In Key Magazine Presents | Staff Picks 2020 | Feature

Mitchell | A Record Collection With A Suit & Beard Attached

Best Album Of The Year: ‘High Risk Behaviour’ – The Chats

This year saw the release of many very good albums, but lacked the handful that usually would fight in my brain for the number one spot. It was either going to be ‘Ohms‘ By Deftones, ‘Ultra Mono‘ by Idles, or this, but Australia’s best new group, The Chats, just about pipped the UK’s finest modern Punks and America’s top Nu-Metal pioneers to the pip. ‘High Risk Behaviour‘ sees a bit of fun and frivolity brought back into a Punk sound that often takes the more serious path in these times. Do any of these songs really hold any massively intellectual meaning or lyrically fascinating insight? Absolutely not. Did they pull me through 2020 on a rocket propelled skateboard of fun-fuelled listening? Yes it did and it’s brilliant form start to end on every listen.

Worst Album Of The Year: ‘Father Of All Mother Fuckers’ – Green Day

Oh how this pains me. I literally have a tattoo covering half of my left arm specifically dedicated to ‘American Idiot‘, an album that is just musical perfection to my ears. So to have to put this absolute pile of utter shit in its rightful place as the worst album of 2020 may hurt, but Green Day, if you’re reading this, I’m doing it because I love you. Consider this an intervention. Not only the worst of the year, but possibly one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard in my life. In fact, perhaps the early February release date was a warning of what was going to come in 2020?

Best Single Of The Year: Dragonball Durag – Thundercat

It’s funky, it’s funny, it’s fucking fantastic! Thundercat has yet to make a bad move with his output as a solo artist and this absolute belter of a tune absolutely smashes all competition out of the way to my top spot of this year’s best singles. The video that goes along with it is also smashing and features the wonderful Haim. If you hear the song and watch the video and don’t feel an urgent need to dance and laugh, then you have no soul or are dead, literally and/or just inside.

Worst Single Of The Year: WAP – Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion

Where to even begin with this one without writing a whole essay on how bad a song it is? In fact, let’s be generous and try to find some positives. It’s catchy (but then again, so is chicken pox and I’d rather avoid that too), it’s definitely got a clear element of an attempt at humour to it (or at least I really hope that was the aim) and… Well… Nope. I’m out! The faux ‘controversy’ that surrounded this song was laughable at best and throughly depressing at worst and neither performer puts in their best performance. Megan’s verse isn’t too bad, but her rather good album released this year proved she can do better, whereas I still don’t understand how Cardi B ever landed a record contract? Could anyone please enlighten me? The production is flat, the beat is boring and I’m hoping we can leave this tune in the bin fire that was 2020, where it belongs.

Favourite New Discovery Of 2020: Rediscovering Some Musical Loves

No way is this anything to do with 2020, but I found an absolute adoration for Shoegaze, particularly My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, as well as reigniting my love of Modern Folk like Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, AdonowskyBonnie Price Billy and the like. Plus, a whole tonne of Indie/Indie-Rock, both old and new, but particularly Kurt Vile, Pulp, The Libertines, The Fratellis and such. Oh and don’t forget my period of reacquainting myself with a tonne of American Punk & Alternative (1988-2007, of course) like NOFX, Green Day, Bad Religion, Reel Big Fish, Bowling For Soup, Sunny Day Real Estate, Misfits and so on and so forth.

I listened to a lot of music in isolation this year!

Hopes For 2021:

A new Father John Misty album would be nice. Other than that, some lovely new music, a decent year for books and video games, D&D (or some other form of tabletop RPG/tabletop games) played around an actual table again, getting to play some records out, hopefully get some new tattoos and seeing my friends and family again, able to hug them for the first time in a year or more.

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