The Best of 2020 list and a Spotify playlist from Johan Carlsson, Release Magazine.
The Weeknd: “After Hours”
Retro pop yet ultra modern. Perhaps not “kosher” to have on a Release best of list but hey, sue me.
Can music be playful and angry at the same time? Yes, it damn well can be.
Christian Gabel: “Mikrofilm”
Soft, electronic, dancey and instrumental. Give it a listen, it’s comforting music for these troubling times.
Anna Öberg: “Varelser inuti”
To me, synthpop in Swedish could go either way. Here it works wonders. Complex, blippy pop songs with a great sense for melodies.
Cultivated Bimbo: “Prequel”
The word “Hi-octane” has never fit an album better. Every track is just full on megablast dancefloor EBM.
Code: “Ghost Ship”
Long awaited followup that didn’t disappoint. Less synthpop, more dance but still good.
Pet Shop Boys: “Hotspot”
Didn’t really like it when it was released, but it’s grown on me. Far from their best, but still got its fair share of good songs.
Rein firmly shows she’s here to stay. Hard pounding electronic dance music with a lot of attitude.
Dive: “Where Do We Go from Here”
Dark and brooding with some great beats.
Quirky, bubbly, full of musical details and so typically Yello.
The Weeknd: “In Your Eyes”
Pop masterpiece. Not very synthy except it was produced by Oscar Holter from Necro Facility.
Indochine: “Nos Célébrations”
I’ve not been the biggest Indochine fan, but this song is fantastic – catchy as hell.
Inhalt: “Language (Rhys Fulber Remix)”
Dark, monotone, frantic – I love it! Rhys really put his stamp on this one, bringing his newfound techno EBM sound to the song.
Apoptygma Berzerk: “Soma Coma”
Stephan Groth took a wonderful turn on “Exit Popularity Contest” where he explored more spaced out territories, but now he’s back to supremely catchy synthpop.
Pig: “Confession (Front Line Assembly Remix)”
Perhaps the grooviest remix ever made? My “sit dancing” in front of the computer turns almost epileptic when I listen to this.
Kite: “Hand out the Drugs”
The best of the new batch of Kite tracks produced by Blanck Mass.
Steven Wilson: “Personal Shopper”
A new discovery for me, and a chillingly haunting electronic pop song. With an equally haunting video.
Front Line Assembly: “Unknown”
FLA is back to Bill and Rhys only, and with this sound I’m on board.
Pet Shop Boys: “Happy People”
Best track on the album for me. Classic PSB sound with Neil speaking / rapping and some nice house piano in the chorus. Yum.
The snappy bass and crispy drums make this track stand above the others.
Astonishing display of aggressive and wild EBM in the same vein as Wulfband.