Microphones in 2020

The Microphones - Microphones in 2020
Critic Score
Based on 13 reviews
2020 Ratings: #27 / 818
Year End Rank: #48
User Score
Based on 998 ratings
2020 Ratings: #6
Liked by 112 people
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This is Elverum's indelible stamp of style, distilled into a single track that flows like waves in the ocean or hills on the mountainside.


Microphones in 2020 hits the pause button for Phil to reflect and catch his breath, and in that there’s a certain peace to be found.

Crack Magazine
Trundling through an expansive but fraught landscape, the narration is preoccupied with minutiae because the true meaning is so large, so fundamental, it’s best stirred up through feeling rather than explained.
Spectrum Culture
If nothing else, the song/album is a remarkable display of Elverum’s ability to write on both a micro and massive scale, blending the two with shocking ease.

Microphones in 2020 might be his apex as a songwriter.

Beats Per Minute
Elverum has produced one of his defining works here. It is a monumental piece that dextrously straddles his musical epochs; it is an account of history and a document of where he is now.

Elverum’s work proves as expansive as ever. An engrossing one-track album is no easy feat, but he draws us in with expertly rich, layered lyricism and immersive production.

Phil Elverum resurrects his beloved Microphones alias for a 44-minute song about art-making, self-mythologizing, and the endless search for meaning.
Intimate, absorbing.
Time has only made Elverum's music more transcendent, and anyone who loves the Microphones or Mount Eerie will find the album's fresh yet timeless perspective on it a fascinating and moving listen.
Sometimes diaristic, sometimes philosophical, it's a long litany of past memories and formative moments that, while demanding patience, gradually inches its way to somewhere profound.
The Needle Drop

Microphones In 2020 is an instrumentally predictable but narratively thorough deep dive into the formative years of singer-songwriter Phil Elverum’s music career.

God Is in the TV
Performing a single folk song, sustained for this length of time, in lesser hands would be absurd. The Microphones get away with it.
When I see the AOTY community quoting lines from this album in their reviews, it just goes to show that Phil Elverum is one of the greatest and most quotable songwriters to ever live. He can say literally anything and it would sound poetic.

I’m not complaining, you old dog.

“Microphones in 2020” makes me feel nervous and at ease and the same time. Whether it be the endlessly progressing yet unchanging instrumental, or the softly spoken, touching, depressive, cathartic ... read more
“It's not that bad, but I know I wanted to go deeper beneath the pain // beneath the human.”

Plato can be credited for saying that it's the ultimate duty of writers and painters to "help us live better lives." Over 2000+ years later and I doubt anyone would want to discredit this sentiment. Though, maybe it could use some amending for the modern day. In a world riddled with injustices (and outlets for mental deterioration) at every corner, I find that the novelist, ... read more
Spiritually and in retrospect, Phil Elvrum has written a kind of autobiography through Microphones in 2020. A grandiose work, particularly intense, introspective and intimate, which remains forever one of the most beautiful demonstrations of life.

Beyond all the nostalgia we feel musically and through all the landscapes of memories he tries to make us live, Phil Elvrum has an extraordinary life and career path. From his youth under the nickname of The Microphones and later his ... read more
I saw Stereolab in Bellingham and they played one chord for fifteen minutes
Something in me shifted
I brought back home belief I could create eternity
Leaning the guitar up on the amp, taping down organ keys
Feeding back forever distorted waves of cymbals oceany
Slowly starting to try to move the words beyond mere melancholy
Into something that rings
True and old and useful hopefully
Before I get into this review, I just wanted to mention that my AOTY 2020 list is out: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/chode/list/29961/chodes-top-50-albums-of-2020/
Also my top 60 songs of 2020 are here: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/chode/list/32881/top-50-songs-of-the-year/
Anyways, on with the review.

As a huge Phil Elverum fan, It should be no surprise that ‘Microphones in 2020’ would be a major musical highlight from 2020 for me, even if it’s a bit ... read more
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Added on: June 16, 2020