The award-winning and commercial success of Kacey Musgraves’s genre-fluid third album Golden Hour, and subsequent mainstream recognition, inevitably moved her more firmly into the pop quadrant of the country and pop crossover scatter plot. She has always been acutely aware of her position outside of the country mainstream, and many of her songs acknowledge (and even celebrate) that reality.
Kanye West is a big deal. He’ll be the first to tell you so. My favorite Kanye lyric—"Damn, Ye, it'd be stupid to diss you, Even your superficial raps is super-official"—was served up as playful punnery within Late Registration’s “Gone” (2005). These boastful words have proven to be surprisingly prophetic.
Now that we’re seeing some light at the end of this long tunnel, people are starting to reflect on the last year. There were plenty of personal growth opportunities and so many turbulent emotions. The business/work aspect of life has also been a somewhat conflicted experience, with some businesses thriving while others were knocked down hard.
Last December, our curation team made a handful of Music Trends for 2020 predictions, including that “songs have been getting slower, that’s going to change soon.” While this year has been full of unpleasant experiences, this modest prediction has proven accurate—resulting in a welcome number of upbeat, energetic chart hits. While others are busy publishing their year-end lists (which we also love), we wanted to celebrate some of the biggest artists and songs behind this trend of musical acceleration.
The past two months have seen a significant renewed interest in protest songs. Music streaming of these songs has increased, and countless musicians have recorded new ones in support of Black Lives Matter. As this movement continues to demand racial justice, we’ve been reflecting on protest songs from the last century, from the timeless “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie (1944) continuing through such Civil Rights anthems as “The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan (1964), “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke (1964), and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin (1967).
America has a rich history of dissenting through music, which can be traced from these early songs to late-20th century classics like “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy (1989) and “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine (1992), to those of today. We’ve picked 10 Black Lives Matter songs that speak truth to power in profound ways.
The first half of 2020 was so crazy it was sometimes hard to make time for new music...Even for music curators like ourselves! Tour cancelations and venue closures have had a major impact on music fans and the artists who depend on live performances for income. But it hasn’t been all bad news. Whether your exposure to new music has been limited to the latest hits or you’ve managed to dig a bit deeper, the 2020s have already delivered lots of great songs.
We’ve picked 20 Best Songs of 2020 (So Far), comprised of 10 Favorite Hits and 10 Deep Cuts. Curious why these specific tracks stood out from the hundreds of others we’ve listened to? We’ve included a few notes about each song and the artists who made them.
Check out the full 20-track YouTube playlist here.
10 Favorite Hits
"At the Door" by The Strokes — The Strokes are back! Casablancas' emotive baritone swims through this sparse and moody track that hits all the right spots. The Strokes are older and that jaded New York vibe finally has some bite behind it.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen huge changes in the way the average person consumes music. As we have sheltered in place, creative adaptation has been key for musicians and listeners alike. In this article, we’ll explore the Top 5 Music Trends of 2020 so far. Even with live music essentially cancelled, music has continued to play a central role in our socially distanced society while becoming a vital part of the fight for racial justice.
With live performances on hold and concert venues closed, many artists have proven adept at new ways of sharing their music. With record numbers of YouTube videos posted from home studios and bedrooms, and suddenly-commonplace livestreamed performances on Twitch and Instagram Live, artists are reaching their fans in a variety of novel ways.
I spent last week in Nashville, soaking up the sights and sounds of Music City while working remotely. As Feed.fm's Curation Lead, I was inspired to share some highlights that will hopefully help stoke your love of country music and discover a few new artists.