While we are a community focused on games and how they intersect with our lives, we’ve never shied away from exploring and discussing other media critically and enthusiastically. It only seems appropriate, then, that our End of Year event offer up a space for us to share our own “Waypoints” from 2020.
This topic is dedicated to anything that you listened to. That means both podcasts and music are welcome in this thread! Have a new favorite podcast, or a podcast that covers really important subjects? Got a new favorite album, full of bangers or full of ballads? As long as it delighted your ears, it’s welcome here!
The best podcasts I started listening to this year are ALAB and 5-4. ALAB (All Lawyers are Bastards) is more of a general legal podcast, 5-4 focuses on bad decisions made by the supreme court. Both have given me a much broader understanding of all the different ways our legal system is failing to serve us effectively. Not happy pods by any measure, but very important.
This one is very recent (but also front of mind), but very excited for the new A More Civilized Age: A Clone Wars Podcast, starring Austin, Rob, Natalie and Ali (from Friends at the Table). Star Wars has been very relevant to me this year, since I got Disney+ for the Mandalorian and ended up watching more Star Wars stuff, plus I’m always happy to get Lore Reasons back!
As far as music goes, a shout out as always to one of my favourite parody remix YouTube channels, Siivagunner, who did some great music again this year.
My Spotify top artist didn’t actually release any new music this year, but special mention to Daft Punk again anyway!
Cerebro has been a weekly shot of joy in my schedule as a fan of the x-books. All the episodes are worth listening to but the beast and magneto episodes are amazing macro deep dives into those characters and the political state of the dawn of x era. I’ll also add in old gods of Appalachia for weirdly keeping things in perspective during this rough end of year stretch
This was the year I plowed through the History of England podcast hosted by David Crowther. He had a really bad year health-wise but seems to have recovered well enough. I was able to follow along his Henry VIII episodes while also reading Hillary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy for max synergy (but also spoilers). Speaking of, Mike Duncan just recovered from his own health concerns and the Revolutions podcast will be back in January to see the end of the Russian Empire.
This year I can barely name any 2020 music I liked at all, really. It just felt like there wasn’t music this year. Taylor Swift’s new albums were the only things for awhile and I forgot about them fast. My musical tastes are very basic, so I’ll just shout-out The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights for having a good beat and you can dance to it. (And he’s auditioning for a Nicolas Wending Refn movie that doesn’t exist yet.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NRXx6U8ABQ
Having a quick look at my YouTube recs, it seems my favourite song of the year was ToxicxEternity’s cover of Hell March from Red Alert. But my favourite album of the year was definitely IDLES’ Ultra Mono, so many bangers. Here’s one:
Neil Cicierega managed to make Limp Bizkit listenable in Mouth Dreams, which is an accomplishment. “really, really, really, really wanna zigga zigga [Wario WAH]” is also a noise experience I had in the year 2020, thank you Neil.
As for podcasts, Wow!! Cool Robot!!! is a good Gundam podcast if you want to listen to someone say ‘mega bazooka’ like a Minion and also good politics and taste. The noisespace.xyz family of podcasts was great in general, honestly, shoutouts to Nonna Roy’s NIghtmarinara (creepypasta), Pod of Greed (an older podcast watching Yu-GI-Oh!, but they started GX this year and it rocks), and Slappers Only (finding the best song in various video games). Also, The Shrieking Shack is reaching the end of Deathly Hallows, and it has been a harrowing experience.
I’ve been in the office a lot this year so haven’t been in charge of the radio but shout out to Dua Lipa for dominating the charts with a great pop album and keeping me sane. Grimes’s album was pretty good as well even if it was a lot more subdued than We Appreciate Power suggested it was going to be.
Patrick and Katie Klepek recorded a few episodes of their Till Death Do Us Part podcast this summer, they talk about horror movies.
Also discovered the Kingcast with Scott Wampler and Eric Vespe, they cover a Steven King book and it’s adaptation with a special guest every episode. Have been some very interesting discussions, for example talking with Brian Fuller about Salem’s Lot, he goes on a very long tangent about a serial killer that was never caught in the small town he grew up in.
Continuing my streak of being incredibly basic, I have been listening to RTJ4 consistently since it was released.
this year i learned that vrc6 arrangements are a thing, and i’ve been listening in particular to ones done by shimoine. lots of konami shmup music, lots of castlevania. it’s all good.
also i listened to the whole of etrian odyssey 3 super arrange instead of just the battle themes like in that one video and… it’s a good album. that’s all i’ve got.
e: wait… am i in the wrong thread
Nothing wrong with putting it here technically, but it might be more at home in the Game Music thread!
Before this year I rarely listened to female-fronted bands until a friend pointed out to me that that was kinda weird. They were right! And as it happens my favorite albums this year have all been female/femme - fronted debut albums. So shoutouts to Runaway by Beach Bunny, Burst by Snarls, and Hospital Bracelet, who are releasing their first full-length this January.
Really amped about what those bands will do going forward! Check them out if you like twinkly emo stuff.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been really bad at following new music [and I’ve not listened to any podcasts - except Waypoint’s - this year, and even then, I think I’ve listened to 1 all the way through]. As such, I think the only new music - that isn’t video game related in some way - that I’ve listened to was Billie Eilish’s first album [yes, I listened to it first this year], which is actually pretty good. There’s some exceptional Metal covers of some of the tracks on YouTube, too…
This Nightmares on Wax Boiler Room set is apparently 7 years old but I only found it this year and I’ve had it on super heavy rotation: https://youtu.be/Q692lHFaLVM
Step 1: Find a sweet hat
Step 2: Find a bass ukulele
Step 3: A decade of nonstop practice
I started listening to The Great Gundam Project and while I’m not anywhere near caught up, I’ve really liked listening to Em and Jackson discuss the show. It’s also been a great motivator for me to actually watch Gundam.
I didn’t really listen to much this year but:
Open Mic Eagle’s new album is great, and this song is definitely a highlight
Discovered fun mathish rock duo Ohmme this year and they had a real good album
For podcasts, not too much, I stopped following US sports and therefore most of my podcast rotation, cause continuing sports in a pandemic hasn’t sat well with me.
However I got into Magic this year, and Arena Decklists is good. Also, listening to old episodes of 3MA is a good activity anytime.
I mostly listened to podcasts this year since I had a whole lot more time than usual to check out new things. In particular, I’ve gotten really into the Ranged Touch network of shows, but specifically have really enjoyed Too Much Future and Just King Things. Both series about media that I have been vaguely interested in knowing about but never enough to actually want to engage first-hand with. Also hearing the adventures of Tonk and Eleanor has been extremely fun.
I also started listening to Shrieking Shack since Harry Potter is yet another thing that I don’t want to actually sit down and read but am very interested in hearing a more critical examination of it. The part where they regularly dunk on JKR for being an awful person was a fun, cathartic, bonus.
RTJ4 has been the highlight for me this year in terms of music, but others have beaten me to the punch on that.
So here’s my second choice, Hayley Williams - Petals For Armour. Her first solo album, and a great one at that. It’s super interesting and weird and just not really what I was expecting going in