Honestly, it doesn’t even feel like this year happened let alone all the great music that has been released. Since the pandemic hit, it feels like it has been in one mode all year ever since. It’s been hard on everyone, from the lack of us fans seeing shows and a whole industry from performers to the behind the scenes crews to venue owners feeling the hurt. We honestly haven’t been here much either, it’s been tough mentally staying in good spirits. However, we aren’t allowing that to stop our end year lists!
For the first time in Soundlink history, we are doing an all genres list! If you have seen our lists in the past, we usually break it down by genres. However, due to the pandemic, we are going to quality vs quantity. Showcasing the best of the best of all the music! The EP rankings and On The Rise Artists rankings will also be coming soon!
1. Taylor Swift- Folklore
I think we can say that nobody expected this record from Taylor Swift, literally as it was a surprise release, and musically. While she has been ever-evolving with her music, stripping down to an indie pop/folksy sound wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Throw in collabs from The National and Jack Antanoff (Bleachers) and a feature from Bon Iver you have something beautiful and special. Not to mention just a few weeks ago, she drops a follow up called Evermore!
2. Silverstein- A Beautiful Place To Drown
They say things get better with age, and for Post-Hardcore vets Silverstein, this rings true in 2020! If you recall, their previous release, Dead Reflection, topped our list in 2018. So while everyone wants to hear My Heroine or Smile In Your Sleep whenever they play, they’re just now making the best music of their careers. This record also explores some new areas sound-wise with some pop elements cropping up, a feature from Princess Nokia in the hip hop realm, and cameos from scene vets such as Aaron Gillespie, Caleb Shomo, and Simple Plan make this one of the best of 2020.
3. The Weeknd- After Hours
One of the most talented artists in music comes in at our third spot. The Weeknd brings the synth, pop, and RnB vibes on his latest offering After Hours. There are very few singers out there who can hit so many different ranges vocally, allowing them to make you what they’re saying and the vibe they’re setting in the music. Regardless if it’s passion, anger, sexual, or happy, The Weeknd conveys all of those with the power of his voice. Even if you don’t like mainstream artists or this genre, you can’t help but respect his talent.
4. Beabadoobee- Fake It Flowers
If her name takes some getting used to, that’s fine! While we were praising this album from the get-go, we were still getting our tongues twisted saying her name. You may have heard of Beabadoobee without knowing it this past summer with the song by Powfu– Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head). He sampled her song using her hook to create one of the biggest songs this summer however, her record Fake It Flowers is nothing like it. Bringing in the youthful energy and angst, being only 20 years old, she takes us on a roller coaster of 90s grunge, rock, and songs that sound like they should play at the end of a 90s coming of age movie. The highlight of this record to me is Charlie Brown. We cannot wait to see what she does in her young career!
5. The Chain Gang Of 1974- Honey Moon Drips
The Chain Gang Of 1974 released a very beautiful album in Honey Moon Drips. The synth-pop album was a record that was catchy yet very well put together musically. Perfect for any setting, summer evening car rides, long lines while shopping for the holidays, and just to relax at home to. In a time when everyone just wants to vibe and have good vibes, this record defines that. Kamtin Mohager’s voice blends well and sits perfectly on-top of the music.
The Rest Of The Best
6. Slaves- To Better Days
7. MGK- Tickets To My Downfall
8. Miley Cyrus- Plastic Hearts
9. Hundredth- Somewhere Nowhere
10. Dance Gavin Dance- Afterburner
11. The Ghost Inside- The Ghost Inside
12. Iann Dior- I’m Gone
13. YUNGBLUD- Weird!
14. Halsey- Manic!
15. Broadside- Into The Raging Sea
Before we wrap up, we would like to give two honorable mentions here. The way we do these records is based on our love for the artist, replay value, how good the music is, and personal connections in no order. Sadly, these two records were beautiful and personally love the artists, however due to the type of music, the replay value and connection to them weren’t as strong. Those records are:
Phoebe Bridgers- Punisher / Haux- Violence In A