2020 music lifted quarantined spirits

Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest album releases, and the most memorable moments of the year.

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Daniel Laubhan

“Legends Never Die” by Juice WRLD, “Whole Lotta Red” by Playboi Carti, and “After Hours” by The Weeknd were three of the biggest album releases of the year. “Legends Never Die” was released as Juice WRLD’s first posthumous album, after his death from a drug-induced seizure in December 2019. “Whole Lotta Red” however, was arguably the most anticipated, after being teased for over two years before its release, full of leaks, delays, and broken promises.

Daniel Laubhan, A&E Editor

2020 was a big year for all things music. From highly-anticipated albums finally being released such as Taylor Swift’s album, “Folklore,” BTS’ album “MAP OF THE SOUL : 7,” Travis Scott’s single “Franchise,” likely in anticipation of his fourth studio album “Utopia,” and of course, Kanye West’s run for President of the United States, 2020 was surely a year to remember.  Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest album releases, and the most memorable moments of the year.

The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency,”

— Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd)

Abel Tesfaye, more commonly known as The Weeknd, made his triumphant return with his fifth studio album, “After Hours.” After initially teasing a new album in November 2019 when he returned to Instagram after a six-month absence, posting “the fall starts tomorrow night,” and the release of singles “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights,” and the “After Hours” track from the album. Over the course of several months after the album’s release, Tesfaye released several music videos that took aim at the music industry, the Grammys, and how fake and disingenuous the community supposedly is. “After Hours” received overwhelmingly positive critical reception, with “Rolling Stone” giving the album three and a half stars, while “Consequence of Sound” gave the album an A-. Notable tracks include “Too Late,” “Blinding Lights,” “In Your Eyes,” and “Save Your Tears”. Tesfaye will perform at Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7.

2020 ended with something somewhat unexpected, but not necessarily entirely surprising. After two years of teasing, leaks, and delays, Jordan Terrell Carter, more commonly known as Playboi Carti, released his long-anticipated album, “Whole Lotta Red”. After posting on Instagram in November with the caption “Album.TuRneD iN,” fans began speculating that once again he was teasing the album’s release. After posting several clips of songs produced by big-name Hip-Hop/Rap producers such as Younglord and Kanye West, along with features with rappers such as Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, and Future, popular Hip Hop figure Livingston Allen, more commonly known as DJ Akademiks, stated, “Playboi Carti[‘s], ‘Whole Lotta Red’, will be dropping on Christmas Day.” The album did in fact drop a few minutes early on Christmas Day and received mixed critical reception. “Rolling Stone” gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, while “AnyDecentMusic?” gave the album only a 6.6 out of 10. Notable tracks include “Go2DaMoon,” “Slay3r,” “Vamp Anthem,” and “Place”.

Finally, in July 2020, the estate of Jarad Higgins, more commonly known as Juice WRLD, released “Legends Never Die”, a posthumous album made by the late Higgins. The album was teased by the release of the singles “Righteous,” and “Tell Me You Luv Me” featuring the well-known artist Trippie Redd. Higgins, who died of a drug-induced seizure in December 2019, had been a very well-known figure in the hip-hop and rap scene, and was widely respected and seen as an up-and-coming artist with the potential to amount to the same fame as big-time artists such as Drake, Travis Scott, or Kendrick Lamar. “We feel that this collection of 15 songs best represents the music Juice was in the process of creating… Juice dedicated this music to his fans and, now more than ever, we hope this album brings some reprieve to everyone during these unsettling times,” a statement from Higgins’ estate explains. Notable tracks include “Conversations,” “Bad Energy,” “Come & Go,” and “Wishing Well”.

After looking back at what a year it’s been, it’s time to look ahead to 2021 and beyond. With big-name artists such as Travis Scott, J. Cole, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar rumored to release albums such as “Utopia,” “The Fall Off,” and “DND,” (Pronounced “Donda”), it’s not out of the question for 2021 to out-do 2020, and prove to be one of the most eventful years for music yet.