|My Fav Records of 2020|
Good stuff from a not-so-good year.
Not only is this easily my favourite album of 2020, but it's also one of the best albums I've heard. Undeniably charming, candy-coated sweetness; this was a genuine gem. I don't speak a lick of Korean/Japanese (whichever language is sung throughout, I have no earthly idea), and there's maybe a maximum of 5% English-language spoken throughout, yet I really don't care, because this was a thoroughly delightful experience all-around. Never have I really delved into the KPop genre before, so this made me want to explore it more; because, to be frank, most of the tracks (if not all) are better than the pop they play on mainstream radio stations and the constant drivel that Billboard implores us to pay attention to. Best songs are: "Cherries Jubiles", "Soul Lady" and "Yesterday".
A Romance With Violence
Similar to how I had no previous interest in KPop before hearing Yukika's Soul Lady, I had absolutely no care in the world for the black metal genre at all whatsoever... until hearing this masterpiece. Wow. Atmospheric to a haunting and (surprisingly) cathartic degree, this outstanding effort gave me a newfound appreciation for the black metal genre and I'm so happy that it did. Ray91's summary was the perfect selling point: "This rules. Red Dead Redemption black metal with great musicianship, diversity and tons of atmosphere." Couldn't have said it better myself. The best track here is (easily) the epic album closer "Vaudeville".
|3||Spanish Love Songs|
Brave Faces Everyone
Brave Faces, Everyone was a brilliant piece of advice for people journeying through this tragedy-ridden year. I absolutely love the shakiness of the singer's vocals here, not only do they remind me of a more punk version of The Tragically Hip/Gord Downie's harmonies but they also go an extraordinarily long-way in making this a totally relatable collection of amazingly-catchy anthems. It's actually quite difficult to pick a favourite track from this release because they all blend so well together and, of all the albums I experienced this year, it may just have the best arrangement of songs. If I had to pick some of the finest tracks here, I'd go for these: "Beachfront Property", "Losers" and "Brave Faces, Everyone".
Quite honestly, this and Brave Faces, Everyone are interchangeable because they are equally phenomenal punk-rock records. Just like the previously mentioned album as well, it's difficult to pick a favourite song because they all mesh so well together in what may be the fastest/breeziest record to get through from 2020. Typically impressive vocals from Rosenstock, accompanied by fantastic instrumentals and the greatest full album stream/video of the year (with a Bob Ross-inspired painting of the album's cover). Best songs here include: "Scram!", "NO DREAM" and "Ohio Tpke".
The All Is One
In any ordinary year, a rollicking record such as this would have easily been at the absolute top of my list. Since it's not an ordinary year, it sits comfortably here in the top five and it feels right at home. This fantastic LP brought to mind some of my favourite records: from Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains The Big Eyeball in the Sky to Fair to Midland's Arrows and Anchors. There's not much for me to say about this masterpiece that hasn't already been shared in Raul Stanciu's outstanding review of it for Sputnikmusic, but here are a couple of songs that I absolutely loved from it: "The Magpie" and "Like Chrome".
"What They Do Is Not Art"
Through Shaded Woods
"Navvie" [If not for "Soul Lady", this would easily be my favourite song from 2020. Easily the most grandiose, heroic-sounding song of the year. Truly beautiful, moving material.]
"Something Relative" [Though this isn't my favourite country record of the year, this album features the best country songs of 2020. It's tough to pick a favourite, as the majority of the record is almost equally wondrous, though "Something Relative" is something truly special. Same with songs such as "Strawberry Lite" and "Vaguely Satisfied".]
Blood and Stone
"Wish You Well" [I've always been a fanboy for these guys, so it's almost obligatory for me to force them into my top ten. Thankfully this was a major improvement on their previous attempt, with other songs like "Love" and "Criminal" being standouts.]
|11||Pure Reason Revolution|
"Cauterize" [Apparently some people are triggered by the notion that somebody within this band has political views that differ far from their own and, quite frankly, I don't give a damn what anybody's political views are as long as the music itself is good. I've always been a fan of these guys and, quite frankly, I think this record is better than Breaking Benjamin's recent efforts and an explosive track like "Cauterize" goes to show the talent that these men are capable of. I'm not a MAGA madman myself, but I am a Red fan and I always will be as long as they keep making striking music such as this; to which bring back fond memories of my teen-angst days.]
"Ohms" [Probably be getting some flack for having this not as high up on my list as most folk would place it, but I was, admittedly, kind of letdown by this record. I still consider it to be great, though I really don't understand why so many of my peers gave it such monumentally-high ratings. Maybe I went in with too great of an expectation, but, considering how Deftones is one of my all-time favourite bands, I think it's okay to be letdown once in awhile. Thankfully this was a major improvement on Gore, which I felt was Deftones at their most generic, and I could definitely see this record growing on me in the years to come. However, for now, here it is.]
"Who's Gonna Save U Now?"
Long Day Good Night
"Under the Sun"
What's Your Pleasure?
"What's Your Pleasure?"
God Bless the Renegades
Black Cats and Crows
"Ain't Gonna Be Today"
"Ultrasound" [Technically a 2019 release, but I don't care; it was included on this 2020 record, so bite me.]
"Judas" [Reminded me of Stabbing Westward's "Why", which is my favourite song by them... so good stuff.]
Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was
"To Death's Heart (In Three Parts)"
|28||Lianne La Havas|
Lianne La Havas
"circle the drain"
How I'm Feeling Now
"i finally understand" [Literally the only song I could tolerate from this hugely-overrated record. In my opinion, this is (by a wide-margin) one of the most overrated records I've ever heard in my life. Genuinely flabbergasted by the widely-positive reception this got. Maybe this is a great album to be on acid to? I don't know and, quite frankly, I don't give a damn. How I'm Feeling Now is autotuned, often incomprehensible nonsense. "Boom Clap" is one of my all-time favourite pop songs, so this record was a very unpleasant surprise. I kinda hated it.]
|31||Theory of a Deadman|