The cathartic screams at the end of Phoebe Bridger’s I Know The End are the single musical contribution of this year that I immediately associate with this year. All other albums and songs could be from this year or another time in my mind.

Without revealing too much, I tend to silently process things and keep my thoughts to myself, but those screams…they are my vicarious reaction to this year. I don’t want to dwell on the trials, tribulations, losses, difficulties, and all that made 2020 an all-round terrible year. I don’t want to put a positive spin on 2020 for all the things that I have to be thankful for. I just want to let it go with a scream and start 2021 with a new beginning.

This is one of, if not the first, times that I am choosing an album that wasn’t my most listened to for my favorite album of the year. I normally choose my most listened-to album because I think my actions across the year signal what my favorite was. In a typical year, that would have meant Glass Animals’ Dreamland. This year with so much and so little, I don’t think what I would normally do really signals that accurately. This year was one for Punisher.

The album had a number of favorite songs this year with a few standouts for me including Kyoto, Chinese Satellite, and especially Graceland Too with its boygenius backing. On a somewhat related note, Bug Eyes from Mt. Joy ended up as my most listened-to song for 2020.

The track listing for Punisher is:

  • “DVD Menu”
  • “Garden Song”
  • “Kyoto”
  • “Punisher”
  • “Halloween”
  • “Chinese Satellite”
  • “Moon Song”
  • “Savior Complex”
  • “ICU”
  • “Graceland Too”
  • “I Know The End”

My past albums of the year include:

  • Heard it in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers (2019)
  • Mt. Joy by Mt. Joy (2018)
  • I Love You Like a Brother by Alex Lahey (2017)
  • Painting of a Panic Attack by Frightened Rabbit (2016)
  • The Positions by Gang of Youths (2015)
  • Islands by Bear’s Den (2014)
  • White Lighter by Typhoon (2013)
  • Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron (2012)
  • The Year of Hibernation by Youth Lagoon (2011)
  • Passive Me, Aggressive You by The Naked and Famous (2010)