The year’s missing music

Here’s to what could have been in 2020

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

It was a weird year for music.

With the typical hype of major releases downplayed or altogether postponed amid the pandemic, 2020 took on an under-the-radar feel in the arena of new music. Highly anticipated albums seemed to flop — think Lady Gaga and The Killers — while others thrived. Taylor Swift whacked us all with two surprise albums — both beautifully understated and clean — while the most popular music in the land continued its slide into new-age rap and fringe hits made famous by TikTok dances.

Courtesy photo.

All-in-all, it was anyone’s year. With the internet as the most common location for a worldwide population mostly hunkered down at home, album releases emphasized digital access more than ever.

I’m not about to make any Grammy predictions, but I have a feeling that new artists — the rookies who gained exposure with new and improved digital outreach over the past year — are likely to shine on music’s biggest night.

In past years, the music that has defined our lives has varied from songs that top the radio charts in the summer and the hidden gems we find in the “Made For You” section of our preferred streaming services. The soundtracks to our seasons have also often been found on random weekends, as local and touring bands rock into the night at various downtown hotspots or during the encores at The Festival at Sandpoint. 

Live music plays a major role in defining our years; yet, in 2020, live music had to take a back seat in the interest of protecting our community against the spread of COVID-19.

Musicians adapted, playing smaller gigs with social distancing guidelines in place and even hosting live shows online. The artists did what they do best: they got creative.

Quite frankly, it sucked, and continues to suck. I miss live music. I miss losing myself in a song, packed into the Spokane Knitting Factory like sardines or seated at a table in Di Luna’s next to my neighbors. 

I am not a musician myself, but I spend a lot of time enjoying the fruits of their labor. Music gives meaning to my life, and I want the people who make it to be able to come out on the other side of this pandemic unscathed by the unplanned downtime.

So what can we do? If a band or musician you care about has music or merch for sale online, buy it. If a band is crowdfunding to raise money for studio time, donate. Consider all the frosty cold beers you didn’t buy while listening to live music in 2020, and put that money into the musicians you miss. 

And, as always, share what you love. Broadcast your support for bands — whether they be local, regional or well known — on social media. Don’t keep your favorite tunes all to yourself. Share the love.

Here’s to all the live music we missed in 2020, and to The Festival lineup that shall never be — yet will be again. May the coming year bring smoother waters for the artists we hold dear, and let’s pray to the heavens that some amazing songwriting comes out of this hellhole of a year. Amen.

Lyndsie’s top five albums of 2020:

1. Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers

2. Asterisk the Universe by John Craigie

3. Petals for Armor by Hayley Williams

4. folklore / evermore by Taylor Swift

5. And It’s Still Alright  by Nathaniel Rateliff

Lyndsie’s top five songs of 2020:

1. “Dead Horse” by Hayley Williams 

2. “Plum” by Widowspeak

3. “Starting Over” by Chris Stapleton

4. “I Know The End” by Phoebe Bridgers

5. “Hustlin’” by John Craigie

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