We’ve mentioned it numerous occasions, however 2020 was simply an absolute shitshow from begin to end. Australia began the 12 months up in smoke and is ending it within the midst of a once-in-a-century world pandemic.
The pandemic meant that the music trade – each right here and abroad – was largely unable to function as per regular, with lockdowns and social distancing restrictions which means conventional touring was off the playing cards for almost all of 2020. However regardless of it being one of the vital tough years ever for the trade, there have been nonetheless a handful of spectacular moments in music.
From the Hearth Struggle Australia live performance early within the 12 months to the rise of livestreaming, new music from the likes of System of a Down and Midnight Oil and heavy music creeping its manner again into the mainstream, have a look again at among the most memorable music tales of 2020 with us beneath.
Billie Eilish couldn’t assist however win every little thing
2019 was undeniably the 12 months of Billie Eilish, with the discharge of and subsequent domination by her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, The place Do We Go? Possibly it was to be anticipated, however the success and accolades didn’t cease after the clock struck midnight on New Yr’s Eve.
First, Eilish made historical past with the 2019 Hottest 100, turning into the primary ever solo feminine artist in historical past to prime the countdown – because of her all conquering hit ‘Dangerous Man’. The win additionally made her the youngest artist to ever prime the countdown.
Then, a matter of days later, Eilish once more made historical past together with her monumental sweep on the Grammy Awards. She took house all 4 large awards – Album of the Yr, Track of the Yr, File of the Yr and Greatest New Artist. She is the primary artist to attain such a feat since Christopher Cross did it in 1981.
The Hearth Struggle Australia live performance raised tens of millions for bushfire aid
Again in February, as Australia continued to battle via a horrific bushfire season, over two dozen artists got here collectively for Hearth Struggle, a profit live performance held at ANZ Stadium in Sydney and broadcast dwell on televisions throughout the nation.
From Queen to Hilltop Hoods, k.d. lang to Grinspoon, Baker Boy to John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John, acts from everywhere in the nation and the world rallied collectively to assist us via one of many worst bushfire seasons we’ve seen on report.
Hosted by Celeste Barber, the occasion ended up elevating a staggering $9.85 million, because of virtually a whole elimination or heavy low cost of all overhead charges.
Livestreams, Isol-Help, ‘The Sound’ and others introduced dwell music to followers just about
When the pandemic and resultant restrictions round mass gathering meant a shutdown of the dwell music trade in Australia, individuals acquired artistic. Nick Cave, Courtney Barnett, Billie Eilish, Middle Kids and extra all delivered immersive, high-quality livestream concert events that, whereas clearly unable to recapture the true factor, have been a salve in a time the place IRL gigs largely couldn’t happen. Hell, even the long-defunct Powderfinger acquired collectively to remotely crank some classics as a part of their One Night Lonely reunion concert – elevating almost half a million dollars for Assist Act and Past Blue within the course of.
It wasn’t simply the artists who put within the work, although. Reside-streaming pageant Isol-Help kicked off in March of this 12 months as venue restrictions have been launched, and there have been almost 40 iterations because it launched. A stack of homegrown and abroad artists have performed intimate, affecting units from their bedrooms because the first version, with donations supporting artists together with vital organisations.
The Sound, in the meantime, has introduced Aussie music to tv screens for 2 seasons. The ABC-broadcast collection has seen nice performances from the likes of DMA’S, Thelma Plum, Angie McMahon, Paul Kelly, Electric Fields, Miiesha, the Avalanches and extra. Learn how the present’s creators managed to make a dwell music TV present within the midst of a pandemic in our interview with producer Saul Shtein here.
Midnight Oil returned with their collaborative Makarrata Mission
This 12 months, legendary Aussie rockers Midnight Oil returned with their first new music in virtually twenty years. The ensuing mini-album, The Makarrata Project, noticed them collaborate with a slew of First Nations artists together with Jessica Mauboy, Tasman Keith, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, and extra.
The undertaking’s purpose was to raise the Uluru Statement from the Heart. As frontman Peter Garrett commented on the time, “These songs are about recognising that our shared historical past wants settlement, and that greater than ever, because the Assertion From The Coronary heart proclaims, we have to stroll collectively to create a greater future.”
There was some unhappy information out of the Midnight Oil camp this 12 months too, as longtime bassist Bones Hillman passed away, aged 62.
System of a Down launched their first new songs in 15 years
After going a decade and a half with out releasing any new music, System of a Down returned with not one, however two new songs. ‘Protect the Land’ and ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’ have been launched by the band – whose members are all of Armenian heritage – to lift consciousness and funds amid battle of their cultural homeland of Artsakh. They have been capable of increase a whole bunch of hundreds of dollars for the Armenia Fund, an organisation that gives humanitarian aid.
“I’m not doing this as an artist for myself or for System of a Down or for any of the fellows within the band; we’re all doing this for our individuals,” frontman Serj Tankian defined on the time.
“So this isn’t a artistic choice, this isn’t a enterprise choice. It is a choice of activism, and that takes priority over all different issues for us.”
It’s laborious to consider a tune that sparked extra dialog this 12 months than Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion‘s daring assertion of sex-positivity, ‘WAP’. The large collab arrived again in August alongside a star-studded video that featured cameos from the likes of Normani and Rosalía, garnering over 26 million views in its first day alone.
Whereas the observe was extensively praised (Kevin Parker called it a “perfect song” earlier this month), it predictably pissed off a bunch of nerds, for having the audacity to have a good time ladies’s sexuality in an open and frank method. Although, in case you’re upsetting the likes of conservative dorks like Ben Shapiro, you’re undoubtedly doing one thing proper.
There was additionally, after all, a swath of mash-ups and covers. ‘WAP’ acquired mashed up with the likes of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Let Me Down Easy’ by Gang of Youths, and Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro divided the internet with their cringe-inducing tackle the tune.
In the end, it’s essentially the most memorable tune of the 12 months by an extended shot: an absolute banger with highly effective, assured lyricism and supply, wonderful manufacturing and an enduring cultural impression.
‘Triple J Counts Down The Hottest 100 Of The Decade’
Riiiiight earlier than the pandemic shut the world down – actually the weekend of – triple J took on the mammoth job of counting down the Hottest 100 songs of the last decade previous, as voted by listeners.
Taking the highest spot was a tune that – and an artist – that has by no means gained earlier than, with Tame Impala’s ‘The Much less I Know The Higher’. The tune initially got here in at #four on the Hottest 100 again in 2015.
“I can’t describe how a lot of an enormous factor that’s to me,” Tame Impala mind Kevin Parker said of the ranking.
“Greater than anything that different individuals speak about being an enormous deal. You realize, like headlining festivals or Grammys or no matter. Just like the Hottest 100 is the closest factor to my coronary heart of all that sort of stuff. In order that’s unbelievable.”
The countdown was additionally notable as a slew of songs that by no means made the unique countdown featured, together with RÜFÜS DU SOL’s ‘Innerbloom’, Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Personal’, Azealia Banks’ ‘212’ and extra.
Heavy Music Creeps Again Into The Mainstream
It’s a query that’s lengthy been contemplated by heavy music pundits since noughties nu-metal and pop-punk bellowed their final angst-ridden choruses within the pop charts; is rock “lifeless”? And does it ever have a hope on the Freeway To Hell of discovering its manner again to mainstream success? Properly, the pandemic could have killed the dwell present, however it’s seemingly revived the rockstar.
Let’s take inventory, we could? This 12 months, we had rapper Machine Gun Kelly making his successful foray into pop-punk (simply don’t let him see your NewBalance kicks or he’ll flip it). We had Miley Cyrus releasing a critically acclaimed rock LP and teasing a Metallica covers album. We had two of the world’s most influential fashionable popstars, Halsey and Yungblud, every collaborating with metalcore kings Bring Me The Horizon on their Put up Human: Survival Horror EP; one of many largest heavy music releases of the entire rattling 12 months. We had one other one of many world’s hottest pop acts — rapper Doja Cat — delivering a widely frothed heavy metal rendition of her hit ‘Say So’ dwell on the MTV European Music Awards which went viral on-line (sadly it additionally ripped off a guitar solo from Sydney’s own prog prodigy Plini, however fortunately the scenario has since been peacefully rectified). Whereas nearer to house, we noticed Amy Shark team up with legendary punk drummer Travis Barker for her earworm comeback single, ‘C’MON’.
Whether or not this pattern simply quantities to bored popstars making an attempt to shake up their picture by dipping their toes into the ‘edgier’ & extra marginalised music genres, or whether or not it’s a bigger signal of an impending paradigm shift for widespread music, solely 2021 will inform.