2020 has been wild to say the least but the one constant that thankfully did not change was many artists released some great tunes. Yes, perhaps releases were not as regular or launches did not go to plan but we still got some new music to wrap our ears around.
It has been difficult to pick my Top 10 but this is what I have come up with. Most of these releases were reviewed on this site – but not all – and one artist does make two appearances. There will be a Spotify playlist at the end of the post so you can check out each of these tracks too.
10. “Doomsayer” by Ace Ambrose
Ace Ambrose is a talented singer-songwriter based in Warwickshire. I saw her live back in March before all hell broke loose and immediately found a love for her music but also her being. Her creativity knows no end and she has now constructed alter-ego Gal Fawkes.
A late addition to the list, she released “Doomsayer” in November and it quickly became a staple for my listening activities. It is individual and somewhat thought-provoking whilst suiting 2020 perfectly. I am looking forward to the full album and to learn more about its Orwellian concept.
9. “Nineteen” by Sam Johnson
I’ve been enjoying the music of singer-songwriter Sam Johnson since the beginning of 2018 when I first saw him live. I have seen him on stage five times now, each time has been better than the last as I am blown away with music that comes straight from his heart.
“Nineteen” is his latest release and I immediately loved it after the first listen. He has put out four tracks this year preparing for his next EP release, “Are We There Yet?”, which is out next year.
8. “Zombie Prom” by Kaiser Chiefs
I, like many Kaiser Chiefs‘ fans, were surprised to get any sort of release in 2020. When they announced a Halloween themed single I was slightly wary but once hearing the catchy tune I realised that they were not messing around.
The indie band were fortunate to manage to get their UK and Europe arena tour done at the beginning of the year and have kept up the fan interaction throughout the pandemic with online gigs, listening parties and Zoom quizzes. I for one am thankful that they made this year somewhat bearable.
7. “LOOK” by Free Galaxy
Alt-rock quartet Free Galaxy had this one on the back burner for a while. Having already heard it frequently during their live sets, it was already very familiar when hearing it recorded for the first time.
The bridge and lead up to it is one of my favourite aspects of “LOOK” and I have enjoyed jamming to it on more than one occasion. After this killer single I am looking forward to more releases. Also, the music video is awesome.
6. “Knockin'” by Bryony Williams
My first gig of the year was hosted by the wonderful Bryony Williams before she planned to go travelling. When her travel plans were cut short thanks to a certain virus she came back to the UK and worked on some music.
Her EP, “State I’m In”, which was released in October is a record which I have on repeat but in particular opening track and single “Knockin'” is a song which has been one of my favourites of the year. A song about championing above depression is definitely one worth celebrating.
5. “Parma Violets” by Cage Park
Ever since I first saw these guys at Oxjam Brum in 2018 (as Flares) I have been a big fan of the young indie rock outfit. These guys have talent beyond their years and have spent the past few putting their stamp on the industry.
“Parma Violets” was their first single release as Cage Park and not only did it show serious intent to keep growing but also is simply a great tune. They have since released a great EP and have started to re-release some of their old tracks from when they performed under their old band name.
4. “Numbers Game” by Candid
Coventry rockers Candid have had their plans of domination halted by the coronavirus pandemic. With their sold out show at Empire having been rescheduled for a second time as well as their socially distanced shows been put on hold but this has not stopped them from continuing to impress.
“Numbers Game” was their second official release of 2020 but it very quickly became one of my favourite songs of theirs. A song about how numbers are now dominating the music industry, it is an important topic and a fantastic single.
3. “Camino” by Calva Louise
Calva Louise have been one of favourite artists for a few years now and each single excites me massively. This year they have been busy with a three-track EP release and since then a further two singles have been released. “Camino” was the first of these releases.
A different sort of sound compared to their previous singles I was originally surprised by this one but it quickly became one of my most preferred. These guys always blow me away both with their recorded material and live sets; I hope to see them again soon.
2. “A Fear Of Living” by Parade
Parade absolutely blew me away with this 2020 release; “A Fear Of Living”. I was fortunate enough to get to listen to the single before it was officially out and believe me when I say I listened to it many times – not just to review.
It is also really good live! I can say that because my only gig between the two lockdowns was one of theirs where they opened with it and, in my opinion, they could have played it a second time and I would have been very happy. The trio continue to exceed my expectations and I am looking forward to whatever they put out next.
1. “The Kids Are Alright” by Sam Johnson
I said that one artist makes two appearances in the Top 10! Sam Johnson has absolutely blown me away this year with his releases. A song which has really tapped into my soul and I listen to most days is “The Kids Are Alright”.
It surprises me that this single is not in his top five most popular on Spotify. To me that says that people are sleeping too much on it. It is a great song with strong raw vocal ability and an eclectic mix of instruments being used to tie it all together. I predict it will be a favourite of mine for many years to come.
There you have it! My Top 10 Singles from this year. Be sure to check them all out because not only do all these artists deserve the recognition but also this year has been tougher than ever for them. Please give them the love.
I have reviewed a lot of music this year in various “Let’s Talk Music” posts (links below) and have discovered so many new artists. Although this year has been fairly crap, some of the music to come from it has been incredible.
Next year, the monthly music posts will be no more and I will be reviewing music as I get sent it. Looking forward to more new material to jam to.
Stay safe and happy new year x
This year’s “Let’s Talk Music” posts:
Get in touch: