[Nicole Colbath (Soft Kill, Funeral Door and The Criminal World) lives in Portland, Oregon. She is the owner and operator of Cercle Social Records and is opening her own retail shop this Winter called R.I.P. City. This is her first piece for Wired Wrong Music.]
One of the most fascinating things about this year for me was watching everyone stop and reassess the things that they had to interact with every day.
People had to come to grips with their bedrooms. They had to stand every day in their living rooms and look around them. Is this how I want to live? They had to walk around their own neighborhoods, wave at their neighbors, shop at their local shops. Is this where I want to live? People were forced to be more thoughtful about money. Is this where I want to spend my money? People had to think more about what music fit their mood. What if I died today, what would I want to hear? What is actually important to me, now in this moment? Without the external gaze of a scene or the pressure of the social world, what music remains? What speaks to your heart truly. Many people in the beginning of the year went backward. They dove into their pasts to find comfort in nostalgia. Remember when the world made sense?
But then summer came and whether we should have or not we felt a false sense of security. The new music began to come fast and furious into the fall and some of us peeked our heads up to try and listen.
My album of the year (Mac Miller’s Circles) released just before COVID, in January. It has remained with me the whole year which, if I am honest, was probably in part me putting something in my pocket to remind me of the before times. The vocal melodies on that record kill me. They are exactly my wheelhouse which is just the right blend of doom and awe, sadness and ecstasy. Both opposing forces existing in the same space at the same time. I feel like that just-perfect blend of darkness and light is what makes life what it is and why I have kept hope close to my heart all year.
On the first day of the pandemic, I called my mom and said, “I have already lived through one epidemic. I will be ok.” She laughed. Mac Miller did not survive the epidemic of opiates that took the lives of so many of my friends. His story felt like the right one to carry around this year, a deep and long mourning laced with his particular unfaltering optimism.
Here is my Year End List 2020:
Mac Miller- Circles
Kamaiyah and Capalow- Oakland Nights
Oneohtrix Point Never- Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
Ky Voss- Coping Mechanisms
Spike Hellis- Crisis Talk
Floating Room- Tired and True
Juice WRLD- Legends Never Die
Salem- Fires in Heaven