In 2020, Americana artists empathetically dealt with the things that bind us together and keep us apart. The albums on this list encourage hope for the future based on a belief in the human spirit.
On Ghosts of West Virginia, Steve Earle chronicles the lives, hopes, dreams, and regrets of families who've lived for generations in coal country with a masterful song cycle that's long on empathy and short on judgment.
PopMatters has scoured the musical spectrum for the best examples of the protest song form, including anthems of great popularity and obscurity alike. Stay tuned all week as we unveil the top 100.
If the idea is that earth, water, fire, air and space constitute the core elements of life, then these five songs might seem as their equivalents to surviving the complications that come from embracing the good and enduring the ugly of the Christmas season.