The albums that made the worst year ever a little better

These are difficult and unprecedented times, and while we can’t stick to all of our old ways anymore, some things thankfully remain constant.

The year 2020 started out with confusion and frustration and then turned into fatigue and anger. Yet time flew by, even as we spent months isolating ourselves at home. In the midst of the chaos, it was difficult to stay sane; much more to keep safe.

As the world slowed to a halt, many professions were caught in existential crises – including music, of course. Nightclubs – especially those underground and independent havens – have been forced to close, some even permanently. Live concerts and festivals started to look like relics of an old world, and then a good number began to shift more towards live broadcasting, online radio, etc.

If there is any consolation, some have managed to release and promote a new album even in quarantine. Even if they shelter in place, the creative juices can flow freely, and these acts have pierced with gems of new material. Some even released records after putting them on the back burner for several years.

Before we started to see the faint glow at the end of the tunnel, music was a source of solace in these trying times, and there was plenty of reason to look forward to new releases from our favorites.

We asked a few members of the local community to name a 2020 album that made this difficult year a little more bearable.

Saab Magalona / Tips

File photo by Paolo Abad / Rappler

The lead singer of Cheats chooses both a remastered indie classic and the brilliant new album from rock trio HAIM.

Wilco – Summer teeth (Deluxe Edition)

Saab has listened to a longtime favorite band with his two sons over the year: Wilco. Summer teeth, a flagship record first released in 1999, has been re-released this year with clips, demos and more never heard before.

She shares that Pancho and Vito appreciate the masterpiece of independent rock among the must-haves of children’s music. “My two kids love Wilco and he’s our most listened to artist between Cocomelon, Super Simple Songs, etc,” she says.

HAIM – Women in Music Pt. III

Diego Castillo / Sandwich

File photo by Paolo Abad / Rappler

An avid vinyl collector and breeder, Sandwich guitarist Diego Castillo said he had “taken a deep dive into discovering and re-discovering old tracks on vinyl, which made new releases a moot point” .

Run the gems – RTJ4

“My first choice would be Run the Jewels’s RTJ 4. Not only were there a lot of bangers on it, the type that let me blow off steam with all the madness around us, but there was also some poignant and precise social commentary on everything that was going (wrong) in the game. world.”

SAULT – Untitled (Black Is) & Untitled (Rise)

“Another would be the two versions of SAULT. Honestly, I had never heard of them and only met them through Spotify. Also, I don’t think that much is known about them who avoided media coverage and refused to give their names, which I think adds, at least for me personally, to the appeal of the group.

“Looks like they’ve looted the best stuff from my record collection, disco, funk, afrobeat, bossa, house to post punk. I know that sounds like a lot, but I assure you it is not. So yeah, how can I resist albums like these.

Myrene Academia / Sandwich, Imago

File photo by Paolo Abad / Rappler

Run the gems – RTJ4

“To tell you the truth, music has been very painful to listen to this year because of all that it means in my life. RTJ4 was the only thing I could take for the first half of 2020. ”


“These days it’s BTS ‘BE.”

Diego Mapa / Pédicab, Tarsius, Cambio, etc.

Photo by Paolo Abad / Rappler

Avalanches – We will always love you

“I’m a huge fan of The Avalanches and when the title song came out around Q1 I was still singing it in my head as I wrote this response.”

“I also like the sample used which is“ Hammond Song ”from Les Roches. The follow-up single from the Australian album, ‘Interstellar Love’ with Leon Bridges is sure to allay anxieties.

King Puentespina / crwn, she’s only sixteen

File photo by Paolo Abad / Rappler

Jessie Ware – What is your pleasure

“Jessie Ware What is your pleasure? really helped me a lot this year. She was even my best Spotify Wrapped 2020 artist, so there’s no denying that she made my year worthy of having something to hold onto.

What is your pleasure got me dancing at times when I really needed it and the album made being alive in itself worth celebrating.

similarobjects / Programming Manager, Manila Community Radio

Photo by Dan Wilton / courtesy of similarobjects

galena tipton – ungoliant

“I’m pretty sure Galen Tipton is rude kept me sane this year. Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without this album. It didn’t really remind me of the life we ​​started from, but it made sense with how I felt during this year, not to mention how it allows me to capture my feelings and identify with myself. I really felt like this album spoke the language of my soul, if that makes sense. “

Honorable mentions: Zora Jones – Ten billion angels & Burial – Chemz

“Ten billion angels by Zora Jones should definitely get a Special Mention, not to mention Burial’s Chemz ”.

Camille Castillo / Editorial Director (Asia), Bandwagon

Photo by Iya Forbes / courtesy Camille Castillo


“Like most new BTS fans this year, my catwalk song was ‘Dynamite.’ It started with the music video and then there was no going back.”

“Part of the fun of this BTS trip is going through it with my sister, cousins ​​and friends. I don’t think we’ve had such an intense common interest since… NSYNC. TO BE kept us company at home while working, cooking weekend dinners, hanging out on the porch, playing with our cranky dog.

“I especially love how they’ve managed to capture what we’ve been feeling throughout this seemingly endless quarantine season, especially with ‘Fly To My Room’, ‘Dis-ease’ and ‘Blue & Gray’ Their music allowed me to not only reconnect with myself, but also with others, by creating a support system (aka multiple group chats) for having dance and dance parties while we are all together. stuck at home.

Nadine Luster / Carefree

Image courtesy of Careless

Lady Gaga – chromatic

“Besides being a big fan of Lady Gaga, chromatic inspired me in many ways. I can certainly say that chromatic is my 2020 soundtrack because of the album’s raison d’être.

“It lived up to what I was going through (besides the fact that 2020 has been a crazy year) – dealing with negative thoughts and voices in my head – to free myself from the things that were holding me back.”