State of Music 2020

December 31, 2020 - 7 minute read

In 2020 I (we) spent a lot of time at home. That meant that I was discovering way more music than normal. I also got to reconnect with old artists which music I still love, but for some reason had dropped some time ago. It also was good for my taste—I found myself listening to quite a lot of different things, not only metal.

As I like recording things such as my music taste through time, this post is a way to look back at the year in terms of the songs I listened to the most, artists I fell in love with and new music or genres I found.

Finds of the year


Vulfpeck

This was a find like no other—I usually don't listen to funk or jazz, even though I do like both genres. While I knew they were a band due to their plugin, Vulf Compressor, I hadn't dug through their records. Turns out I love them! They have a very special sauce for making catchy, melodic songs that are still fun to listen to and play. Not only this, but each musician in that band is amazing on their own right: Woody can write super melodic, instrumental songs (he wrote Dean Town), Theo is an amazing drummer AND compositor, Joe Dart is, well, Joe friggin' Dart, and Jack Stratton is just a mastermind.

I tend to listen to songs, not really bands, but these guys are just too good. Here are a few songs I'd recommend:

But I'd really encourage you to listen to most of their albums, and especially the live versions of their songs. Pieces like Dean Town, My First Car, or Beastly, get faster, "fuller" with more instruments playing and have their own special touches.

Olafur Arnalds

This Icelandic composer is an artist I have still to dig through a lot, but he's already incredibly high on my music list this year. He catched my attention with the album Island Songs, which has Doria in it: a Piano song which reminds me of watching a sunrise somewhere very, very cold. It sounds like hope, basically.

MitiS

I love me some melodic electronic music, and dubstep tends to be quite a very good genere to write that style in—mainly because you can get huge feelings of euphoria and still be very groovy. MitiS has great songs, shattered was the one that catched my attention.

Loot chest: awesome songs

Even though I put artists I actually listened to, as in check out their discography, there were a bunch of great songs I discovered this year, either by artists I already knew, or that I didn't know and have still yet to discover fully. Here are some of them:

Most of these are not metal, which is the pretty surprising part. This year was all about listening to different music, and that turned out very well! Most of those songs, at some point of the year, were on repeat while I was working.

Artists and songs I reconnected with

There were a few:

  • Up Into The Ether by I Built The Sky. Like a comment says, it's Stainless Steel—metal, but clean. I personally love this song and by the end of this year I had it on repeat again.
  • Fjara by Sólstafir. A haunting but beautiful song. While the band screwed their original drummer out in 2015/2016, I still really like this song.
  • Tycho. He recently released 2 albums, one of which is just the instrumental version of the first one. He's an amazing artist and for the latter part of my teenage years and after that (me being 21 now), songs like Awake and A Walk have been with me in countless places. In fact, Awake was the first song I listened to on a plane back in march!
  • Dawn by Hiatus. I always procrastinate checking out this guy, but this song is one of my all time favorites. I tend to put either flavor, places, or colors to songs, and this song is a starry night sky somewhere in nature. It's good for thinking and inspiration.
  • Omnium Gatherum. I've been a listener since around 2014, but they released an album last year and I was hooked again. These guys, together with Insomnium (which the main guitarist and composer of this band is a member of as well) and Wintersun, are pretty much the kings of Very Melodic Death Metal.
  • Wintersun. While I did not like their most recent album, because it's too slow and jumpy for me, and I'm a sucker for either very melodic or fast songs, I did reconnect with their Time album. And of course, it's a masterpiece.
  • Primus. They suck. Hard. And I love them. I got to know them with Tony Hawk Pro Skater (the original, not the remake), and when we got the remake this year I got hooked again.

Honorable mentions

These are mostly songs which are the foundations of my playlists or working music, but just did not make it to the post. Here are some of them:

Song of the year

That would be Dawn, by Hiatus. This was not necessarily the most listened to song of 2020 for me (Spotify says it actually was Archspire's Lucid Collective Somnambulation), but it was the most intentionally listened to song of this year. As I said, it's a great song for thinking, and I had to do a lot of that this year.

Now, with all of that said, cheers to 2021!