Thursday, July 16, 2020

Some of the best music of 2020 ... so far.

Photo by Anders Printz.
Last week I was thinking of a quick and easy post about my favorite albums of the year thus far, based entirely on the spreadsheet rankings I use to track each year's listening.* I thought I could just grab anything rated over a 7 and build out a list of ten albums, easy.

And then I realized I had forgotten just how much excellent music has been released this year. Which is not terribly surprising given our warped sense of time right now. I mean I forgot one of my favorite active bands, Peter Bjorn and John, put out an album this year ... the week everything shut down because of the pandemic (March 13).

I've already been publicly musing about my concern over so much great new music just disappearing into a black hole this year, with no tours or shows or any of the usual means to get the word out. It's scaring the living daylights out of me, if I'm being totally honest.

So when I fired up the spreadsheet and put the albums in their ranked order I was shocked to see so many rated an 8 or more on my personal scale of 10. Usually by this point of the year there are maybe one or two albums in that region, but we're already up to six in 2020. There is a good chance all of these will hold on until the year-end list of 20 albums, but I can already see one that might slip down a notch since my initial scoring, so you never know.

Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Local H - LIFERS
2nd Grade - Hit To Hit
Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM
of Montreal - UR FUN

This next batch are all 7s, but in my head any of these could end up on the year-end list. It's usually this sector that provides sleeper favorites that may launch upward to a higher rating. But again, I'm withholding any editorializing or score adjustments until I have the whole year to consider. So, at the very worst, you now have a list of terrific albums to dip into if you need any new music in your life.

Peter Bjorn and John - Endless Dream
Soccer Mommy - color theory
Ratboys - Printer's Row
Beach Bunny - Honeymoon
Kesha - High Road
Lily Konigsberg - It's Just Like All The Clouds
Lizzy Farrall - Bruise
Locate S,1 - Personlia
Grouplove - Healer
Brendan Benson - Dear Life
Nada Surf - Never Not Together
Selena Gomez - Rare
Sunshine State - The Mess
Sweet Spirit - Trinidad
Buth Walker - American Love Story
Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated Side B
Fire In The Radio - Monuments
Badly Drawn Boy - Banana Skin Shoes
Run The Jewels - RTJ4
The Sounds - Things We Do For Love
Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

I noticed after putting this together that Heart Bones' Hot Dish—the excellent new project from Har Mar Superstar and Sabrina from A Giant Dog / Sweet Spirit—and ROOKIE's amazing self-titled debut were not in the 7s, which is why I stress this list is by the numbers only for now. At year's end the task turns towards the editorial as rankings are used to help group consideration sets, so numeric scores are not the ultimate arbiters of what makes the list and what doesn't.

What's rockin' your turntable so far this year?

*Here's a refresher on how I view my own numerical rankings.

No comments: