GLOBAL TEXAN CHRONICLES’ Top 5 Singles of 2020!
The GTC Top 5 Singles of 2020 can be found in our archives.
by Walter Price
As the daunting year that was 2020 comes to an end and as so much distraction still plagues us all, one thing we had an abundance of was, music. And again, it was the independent artists that helped keep our minds somewhat grounded, as much as they could anyway. And quite honestly, it was harder than ever to choose just 5 tracks that moved me this past year. But after much consideration, here are the songs that popped in my earbuds most often.
And Thank You, to all of the readers of the GTC and the artists for making 2020 our most vistied year since our humble inception seven years ago. You are all The Very Best, truly!
The GTC Top 5 Singles of 2020
PHNTMS – Carabelle
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it once more, Philadelphia’s burgeoning indie-rock heroes PHNTMS are one of the most exciting bands going. Heavy on beautifully personal songwriting wrapped in some of the most meticulous rock arrangements you’ll find in the genre. As they’ve proven with their stunning single, “Carabelle“…an instant classic. A Linda Perry meets Matchbox Twenty charmer full of indelible tactile emotion.
Carabelle is what you get after a toxic relationship ends. One day, they will hear this song and it will hurt. It’s the visual of a heartbreaking after spending five years traveling to a different state to make a relationship work out. That feeling of being completely in love and even though there were red flags, you still choose to be with this person. Everyone has a Carabelle.” – PHNTMS
Band photo via Facebook
Filmed by Tom Flynn
Directed by Adam Jessamine
Recorded by Mike Watts
Mixed by Jackson Hoffman
Mastered by John Naclerio
Mårten Lärka – La Vie Est Une Chanson
Sweden-based songwriter Mårten Lärka is a vastly interesting artist. Yes, he can write catchy, slightly off-kilter pop songs but if you follow his socials, you’ll also find that he has a skill of finding beauty in the common and perhaps mundane. He plays in both color and shadows and it comes across in his music as well as his photography and drawings. And you don’t have to understand the language he sings in to fall in love with his whimsical approach to song construction. And his 2020 offering “La Vie Est Une Chanson” will stick in your head and come bopping out in a hum as you go about your day. Magical through and through.
“La Vie Est Une Chanson” was written in five minutes while waiting on a friend, for exactly a year ago. The next day drummer Martin Hellquist came for the recording of “You’re Gonna Sing My Songs” (another track that got a wonderful review at GTC). Suddenly we had “La Vie Est Une Chanson” on tape as well. Martin added the bass and the Casiotone synth. While listening to the playback I realized it was one of the best recordings I´ve ever been involved with, so far…” – Lärka
Produced by The Banana Boys
Recorded at Henhouse Studio.
Mixed by Caroline Wickberg at Welfare Loftet Turqouise
Mastered by Frida Claeson Johansson at Svenska Grammofonstudion
Mårten Lärka: vocals, guitar.
Martin Hellquist: drums, bass, casiotone
Video production by Martin Hellquist and Båpa, August 2nd – 4th 2020
HOLIDAY SIDEWINDER – Red Right Hand [Nick Cave]
With her discoed-upped pop sounds landing someplace between Britney, Berlin, Donna Summers, and Alli Neumann, former Bridezilla lead-singer Holiday Sidewinder has been a GTC fave for a number of years now. With her sultry sing-a-long songwriting, honest sexuality and knack for endless grooves, this performer never ceases to amaze. Take her rendition of Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand“. Seemingly coming out of nowhere in this bizarre 2020, Sidewinder (along w/ Ben Mark) took this brooding masterclass of a song and transformed it into a sexy dancefloor bop. Layers of studio perfection has moved this Cave fan favorite into a whole new world, a place that only Holiday/Ben could take it into, respect.
Take a little walk to the edge of town
And go across the tracks
Where the viaduct looms
Like a bird of doom
Written by Mick Harvey, Nick Cave & Thomas Wydler
Performed by Holiday Sidewinder
Produced by Ben Mark & Holiday Sidewinder
Recorded and Mixed by Ben Mark
Music by Ben Mark
Mastered by Lewis Durham
Bass & Horns by Jamie Sefton
Live drums by Matt Racher
OLIVE LOUISE – Bad Things
New York-based composer/songwriter Olive Louise finds balance in her classical training and her love for crafting slightly dark and whimsy pop songs. One could assume her songs are autobiographical. As her 2020 stunner “Bad Things” can attest. A track that’s a scathing review of a mental health system, one that’s broken, at best. Cash over care, a paycheck superseding compassion is all too familiar and, sadly, this is nothing new. As a young mind trying to make sense of what plagues it, this is a terrifying gauntlet to navigate. And the accompanying video is a nightmarish look at youth trapped in this cycle of misspent trust causing more damage than one’s original anxieties. Weighty for a pop song, yet it’s important and pretty awesome.
“The main message behind this song is that even when you feel like no one gets what you’re going through or like nobody is really listening, you aren’t alone and you shouldn’t let it stop you from being open. Don’t bottle anything in. It is okay to feel your emotions and to be upset when life gets tough, but then own that feeling, and let it propel you forward” – O. Louise
Mixed by Andrew Wuepper
Mastered by Chris Gehringe
Directed by Olive Louise + Harrison
Director of Photography Blake Gaytan
Styled by Lani Rose Ault
MATT YORK – Scent of Sin
Boston’s Matt York knows how to explore truths in his songs. Like Price Emmylou Harris and Brian Wilson before him, York knows how to make you feel what he’s experienced and/or contemplated. And his 2020 pandemic released track, “Scent of Sin“, is no exception. If you’re a fan of earnest saying-it-like-it-is set to the beat of breezy harmonies and carried by intricately woven guitar, then this track will certainly make it onto your best of this odd year list as well.
“This song is about falling in love with a woman who you don’t believe you can/should trust, and that always seems to be eyeing a better scenario than the one you can offer her. Nonetheless, you feel like if you could just escape to an island or some secluded utopia, things would be perfect.
“I wrote and recorded it shortly before the pandemic hit. I’m releasing it during the pandemic, which I know doesn’t make much sense, but it’s because I can’t stop thinking of how many people must be dealing with horrific relationships or even just sub-par ones in the quarantine and how tough that must be on them. I have a wonderful wife and the pandemic has really reminded us both of how fortunate we are to have each other, but I know there’s a lot of others that must be in a real-bad-place.” – M. York
Produced by T.J. Wenzl, in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts at Bitch Kitty Studios. Mastered by Sage Audio in Nashville, TN.