You survived 2020 and all you got was this Spotify playlist

This may have been the Worst Year EverTM, but holy mince pies, Batman, was there some great music.

To try and help cheer you up (and to drown out the bloody awful festive music you must be sick of by now), I’ve assembled what I think is the finest 52 songs (one for each week of this 129 month-long year) I heard in 2020. There’s a convenient Spotify playlist with them all in at the end too. (And yes, of course it includes Unreqvited.)

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What you get out of an album isn’t just about how good it is – it’s also about your relationship with the band’s back catalogue

There’s a Melvyn Bragg line that Mark Kermode has brought up in his film reviews: that how you react to something is affected in part on where you are in your life when you encounter it. And obviously, that’s true in music too.

But it in music, it’s even more complicated than that. What you feel about a particular album can be hugely dependent on the relationship you have with what the artist has done before – even in cases where you already liked them, and where you think the album is good – not necessarily how good the album itself is. Naturally, the best way to demonstrate this is with examples, so I’ve dug some out from 2020: Code Orange’s Underneath, Oceans Of Slumber’s self-titled album, Anaal Nathrakh’s Endarkenment, and Unreqvited’s Empathica.

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Below The Light #4 – Enter The Drakum

Below The Light is back with a collection of stuff wot you might ‘ave gone done missed guv, innit. This one is, frankly, all over the shop, even by the standards of the first three of these.

We have something grim and Dutch, two somethings from southern Europe that sound far more northerly, something French and absurdly technical, something Swedish and brutal, and something Swedish and so camp the physical copy should come with a cravat (and the digital download come with a Kenneth Williams gif).

And then some stuff that’s just plain weird – but might be the best of the lot…

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