To view other 2020 review posts, visit the main post here.
I love music. And though I listen to less than I used to (due to more meetings and more podcasts & audiobooks) I still really enjoy listening to music when I can. I explore new sounds and visit old favorites. I play music for different moods & contexts. I curate playlists with a unique style of sound. I still think of my music sometimes like I would when I was a DJ.
After Google killed yet again another one of their best products (Google Music) and replaced it with something worse (YouTube Music) I again started working on going back to the tried-and-true-but-takes-more-work method of owning and managing my own music.
I prefer to source my music from Bandcamp. I like Bandcamp because they seem to treat the artists better than other sites, and they allow you to manage and re-download or stream the music you have bought through Bandcamp. They also have many features for music discovery. On many Fridays throughout 2020, they removed their cut entirely and let the full purchase price go to the artist/label. I think they do this every once in a while even in non-awful years, too.
I also re-signed up for iTunes Match. Apple has somewhat hidden this service, because they want you to use their streaming service. However, it’s still there (look under “Features” at the very bottom of the main iTunes store page) and is a nice option to make your library available on all your devices. It takes all your apple music, plus anything you have in your chosen music folder (e.g. from CD rips or Bandcamp purchases) and either matches it to the iTunes version of the song, or uploads a copy for your devices to use, if they don’t think they have it. It costs much less than streaming services, too.
With this move, I also started “scrobbling” again. This is a method where you ping a scrobbling service with each song you play, and it keeps track of your listening stats. I use last.fm, though there are other compatible services available. I didn’t start scrobbling again until I was adjusting my setup during the year, so my numbers don’t represent the full year. That said, I can at least see what I’ve been listening to later in the year.
I scrobbled 5653 plays, and my top genres according to my last.fm report were:
- Industrial - Electronic - Metalcore - Industrial Metal - Rock
I listened 1230 different artists! The top 10 were:
Some of these top 10 could arguably even be smashed together. Argyle Park, Circle of Dust, and Celldweller are all bands from Klayton (aka Klay Scott aka Scott Albert). In addition, Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly is a prominent contributor (as producer, electronic musician, or remixer) to many of the Fear Factory albums & songs that I listened to.
Most of the bands listed this year I’ve listened to for years, but Seeming is new. I found Seeming on Bandcamp this year and and have been enjoying some of their catalog, especially their newest. On that front…
I listened to 1819 different albums! The top ten were:
The 4th one there is kind of a cheat, as it’s really 3 Haste the Day albums re-issued in 1. Based on the counts, you can see there was really nothing that I listened to on repeat all year, but several of these albums had multiple playthroughs, as well as scrobbles from listening to my “loved tracks” automatic playlist.
I reviewed NOENEMIES and Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes earlier this year, and shared some thoughts and favorite tracks.
Igorrr is the undisputed king of wild genre mashups, and Spirituality and Distortion once again shows continued evolution in their art. In any given track you may find a combination of baroque music, metal, opera, electronic music, eastern musical styles, western music styles, hand-made instruments, and various other influences. Watch & listen to “Downgrade Dessert” for one of the more “normal” but amazing tracks on the album.
I listened to 3917 different tracks! The top ten were:
The top 3 tracks I definitely listened to on loop at some point in the year. Both “Computorr” and “Go Small” could be theme songs for 2020.
“Computorrr” (listen) is a gltchy, sample-filled, frenetic track that should have you dancing around and thinking about how technology works in our lives.
“TV got your brain”
“I want to get online”
“I need a computer”
“We work with anybody else who’s fighting the system”
“Go Small” (watch & listen) is a simple, haunting, independent, somewhat-melodramatic track that evokes many feelings of the year.
“when the world is drowned in flames write something you can understand”
“the earth is radiantly suicidal if there’s any play in favor of survival, it’s: go small“
What did you listen to this year? Any recommendations?.