This year was one of the roughest we’ve had in a while and I think anyone reading this would agree. The first thing that set it off for me was the death of the late, great — my personal GOAT — Kobe Bryant. After that, it was just one shit storm after another. I don’t think anyone had “Survive a global pandemic” on their 2020 bingo cards, either. For most people, having to quarantine and not see friends or loved ones has been one of the hardest things about this year. For introverts like myself, it’s been rad! What’s been even harder for some people has been the loss of live music. But what did make this year significantly better was the release of some really incredible music. There were quite a bit of notable releases, but these stood out and got the most attention from me.
Anyways, here are my top 10 favorite records of 2020. I wasn’t going to put them in order, but I decided to spice things up a bit and force you to read al the way through to see who took my #1 spot:
10. The Strokes – The New Abnormal (RCA Records)
This was the band’s first full-length in quite some time and they picked up right where they left off. I’ve been a fan of this band for some time now, and this is probably one of my favorite of theirs. It helped me through a lot of bike rides.
My favorite songs: “Selfless” & “Bad Decisions:”
9. Mercy Music – Nothing in the Dark (Wiretap Records)
I got a chance to catch these guys at that Cancelled Fest in San Diego a couple years ago. I’d made it to the venue Space just in time to catch them, and I wish I’d caught their full set. They were one of the best bands I saw that weekend and are one of the sickest bands out there right now.
My favorite songs: “Time Well Spent” & “Alright”
8. Red City Radio – Paradise (Pure Noise Records)
I’m pretty new to the RCR fandom and I see why everyone loves them. My old bandmate turned me onto them and I’m eternally grateful for that, because this band fucking rules and I can’t wait to see them live when the world’s back open.
My favorite songs: “Doin’ It for Love” & “Love a Liar”
7. Taylor Swift – Folklore (Republic Records)
This probably isn’t the kind of record you’d expect to see somewhere like this, but its gloomy imagery perfectly sums up this shitty fucking year. It’s also just a solid-ass indie record.
My favorite songs: “this is me trying” & “the last great American dynasty”
6. Alkaline Trio – E.P. (Epitaph Records)
I can’t begin to express how important this band is to me. They’ve gotten me through countless bad times and they continue to impress and amaze me. I know this release is just three songs, but those songs are fucking bangers, and they continue to keep showing us they’re still one of the best in the game.
My favorite songs: “Radio Violence” & “Smokestack”
5. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (Dead Oceans)
Most of my friends have been Phoebe fans for a while now. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan until I listened to this record. If you haven’t yet, listen to it and have some tissues nearby. Also, maybe don’t listen to it while you’re drinking.
My favorite songs: “Kyoto” & “Garden Song”
4. Ricky – Palm Trees (Self-Released)
If you’re reading this, you know damn well who Ricky is, and you know how incredible he is at what he does. This became an instant contender for this list, and another reason why San Diego is home to some of the best music and most talented people.
My favorite songs: “Hot Summer” & “New Day”
3. The Lawrence Arms – Skeleton Coast (Epitaph Records)
I’d only listened to a few songs on this record before I knew I loved it. I don’t have much else to say about this incredible record that I didn’t say in my review, so just read that.
My favorite songs: “PTA” & “Last, Last Words”
2. The Menzingers – From Exile (Epitaph Records)
This is basically the same record they put out last year, just stripped down. But the way they did it makes it feel and sound like an entirely new record, and gives new life to some of the songs you might be familiar with.
My favorite songs: “Portland” & “Hello Exile”
1. Touché Amoré – Lament (Epitaph Records)
I’d been anticipating this record since Stage Four came out a few years ago. This band only gets better with age, and they somehow manage to top every record they put out. I was lucky enough to see them before the world shut down, and they also have some of the best live energy I’ve ever seen. If you don’t listen to this band, please do. And if you do, listen to everything you can find.
My favorite songs: “Lament” & “Savoring”
Thanks for reading this and I hope everyone has a safe, happy, and socially distanced New Year. If you’re not taking this pandemic seriously, I hope you have the worst time imaginable and throw up everywhere.
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