You are currently viewing A Tiny 2020 “Best-Of” List

A Tiny 2020 “Best-Of” List

Well, to be honest with you, 2020 was a bit of a let down in terms of new purchases. Usually I am inundated with releases to consider for my year-end best-of list, but this year I have only about a dozen albums that I actually purchased.

Part of that is because I was being a lot more frugal and picky this year than in years past, but part of it was also the sheer impossibility of getting my hands on new music this year thanks to the pandemic.

Taiwan has been pretty hard-hit this year in terms of shipping. We were lucky enough to have escaped the horrible lock-downs, furlough schemes and rising unemployment that have affected most other countries (knock wood) but our postal service has been really cut off from the rest of the world, with no shipping available from Taiwan to most countries in the world, and even a few countries who have been added to a “no incoming parcels accepted” list! Most recently, the United Kingdom has been added to this incoming-post blacklist. Since I usually buy most of my new music from the UK, this has made it particularly difficult to get my regular fix of new releases.

To be perfectly honest, though, this year has been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of new music (in my humble opinion). There were a few re-issues that were exciting, but not so many new releases. There were a few that we were looking forward do that turned out to be disappointing, and there were a few we didn’t care about at all that ended up being among our all-time favourites.

This doesn’t mean we weren’t looking forward to anything this year! A few new releases grabbed our attention this year, though not as many as in years past. Some of the releases we were most excited about just came and went without making too much of an impression on us, like Lady Gaga‘s “Chromatica”. It wasn’t bad, I still gave it 4 stars, but it wasn’t particularly essential.  There are a few songs on it that are fantastic, hence the 4 stars, but as an album it’s a bit bloated, and a drag to sit through (at least it was better than “Art Pop”, but I digress).

One thing that was quite exciting was a new release from Marina (AKA Marina Lambrini Diamandis, AKA Marina and the Diamonds). The new song, “Man’s World”, was only released on digital platforms, but I expect it will eventually show up on an album (and hopefully said album will get a vinyl release like all of her previous efforts!) It’s quite a bizarre, though thought provoking, video but I love the song! I’ve included it at the bottom of this post if you want to check it out!

Other 2020 releases that I have enjoyed include Elephant Stone‘s brilliant album “Hollow”, Vandal Moon‘s “Black Kiss” (Which we reviewed HERE), New Spell‘s “Of Time, Part III” (Which we reviewed HERE), Dua Lipa‘s “Future Nostalgia“, AC/DC‘s “Power Up“, and yes, even Lady Gaga‘s “Chromatica“…. but nothing could have prepared me for the powerhouse burst of joy that we got from Kylie Minogue‘s “Disco“! In fact, it was our featured review for December 2020, which you can check out HERE.

As Kylie herself suggested back in 2001, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. The album’s been on repeat since I got it. I’ve played it while driving, while going for walks, while relaxing at home, while housecleaning, while at my friend’s coffee shop, while getting ready to sleep, and even during class while teaching. This album is far and away my favourite album of 2020.

As you have probably guessed by now, a LOT of music gets shipped to our HQ every year. This year, however, excluding reissues, we only bought a measly 28 new releases, and 6 of them were singles! Only two of them got 5 stars to our ears. The aforementioned Kylie MinogueDisco” album, which we ended up buying TWICE (because… well… because we wanted the double album deluxe edition and we didn’t want to sell our pretty turquoise-vinyl standard edition!), and Elephant Stone’s fantastic psychedelic rocker “Hollow“, which somehow manages to sound modern and yet channels the spirit of the 60s and the spirit of 90s brit pop (and also inspired us to seek out this Montreal band’s previous releases, none of which have disappointed!).

That doesn’t mean we didn’t like anything this year, 8 releases were strong enough to get 4½ stars, while a further 12 releases got 4 star reviews. I guess, like many of you, we ended up focusing more on “comfort” music, and buying a lot of older albums that we already knew and loved.

As you might already know, I try only to review music that I actually own (ie: vinyl… or CD in a pinch) and rarely review digital releases, so the only things included in the 2020 best-of list had physical releases. In fact, we bought all of them on vinyl.

Before we drop our list of favourite vinyl releases for 2020, here are 2 honorable mentions. They should both be on the year-end best-of list, but neither has been released on physical format yet and are so-far digital only releases. My fingers are crossed that they both get vinyl releases in the near future!

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Yeme AladeEmpress”. Released in November of 2020, this is an amazing digital-only album! I can’t wait for it to get a physical release.
  2. Marina “Man’s World”.  Funny enough, also released in November 2020. This a killer track and I am really looking forward to the album!

Here is out list of new releases that we bought this year. The lists are in alphabetical order, by the way, not preference! They are too disparate to actually choose which ones we prefer! Scroll down to the end of this post to check out a Spotify playlist that features some of our favourite tracks from each of these releases!

FIVE STARS: (albums we can listen to from beginning to end over and over ad nauseum, never skipping more than skip 1 song)

  1. Elephant Stone “Hollow”, (Fuzz Club) Psychedelic, 5stars (Brilliant from start to finish!)
  2. Kylie Minogue “Disco”, (BMG) Pop, 5stars (I only skip 1 song that I just can’t deal with)

FOUR and a HALF STARS: (Albums we can listen to from start to finish but a few songs are a bit weak, but we likely skip 1 or more songs each time)

  1. AC/DC “Power Up”, (Sony) Rock, 4½stars
  2. The Bonnie Nettles “The Bonnie Nettles”, (Blackspin Records) Indie Rock, 4½stars
  3. Dua Lipa “Future Nostalgic”, (WEA) Pop, 4½stars
  4. Helicon “This Can Only Lead to Chaos”, (Fuzz Club) Psychedelic, 4½stars
  5. Indochine “Singles Collection (2001-2020)”, (Sony) Rock, 4½stars
  6. Toots and the Maytals “Got to Be Tough”, (Trojan Jamaica) Reggae, 4½stars

FOUR STARS: (Albums we can listen to all the way through, but we regularly skip more than 2 tracks)

  1. Bleak Engineers “New Frontiers”, (Six Tonnes De Chair Records) Chill Wave, 4stars
  2. Lady Gaga “Chromatica”, (Sony) Pop, 4stars
  3. Loveblind “Sleeping Visions”, (Saint Marie Records) Shoegaze, 4stars
  4. Ozzy Osbourne “Ordinary Man”, (Sony) Hard Rock, 4stars
  5. Pretty Lightning “Jangle Bowls”, (Fuzz Club Records) Psychedelic, 4stars
  6. Servo “Alien”, (Fuzz Club Records) Psychedelic, 4stars
  7. Sunfruits “Certified Organic”, (Six Tonnes De Chair Records) Indie Rock, 4stars
  8. Whimsical “Bright Smiles and Broken Hearts”, (Self-Released/Q-Rates) Shoegaze, 4stars

Singles and EPs That we thought were strong releases and definitely worth having:

  1. Korto “Korto EP”, (12”) 4-track EP, (Six Tonnes De Chair Records) Psychedelic, 4½stars
  2. Mt. Mountain “Tassles” (7″), 2-track single, (Six Tonnes De Chair Records) Psychedelic, 4½stars
  3. Jeanines “Things Change” (7”), 4-track EP, (Where It’s At Is Where You Are) Indie Pop, 4stars
  4. Lake Ruth “Crying Everyone Else’s Tears” (10”), 4-track EP (Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten) Indie Pop, 4stars
  5. Pale Lights “You and I” (7″), 2-track single, (Slumberland Records) Indie Pop, 4stars
  6. Rolling Stones “Living in a Ghost Town”, 1-track single (10″), (Universal Music) Rock, 4stars

JUST NOT OUR UP OF TEA: (An album we listened to when it arrived and just did NOT like at all)

  • Radar Men From the Moon “The Bestial Light”, (Fuzz Club Records) Psychedelic, 2½stars

What about you? Has anything really been on high rotation at your house this year? Were there any albums that you particularly enjoyed? Did you agree with any of our picks? Did you disagree? Please let us know by leaving a comment below. Nothing makes me happier than a decent comment. 😉

We’d love to hear from you!

Marina: Man’s World

#music #vinyl #vinylcollection #myvinylcollection #recordcollection #myrecordcollection #Pop #rock #musicboxtw #birdienumnumsmusic #Taiwan #bestof2020 #Chiayi #台灣 #嘉義 #黑膠唱片 #音樂

Leave a Reply