2020 Music Recap

When the number of COVID-19 cases grew drastically all around the world, we lost many of the things we cherished; however, thankfully new music was not one of them. While concerts and live shows got either postponed or canceled this year, many artists used this as an opportunity to record and release new songs. This leads many people, including me, to believe that one of the few good things to come out of 2020 was the selection of new music.

We entered 2020 with high hopes while Harry Styles’s second solo album, “Fine Line,” took the very first No.1 spot on Billboard 200. Looking back, Fine Line was exactly the album we needed to prepare us for this year. Just like 2020, the album kicks off with blissful optimism and a fearless attitude; although, the mood set by the starting track “Golden” completely changes by the end. Harry Styles creates a melancholic and somber atmosphere with the title track “Fine Line” that truly captures how many of us feel now after this tiring year. Yet, Styles still manages to conclude the album with a lyric that we must always remember, no matter how hard life gets: “We’ll be alright.”

February was the calm before the storm in our lives as well as in the music industry. It was a slow month for music, but artists with a more niche fanbase released new albums. Halsey took a different approach from the past with her third studio album called “Manic.” She garnered mixed reviews from her fans as well as critics because of her new pop sound. Tame Impala also released their fourth album, “The Slow Rush,” and embarked on their North American Tour that would soon be canceled halfway through.

By the end of March, businesses shut down, schools moved online, and all social events got canceled; however, many teens found comfort in Conan Gray’s debut album, “Kid Krow.” This indie-pop album that conveyed the complex nature of adolescence gained fame all over social media. Specifically, one of the standout songs from the album, “Heather,” was quoted and used all over TikTok. Another album that people kept talking about online was The Weekend’s newest album, “After Hours.” It had been a few years since we got new music from him, but that did not stop the radios from blasting his single, “Blinding Lights”
We must not also forget how “Blinding Lights” was the trailblazer in the return of disco music that occurred this year. Songs with 80s synth paired with retro music videos became quite popular. Rising female rapper, Doja Cat, reached mainstream audiences with her groovy song “Say So.” In the music video to this song, we can see Doja Cat in an 80s inspired outfit doing the disco at a roller rink. Other artists that released songs that resembled tunes from the 80s include Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, Rina Sawayema, BTS, and Chloe x Halle.

As the months spent in quarantine flew by, the alternative music scene thrived with new content from prominent artists. A year after her album in the rock duo Better Oblivion Community Center, Phoebe Bridgers released her second solo album, “Punisher.” This album received high praise from many critics with even The Sunday Times dubbing it as the best album of the year. Additionally, the early 2000s rock band, The Strokes, returned with “The New Abnormal” after their seven-year hiatus. While Phoebe Bridgers’ album has been nominated for the Grammy’s best alternative album, The Strokes are nominated for best rock album.

We cannot talk about the music of 2020 without referencing pop female icons, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. Both women shocked their audiences by secretly recording new albums this year and releasing them with barely any promotions.

Ariana Grande explores a more risque side of herself in her new album “Positions” as she proves that she is no longer the young girl seen on Nickelodeon. She divulges a more intimate and personal side of her life outside of the glamour.

Taylor Swift follows a similar theme with not one––but the two albums she released this year. She returns to her country and folk roots with the albums “Folklore” and “Evermore” and her beautiful stories of youth and love.

It would be impossible to cite all the amazing records that were born in a year of sickness and troubles. From The 1975 to Megan Thee Stallion, fans of all genres were undeniably fed this year with numerous amazing tracks. So, while we do hope that Corona slows down by 2021, hopefully, the momentum of good music speeds up!