So, this very strange year is finally coming to an end…and I don’t think that I am the only one feeling that parts of this year truly have felt like a mental walk on that Bridge of Sighs…
I mean, who could have predicted this going into 2020?
There were so many events planned to look forward to, so many new amazing moments and great new memories to be made…and we certainly got proof that nothing truly can be taken for granted.

Not that it has ALL been horrible, though. There have been good times, wonderful connections with people I never thought I would get the chance to talk to, unexpected friendly acts, like small rays of sunshine in the darkness… Time for reflection and self-care. Time for growing new interests, for learning, for evolving.

I just really, really, really miss the live shows and the hugs, though.

But even though this year has been nothing like expected and pretty much all turned upside down – there is still one thing that always needs to be given attention, because there is a task that needs to be done…

It’s called The Making of the Best Album of the Year list.

Putting together those 10, 20, 50, 100 albums that spoke to you, that affected you most this year. I love checking out those lists as they get published all over, and I had a nice time listening to the top 20 list from the guys behind the podcast Metalpodden (in Swedish), because they are just really chilled and therefore nice to listen to. And it makes you feel that everything DOESN’T have to be perfect all the time, it’s still enjoyable.

And it’s interesting to get to know people a bit better simply by getting a sense of their taste in music and how it makes them feel. You can really tell so much just by hearing someones favourite songs, and that has always fascinated me. I also get fascinated by those who say they never listen to music, because I just can’t understand that.
Because – it’s music.
I love it.
And hate it.
But mostly, it’s all about love, of course. But love isn’t about black and white, there are so many different colours in the spectrum.

And every single year I swear over this list…and at the same time it is also a fun challange to put it together.

It’s just that I am not ALWAYS on top of the game and all updated when it comes to all new releases…so sometimes the deadline creeps too close too fast….

I know some people think this is an easy task, because they are perfectly well organized and instantly know which albums belong on their list – and in which position they should be, so they can have an updated list every week. And when the end of the year comes, they just press “send” on their finished list, knowing they have gotten it right.
Well, I am not even going to pretend to be one of those.
I try, but sometimes time just runs out, and sometimes the mind can’t handle all the new input, all the new emotions…

But – the good thing about this year was that I was given a lot of time for listening, which I really have (until I got stuck in the earbook swamp, which is a hard one to get out of, haha). But there is still always that feeling that even though you are being thorough and catching the new releases, you might miss out on something you might really love. So you search all release schedules and you add more albums for listening, and get pointers from friends in the same situation. And you listen. According to Spotify Wrapped (which I always find interesting), I have spent almost 300 000 hours there listening. Not counting albums bought, or streamed review albums. That’s a lot of time in the company of new music. (But well, 3 out of the 5 bands I listened to most on Spotify this year didn’t even release any new material…so not everything was new)

Every week I have listened and listened, and made special playlists for the albums I knew belonged on the list, those I felt I needed to listen closer to, and ignored those I knew wouldn’t make it to the final list.
But that can be tricky, because some music is so incredibly affected by the mood you are in. Sometimes the very same album can be amazing, great, good – and sometimes you barely want to listen to it…but then you hear it again, and it makes sense.
In some ways it’s like killing your darlings, because even those who fell just off the list, have still been there for me this year, they have meant something…there were simply just others who HAD to be featured.

Then it comes to the really hard part – placing them in the right ranking order. When you have to decide where they all belong and make the tough choices of what goes first – because different albums speak to, calm and/or energize different parts, so what has meant the most? Which emotions are allowed to come first, and which will follow, and in which order?

Still, that list gets done.
Every year.
Even this.

Actually, I almost don’t dare to think about the pain I will have to go through at the end of next year – with so many musicians having a lot of time on their hands this year to write and record…that’s a shitload of creativity seeing the light of day in 2021.
But well – I will manage. With more discipline, every week.
After all, music is fun.

Music is LIFE.
Music is LOVE.
Bring it on, I will be ready to welcome all amazing new albums coming my way. I will also freak out again, when it comes to getting them in the right order… But I will gladly deal with that.

And speaking of pain – if you have done that, you know this pain is REAL.