Yeah, those monthly updates were kind of bleh, so I dumped them. But I still want to do a yearly wrap up. Though overall there isn’t a lot that’s surprising to me about the yearly stats.
The year was dominated by most of the artists I would expect it to be dominated by. Sigrid, Tessa Violet, Aurora, CHVRCHES have 14 of my top 25 albums. This grid doesn’t even include a few additional Sigrid “Albums” of live tracks that don’t properly show up so they get filtered.
Anyway, a bit better breakdown…
I am actually surprised that Sigrid still topped the chart above Aurora. I’ve been listening to a TON of Aurora, and not just “recently” or something, like all year. Plus Sigrid hasn’t had anything new since November 2019, so I felt like I had been listening to her music less. I still had around 100 more scribbles on Sigrid than Aurora. Tessa Violet, I’m less surprised about. I’ll comment a bit more later, but Tessa Violet has kind of dominated my individual song listens, she just… has less songs.
CHVRCHES has been kind of slowly building up more and more in rotation, and I expect them to continue to come in pretty high going forward as well. Another sleeper to look out for next year will be Dodie, at number 13. She only has a handful of tracks, and I’ve only recently started listening to her, but I really like her music, and next year, she has her first full album coming out.
On the “falling” list, I’ve hardly been listening to Alice Merton and Kiesza lately. Nothing wrong with either, they just sort of, have fallen off the rotation. And despite both ranking high, Dua Lipa and Carly Rae Jepsen were never really in the rotation. I’m honestly not sure how either is so high.
There are also a few of my more mainstay artists making a showing. The Who, BT, Pink Floyd, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morrisette, Taylor Swift. I’m a little sad that Raffaella only really had one new song recently. She was the opening act for Sigrid when I saw them in 2019 and I really like her music. She has put out one track, Bardot, and a collaboration track called On the Look Out, that may as well just be a Raffaella track.
My single top track for the year, is, without question, the “2020 Anthem” of Bored.
Granted, this track is older than 2020, but it got a music video in 2020, and it kind of just sort of… fits the feel.
Half of my top ten were Tessa Violet tracks, so like I said, she kind of dominated on an individual track list. Everything else is about as expected, though I would have thought more Aurora tracks would have made the cut for that top 20.
After a very long, very strong, 9 month reign as Queen, Sigrid has been dethroned from my top artist for the month. And by a rather huge margin. Funny enough, she has been dethroned by someone she knows, who is also a Norwegian singer, AURORA. It was a one-two punch though, because Sigrid has dropped to number three, not number two, with Tessa Violet sliding in at number two.
I can’t honestly blame the VierLive show entirely for Aurora’s rise here, she has been on sort of a slow bubble for a while now in my listening patterns. It certainly likely helped things along however. I would point to Tessa Violet and say she wasn’t helped by any live shows, but well, that wouldn’t be true. I have not watched all of them but she has been doing two weekly Youtube shows on Youtube. Though those are quite a bit … less structured.
Moving on a bit, Dua Lipa had a new album drop, Future Nostalgia, which is has a pretty nice sort of old school syth-pop feel going on with it. BT has been getting a bit of a resurgence lately, though it’s mostly just listening to These Humble/Hopeful/Whatever Machines again a bit. I can never remember which is which on those albums.
The rest of the top ten isn’t anything particularly exciting or new. The 5×5 is kind of all over the place as well, since I’ve been listening to a lot of random techno music lately so there’s a lot of kooky random stuff on there. The weird thing is, I don’t thing BT is on it either at all, despite being number 4 for the month.
Here is the 5×5 though, for the sake of consistency.
Last year when I went to see Sigrid in St. Louis, I told my wife afterwards that I wanted to go to more concerts. That plan clearly isn’t going to pan out to anything with everything going on. What I have done though is watched quite a few virtual concerts. The Somewhere Else Festival (Et Helt Annet Sted) presented at ViErLive.no is actually the fourth live show I’ve watched from Sigrid int he past month. The previous being a bit on the Twitch Steam Aid event, a short show on the IGTV from Levis, and one for the opening of an exhibit in KHÅK Kunsthall, on Facebook.
The Somewhere Else show is the first one that’s had any real production behind it, and it’s the first that had the entire bad. The first two were Sigrid playing Piano alone in her parent’s house, the KHÅK Kunsthall show was Sigrid alone playing piano in the museum. The Vierlive show is also different in that it was a paid event. You could buy a festival pass for 500nok (~$50 USD) or individual shows for 100nok (~$10). Super affordable. Most of the shows also included a VOD replay, though sadly (irritatingly), neither the Sigrid nor the Aurora shows have a replay option. I really hope there is some planned release of these shows as both were really stellar.
Despite not actually being live with Sigrid in person, the virtual show was really enjoyable and well done. For one, I am pretty sure it was all one camera shot (the Aurora show had a couple of cuts to alternate cameras). The sound quality was top notch incredible. Most of he songs had a much different tone and feel from normal as well, which really spiced things up a lot.
The show opened with Sigrid chatting in the chat room before going into Level Up on the couch, then moving to Basic in the room, both songs with only Kristina on backup vocals and Sondre on guitar. Then we follow Sigrid alone up to the main stage where the rest of the band (Kasper, drums and Peder, keyboard) were waiting playing a lead in riff before Sucker Punch. One one point they all went and say in the theater seats to play a nice acoustic Plot Twist. We also got a couple of piano tracks (on a nice grand piano and not the usual keyboard) of Dynamite and Home to You. Probably my favorite part was the rock and roll intro for I Don’t Feel Like Crying, with Sondre going all out on the guitar.
I also really liked how each song (11 total) had it’s own feel and set up for how it was presented. Only Dynamite and Home to You were similar, and that’s mostly just because it was Sigrid doing vocals and piano solo, so there isn’t a lot to mix up there.
Of course, being a virtual concert, it’s kind of hard to take photos, so here’s some screen shots instead.
I kind of was worried that these shows were going to be pretty basic, more Sigrid at her Parent’s Piano doing 3 songs, or some sort of funky out of sync Skype conference between the band members. The name is Sigrid, but frankly, I like Sigrid with her band more than I do just Sigrid. They all just mesh so well together. Part of what I really liked about this show was that on some level it amounts to a Studio Quality performance by the band. I am pretty sure a lot of Sigrid’s tracks on the album, don’t involve the band, but more synth. Not all of them, but most of them. I could be totally wrong. I like the live concert videos more than the regular tracks, but you often end up with dodgy audio on concert videos. This show is the best of both, and it was so well produced.
After how impressive the Sigrid Show was, I opted for also watching the Aurora show. I know a lot less about Aurora’s music than Sigrid, but I do like the tracks I’ve been listening to. And I’ve been listening to more and more of them over time. Aurora is arguably more popular than Sigrid though, I mean, she was part of a major Disney Movie (Frozen 2) so that alone kind of pushes her higher.
The point is more, I had less idea of what I was going to be seeing with Aurora. I was a bit disappointed initially, the first three tracks were Aurora singing and dancing in front of the white curtain (below). While it was good, I was a bit disappointed that there was less overall change of scenery between tracks like with Sigrid. A few tracks in that changed.
I can’t tell you all of the songs in this set, but around A Different Kind of Human, she started to move off the stage and a lot more visual effects started to kick in. Unlike Sigrid’s show, Aurora’s band (not sure if it’s her band or a band), was behind the scenes and off camera until the end of the show. There was a real band though. You could see their shadows behind the white curtain and like I mentioned, they showed up at the end for a brief introduction.
The biggest stand out of the performance from Aurora was the level of energy and raw emotion she puts into her music, Especially as the show reached it’s climax with Running with the Wolves. It’s also a crazy level of contrast with when she speaks and her overall small stature. The few times she talks to the camera it’s extremely soft and timid, she almost seems kind of afraid of it. But when performing, she’s something else entirely. She is the Queen of Warriors & Weirdos after all.
Overall the whole experience was well worth it for both shows. The main issue I had was less with Vierlive and more than neither show had a replay option, at the request of the music label. Maybe its something they plan to release later again in some form, but it really feels like kind of a waste of creative effort. Most of the other shows had a VOD option, tough a few others are also now unavailable. There also was a bit of a lack of communication by Vierlive until the last minute if shows would even have VOD options. It feels like there should at least be a 24 hour period or something, most of the shows didn’t happen at a time I could easily watch due to work, and other people mentioned having bandwidth issues. It just seems like it would have been the polite thing to do, even limited, this was a paid event after all.