[Now] ‘Hindsight Twenty Twenty’ (The Best Music of 2020)

Stream here; download at the bottom of this post.

Twenty-twenty anno domini has been a decade of a year, full in equal measure of anger, love, despair, hope, isolation, community, fear, learning, loss, and fighting for something better. (But nothing that’s happened this year is “new,” and we’re not going “back to normal”.) As hard a year as its been in so many ways, through it all musicians have continued to create works of art of incredible depth and urgency. Due to health concerns I’ve long dealt with, I have almost literally not left my small apartment for three quarters of 2020, with no end yet in sight. Yet thanks to musicians, I have not felt alone, and I haven’t lost hope. Through music, I’ve managed to connect with beautiful people who are fighting for the better potential of humanity.

Hindsight Twenty Twenty‘ reflects the myriad facets of this year–this is the sound of 2020 as my ears heard it, from the rise of the virus and the advent of “lockdown,” through the critical protests for equity and justice, across the global rise of fascism and the fight against it (that’s only beginning). This music covers the spectrum of all those experiences, given voice by brilliant Black artists making music in every conceivable genre (and as often tearing down the artificial walls of “genre” itself). This is not all “easy” music, and this mix isn’t a “reprieve” from the anxieties of our present age. But it is, to me, deeply, achingly beautiful, and it is cathartic in reflecting what we’re living through and demonstrating time and again why humanity is worth the vigilant, ceaseless fight.

I want to extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude to all of the artists featured in this mix, and the hundreds whose creative acts fueled our emotional and mental survival and health this year. The pandemic and contingent loss of live shows has been a would-be death-blow to the creative community already undermined and plagued by the devaluing of music created by streaming services who value music at “free*” (aka paying artists “essentially nothing“). Through the year, in conjunction with Bandcamp‘s zero-cut Fridays (when 100% of purchases go to artists/labels), Musicophilia and our friends have bought music for listeners (over 175 albums this year) to put some money in the pockets of artists, and simultaneously donating over $2,000 to community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers. As long as we’re lucky enough to have income, we’ll keep it going in 2021, and I hope listeners of this mix and other mixes featuring current working artists will reclaim the value of music, and spend whatever you can to support the artists who give so much meaning to our lives.

Musicophilia’s favorite 80 records of 2020 – visit here for Bandcamp links to every album and EP

Various – ‘Hindsight Twenty Twenty’
One Story of the Year 2020

Part I

01 [0:00:00] Sault – “Fearless” (‘Untitled (Rise)’)
02 [0:03:40] Naeem – “Tiger Song” (‘Startisha’)
03 [0:08:10] Terence Etc. – “Like That Tho?” (‘Things I Never Had’)
04 [0:13:00] Zeroh – “The Lord & Nature” (‘BLQLYTE’)
05 [0:17:10] Aho Ssan – “Intro” (‘Simulacrum’)
06 [0:20:40] Junglepussy – “Spiders” (‘Jp4’)
07 [0:23:05] Ghostpoet – “Nowhere to Hide Now” (‘I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep’)
08 [0:27:35] Yves Tumor – “Dream Palette” (‘Heaven To a Tortured Mind’)
09 [0:30:30] Roy Kinsey – “Everything is Everything” (‘KINSEY: A Memoir’)
10 [0:33:35] Beauty Pill – “The Damndest Thing” (‘Please Advise’)

Part II

11 [0:38:35] Bartees Strange – “Far” (‘Live Forever’)
12 [0:42:25] Nazar – “Retaliation” (‘Guerrilla’)
13 [0:45:30] Moor Mother & Olof Melander – “Hemlock” (‘Anthologia 01’)
14 [0:48:15] Moses Boyd – “Only You” (‘Dark Matter’)
15 [0:52:20] Wayne Phoenix – “Reserve” (‘Soaring Wayne Phoenix Story The Earth’)
16 [0:53:45] Nnamdi – “Heartless” (‘Black Plight’)
17 [0:56:50] Algiers – “Losing Is Ours” (‘There Is No Year’)
18 [1:00:25] Zsela – “For Now” (‘Ache of Victory’)
19 [1:04:40] Anjimile – “1978” (‘Giver Taker’)
20 [1:09:10] Tek.Lun – “No Peace!” (‘The Opression Olympics’)
21 [1:12:55] Kassa Overall – “Show Me a Prison” (‘I Think I’m Good’)
22 [1:16:20] Jeff Parker – “Go Away” (‘Suite for Max Brown’)
23 [1:21:15] KMRU – “Why Are You Here?” (‘Peel’)

Part III

24 [1:22:00] Infinity Knives & Brian Ennals – “The Black Power Paradox” (‘Rhino XXL’)
25 [1:26:00] Oui Ennui – “A Man Who Began To Suspect He Was Made of Glass” (‘Wytai’)
26 [1:28:10] Dua Saleh – “Windhymn” (‘Rosetta’)
27 [1:31:15] Fusilier – “Upstream” (‘Upstream’)
28 [1:37:20] Loris – “Driver Nephi” (‘Loris’)
29 [1:42:55] Nailah Hunter – “White Flower, Dark Hill” (‘Spells’)
30 [1:45:20] Moses Sumney – “Polly” (‘Grae’)
31 [1:48:55] Zeal & Ardor – “Vigil” (‘Wake of a Nation’)
32 [1:52:05] Space Afrika – “Oh Baby” (‘Hybtwibt?’)
33 [1:54:05] Lamin Fofana – “I Ran From It and Was Still In It” (‘Darkwater’)

[Total Time: 1:59:55]

Download ‘Hindsight Twenty Twenty’ here as a mixed mp3 (275 MB)

Stream here:

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3 thoughts on “[Now] ‘Hindsight Twenty Twenty’ (The Best Music of 2020)

  1. Thanks Musicophilia for keeping us entertained and informed in 2020 and for promoting and supporting the music you love. In a world of villains you’re one of the heroes.

  2. Wow, thank you, Neil! I’m so far from being a hero–but I like to hope I help folks find those who are! Hope you’re safe and well, and saturated with beautiful music.

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