Keeping my usual form, here are some of my favorite songs of the year, and below are some albums I want to give special attention to.
I didn't try very hard to condense this into something concise (it'll take you 30 minutes just to listen to all the previews), but I did at least put some attention into sequencing these tracks into something that flows well together. So if hardcore isn't your thing or you're not a fan of pop-punk, you can skip the sections that don't resonate with you.
- Pool Kids – Pool Kids
I became a fan of Pool Kids through their 2018 record, Songs To Practice Safe Sex To. It had a sound with just enough of a dreamy, moody, emo sound to feel reminiscent of one of my favorite records ever, Now Now's 2012 album Threads. This self-titled record completely transcends their previous efforts. Also, a few years ago they did a two-song hardcore EP under the name POOL for what looks like an extremely committed April Fools bit, and it's extraordinarily good.
I wound up getting the making-of photo book of the record. I love when bands do this kind of thing, and one of the few photo books I own is the one Autumn de Wilde did of Death Cab For Cutie during their recording of Plans (2005).
Anyway, this record rules and this band is too underrated. Everyone should listen to this.
- Pusha T – It's Almost Dry
Push just continues to be my favorite rapper in the game right now. This year was stacked with excellent releases from Denzel Curry, Kendrick Lamar, and Nas, but Push is where I keep coming back to.
- MUNA – MUNA
It was a good year for self-titled records. MUNA's latest record is far and away their best work, too.
- Slowly Slowly – Daisy Chain
My first exposure to Slowly Slowly was hearing Jellyfish somewhere years back, but they firmly held my attention with their February 2020 record, Creature of Habit, which was probably my favorite record of 2020. Shortly after that, they put out another record-length of material called Creature of Habit Pt. 2, and Daisy Chain keeps up the string of great releases with a collection of tracks that are a little more straightforward and poppy, and they really nail the sound.
- Gleemer – Here At All
My favorite music from Gleemer so far, this totally nails the longing melancholic sound I can never get enough of.
- Gordi – Inhuman
This was my first time listening to anything from Gordi, and this EP is just gorgeous through and through. Very chill and heartfelt while being incredibly somber. Mellow melancholy is just my thing this year. And probably most years.
- With The Punches – Discontent
This was an unexpected delight—With The Punches was one of my favorite mid-sized New York-area bands when I was in high school, and I have a very formative memory feeling very emotional at gang vocals in Hulk Hands at the end of a show in The Dungeon in Watertown, NY before the release of It's Not The End of the World (2011). I may still have a zip-up hoodie with their dripping cloud logo from that show stored at my parents' somewhere.
More Year-End Playlists: