Typically, at this point, RELEVANT would have released some sort of “The Best Albums of the Year So Far” article and, truth be told, we did talk about it. But it felt a little weird to be ranking music projects given, well, the state of everything. For one thing, so many of our favorite artists have ended up delaying projects that the pool felt a little diluted. For another, a lot of great music released in January and February just no longer really feels like part of the same cultural milieu. It’s a weird year.
But music is still one of our human connection points — something that makes us feel sane, normal, happy and heard. And lowkey, it’s been a really good year for music. The likes of Fiona Apple, Jeff Rosenstock and Run the Jewels have all released some of their best work ever. Even Bob Dylan dropped one of his best albums in decades. And right now, these albums feel like a lot more than just compelling entries in the race for the best album of the year. They feel like lifelines to a reality that seems like its unraveling.
So here are 20 songs that have helped the most this year. It’s not a comprehensive list of our favorite songs so far, but it’s a good slice of the musical landscape we’re living in this year.
Soccer Mommy: “Circle the Drain”
Leon Bridges: “Sweeter” feat. Terrace Martin
Phoebe Bridgers: “Kyoto”
GAWVI, Aklesso & Wordsplayed: “Climate Change”
Switchfoot: “Swim Good”
Hollyn: “To the Moon”
Lecrae: “Deep End”
Audrey Assad: “The Middle”
Terrace Martin: “Freeze Tag,” feat. Phoelix
Marty: “The Last One,” feat. Wande
Colony House: “When the Walls Come Crashing Down,” feat. Jon Foreman & Jillian Edwards.
Maverick City Music: “Man of Your Word”
Tame Impala: “Lost in Yesterday”
Caribou: “Never Come Back”
Aklesso: “AYY 3X”
Jon Guerra: “Kingdom of God”
Foster the People: “Lamb’s Wool”
Listen to these quarantunes on Spotify.