Happy List Season! It’s the time when the holidays (Honda Days and Toyotathon) are over. The New Year with all its possibilities is before us. And on every street corner – or magazine/blog/website/podcast – you find the lists of Best and Worst (fill in the blank) of the year.
I don’t have a list of songs or albums. I think the worst thing in music was just this dumpster fire of a year. Live shows seem like a distant memory, and it’s hard to say when or if we’ll be able to enjoy them again. Sadly, some of our favorite music venues were lost to the pandemic. It especially hit small local venues that broke new artists and made live music accessible to thousands of fans.
Also, we lost some very important artists in 2020. Some of the biggest names were to the pandemic: John Prine, Adam Schlesinger, Charley Pride, Joe Diffie, Ellis Marsalis…each irreplaceable.
But on the positive side, the Save Our Stages Act passed as part of the latest stimulus bill in December. It provides $15 billion in assistance to the industry through non-repayable grants. Of that, $10 billion goes to live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. Event promoters and producers, booking agents, and managers can also apply for assistance. Hopefully these grants can help local music scenes across the country get back on their feet.
And there’s still music: artists still released albums and streamed live performances. All this kept a lot of us going when we needed it. Music is a livelihood for a lot of people. As we find our way to the “new normal,” let’s support the art form however we can. We can do that by buying music we love instead of relying on streaming services that don’t pay artists fairly. We can buy tickets to shows, and share our favorites on social media. The garden can’t grow unless we water it.
The Top Lists of the Year (just kidding)
Instead of a list of songs or albums or shows, I’ll leave you with a few lists from different publications. Check them out and see if you agree with how your favorites –and least favorites—fared:
NPR’s 100 Best Songs of 2020:
50 Best Album Lists:
L.A. Times Worst Music of 2020:
Insider’s Best and Worst Songs:
Slate’s Worst of the Year: