2020 in review
Normally these types of lists come out before the new year, but who cares about time anymore?
2020 was a weird one. A virus named for a Mexican lager ravaged planet Earth. The US government fucked up even more than usual. The chaos queen was voted out of the White House by a zombie and a cop. We all became captivated by a TV show starring Hugh Grant.
Whenever the world gets bleak, I comfort myself by remembering that a compelling book or album or movie is around the corner. It’s one of the few things I can count on.
Miss Anthropocene, Grimes
Grimes hasn’t made a bad album, but this is probably her most sophisticated, combining everything she does best — the sublime looping of Visions and bewitching glossolalia of Halfaxa and the expertly produced pop hooks of Art Angels.
Inner Song, Kelly Lee Owens
Inner Song sounds like light dancing on a wall or the rippling surface of a lake. I listen almost every day, which feels appropriate for an album about “seeking something spiritual in the act of repetition.”
how i’m feeling now, Charli XCX
Glitchy bangers in lowercase, yes plz.
This album makes me actually miss parties. “Nice Guy” makes my booty shake involuntarily. The stacked vocals on “Holographic” are to die. Inventive and raunchy from start to finish.
Because of a Flower, Ana Roxanne
I don’t go to church, I just listen to Ana.
Silver Ladders, Mary Lattimore
Coolest classically trained harpist since Joanna Newsom!
All the Time, Jessy Lanza
Breathy electric r&b at its finest.
WHAT WE DREW, Yaeji
Pitchfork called these tracks “icy trap languor” which is the vibeeeee.
Predictable and great, your fave dive bar in 2009.
“Fantasy,” Against All Logic
The album is whatev but sampling “Baby Boy” by Beyonce ft. Sean Paul…gënius!!!
“Wash Us In Blood,” Kanye West, Travis Scott
Paired with the moving Arthur Jafa-directed video (made me cry), Kanye at his best.
“Today,” Mura Masa, Tirzah
I’m dying for a new Tirzah album or track but this is all we’ve gotten since Devotion so I’ll take it! Stunning like everything she does.
“Slow Hands,” Azealia Banks
Azealia covering Interpol is what dreams are made of.
“Let Me Love You Like a Woman,” Lana Del Rey
When I need to cry I just put on this song.
“Can you,” Park Hye Jin
(I love you) Can you be my babe? (And I fucking hate you) Can you be my babe? (I love you) Can you be my babe? (And I fucking hate you)
“LOYAL,” PARTYNEXTDOOR ft. Drake
Sappy formulaic r&b, inject it into my veins.
“nasty,” Ariana Grande
Brooding, cinematic, devastating.
“Captain Hook,” Megan Thee Stallion
I mean… you have ears.
“Rascal (Superstar)” — Tinashe
If I were president Tinashe would be as famous as Beyoncé.
“Stamina” — Junglepussy ft. Gangsta Boo
Junglepussy would also be as famous as Beyoncé.
The Knockout Queen, Rufi Thorpe
An alt gay and the peculiar rich girl next door embark on a loving and devastating friendship in gothic Southern California.
Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan
Conversations with Friends but gayer and more frigid.
Want, Lynn Steger Strong
I wasn’t super taken by the story (motherhood blah) but I adored the writing. Colombia Journal wrote: “Strong’s prose presents precise, staccato sentences that, even in their profound minimalism, are laden with anxiety that propel us to keep turning the page.” That’s the vibe!
True Love, Sarah Gerard
I’m still thinking about when the protagonist’s mom says to her on page one: “Why don’t you cut yourself, take some pills, starve yourself, drop out of school, and suck some dick, Nina?” True love, baby!
Apartment, Teddy Wayne
Homoerotic nerd friendship rife with class tension ends tragically. At the climax, I GASPED.
Luster, Raven Leilani
The mistress strikes up a bizarre friendship with the wife in creepy suburbia. The writing is absolutely stunning. Hate her.
Look, Zan Romanoff
Zan’s delightfully Angeleno Gen Z sapphic love story made me CRY.
Thin Girls, Diana Clarke
An anorexic starves away her lesbian desires (who can relate?). This book also made me GASP.
a women, Vanessa Roveto
Beautiful & electric, love the bitch who wrote it.
I May Destroy You, Michaela Coel
A party girl slash writer can’t stop getting sexually assaulted (who can relate?).
We Are Who We Are, Luca Guadagnino
Gay alcoholic teens being dreamy in Italy. Chloe Sevigny plays a lesbian. Killer soundtrack.
Betty, Crystal Moselle
Cutie queer skater girls acting a fool and making New York City look desirable for once.
90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days (Season 4), TLC
Love at its most demented. Captivating.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Season 10), Bravo
Denise. Richards. As. A. Lesbian!!!!! (In Denial.) ❤
Industry, Mickey Down, Konrad Kay
It’s like if Aaron Sorkin had written Euphoria.
Love on the Spectrum, Cian O’Clary
Kajillionaire, Miranda July
Beautifully shot and peculiar and poignant with an unexpected lesbian twist.
Black Bear, Lawrence Michael Levine
My fave genre — lake house psychosexual thriller. (See also Always Shine, Queen of Earth, Clementine.) Aubrey is fantastic.
The Lodge, Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala
From the directors of that freaky Austrian art-house film Goodnight Mommy, but infinitely more watchable. I have a special fondness for this spooky film as it was the last one I saw in theaters this year. Le sighhhhhh.