Grazed and brazen we arrive from the smoking wreckage of 2020 with very little recollection of what happened. Productivity dried up mid-May, we awake unto a new beginning with thanks to the power of somnambulance for getting us this far. Simultaneously feeling years older, but with no experiences to back that up, we emerge into the New Year knowing only thus; 2021 has to be better.
Was 2020 that bad? Who cares. It was a grey year, but all years seem pretty bad these days. We lost Tony Allen, we lost Diego, hell, we even lost DOOM on New Years. I take that back. I care. It’s been shit.
But when I personally reflect back on 2020, its characterised by an all-encompassing malaise, rather than anything dramatically bad; but good things certainly happened. We all made banana bread. I nailed down a Korean BBQ recipe, and finished second in every single Zoom quiz I entered. I spent whole mornings looking at the deer in Greenwich Park, and whole evenings learning to really play chess.
One thing I can confidently take from it is a litany of great songs, as for all of us, escapism was the order of the day. Be it the Madlib-flavoured hypnagogic jazz of Emma-Jean Thackray, or the wilting dream-pop of Good Sad Happy Bad, the distractions of music has made this year better by tenfold. From pacing misty streets in October listening to Clipping’s post-modern horrorcore in search of deeper meaning, to vacuuming to CHAI’s sugar sweet J-pop, it’s been there every step of the way. And we even got a new Sun Ra Arkestra album, which is perhaps the perfect introduction to the great man’s celestial genius in spite of his Earthen absence.
Here are our ten favourite songs of 2020, for your listening pleasure. They’ve been with us every step of the last 12 retched months, and we hope to spend our 2021 bringing you more of the music that keeps us going. Playlist here.