292 Media Review postings – looking into new music (and a few other) releases was definitely some sort of core business of Flyctory.com during 2020. Thus, I will praise my favorite albums and EPs like in the 2019 posting, I however increased the number of rated publications slightly – it has been a tough task to select the best ones of this year already, anyway. In general, my favorite albums and EPs do not always correlate and reflect with the rating I gave them at review, but more the way they influenced me during the year. Like a wine: some become acid if you look at them for a longer time – and others grow and get better. Some artist even made it twice, two my previous Songs of the Year 2020 as well as to this one.
My Favorite EPs in 2020
I still combine all genres when I look into my favorite EPs of the year – however, I selected five favorites of this year. In general, albums are becoming more and more rare, while EPs and singles are increasing their share. In general, I dislike that – however, especially for upcoming artists, an EP can be a compact showcase of their talent.
5. Nobody Warned Me by Mira Goto
The fifth rank is a lovely example of a wide variety EP: Mira Goto’s Nobody Warned Me meant a lot of fun to me while listening. Tequila Told Me To was the outstanding track of this EP to – but the remaining songs are strong as well. Lovely one!
4. Keep It On Repeat by Celeste Kellogg
Keep It On Repeat was one of the earlier releases this year – and Nashville-born Celeste Kellogg, who is also working as an actor, released an amazing selection of tracks here. Especially the title track had a really long presence in my Country Music Playlists.
3. Heartbeat Higher by Eric Paslay
I love Eric Paslay and his music – his 2020 EP Heartbeat Higher with the catching title track, but also recordings like his very own version of I took a Pill in Ibiza were lovely musical experiences during the year.
2. EP by Kameron Marlowe
Many artists name their debut EP or album according to themselves – Kameron Marlowe did not go the self-titled way, but simply called his six song collection EP. You don’t need to give it a good label if it already has great contents: the former The Voice contestant delivered a fantastic publication in November 2020, which boosted him to the second spot of my personal EP favorites.
My Favorite EP in 2020:
dusk by mxmtoon
Just country music in my EP music? YouTube music superstar mxmtoon goes for the “steal” and tops my personal EP charts of 2020. Sven lovely pop tracks with a very unique sound – I did not know Maia (which is her civil name) before – but I fell in love with her tunes. Finally, she nailed it – my favorite this year.
My Favorite Non-Country Albums in 2020
I had a lot more opportunity to listen into non-country songs this year. Thus, I felt I should go for seven non-country albums this year – which is four albums more than I selected in 2019.
7. We Are One by U.D.O. & the German Armed Forces Band
We Are One was one of the non-country albums this year I was looking forward to most. German metal legend Udo Dirkschneider meeting the Musikkorps der Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces Concert Band. The result is a very respectful and great-to-listen metal collaboration – I still love to listen to the songs today.
6. A Christmas Carol by Majestica
The latest addition to this Best Ones posting was A Christmas Carol by Swedish Majestica. This early December publication is a lovely mixture of melodic metal elements, traditional Christmas songs and the outstanding Charles Dickens story. A true metal masterpiece.
5. Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus
After two metal albums in this ranking, Miley Cyrus definitely goes for the non-headbanging music fans – even though she shows in her 2020 Plastic Hearts how versatile her music may be. There is a song for everybody in this album – a really impressive listen.
4. Limitless by Richard Marx
When Richard Marx released his twelve song album Limitless in February 2020, I was curious about his music nowadays, but especially about his duet with Jana Kramer, who I deeply admire. Finally, Limitless is much more than this one song, Strong Enough – Marx shows and amazing collection of songs are just barely does not make it to the Top 3.
3. Der Wahrheit Die Ehre by Heinz Rudolf Kunze
The three top albums of the year also reflect the three best ratings I assigned. This masterpiece in songwriting by German rock legend Heinz Rudolf Kunze might be difficult to catch for English speaking viewers of my website (as it is German only) – if you do so, you will see how genius the artist is. My favorite German album 2020.
2. folklore by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift did two surprising album releases this year, both just announced a bunch of hours before the actual release. The December release evermore was a good one – but the summer release folklore was an amazing blast. Multiple fantastic, intimate tracks – some feeling even like heading back to the country genre – created one of the best releases this year.
My Favorite Non-Country Album in 2020:
Shapeshifting by Joe Satriani
But then there was Joe Satriani. On 10th April 2020, Shapeshifting was the first album (under my new rating system), which received the full rating of 5 / 5. This album also changed by attitude towards instrumental music – and I was happy to review a couple more instrumental albums thereafter. Outstanding rock music performance.
My Favorite Country Albums in 2020
I could have easily gone for a Top 10 or Top 20 this year – but on the country side, I decided to keep my Best Ones as compact as possible – here are my favorite country music albums of 2020:
7. Nostrum Remedium by Redeye Caravan
Would one really imagine that I am listing an album from Greece in these Top 7? The Dark Country / Gothic Country album received massive feedback and was likely one of the most shared and discussed reviews of 2020 after it has been released in February. I still love to listen to the Greek’s songs and watch their amazingly done music videos.
6. Carly Pearce by Carly Pearce
If I could choose to meet an artist I haven’t met yet, it would likely be Carly Pearce. The Kentucky lady amazed me since I saw her first at a festival in Lexington – and her 2020 album Carly Pearce was just a lovely listen. Hope to see her on stage again soon.
5. Wild World by Kip Moore
This Top 7 of country album also reflects how versatile this genre is. Kip Moore does country music the rock music way – and his Wild World rocked the boots world in 2020. great listen and highly recommended.
4. Good Years by The Shires
All Brits might hate me for that, but I have to say that I am not a too big fan of The Shires, their premium country export. However, with their Good Years released on 13th March 2020, there was no other option than admiring Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes for a twelve song album, which is much better than a lot of stuff produced on the other side of the big blue water this year. One of the best European albums this year, for sure.
3. The K Is Silent by Hot Country Knights
To me, the Hot Country Knights feel like the most painful concert experience Covid-19 took me this year. I am sure that Dierks Bentley and his fun country combo would have popped up somewhere during the CMA Fest 2020 – and their debut party smasher The K Is Silent just gives a touch of an impression how beer-ful that party would have been. Hope to cheer to these guys in 2021.
2. The Cumberland River Project by The Cumberland River Project
if you listen to Good Years by The Shires (see above), you can hardly think that there might be a better European country music production. But then, there is Frank Renfordt from Hagen near Dortmund, Germany – the genius behind The Cumberland River Project, which is in fact a one-man one. The album has been recorded in Nashville and is an absolute surprise this year. The hard Brexit becomes softer for country fans in good, old Europe with guys like Frank – hope we hear more of him in 2021.
My Favorite Country Album in 2020:
The Balladeer by Lori McKenna
The same rating as The Cumberland River Project and even slightly worse than Good Years, I overall felt that the ten songs of Lori McKenna’s The Balladeer were the best ones recorded for boots lovers during 2020. McKenna simply proofed her outstanding talent as a songwriter and well-deserved this nomination as the best country album in 2020.
Top Pick Media Reviews
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