DFM Masthead Disenfranchised FM Cuckoo's Eleven Top Five Songs Armchair Producer Music MD Tin Cans Scratch Take Life and Times Input




 

Top Eleven Songs of 2020:
Listen to Best of 2020 on Spotify

  1. Beach Bunny - Promises

  2. Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto

  3. Run The Jewels - JU$T

  4. Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now

  5. The Weeknd - Blinding Lights

  6. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - What've I Done to Help

  7. Soccer Mommy - yellow is the color of my eyes

  8. Yves Tumor - Gospel For A New Century

  9. Perfume Genius - On the Floor

  10. HAIM - The Steps

  11. Waxahatchee - Fire

Honorable Mention:
Charli XCX - forever
The Avalanches - We Go On
Porridge Radio - Sweet
Dogleg - Kawasaki Backflip
Fiona Apple - Under The Table
Moses Sumney - Cut Me

Guilty Pleasure:
Taylor Swift - mirrorball

 

1

Run The Jewels - RTJ4

"And every day on the evening news, they feed you fear for free / And you so numb, you watch the cops choke out a man like me / Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, 'I can't breathe' / And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV / The most you give's a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy."

I've always hoped for Killer Mike to become a household name. I never expected it to happen like it did in 2020. I've long considered him the only contender to Kendrick Lamar as best rapper alive. And yet, it was his turn on the mic last May from Atlanta police headquarters which made me realize that his strengths extend far beyond music.

Run The Jewels have a remarkable skill with prescient lyrics. After all, it was the 2016 RTJ3 release which warned us of the Devil wearing "a bad toupee and a spray tan". Critics hailed their clairvoyance again, as Killer Mike rapped about black men pleading for air as they were arrested, but many missed the point: it wasn't predicting the George Floyd tragedy; it was describing a reality that happens more often than we've realized. RTJ4 isn't their best album, not by a longshot. But it's still a strong album that was a perfect fit for all of the feelings we felt in the charlie-foxtrot of a year that 2020 was.

 
2

Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

"And when I grow up, I'm gonna look up / from my phone and see my life."

Member of the boygenius trio, Bridgers scored a break-out sophomore solo album. I'm looking forward to seeing her tour once we can all safely attend live shows..

3

Beach Bunny - Honeymoon

"A minute you're there, a minute you cared, now you're gone."

Chicago's own Lili Trifilio formed Beach Bunny at the age of eighteen while recording from her bedroom. It took five more years to release their debut album, but it was worth the wait.

4

Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

"Did the heartbreak change me? Maybe / But look at where I ended up."

Netflix's version of Song Exploder turned me on to Lipa's songwriting strength. This is album is strong enough to hold it's own against Lady Gaga..

5

Soccer Mommy - color theory

"I'm still so blue / I can't erase the hue, it's just colored over."

One listen to this album, and it totally made sense that Sophia Allison experiences Synesthesia when she creates music. It would have been amazing to see what she and Geoff Emerick could have done together.

6

Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud

"I give it to you all on a dime / Love you 'til the day I die."

Written and recorded during an addiction recovery process, Katie Crutchfield is stronger than ever in her musical capabilities.

7

HAIM - Women In Music Part III

"I kinda like it when you leave me at the party late / 'Cause every now and then, I wanna feel that empty space."

Twice appearing on my EOY playlist, the Haim sisters have released their most impressive album so far..

8

Perfume Genius - Set My Heart On Fire Immediately

"I once hummed the seasons / Now, I'm whistling."

Michael Hadreas released an open, honest album that feels like Cocteau Twins covering Morrissey. An album that speaks openly of love and the dangers faced by gay men, it's fantastic to see it reach such wide acclaim.

9

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Reunions

"And you found me busted and somehow you trusted."

Jason Isbell acknowledges his need to rid his own demons, yet his lyrics landed at a time where empathy and action are needed more than ever.

10

The Avalanches - We Will Always Love You

"God created space and time with no end / If he did it once, he can do it again."

Yes ... it's the same guys as "Frontier Psychiatrist"! No, it doesn't sound like that. Yes, it's a really good album. Yes, I'll stop this awkward monologue now.

11

IDLES - Ultra Mono

"Do you hear that thunder? / That's the sound of strength in numbers."

Third album from a Bristol-based punk band. This was a welcome palate cleanser this past year.



Honorable Mention


 

 

HM

Porridge Radio - Every Bad

"I'm bored to death, let's argue."

Indie band from Brighton struck gold and a Mercury Prize nomination with their fifth album.

 
HM

Charli XCX - how i'm feeling now

"I just wanna go real hard / Lip gloss on and I'm lookin' like a star."

Another Mercury Prize nominee who showed us that Lady Gaga could act full-time and pop music would be just fine.

 
HM

Yves Tumor - Heaven to a Tortured Mind

"This ain't by design, girl / Take it softer / You know I'm out my mind, girl / Don't make this harder."

Fantastic experimental album with a vibe that reminds me of TV on the Radio.

HM

Dogleg - Melee

"I can't stick around, it's too hard not to be found / When you're mouthing all the words."

Hailing from the Motor City, this was another palate cleanser this past year. I mean, how can you turn down an album with "Kawasaki Backflip" as an opening track?.



Guilty Pleasure of the Year


 

 

GP

Taylor Swift - folklore

"And they called off the circus, burned the disco down / When they sent home the horses and the rodeo clowns."

Me: This has been such a strange year. And I don't even think I have a guilty pleasure contender for my music list.

Taylor Swift: Here's a new album that I recorded during quarantine and am releasing without any notice.

Me: Well, shit ...

I like this album. Sue me.