Mid-Year Top 10
Though a belated list, it was a daunting task to try and circumvent a Top 10 that felt right. It took time and multiple listens to come up with what I deemed were some of the best records so far this year.
Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Ganas — Bad Bunny
Before Love Came To Kill Us — Jessie Reyez
Alfredo — Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist
10. Circles — Mac Miller (8/10)
As with most of what was heard on swimming, Mac was definitely at the focal point in his musical transitions. He was rooting himself back to the music he grew up on, that wasn’t Tribe. He was this multi instrumentalist who could weave something out of nothing. And Circles gives us exactly that.
Mac Miller’s jaunting and acoustic approach to the troubled mind that can’t seem to escape the circle he’s swimming in, was just a glimpse. His untimely passing has given the world a lot to think about. For some of us music heads, the ire to see what he could become as he was reaching his peak has left a gaping hole in a grandiose timeline.
“Good News,” and “Hand Me Downs” highlight chapters in a beautiful soul wishing for his inevitable escape. His warped realities haunted him long and Circles leaves us with his final update on a positive path.
9. Dawn — MXMTOON (8.5/10)
MXMTOON has evolved further since her days making waves on YouTube and Soundcloud with Bedroom-Pop tunes. Her biggest hit “Prom Dress,” was unlike most songs that dealt with self worth and confidence. It’s handling of the subject in conjunction with an event familiar to all teens, Prom Night.
Dawn is the followup to the masquerade, and it reaches a higher point of the ceiling she has laid out for herself.
The melancholic — dreamy pop adds life to the another album that heavily deals with themes in the realm of love and self discovery. It’s simple nature flourishes with the complexity of the smaller details in the acoustics.
8. The Album — Teyana Taylor (8.5/10)
“The Album has a lot of different factors that jump out at you, amongst the plethora of tracks running down. From interesting duets and features to a collection of solo outputs to flex her strengths, Teyana truly does a lot to deliver the best she can.”
7. Texas Sun EP — Leon Bridges & Khruangbin (8.5/10)
For some of us summer is a time for relaxation and fun. Nothing speaks more to that than Texas Sun EP. It has the right tempo and mood for another day of cruising in your convertible down the interstate on an early morning.
The smooth strings blend eloquently to the sunny vibes and Leon Bridge’s traditional — soulful voice.
It’s crisp and simplistic melodies and strings carry weight. It was like Leon Bridges and Khruangbin were made for each other.
6. HARD — Joell Ortiz & King Crxxd (9/10)
This year has been a predominantly weak year for many current belters to heavyweights in the hip hop game. But two members of SlaughterHouse came together for one wicked simple and explosive EP.
Gritty instrumentals and two vernacular rappers of their hierarchy truly bring out the best in Hip-Hop.
5. Sawayama — Rina Sawayama (9/10)
Rina Sawayama has been making a name and implementing herself as a dominant force in pop music, for a semi newcomer. Her music, while generally based in the realm of pop, evokes many influences from heavy metal, hard rock, disco, electro, funk, and the copious others underlying the songs drive the album home.
4. Drop 6 — Little Simz (9/10)
“Little Simz virtuoso is matched by the quality she has been releasing since the start of her career. Last year’s GREY Area was one of the best releases of last year. Her lyrical prowess empowers the simplicity of the instrumentals creating multi faceted layers of depth to her music. This continues on her new EP Drop 6.”
3. Run the Jewels 4 — Run The Jewels (9.5/10)
As is with RTJ, their vigor is only matched by the cohesiveness of the instrumentals around them. Since their first release, what was deemed a high curiosity from rappers of opposite spectrums. Their bombastic and hardcore approach in lyricism and deliver is as virtuoso as Rage Against The Machine was when they debuted.
RTJ never misses a step and Run The Jewels 4, takes that big leap into our minds, perfectly timed with the social issues the United States and the World is currently facing.
2. Fetch The Bolt Cutters — Fiona Apple (10/10)
“Fiona Apple is the opposite of an albatross in the pop genre — melodically weaving intimate songs with a plethora of intriguing instrumentations and lyrics that resonate. From her debut Tidal to her newest release Fetch The Bolt Cutters, the methodical production behind each of her songs has always been the underlying star on an otherwise a charismatic soft art-pop rock artist.”
“The overall natural and holistic nature of the structure-mixed conjectures of the instrumentals adds a new foray, but it doesn’t get by without her still playing her piano characteristically.”
- Future Nostalgia — Dua Lipa (10/10)
“Future Nostalgia sees Dua Lipa at her most astute creatively and most personal. It is lyrically mature, which her previous album had traces of. She maintains catchiness to keep the listeners enthralled by the content she sings about.”
“Every track takes a new approach and always feeling different and unique for the better, even if they are all many types of pop influence.”
Top 10 Singles so Far of 2020:
Sugar (Remix) — Brockhampton Feat. Dua Lipa
Let’s Be Friends — Carly Rae Jepsen
Rascal — RMR (Rumor)
Inside Friend — Leon Bridges & John Mayer
You’re Too Precious — James Blake
Break My Heart — Dua Lipa
La Dificil — Bad Bunny
Good News — Mac Miller
Hey Girl — Boy Pablo
RiRi — Amine