dissonance, eerie exaggerations of the synthetic pop tunes that drove artists like Robyn to international acclaim (and Farrah Abraham to cult status). The idea of computers and algorithms have been so fetishized as the Possibility of a Tomorrow that seven years after her hyper-stylized bubblegum bass could be considered such a thing, we’re still treating Charli’s sensitivities to experimental trends as prescient.

The truth is far more interesting. Charli’s music exists in the liminal spaces afforded by her outré interests and established career, building an inclusive space from the remnants of pop’s queered history that absorbs, refracts and amplifies the marginalized voices therein. Her roster of collaborators suggest an active pursuit of a shared utopia that is constantly warped by societal expectations and self-sabotage, the kind borne of chemical vices and emotional despondency. She delights in the subversion of pleasure triggers, a constant redress of the rigid, insular songwriting that has infiltrated the radio and weaponized poptimism so that we can buy the same old shit in shinier, more cynical packaging. Much like the World Wide Web it projects, Charli’s music becomes escapism into ever expanding spaces, populated by transients and weirdos and the alienated, all glommed together under the glow of her warm embrace.

In this light, is there a more modern pop star, or a more modern pop album? how i’m feeling now was created in 39 days, but it so succinctly packages the thematic and melodic motifs that run through Charli’s career that it feels like the culmination of a lifetime’s preparation. A workaholic who told Pitchfork not eight months prior, “If I go on holiday for three days I have a breakdown,” Charli opened up her Zoom account to thousands of fans and turned lockdown into a fast-tracked reflection of her relationship and career. The ephemeral nature of her music meets its cosmic complement in the neurotic, outsized response to the pandemic, each new track another bewildering deep cut of fleet synth-pop. There are marks of the antagonism in opener “Pink Diamond” that portend post-COVID gluttony, but more often than not the lyrics on how i’m feeling now reveal an artist reckoning with her fortunes in a way paradoxical to her output. The clandestine backrooms and distracting desires of yesterparties are excised in favor of romantic inroads to matrimony and stability. Despite the dearth of guest spots (the first in her career), there always remains the presence of her romantic partner, friends and family.

Of course, an album like how i’m feeling now doesn’t reach a top spot just because of the fortunes of its creation (mis- or otherwise) in a year like 2020, though it will always prove difficult to extricate from the narrative. The key lies in that title, in the DIY spirit that lifts off the weight of headier aspirations that can bog down a whimsical creative on a longer deadline. The album has the explosive spark of lightning in a bottle captured just-so, when everything felt oddly exciting and topsy-turvy; like Charli had to honor the liminal spaces that matured her, made her, left her with the resilience to make good on something like the apocalypse. how i’m feeling now is all hooks and ballads and anthems and visions and friends and families and all of us apart, here, together, forever. We’re Charli, baby. –Lewis

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List of participating writers (alphabetical order): Atari, AtomicWaste, BlushfulHippocrene, DrGonzo1937, Frippertronics, granitenotebook, Greg., insomniac15, JohnnyoftheWell, Jom, Jots, klap, manosg, mynameischan, plane, robertsona, Rowan5215, SowingSeason, TalonsOfFire, theacademy, Trebor., Voivod, Willie, Winesburgohio, Xenophanes





robertsona
12.23.20
Oh yes. Staff coming in THICC

Ryus
12.23.20
probably the best top 10 ive seen from staff lol

dimsim3478
12.23.20
"There just seems to be less of… her on it"

I know I've said this a lot but there is quite literally less of her (songwriting) on it.

WyattEarp
12.23.20
Ooh, Im Wald and Obsidian are here, that's nice. Still pissed about Ulcerate at 29. though.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.23.20
Wow I truly didn't expect charli to top this

Nice to see microphones, ware, and wald on here too

SteakByrnes
12.23.20
I was not expecting that number 1 damn

granitenotebook
12.23.20
pop wins

brainmelter
12.23.20
besides 7 and 4 this is a pretty good top 10

Sinternet
12.23.20
this might be the least embarrassing staff list ever gj

Darius The Imposter
12.23.20
props... i suppose

ChoccyPhilly
12.23.20
Interesting but I can live with Charli being #1. Definitely the soundtrack of my initial lockdown

LeddSledd
12.23.20
honestly, not a bad top 10

"you’re reading about Fetch the Bolt Cutters having a 2020 podium finish on a male-dominated site with a distinctly mixed relationship with abuse allegations and wider misogyny"

great line

Jots
12.23.20
@dim - technically true, but it’s still packaged as an Ichiko release

BlazinBlitzer
12.23.20
Ichiko being in the top 10 is obviously the best and I like seeing Fiona Apple at a higher spot than what I was expecting. Seeing Paysage d'Hiver on here instead of The Ocean is a cardinal sin, but this is otherwise pretty damn nice.

plane
12.23.20
Incredibly proud of this list and everyone that contributed to it. I would personally like to thank the other staff members for letting me write for our #1. Putting this together was a welcome and familiar distraction.

someone
12.23.20
like... no

Trebor.
12.23.20
Charli taking over

Voivod
12.23.20
Looking at 9, Sputnik's year-end list is probably the only one over the 'net with such diversity, that has lofi black metal listed in the top 10.

Needless to say, great work everyone.

cor22222
12.23.20
Charli XCX firts buahahahaha

neekafat
12.23.20
?????

Get Low
12.23.20
Where's Dua Lipa? Oh wait, she doesn't deserve to be in top 10 with these queens.

SteakByrnes
12.23.20
Shush you

bloc
12.23.20
Haven't heard a few of these but solid well rounded list. Don't agree with 1 though.

Get Low
12.23.20
1 is 1 gj staff

NOTINTHEFACE
12.23.20
Interesting. Some real shockers in here. Well done staff!

NOTINTHEFACE
12.23.20
Also Aoba in the top 10 is amazing. That alone justifies this entire list lol.

lilliline
12.23.20
Sputnik back with some dazzling diversity in the top ten... doubt there are many lists out there with japanese folk and ambient black metal taking some top spots.

On an unrelated note, why doesn't this site have a forgot password button at login? I'm one 'sign out' click away from being locked out forever...

LeddSledd
12.23.20
don't agree with 1 though [2]

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
Oh God...1 is offensive...I.m glad there s anlot of stuff I enjoyed in the whole list though...

Rowan5215
12.23.20
jotw comin in clutch with the best blurb of the year

who knew the secret was just calling the entire site tf out

Sinternet
12.23.20
1 literally makes the list good lol

Ryus
12.23.20
1, 8, and 9. havent heard 10 yet

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
I agree thar 1 discredits the whole list tho

Pikazilla
12.23.20
This is a better top 10 from the staff than any we got last decade

Ryus
12.23.20
Chino smoking it up!

GreyShadow
12.23.20
oh thank gooooooooooood protest is here

garas
12.23.20
this might be the least embarrassing staff list ever gj [2]

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
I like the list...#1 makes me think nothing changed tho, like musgrave s year. Sounds like politics to snap a poppy chick on #1. Need to check protest.

plane
12.23.20
Let it be said that Charli gained higher spots on the most lists and that is how she came to be #1, just like Kacey. Both deserved.

TheProfit
12.23.20
Not a fan of Charli at all but the diversity of this list is really great to see. It's really difficult to represent the broad array of musical tastes on this site and I think regardless of how you feel about some of the individual placements this list did the site justice.

fatihcoskuny
12.23.20
good list but swap 1 with either 2 or 3

DavidYowi
12.23.20
Fetch The Bolt Cutters was so good it made me enjoy a baroque pop album

Rowan5215
12.23.20
dddeftoned in this thread rn like https://mobile.twitter.com/dril/status/213849618415484929

klap
12.23.20
legendary writeups, props to le staff

Ryus
12.23.20
"https://mobile.twitter.com/dril/status/213849618415484929"
lmao

robertsona
12.23.20
I sent the list to Wintherr and he got back within literally five minutes with “This link is broken”

garas
12.23.20
> "frankly, any aggregated end-of-year list without it isn’t worth reading"
Heavy LOL on that. Nice, Johnny.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.23.20
"dddeftoned in this thread rn like https://mobile.twitter.com/dril/status/213849618415484929"

Lmao seriously

AngryJohnny
12.23.20
wow that is an excellent surprise at no 1

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
That makes no sense Row. To call me somekind of redneck because I try and don t get below avg poppy american girls. Its not a gender issue.
I just wanna go real hard, I just wanna go real hard
I just wanna go real hard, I just wanna go real hard

Again...the list is great. Go ahead with the #1 statments tho...

Ryus
12.23.20
"Sounds like politics to snap a poppy chick on #1."
"Its not a gender issue."
"poppy american girls."

nice

sixdegrees
12.23.20
its about ethics in music journalism

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
Hey takin out of context hey? "Below avg" if you may.
And yap I consider some artistic picks to be politics, instead of considering the art itself. Like the Oscars Grammys and stuff.

robertsona
12.23.20
Didn’t even vote for charli (25 alb list) and threw the black metal recluse at #1 but charli rox lessgetit

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
I would much rather an american pop girl eith talent at 1...

plane
12.23.20
Charli is English, ftr

robertsona
12.23.20
Again tho, as with my previous comment and moreso Lew’s: we just vote on this shit. No postgame finagling necessary. Hard to call that political imho, we just really liked her. Beautiful writeup by Lew too

Ryus
12.23.20
ya its not like p4k or rolling stone or some shit lol

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
Tks for correcting plane.

Project
12.23.20
i know everyone is here for the johnny blurb, which rules, but i want to say Rowan, the Protest the Hero writeup is magnificent too

robertsona
12.23.20
I’ll leave it at this but I’ve been visiting and revisiting and skimming and etc etc passages from this top 10 (other than mine, which I’m all too familiar with by this point...) and it’s a total pleasure!!

Demon of the Fall
12.23.20
Nice work guys, looks like an interesting cross-section of varying tastes.

Considering I really dig Fiona Apple it’s a travesty I have not yet heard the new one. Surprised it finished 3rd (without knowing more)... as someone who enjoys her earlier stuff she seems rarely mentioned on here. I think it was Johnny who alerted me to her existence initially, so I guess his influence is in there somewhere!


robertsona
12.23.20
F’yona absolutely slayed it imho. Could easily have jostled out PdH for my top pick

Elynna
12.23.20
Wonderfully written blurb for Paysage. Also I did not expect seeing PL at #4, kudos staffers.

Project
12.23.20
Fiona Apple's latest totally makes sense on a year-end list, but it is so far removed from my usual taste that it didn't really stick with me. but i think that is more of a personal problem with me

SandwichBubble
12.23.20
Terrible picks, as is tradition.

robertsona
12.23.20
8(

Thank you Elynna! Fun to try and bridge the discursive gap between “me” and “metal”

garas
12.23.20
Alex, stop writing so much cryptic stuff, you will break the site lmao!

robertsona
12.23.20
Hahaha. I tried to tie it to personal stuff, but I guess I’ll always be a little esoteric and philosopher-lovin’

plane
12.23.20
Will I ever receive SandwichBubble's approval? Still searching

RogueNine
12.23.20
Well, uh. Hmm.

parksungjoon
12.23.20
no autechre at #1 = invalid list

SandwichBubble
12.23.20
@robertsona Godcaster excluded, of course
Guessing you used up all your chips/points/checks/whatever to give that a spot

ItsTheSquirrel
12.23.20
Wow that Fiona blurb is something else. Too bad I have quite different tastes than Johnny because he's probably the best writer on the whole site (although in this case I do agree with him)

robertsona
12.23.20
Threw Godc high indeed, but it got three other votes; didn’t have to lobby the table too much on that one

SandwichBubble
12.23.20
Then all hope is not lost. God bless.
Nice apostrophes by the way.

robertsona
12.23.20
Thank you my brother.

Crawl
12.23.20
Meh, this is just a RYM top 10 aside from the Protest the Hero album. Good albums, but I enjoy when Sputnik is a bit different.

Nocte
12.23.20
That Paysage blurb is a marvel. Great job staff bots

parksungjoon
12.23.20
>Meh, this is just a RYM top 10 aside from the Protest the Hero album. Good albums, but I enjoy when Sputnik is a bit different.

when im president im gonna pass a bill that makes it illegal for any two people to like the same things

AmericanFlagAsh
12.23.20
CHARLI NUMBER ONE OMG

robertsona
12.23.20
That’s more like it!

AmericanFlagAsh
12.23.20
Lewis great write up per usual

Travelhead
12.23.20
Normally, I do not react to that kind of lists but ERR & Thou album should be on this list. I am suprised. Grimes did the worst album of her career but still on the list. Don’t you care about thr user votes? Lame.

plane
12.23.20
The ERR/Thou exclusion is a big shame imo. It made my top 10

Jots
12.23.20
user votes are reflected in the annual user list : D

Sinternet
12.23.20
charli gang we out here fuck y'all

robertsona
12.23.20
Next staff list will be electoral college style (haven’t worked out the particulars of this joke but it’s a great seed)

robertsona
12.23.20
Ok fukk guess ill start using my laptop

GhostB1rd
12.23.20
Who is this Fed Ora clown and why is he so weebish?

Sinternet
12.23.20
you can run it through my impartial algorithm i just invented if you want

nightbringer
12.23.20
hard pass on most of this list and do not get the love for 1 like at all but always fun to read this feature each year.

Snake.
12.23.20
glad to see charli getting #1

GhostB1rd
12.23.20
Miss Anthropocene should've been #1 but Charli was great too.

TalonsOfFire
12.23.20
Great job fellow staffers! I didn't vote for any of the top 10 except Phoebe, but I like how musically diverse this turned out and am glad so many of my favorites, including my AOTY The Slow Rush, made it in the top 50. I'll have to check out a few of these, for sure the new Paradise Lost, which I didn't register existing until now.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.23.20
DDDeftones you are throwing out some truly rodrigo tier comments in this thread, disappointing

GhostB1rd
12.23.20
Latin American solidarity.

Dewinged
12.23.20
Interesting top 10, and incredible write ups people. I personally enjoyed only Wald and Paradise Lost from here, but the diversity is welcomed. Nicely done!

EoinCofa
12.23.20
4 is 1

Totally Agree!!!

JohnnyoftheWell
12.23.20
tbh I didn't vibe the new Charli much (threw it in at the bottom of my ballot as goodwill bc she is awesome and the highlights go hard) but Lewis' blurb is absolute killer and deserves a #1 placement behind it. stunner. very proud to have been part of this feature and happy with the overall shape of it - now to pick over all these blurbs at work !

plane
12.23.20
JotW your Fiona blurb is historic. All the blurbs here are so stellar!

Shemson
12.23.20
Nice write up on Protest The Hero, a huge return to form and maybe their best ever album.
The Canary is not the worst song though, that ‘Amelia please don’t go’ chorus soars!

Sniff
12.23.20
lol

Winesburgohio
12.23.20
plane your Charli write-up is so good!!! you've done me proud

botb
12.23.20
Good job on the write ups guys, even if I didn’t really vibe with much on the list

Odal
12.23.20
Charli deserves this

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
Why?

ian b
12.23.20
great write ups, but the fact that the new Touche Amore didnt even make it and phil elverum rambling for 44 minutes straight about phil elverum got no. 2 is for some reason hilarious to me

Jots
12.23.20
because the staff voted on their personal favourites and she happened to be generally well liked and gain the number 1 spot

DDDeftoneDDD
12.23.20
"I just wanna go real hard
Lip gloss on and I'm lookin' like a star
Got a tiny bag, but I got a big heart
On the video chat, cute skirt and a bra
I'm feeling so fine, kinda feelin' like a slut
Gonna give you good views, watch me whip it up
I'm really so rare, I'm sent from above
Wish you could come 'round, pick me up in your car, yeah"

Is there any irony here?

BlushfulHippocrene
12.23.20
Does there need to be?
Also, I love this list, some incredible writing.

plane
12.23.20
Girls just wanna have fun

Ryus
12.23.20
lol deftone if you can deal with metal lyrics you can deal with that

Divaman
12.23.20
Wow, very female-centric Top 10.

Relinquished
12.23.20
yea man

Relinquished
12.23.20
I wanna cup killer mikes tits and let ms paradise lost know where her place is

DDDeftoneDDD
12.24.20
Ryus, if I like the sound I don t care much on the lyrics ahah...I just thought...maybe there s something here...

BlushfulHippocrene
12.24.20
"Wow, very female-centric Top 10."
Dunno if you're joking, but it's literally (unintentionally) 50 per cent isn't it, haha.

parksungjoon
12.24.20
wow, very music-centric top 10

where's cyberpunk 2069

Trebor.
12.24.20
Someone post DDDeftone's 5's so we can be done with this already

Mort.
12.24.20
the username conveys all you need to know already

Divaman
12.24.20
>Dunno if you're joking, but it's literally (unintentionally) 50 per cent isn't it, haha.

It is, but no, I'm not joking. I'd guess that even today, about 80% of artists that release music are either all, or mostly male. (The percentage could even be higher.) So when the vast majority of releases in a given year are male-centric, a 50% of female-centric Top 10 is pretty good.

hogan900
12.24.20
didnt realize i was on pitchfork top 10...
Jk good writeups fellas! Kept me guessing til the end. Thanks for your hard work!

Slex
12.24.20
The writing here is just wonderful y'all

Lucman
12.24.20
Charli as #1....ok..... 6 and 8 are the only ones I've got here lol

Lucman
12.24.20
Lovely write-ups all the same gentlemen.

Rowan5215
12.24.20
"The Canary is not the worst song though, that "Amelia please don't go" chorus soars!"

I see where you're coming from but something feels a bit off to me in that song. either Rody sounds a bit weaker than the rest of the album or there's just a disconnect with the instrumentals, I'm not sure what it is. the verses are a bit clumsy too, great chorus though yea

Faraudo
12.24.20
Fiona's album is the most overrated thing I've ever seen other than every album from Vektor.

JohnnyoftheWell
12.24.20
sounds like you've seen a lot of things wow please share

Faraudo
12.24.20
Deal.

Paysage del hirver is extremely boring

Faraudo
12.24.20
Charli being #1 is fucking cool btw

Scheumke
12.24.20
Wait wow wow.. You're telling me The Ocean is not even in top 50?! That's a big misser there damn. Otherwise I'm not really missing anything.

DDDeftoneDDD
12.24.20
Lol My 5s are gold Mr. Trebor. We even share a couple (artist/album) x) but yeah feel free to post them. I'm proud of them anywsy, even you think some are trash. Feel me?

Colton
12.24.20
metalcore in your pie chart = no opinion

DDDeftoneDDD
12.24.20
LMAO I could agree (and its not v represented on the 5s tho) I feel the same with pop bro (specially on an alternative music site). We're just different.

Demon of the Fall
12.24.20
I have no idea where that quote is from, but I would absolutely rather hear your average metal lyric. C’mon, half of the time they consist of either fantasy-orientated nonsense or are completely unintelligible anyway, which just makes them easier to ignore. That shit above makes me cringe and lyrics are an unavoidable part of pop music.

Scheumke
12.24.20
Dumb question: I can't seem to find the place where can enter our own personal year lists. Anybody have a link for me?

Voivod
12.24.20
^^Make a list on your user profile.

Scheumke
12.24.20
No I mean the place to post the ballots for the user end year list (where we can assign points to each top 10 and stuff).

parksungjoon
12.24.20
>metalcore in your pie chart = no opinion

check calculating infinity

Nocte
12.24.20
“ Dumb question: I can't seem to find”

You mean the ballots in the forum?

Voivod
12.24.20
@Scheumke

https://www.sputnikmusic.com/news/42302/VOTING-OPEN-Top-50-of-2020/

Scheumke
12.24.20
My hero, thank you Voivod!

LunaticSoul
12.24.20
will there ever be a year when an overrated pop disc gets #1 on sputnik just based on the sole fact that pop rules the business

LunaticSoul
12.24.20
doesn't*

LunaticSoul
12.24.20
Paradise Lost's ok disc in top 10 and the Ocean out of the top 50 is also. . wow

Sinternet
12.24.20
will there ever be a year where metal nerds stop bitching

LunaticSoul
12.24.20
no


Demon of the Fall
12.24.20
I would like to say that although I was defending DDD’s point about the quoted lyrics, I am in no way complaining about the result of this staff poll, because apart from anything else - why does it matter?

theacademy
12.24.20
dddeftones 5s are exactly as expected and i love sputnik sometimes lol

DDDeftoneDDD
12.24.20
It kinda remotly does but not today. Merry xmas to you all.

theacademy
12.24.20
and a happy new year!

Demon of the Fall
12.24.20
I really need to re-do my 5s in case I get into one of these arguments. Long overdue!

RogueNine
12.24.20
Ocean's record is a 3 so it's fine.

Josh D.
12.24.20
man, rough year for music I guess

plane
12.24.20
Just a rough year in general, man. Happy Holidays

Josh D.
12.24.20
that is true

Ryus
12.24.20
good year for music tbh

GhandhiLion
12.24.20
" Like the Oscars Grammys and stuff."

Exactly! I can't believe that Chinese film won best picture. It should have been Gone with the Wind or Birth of a Nation.

LeddSledd
12.24.20
i have no gripes with this ranking bc this was such a whatever year. there wasn't really anything I was clamoring to have on this list, so power to the staff for whatever albums they felt most passionate about

plane
12.24.20
2010: Tallest Man on Earth
2011: Bon Iver
2012: Swans
2013: Julia Holter
2014: Flying Lotus
2015: Kendrick Lamar
2016: David Bowie
2017: The National
2018: Kacey Musgraves
2019: Laura Stevenson
2020: Charli XCX

sput sure does have a record for stanning, uh, two pop artists

Josh D.
12.24.20
He should have instead joined me in confusion that the number one album of the year includes the song "Claws", an absolute pile of shit.

Sinternet
12.24.20
Post-Rock 24%

Josh D.
12.24.20
quite the own on a pie chart formed in 2010

Voivod
12.24.20
People should have realized by now that this list is by far the most random thing on this site and beyond. No one has sway over no one regarding what is being included on each's year's end list (no one cares either), and default staff tastes overlap inadvertently, even among those who listen to the same main genre, i.e. metal or indie etc..

parksungjoon
12.24.20
>Post-Rock 24%

would be based if they were all 90s

Josh D.
12.24.20
You know what, pal, I care!

Artuma
12.24.20
i don't think you'll see another music publication with both charli xcx and paysage de fucking hiver on its top 10 lol

Ryus
12.24.20
claws is the best song on the album and an absolute banger

Demon of the Fall
12.24.20
‘Post-Rock 24%’

I hereby raise you 17% Indie Rock. That’s a top-tier example of basic bitch taste right there. As they say, don’t be throwing stones.

Ryus
12.24.20
Progressive Metal 18%

take that

Pheromone
12.24.20
i have over 30% indie rock

am i

basic

Demon of the Fall
12.24.20
Prog tags get added to everything, cannot take them seriously.
Yeah I would say so Pheremone. Almost definitely.

ian b
12.24.20
my chart has hip hop at 30% and emo at 19% right after, which ngl makes me laugh every time i check my profile. pretty sure i'm basic as fuck by sputnik standards though, too much indie snowflake music and not enough prog \m/

parksungjoon
12.24.20
>Prog tags get added to everything, cannot take them seriously.

this is actually true

Pheromone
12.24.20
nah im defo not im a cool cat demon you

robertsona
12.24.20
Real ones have experimental and pop as their top two

ian b
12.24.20
if u don't have experimental in yr chart then u need to start FUCKIN with DA VISION 😡😤

Pheromone
12.24.20
i love experimental have you heard of 4 tet

Ryus
12.24.20
lol everything gets an experimental tag here

Pheromone
12.24.20
alt-rock as well

Willie
12.24.20
This is probably my favorite staff list of all time, actually. I'd say good job for the picks, but as we keep trying to point out, it's totally random. We submit our lists and the overlap makes the top 50 (generally speaking). There's no discussion about politics or gender or even genre impact for each album. We just submit lists and the most represented end up here. To me, that's the most perfect and real way to do it.

RogueNine
12.25.20
I mean, yeah, I don't think anyone's thinking the staff sat at a roundtable and hashed it out.

Tyler.
12.25.20
hell yeah charli

hxciluvatarhxc
12.25.20
gonna be honest, i truly think putting that charlie xcx album as number 1 is some bullshit. its a good record but come on.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.25.20
At least it's unexpected

hxciluvatarhxc
12.25.20
just pick a truly great record as opposed to a really good one everyone likes ffs

greg84
12.25.20
I for one think her previous record is much better than this one. Overall, it also might be my favorite staff list of all time. Lots of albums I voted for ranked really high this time around.

Rowan5215
12.25.20
"just pick a truly great record as opposed to a really good one everyone likes ffs"

well that's... how consensus voting works. the albums a lot of people like tend to rank higher. because we all vote them

"I for one think her previous record is much better than this one"

I prefer Charli too but I can see where hifn struck a chord with pandemic anxiety and the sense of connection it made w/ her fanbase

lucazade22
12.25.20
I loved Charli but really couldn't get into this one

cor22222
12.25.20
No The Ocean killed this list form me, yeah men new boredom Dark Tranquilty is better pick kek

Conmaniac
12.27.20
2017: The National
2018: Kacey Musgraves
2019: Laura Stevenson
2020: Charli XCX

this is kinda funny...after sput picked The National which is a band that doesn't make music, they realized their database was 99% hetero male and decided to start fucking with them

Valkoor952
12.28.20
lol at Charlie (∞)

also is this the lowest sputnik rated #1 album of the year so far cause it feels like it is

hamid95
12.28.20
nice.

ResidentNihilist
12.29.20
Shit list charli xcx is hot but also a transphobic bitch

Project
12.29.20
"a band that doesn't make music"

look at this edgy take

Conmaniac
12.29.20
old meme sry

Valkoor952
12.29.20
"Charli xcx is hot" is literally the reason she is #1

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.29.20
"transphobic bitch"

gonna have to ask you to go ahead and back that shit up, bub, cuz a cursory google yields nothing but positive associations with the LGBTQ+ community

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.29.20
links plz

Sinternet
12.29.20
"Shit list charli xcx is hot but also a transphobic bitch"

Death Metal 28%

LeddSledd
12.29.20
bro you quoted his pie chart, he can never recover from this 🤕

Ryus
12.29.20
where da user list at

Jom
12.29.20
Aiming for January 11th since it takes a long time to coordinate (e.g. tracking down users who filled out the Google form, letting them know what record[s] they dibbed and had gone unclaimed, getting them to write, etc.) in comparison to the staff one.

Depending on how things go, though, it could be sooner!

Ryus
12.29.20
sweeet

Sinternet
12.29.20
"bro you quoted his pie chart, he can never recover from this 🤕"

Progressive Rock 34%

LeddSledd
12.29.20
egad! :-(

ResidentNihilist
12.29.20
No Potsy I won't back it up because my mere word is the word of God himself and I'm always right. Sinternet thank you for pointing out my superior taste, the only taste that matters on Sputnik.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.29.20
okay we will all make sure to not take your word for it then

Valkoor952
12.30.20
Dude, look at his name, he's a nihilist, he doesn't believe in anything. What did you expect? I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it's an ethos.

StonedManatee
12.30.20
Probably the worst staff list I have seen for an end-of-the-year list. Too many sniffs. Also, Charlie XCX? o.O

Ryus
12.30.20
probably the best but ok

Piglet
01.01.21
nah its definitely the worst and that's saying something lol. seriously if some of you nerdburger staff reviewers actually got your dick wet nd stopped ovulating over any album cover with a hint of sex appeal charli would barely get to top 30000.
And you seriously couldn't script a more sput staff top 10. Lofi swisse black metal record that only indie clowns find novel ✓, fiona apple becuz oueh quirky fiona apple ✓, prog with effeminate vocals ✓, shitty disco-revivalist pop record ✓, shitty stand-in manchester orchestra record ✓, average metal ✓ japanese folk for weeb points ✓ run the jewels becuz its a shit rap record with braindead politicization ✓ phoebe bridges because her name is phoebe ✓
truly exquisite work gentlemen

JohnnyoftheWell
01.01.21
"if some of you nerdburger staff reviewers actually got your dick wet"

lol prog metal 19%

Dewinged
01.01.21
nerdburger hmmmm... I'm hungry all of a sudden.

Project
01.01.21
classic piglet energy

plane
01.01.21
I thought Piglet was cool but Piglet actually lame?

Conmaniac
01.01.21
i think piglet just struck a chord with some with that analysis.

JohnnyoftheWell
01.01.21
analysis

Conmaniac
01.01.21
Piglet still just steaming from when he filmed himself eating a Carolina reaper pepper

Valkoor952
01.01.21
Based piglet

Demon of the Fall
01.01.21
Piglet was (kind of) onto something in a round about mocking way (whether he meant it or not), but in absolutely no way, shape, or form is that Paysage choice predictable in my book. A genuine shock.

Jots
01.02.21
isnt piglet lowkey like 15 years old still. ngl it stings getting dunked on by the julian newman of Sputnik

Rowan5215
01.02.21
"""analysis"""

Conmaniac
01.02.21
The amount of salty staffers this comment brought out I swear

alamo
01.02.21
https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f2/6d/62/f26d62307d1bd0b035f0c248f6eec4b3.jpg

Slex
01.02.21
Obnoxious users being sexist and inventing new ways to whine, nothing to see here zzzzz

Ryus
01.02.21
@piglet last year had laura stevenson and lana del rey in the top 5

i only like half of these but thats a better hit rate than any other year

Jots
01.02.21
you people do understand the aggregate system used in creating these lists... right. this wasnt curated in quite the same way that most editor-driven sites operate (at least afaik)

Pikazilla
01.02.21
Agreed with Ryus, last year's staff list was a trainwreck in comparison to this

Rowan5215
01.02.21
gotta say, I expected a bit better from Con than siding with the misogynist baby who's big mad because "you picked a WAMEN as #1 reeeee"

shame to see you go with that homie

Jots
01.02.21
well no tbqh 90% of what piglet said is correct, the problem is not getting how the assembly system by default will cater to predictable choices, and it isnt based on any of us actively discussing how the list should look or anything like that. it just comes out how it comes out. albums that intersect on multiple lists have a strong chance of making an appearance, whereas albums that place highly on individual lists often dont make the list if they are too specific to one staffer. for example, maybe 2 of the albums in my top 20-25 made it anywhere in the actual staff list (and my top #1 album didnt). anyone who has any semblance of a unique, discerning taste (like, any semblance) is bound to be a bit let down by a proper aggregated (hope im using that word right) list like this

Rowan5215
01.02.21
I dun really care if the dude thinks the list is predictable or something that's literally whatever. he framed it in super misogynistic terms and that's hella gross and unnecessary. you either agree with that or you don't, p simple calculus

Conmaniac
01.02.21
I think piglet was just tryna be a dumbass edgy fuck and it worked and I'm not sure how any of my comments show me "siding" with him other than pointing out the hilarious reactions from the comment itself I'm just here for the ride

Lord(e)Po)))ts
01.02.21
Someone fax his thread off to toxicology ASAP

Lord(e)Po)))ts
01.02.21
We'll get to the bottom of this

Conmaniac
01.02.21
Shoot I'm def drinking and commenting

JohnnyoftheWell
01.02.21
can someone please explain what an aggregated list is one more time, i think i almost get it

Rowan5215
01.02.21
this goddamn site saps the fucking lifeforce from me every day

Rowan5215
01.02.21
can we just talk about MF DOOM instead

Trundle
01.02.21
isn't it just the worst that people have different opinions about music on a music website?

plane
01.02.21
I thought Con was cool but Con actually lame?

Conmaniac
01.02.21
plane has landed ig

Jots
01.02.21
plane more like p lame

Emim
01.02.21
#1 is a big lol

Ryus
01.02.21
pretty funny how mad ppl are about this particularly #1 choise

Emim
01.02.21
Mad is a bit hyperbolic

theacademy
01.04.21
why hasnt somebody posted a list of piglets normie 5s yet

unclereich
01.04.21
This is probably my favorite staff list of all time, actually.



mrend55
01.04.21
Wasn't expecting Charli to be number 1. That makes me happy.

MelosMindStream
01.05.21
Ok guys, where is Moses Sumney? grae is an objectively terrific album and it doesn't even scratch top 50? What happened?

Faraudo
01.05.21
"pretty funny how mad ppl are about this particularly #1 choose"

I'm pretty happy about it ngl


FearThyEvil
01.08.21
"Shit list charli xcx is hot but also a transphobic bitch"

Fucking what? I think her at 1 sucks ass but she literally did a music video with someone who is trans and is loved by the community. the fuck are you on about? As for the list, disappointed for the top metal albums to be 4 and 7 when there was way better choices but I often do not like the staff lists to begin with. Write ups are good of course and definitely interesting choices.

Guzzo10
01.08.21
No Pinegrove to be found 😭. Channing failed us.

RogueNine
01.09.21
I take it this isn't getting a banner on the homepage.

Project
01.09.21
yeah actually surprised at the lack of Pinegrove

plane
01.18.21
“Maybe this is the truth of all things… maybe Taco Bell should continue to release potato-based products”

You did it

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