Favourite Albums of 2020

I remember at Christmas dinner 2019 talking about a new disease that had arisen in China. As a young health professional and researcher, I remember thinking that given the health infrastructures and systems built in the west, it would be difficult for this “China disease” to reach us (important to note, I live in Portugal). I couldn't be more wrong, I remember when the first cases started to appear in Italy and every day there were news of how the health system in the south of that country was starting to break down. It was shocking for me to realize that entities and concepts that I always took for granted were being put to the test. When the disease arrived in Portugal, a bigger blow came. I had started working in a private clinic and given the lockdown, I was out of a job just as I was starting it. From March to September, I was unable to work, and for me, who had always been an academic and always lived surrounded by papers and articles to write and study, I suddenly found myself isolated and without a purpose. And things got worse when a close friend died, depression overcame him, and once again I was faced with new realities and obstacles. Even today, not a day goes by when I don't think about him, and at this moment, I just hope that he has managed to achieve the calm that he so desired.

I went back to my hometown, took advantage of this time to get to know the area where I grew up, and music was essential to help overcome all the adversities this year has brought. I remember hearing Fetch The Bolt Cutter for the first time during my morning walk through the fields, I remember listening to Describe and being addicted to that music for days, I remember listening to Sunblind and feeling that after the storm comes the calm, or in portuguese, Depois da tempestade, vem a bonança. Music was essential for my healing, I now think of my friend, and I can only think of the best moments we spent together.

2020 was a difficult year, but music made it a little easier.

Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Few artists can achieve what Fiona did on Fetch the Bolt Cutters. I don't exactly think this album is a progressive or transitional moment in music history but rather an outlier, a moment of its own, where an opus is so distinct and intriguing that we might as well sit and enjoy the blessing of being able to experience live such a moment. There are no bad moments here, just a collection of emotions and songs that may hurts us a little by remembering of our own human condition just as can quickly heal us again and remind us that we're not alone in This.

"And I see that you keep trying to bait me and I'd love to get up in your face but I know if I hate you for hating me I will have entered the endless race".
Moses Sumney - græ
When Sumney started working on this album he dealt with its own introspection and isolation. Just a month later after the release of the 1st part of his double album we would all pass through a similar experience when lockdown forced us to collect ourselves home and thus deal with our own introspection. The brilliancy of grae is that in a year where isolation reign over our lives, in a way or another, Moses granted us a shelter. græ is a realm of its own with rich instrumentations and holy lyrics of comforting ranging and borrowing from distinct genres creating a diverse work of art.

"I wonder how I'll sleep at night with a cavity by my side and nothing left to hold but pride, will I hold out for more time?"
Fleet Foxes - Shore
If you’ve read everything I wrote so far in this year-end list you are probably getting depressed with my own introspection of the year. But not everything was that bad and I think that it is in these times of bigger crisis that we can grow and rise again. Shore was the breath of fresh air we all needed during these pandemic times. Working as counter side of 2017 “Crack-Up”, Shore is a more approachable work from Fleet Foxes while maintaining complex compositions and amalgamations of instruments and choirs. This work of art is so life-affirming that I cannot think of a better occasion to have been released.

"A estrada do sol, o começo de tudo e as nuvens que agora se afastam mostrando um caminho que está sempre lá e que é qualquer lado que a gente quiser caminhar" [My favourite moment in the album is actually sang in my own language and that kind of make it a little more special in a way.]
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Obrigado @TeodoreMcgee! Boas entradas e boas audições em 2021!
Comovente! Muita força e boa lista!
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October 2021 Playlist