By Dillon O’Toole
2020 has not been a very good year so far. I don’t think I need to elaborate on why that is. That being said, one of the positives of this year has been the music. As a fan of most genres within rock and metal, as well as a general interest in various other genres, 2020 has seen the release of a lot of great music, and there is even more on the way.
Return of the 90s alternative scene: If you love to reminisce on how good the rock music of the 90s was, then 2020 should really make you happy. Several bands from this time have already released albums this year. Pearl Jam released their album Gigaton on March 27th, Stone Temple Pilots released their album Perdida on February 7th, and Local H released LIFERS on April 10th. If that wasn’t good enough, there is still plenty of more music from 90s bands set to be released later in the year. Weezer is releasing a new album on May 15th and the lead single, “The End of the Game,” seems to suggest that they are changing their focus from pop back to rock. In addition to Weezer, Alanis Morissette is releasing her album Such Pretty Forks in the Road on May 1st. If you prefered the British bands of the 90s, there is good news on that front as well. Bush has a new album coming in July called The Kingdom. To top off the revival of 90s alternative, Nine Inch Nails released two instrumental albums for free on their website.
Modern metal: Now I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of many of the more extreme genres of metal, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recommend music for those of you who like heavier music. I’m going to start off by recommending my favorite album of the year so far, The Death of Me by Polaris. Polaris did a great job on this album, with “Masochist,” “Landmines,” “Martyr (Waves),” and “All of This Is Fleeting” being the tracks that stand out most to me. Even if you are not a big fan of metal music I would recommend listening to the songs “Masochist” and “Martyr (Waves)” as they are both similar enough to modern hard rock to have crossover appeal. Other albums within the genre of metal that I would recommend checking out are Dead Matter by the band By the Thousands, Guardians by August Burns Red, Fracture by Bleed From Within, and What the Dead Men Say by Trivium.
Recommendations I don’t feel like categorizing: For simplicity’s sake, the rest of the music I’ll be discussing fits into this “other” category. The first recommendation I will give is relevant to all the Linkin Park fans out there. The band Grey Daze features the late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington on vocals for their album Amends. The current release date is scheduled to be June 26th. The next artist whose new music I would recommend looking into has been performing for around 50 years now. Ozzy Osbourne returned this year with a new solo album called Ordinary Man. The title track features Elton John and demonstrates exactly why Ozzy has had staying power in the music industry. Deep Purple is another classic band coming out with new music this year, with their album Whoosh.. The lead single “Throw My Bones” should please any fan of classic rock, and the full album is expected to release in early August. If you are the type of person who likes music that is long, 2020 has albums for you. The progressive rock band Elder is releasing their album Omen on April 24th. Long songs are the norm for this band as the shortest of the five songs on this album is still over 9 minutes in length. Maybe you like your songs with slow tempos. If so, check out the album Lightless by the doom metal (a genre derived from the song of early Black Sabbath) band Loviatar. Alternatively, you may be looking for a more blues based band. If so, check out KALEO and their upcoming album Surface Sounds. If you don’t like rock and instead want something more folk based, Jonathon Hultén and Myrkur released the albums Chants From Another Place and Folkesange respectively.
As a way to wrap up, I would like to point out that there is plenty of good music outside of the limited selection I have mentioned. I personally don’t listen to a lot of rap so I chose to ignore recommending music that fits that category. Finally, I would like to mention undoubtedly the best song to be released this year: Pipe Down (Pipe Dream Diss Track). While released on Binghamton Review’s YouTube channel in October of last year, its official release on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music was January 1st, 2020. The official release of Pipe Down kicked off the great year of music we are currently seeing.