During the new-year season of best-of-the-year lists, I find myself looking backward—even at a year as difficult as 2020. Time was dilated—I thought I had too much of it but, as usual, there was too little for all the great music.
In a year beset by the most horrid and unusual circumstances, leave it to the hip-hop community to challenge our beliefs and voice our activism. The best records of the year served as rallying cries and made us reconsider the very genre itself.
The best new artists are pushing boundaries as popular music becomes less genre-focused. New artists are forging new identities, rather than occupying the convenient marketing categories of the past.
The electropop universe was vast in 2020 with brilliant newish acts emerging, and experimentalists pushing the music forward. Meanwhile, a few legends returned to show us all how it's really done.
Although most shopping has moved online this year, those of us still going to stores find the retail soundtrack particularly menacing in the time of COVID-19. These 10 albums (plus a little extra stocking stuffer) from unexpected artists offer some respite for at-home listening.
In this time of political unrest, racial strife, and pandemic, soul and R&B walked tall and carried a big stick, while also being a much needed balm and source of warmth in 2020.
Electronic music is a huge tent with many diverse approaches, and it's more international than ever with producers around the globe pushing music forward. The year's best albums featured returns from established talents, as well as ground-breaking newcomers.
In a year that felt lonelier than ever, some expected ambient music to be a soothing balm. Yet ambient artists capture the sadness, the bliss, the hurt, and the healing of this wild year better than most.