It’s been a strange year of isolation and solitude for most of us. Music has been a way to pass our time and give us a little bit of serotonin throughout this trying year. We decided to continue the trend and create the second annual Technician music lookback/look forward. Here’s our favorites from 2020, and what we’re looking forward to in 2021.
Tristan Tucker, Assistant Sports Editor
“B.Q.E” by Kota the Friend, Joey Bada$$ and Bas
I took a long time deliberating which song was my favorite of 2020, but “B.Q.E” takes the cake for me here. Kota the Friend is an artist that finally saw a breakthrough in 2020, and the song simultaneously allows the listeners to relish in the past while looking towards a bright future.
Kota the Friend, Joey Bada$$ and Bas all hail from New York, giving them a chance to invite listeners on an uplifting journey in a vibrant setting, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, of which the song is named after. Being able to appreciate how your past has shaped you while accepting what awaits in the future is what 2020 meant to me, and the song successfully bridges those two ideas
“Blue World” by Mac Miller, “Yessirskiii” by Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage, “Spicy” by Nas featuring Fivio Foreign and A$AP Ferg, “Emotionally Scarred” by Lil Baby, “I Got Money Now” by Deonte’ Hitchcock featuring JID and many more were all close seconds.
It’s also hard to narrow down what I’m most excited for when it comes to music releasing in 2021, but plenty of my favorite artists are rumored to drop any day now. JID is one of the most impressive artists I’ve ever heard and having heard snippets of music with Isaiah Rashad, Flatbush Zombies and Denzel Curry, I absolutely cannot wait for his next album.
Rashad, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Travis Scott all highlight some of my most anticipated music of the upcoming year.
Jaylan Harrington, Multimedia Managing Editor
“After Hours” by The Weeknd
2020 was The Weeknd’s year, and “After Hours” was the crown jewel of that album. The dark sound combined with the sad subject matter fits perfectly with the time we all had last year, and it’s a welcome trip back into the more moody parts of the Weeknd’s discography.
Something’s coming, something I’ve been waiting for since last year. It’s been teased for so long I almost thought I’d never get it, but now we have confirmation it’s coming, and it’s so close I can almost taste it. It’s Lana Del Rey’s COCC, “Chemtrails over the Country Club.” It’ll penetrate our ears this March, and I need it to be everything I’ve hoped for to get me through the coming year.
It’s been a rough time as a fan of Lana. It’s not easy watching one of your favorite artists grow into a Karen right before your eyes, let me tell you, but so long as the music remains amazing I’m happy to take the bullying I receive from friends over it. That being said, after her past 15 controversies, “Chemtrails over the Country Club” better be the greatest album I’ve ever heard for me to keep turning a blind eye to her antics. If it sucks, at least I’ve got “Ultraviolence” and “Norman F---ing Rockwell,” right?
Austin Dunlow, Arts & Entertainment Editor
“Happy Without Me” by Chloe x Halle and Joey Bada$$
I’ve been following Chloe x Halle since 2012 when they won season 5 of Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing. “Happy Without Me” has followed me since the release of their debut album, “The Kids Are Alright,” in 2018. I’ve always loved it and that whole album, but something about 2020 brought it back to its rightful prominence in my life. It was difficult to choose with “SAWAYAMA” by Rina Sawayama creeping up or Solange’s 2019 album “When I Get Home” and 2012 EP “True” being heavy hitters in my year of quarantine. In the end, “Binz” by Solange may have beat out “Happy Without Me” in streams, but “Happy Without Me” takes the cake of my 2020 song.
To be completely honest, I don’t know what music I’m looking forward to in 2021. I’ve given up on a Rihanna album at this point. “ANTI” will definitely hold me over. I’m definitely looking forward to new music from Rina Sawayama in the future, and I hope she eventually gets the recognition that she deserves. Bree Runway has been putting out some incredible bops recently, and I want to see where she’s headed. I’m interested to see TiaCorine’s growth moving forward, and I’m glad to see someone representing North Carolina the way she is. Finally, I’ve been a longtime Gwen Stefani stan, and I’m excited to see where she’s going with her new music. Hopefully Blake Shelton didn’t have TOO much influence on it.
Caryl J. Espinoza Jaen, Opinion Editor
“I Never Dream” by Against All Logic
I think it says a lot that one of my final projects of this semester was a homage to the song “I Never Dream” by Against All Logic, the side-project pseudonym of electronic artist Nicolas Jaar. It’s a transcendent experience, splicing militant drum patterns, vocal samples from The Cookies and luscious synths manifesting a deep, intimate form of house music. Suffice to say, it’s the perfect track for the hot, dimly lit nightclub scene.
First things first: Stereolab will be finally dropping “Switched On Volume 4” sometime in 2021. If you’re looking for the perfect studying soundtrack, you should definitely tune in for the Groop’s fourth compilation of high-concept pop rock — drawing from genres like bossa nova, jazz, cinema scores and lounge.
Outside of the stuffy confines of academic life, you should definitely be looking forward to the futuristic club hits of hyperpop musicians such as Arca, Charli XCX or SOPHIE. We already got amazing album drops like What We Drew 우리가 그려왔, ALIAS and Kick i, and if I don’t get something like Brooke Candy chanting “make me squirt” next year, I will be dropping out and making it happen myself.
Rachel Amponsah, Video Editor
“Heartless” by The Weeknd
My top song of 2020 comes as no surprise since it comes from my all-time favorite artist, and it was my most-streamed song of the year. I love this song so much I literally based my Halloween costume off of his outfit in the music video. “Heartless” by The Weeknd comes off of his fifth studio album (if you include his EP “My Dear Melancholy”), and if the mysterious yet body-shaking beat doesn't get you the intro line definitely will: "Never need a b---h, I'm what a b---h needs." Anytime I hear that line, I just think to myself "facts" or "I felt that," because it's true, I don't need these boys! This song truly helped me live out my best single life and my hot girl winter before quarantine. It really helps you realize you don't need a man or a girl to be happy or to have a good time, go out there and dance or talk to someone without catching feelings, sis! Because for someone like myself who often puts others needs and feelings ahead of their own, this song just helped me in realizing sometimes you just have to be heartless and focus on yourself. After all, it's like The Weeknd says: "Never need a b---h, I'm what a b---h needs,” remember that!
I am really looking forward to seeing The Weeknd perform at this year's Super Bowl! I am also hoping that this year's music will continue to help heal us this year. One album I am anticipating this year is hopefully from the talented and soulful SZA. With her dropping singles like "Hit Different" and "Good Days," I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will drop her third album. Of course, I am also hoping to see other female artists such as Kehlani and Megan Thee Stallion keep up their album-a-year streak! I think what I am most excited about is the variety of artists who plan to release an album this year like Cardi B, Saweetie, Migos, Lorde, and I am sure Adele's album will definitely have us in our feelings and contemplating our relationships for sure. And if the rumors are true, you best believe I will be the first one to stream Aly & AJ's album when/if it drops!
Ryan Farischon, Photo Editor
“I Wanna See Some Ass” by Jack Harlow
I understand that Jack Harlow isn’t the best the rap game has to offer, but somehow his music ended up being a huge part of 2020 for me. Music is a big form of escapism for me, so maybe Jack’s music helped me feel like someone I’m not, or maybe it even helped distract me from the awful and nasty realities of the past year. Either way, his music SLAPS.
One artist I am looking forward to dropping some music is Tyler, the Creator. He seems to follow an every-other-year cycle of releasing music, and I can’t wait to see where he takes his sound next. Similarly, Kendrick Lamar hasn’t dropped anything for awhile, and with some leaks coming out teasing a new sound for him as well, I can’t say I’m not excited. I am also looking forward to a potential album from Rex Orange County, one from JID, and maybe even a project from Denzel Curry. I’m hoping that Carly Rae Jepsen and Rina Sawayama drop some more music as well. Also, fingers crossed Bruno Mars finally drops something, but I am not holding my breath on anything coming out soon.
Rachael Davis, Editor-in-Chief
“Say It” by Maggie Rogers
My Spotify Wrapped has spoken! My number one song of 2020 was from the beautiful and talented Maggie Rogers. This song was constantly playing in my mind, leading me to play it on Spotify over 200 times. Seems a little obsessive, I know, but how could I deny it? Every time I listened to it, especially the chorus, I felt like I was floating and traveling to another dimension. And of course, to balance it out, I would have to play “Busy Boy” by Chloe x Halle. Stopped me from romanticizing and kept me humble.
As I said last year, I am hoping Young the Giant produces their next album. I totally thought it would come out in 2020, since they release one every two years, but it never happened. Sad! I am also hoping for another Kacey Musgraves album that isn’t holiday themed. While she gave us some sweet Christmas and and winter songs, I need more “Golden Hour” vibes, so I can truly live out the last semester of my undergraduate experience carefree.