A Run Down Of Music Released In 2020 That Shook The Music World.
It’s no secret the year has had it’s up and downs, we’ve faced many losses but also came together at times through out everything. One of the small victories of the year is some of the timeless music styles that have emerged throughout the year. I will try my best to cover some of the albums, songs and collaborations that stood out to me through out the year.
This is a personal list and is measured by no criteria, Trying my best to touch on as many genres as possible will be my biggest challenge but it will be an honest evaluation of projects that I thought brought something new and different to the year. There might be a slight bias in some of the choices but hey…. I’m only human. 😉
I have to start it off with the first album I listened to this year on repeat. 070 Shake, aka ‘Danny Moon’ released her album ‘Modus Vivendi’. With stand out hits like ‘Guilty Conscience’ & ‘Under The Moon’ the album offered a lot of Hip-Hop drum lines and a very surreal and ambient sound. Her new take on vocal melodies combined with her well constructed lyrics, made this album stand out hit for me. ‘Morrow’ was my favorite piece of this album, but the trend emerging from this project will be infused in many other projects.
However if I want to talk about vocal melodies emerging with a new light in 2020, I have to touch on some singles that stood out. ‘Mood’ by 24k Gold & Iann Dior. This song has a form of singing that took over a few years back but has almost brought an Indie Alt sound to party songs and Hip-Hop in 2020. Even though that song took the radio and our playlists by storm, it’s hard to ignore one of the greatest artists who brought this form of melodies to the forefront.
Even though he’s no longer with us, the late and great Juice WRLD brought a new feeling of happiness through real and sometimes heart breaking lyrics. His trend started before 2020 came around but has to be tied to this year because of one of the best albums of the year ‘Legends Never Die’. Besides the notable features it’s hard to miss any of these tracks on the radio or social media.
Projects from legends who left us was and unfortunate trend this year. The bitter sweet feeling of hearing artists we adored release projects almost like a send off was hard to cope with because they left us too soon. It also gave us sounds that showed us the world through these artists eyes and why they were creative inspirations in their own rights. The two stand out albums for me were ‘Circles’ by Mac Miller & ‘Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon’ by Pop Smoke.
These projects were extremely important not only because of the unique styles of the artists but for the lessons they teach. Seeing artists like Pop Smoke winning over “old headz” with lyricism and a monstrous flow and leaving them with an open mind about the modern melodies and drums, really helps generations embrace each other. You can see that with in the features when you see legends like 50 Cent jumping on tacks. These younger artists also broke genre barriers with these projects whether it’s a track with Juice & Halsey or Mac singing over a jazzy melody in his track ‘Complicated’.
The hard lessons taught however is we need to take care of our younger artists and address the mental health issues, addiction and violence that exists today. The golden age of Hip-Hop has seen the darkness these issues brought.
Talking about younger & older artists collaborating makes me think of Joey Bada$$ & Nas teaming up on a Statik Selektah track, ‘Keep It Moving’. Legends across eras, the song features New Yorks finest and legendary guitar strumming from Gary Clark jr. Nas & Joey go back to back on verses as the Kings of NY display their lyricism and pristine flow. Both artists had an evolutionary sound change through 2020, this track happened after nas complimented Joey on his project ‘The Light Pack’ where Joey takes on a lyrical rampage that reminds us the value of flow in today RAW Hip-Hop projects. Nas showed us that he is a timeless artist with his work with Hitboy as they released my favorite album of the year ‘Kings Disease’. With songs that offer new age melodies and modern drum lines that “the kids” love now a days, Hitboy produced a master piece and Nas flowed through this project eloquently. Vocals from artists like Don Toliver and feature like Anderson Paak, Big Sean, A$AP Ferg, Favio Foriegn & the biggest one is when The Firm reunited. Through out this project had a new subject rapping about relationships but he maintained his descriptive lyrics and painted portraits. He also adapted to the modern flows to elevate his features as the did the same in return. ‘Replace Me’ & ‘All Bad’ were two tracks that were my favorite two tracks and they reignited the sound of soul that music lacked today.
This feeling of reigniting sounds we love I don’t think anyone has done a better job that these next two artist I want to touch on.
Dua Lipa broke records for one of the biggest POP albums of the year, ‘Future Nostalgia’ screamed retro from beginning to end. The music video for ‘Physical’ matched the 80’s sound with it’s bright colours and animated clips. The chorus and hook maintained a club and radio standard but gave you a sense of familiarity too! The big track with this new wave of nostalgia is ‘Break My Heart’. Again the video matches an 80’s sound with a modern twist but bringing back memories was the stand out sample of this song. The base line was a sample from ‘Need You Tonight’ by INXS.
The other artist is of course non other than The Weeknd specifically for his sound on ‘Blinding Lights’. The track took listeners through a time that most of us only heard of, but the video took us to a fan favorite. The movie Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, Abel also kept that type of vibe with his artwork, videos and social media presence. Not to mention his song swept the charts over and over again. This track honestly sounds like it belongs in GTA: Vice City.
We’ve seen it all, Drake showed us how versatile he is this year and further cemented his greatness. ‘Greece’, ‘Pop Star’ & ‘Toosie Slide’ are unique and will be timeless club bangers. Future rebirthed ‘Roses’ from 2018 with a remix, making sure we don’t sleep on the greatness of SAINt JHN. Bringing almost folk type touch to his vocals Lewis Capaldi controlled alternative radio with his hits ‘Before You Go’ & ‘Someone You Loved’.
With the year coming to a close I might have to do a list of emerging artists of the year, so maybe we can watch them evolve music in the future and inspire other generations.