The Future of Music 2020

2020 Album ReleasesFuture of MusicNew Artists
2020AfBlgFutureOfMusic700-min

So I’ve changed the title once more - away from Online and Digital specifically to just Music in general. And the focus here is wider and more eclectic than ever before - touching on different countries and continents even - different dialects and languages.

 

If I were to name just one overarching trend it would be the continued growth/proliferation of the ’street’ forms of hip-hop - Grime and Trap in particular, and there are quite a few new up-and-comers in those areas, while I feel many of these artists will struggle to get out of the ’mandem’ ghettos and up into the mainstream.

 

In previous years I have been very strict on only allowing ’brand new’ artists into my ’Breakthrough’ category - and that criteria typically meant they could not have yet delivered their first proper album. But such is the nature of music that not everyone gets a fair crack of the whip even on second or third attempt.

 

My ambassador for 2020 shall be Canadian Alexandra Ashley Hughes AKA Allie X who has actually been working on her career for a while and has even participated in TV talent contests while by no means being a product of one - but more of that later. I actually struggled to arrange my selection of 35 breakthrough artists in any specific meaningful order - so I chose to simply list alphabetically and single out Allie X as this year’s poster-child as such.


10 Favourite Albums of 2019

I still stand by this selection - there are always other albums creeping in and out of my consciousness - including Jenny Hval's 'The Practice of Love' which just missed out on a mention in my end-of-year roundup. Bille Eilish still edges it for me overall - she is still The figurehead and poster-child for 2019 as far as I'm concerned :

  • Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • Bishop Briggs - Champion
  • Mark Ronson - Late Night Feelings
  • Rammstein - Rammstein
  • Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
  • Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!
  • Bat for Lashes - Lost Girls
  • Charli XCX - Charli
  • Young Thug - So Much Fun
  • Slowthai - Noting Great About Britain

10 Favourite Songs of 2019

I've already commented several times that on any particular day a different song or two would be uppermost in my mind - but I still really like all of the following. Possibly 'Bury a Friend' should be a little higher in the list, but 'Gone' is still a great signpost for 2019 :

  • Charli XCX - Gone / 1999
  • Rosalía - Con Altura / Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi / Aute Cuture
  • Bishop Briggs - Jekyll & Hyde / Champion
  • Billie Eilish - Bury a Friend / Bad Guy
  • Mark Ronson - Late Night Feelings / Find U Again / Pieces of Us / True Blue
  • Georgia - About Work The Dancefloor
  • Rammstein - Auslander / Sex / Puppe
  • Bat for Lashes - The Hunger / Jasmine
  • Grimes - 4ÆM / My Name is Dark / Violence
  • Rachel K Collier - Faith Over Fear (Hectic Remix) / Paper Tiger / Dinosaur

35 Breakthrough Artists to Follow in 2020

As mentioned in the intro I decided to cast a slightly wider net this year. I trawled through all the usual New Artist recommendations - and many of those lists had 100 candidates on them - so I compared and contrasted extensively and exhaustively - and settled on these 35 listed here below.

 

In contrast to previous years I've permitted artists who already have published album/s to feature - as long as they've still to reach mainstream acceptance and exposure. Typically the past this has been some fairly young hotshot, and my choices have not always necessarily born out long-term either - such is the fickleness of the music industry.

 

What has to be said is that all the varieties you will ever have loved are available in abundance today - all types of rock, metal and electronic, hip hop, house, soul, boogie and reggae - and near enough most major genres are represented in this year's selection - with the exception of country, hard-rock and metal really :

 

Genres : Afrobeat, Alternative Rock, Boogie, Chip-Hop, Chip-Tunes, Disco, Deep-House, Dream-Pop, Electronic Pop, Electropop, Experimental Electronic Pop, Funk, Gospel, Hip Hop, Indie Pop, Indie Rock, House, Jazz, Kwaito-House, Neo-Jazz, Neo-Kudura, Pop, Pop-Punk, R&B, Roots Reggae, Soul, Trap, Synth-Pop, Synth-Rock

 

Countries Represented : Angola, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Iceland (x2), Ireland (x2), Jamaica, Portugal, Sweden, UK (x18), Ukraine, USA (x5)

 

I like all of these obviously - not necessarily all to the same degree, but each of these artists has more than the one good song in them. I'm a big fan of supporting new music - and hopefully those who read this can find a new artists or two to explore and support. Note that the youngest artist featured here is 15/16 and the oldest is 34 - so a span of age and experience too!


Allie X | Ontario, Canada | Electropop / Synth-Pop


100 gecs | St Louis, USA | Experimental Electronic Pop / Chip Tunes / Chip Hop


Aitch | Manchester, UK | British Hip Hop


Alyona Alyona | Kiev, Ukraine | Ukrainian Trap/Rap


Arlo Parks | London, UK | Sweet Indie Folky Soul


Ashnikko | Greensboro, USA | Electropop / Hip Hop


Bamily | London, UK | Afrobeat / Jazz / Disco / Funk / Soul


Barny Fletcher | Somerset, UK | British Hip Hop / Eminem-style Flows


beabadoobee | London, UK | Indie Pop / Indie Rock


Bella Boo | Stockholm, Sweden | Deep House


Biig Piig | Cork, Ireland | House-Tinged Soul-Pop


Cazzu | Ledesma, Argentina | Trap / Hip Hop


Celeste | Brighton, UK | Soul


Easy Life | Leicester, UK | Alternative R&B


Galen Tipton | Columbus, USA | Experimental Electronic Pop / Chip Tunes


Glossii | London, UK | Pop-Punk


Griff | Brighton, UK | R&B Pop


Gugusar | Reykjavík, Iceland | Stripped-Down Lo-Fi Electronic Pop


Inhaler | Dublin, Ireland | Synth-Edged Indie-Rock


Jesse James Solomon | London, UK | British Hip Hop


Joy Crookes | London, UK | Jazzy Soul


L Devine | Newcastle, UK | Pop / Electropop


Larkins | Manchester, UK | Anthemic Synth Rock


Lorelei | Sydney, Australia | Dream-Pop


Lynda Dawn | London, UK | R&B / Soul / Boogie


Mortimer | White Hall, Jamaica | Roots Reggae


Nasty Cherry | London, UK | Electropop


Normani | Atlanta, USA | R&B / Pop


Pongo | Luanda, Angola / Lisbon, Portugal | Neo-Kudura / Afrobeat / Kwaito House


Sault | London, UK | R&B / Soul / Funk


Sólveig Matthildur | Rekjavík, Iceland | Electronic Pop


Squid | Brighton, UK | Indie Rock / Latter-day Talking Heads!


Yebba | West-Memphis, USA | Gospel / Neo-Jazz / Soul


Yungblud | Doncaster, UK | Alternative Rock / Pop-Punk / Hip Hop


The 12 Albums I'm Most Looking Forward To in 2020

2020 is looking pretty exciting on the release-front with lots of my long-term favourite artists releasing this year - and probably quite a few surprises besides. I'm looking forward to each and everyone of these in particular - with Georgia's sophomore album the most imminent :

 

(Alphabetical)

  • Georgia - Seeking Thrills (January)
  • Grimes - Miss Anthropocene (February)
  • Die Antwoord - 27 (TBA)
  • Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia (April)
  • In This Moment - Mother (TBA)
  • The Killers - Imploding the Mirage (TBA)
  • Major Lazer - Music Is The Weapon (TBA)
  • Rihanna - R9 (TBA)
  • Rosalía - TBC (TBA)
  • Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 4 (TBA)
  • U.S. Girls - TBC (TBA)
  • The Weeknd - Chapter 6 (TBA)

2020 Album Release Schedule (Personal Preferences)

January

  • 070 Shake - Modus Vivendi
  • ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - X : The Godless Void And Other Stories
  • Anti-Flag - 2020 Vision
  • Ben Watt - Storm Damage
  • Black Lips - Sing In A World That's Falling Apart
  • Bombay Bicycle Club - Everything Else Has Gone Wrong
  • Circa Waves - Happy / Sad
  • Destroyer - Have We Met
  • Echosmith - Lonely Generation
  • Field Music - Making a New World
  • Gabrielle Aplin - Dear Happy
  • Georgia - Seeking Thrills
  • Halsey - Manic
  • Kesha - High Road
  • Krewella - Zer0
  • LaRoux - Supervision
  • Little Big Town - Nightfall
  • Mura Masa - R.Y.C. (Raw Youth College)
  • Nicolas Godin - Concrete and Glass
  • Of Montreal - UR FUN
  • Pet Shop Boys - Hotspot
  • Poliça - When We Stay Alive
  • Selena Gomez - Rare
  • Squarepusher - Be Up A Hello
  • Wolf Parade - Thin Mind

February

  • Anvil - Legal at Last
  • Ásgeir - Bury the Moon
  • ​Caribou - Suddenly
  • Five Finger Death Punch - F8
  • Green Day - Father of All...
  • Grimes - Miss Anthropocene
  • Huey Lewis and the News - Weather
  • La Roux - Supervision
  • Mondo Generator - Fuck It
  • Nada Surf - Never Not Together
  • Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man
  • Sepultura - Quadra
  • Tame Impala - The Slow Rush
  • Tennis - Swimmer
  • The 1975 - Notes on a Conditional Form
  • Young Thug - Punk

March

  • Body Count - Carnivore
  • CocoRosie - Put The Shine On
  • Cornershop - England Is A Garden
  • Justin Bieber - TBC
  • The Orb - Abolition Of The Royal Familia
  • Peter Bjorn and John - Endless Dream

April

  • Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

May

  • Alanis Morisette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road
  • Weezer - Van Weezer

TBA

  • Adele - TBC
  • Alicia Keys - A.L.I.C.I.A.
  • Angel Olsen - TBC
  • Arcade Fire
  • Ava Max - TBC
  • Azealia Banks - Fantasea II: The Second Wave
  • Best Coast - Always Tomorrow
  • Bon Jovi - Bon Jovi: 2020
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - TBC
  • Bush - The Mind Plays Tricks on You
  • Busta Rhymes - TBA
  • Cardi B - Tiger Woods
  • Chromatics - Dear Tommy
  • The Cure - TBC
  • Deep Purple - TBC
  • Deftones - TBC
  • Diddy - No Way Out 2
  • Die Antwoord - 27
  • The Doobie Brothers - TBC
  • Ed O'Brien - TBC
  • Ellie Goulding - TBC
  • Evanescence - TBC
  • Everything Everything - TBC
  • Fiona Apple - TBC
  • Frank Ocean - TBC
  • Galantis - Church
  • Greta Van Fleet - TBC
  • GZA - Dark Matter
  • Haim - TBC
  • In This Moment - Mother
  • J.Cole - The Fall Off
  • Jarvis Cocker - TBC
  • Jessy Lanza - TBC
  • Kanye West - Turbo Grafx 16
  • Kid Cudi - Entergalactic
  • The Killers - Imploding the Mirage
  • King Krule - TBC
  • KMD - Crack In Time
  • Lady Gaga - TBC
  • Lana Del Rey - Violet
  • Major Lazer - Music Is The Weapon
  • Megadeth - TBC
  • Megan Thee Stallion - TBC
  • Migos - Culture III
  • Miley Cyrus - TBC
  • Missy Elliott - TBC
  • Modest Mouse - TBC
  • My Bloody Valentine - TBC
  • Normani - TBC
  • The Offspring - TBC
  • OneRepublic - Human
  • Pearl Jam - TBC
  • The Psychedelic Furs - TBC
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers - TBC
  • Rihanna - R9
  • Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 4
  • Sam Smith - TBC
  • Sky Ferreira - Masochism
  • Scorpions - TBC
  • Skott - TBC
  • Soccer Mommy - TBC
  • Steven Wilson - TBC
  • The Strokes - TBC
  • The Weeknd - Chapter 6
  • Zedd - TBC
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