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An avid music listener, I love getting song and artist recommendations to expand my tastes. Whether I’m online shopping or studying, I’ll play one of my curated playlists. As always, I spent hours on Spotify this year. In order of release date, here are some 2020 albums I had on repeat:

Surfaces’ Horizons

In February, this Texas-based band released their third album. I first listened to the group’s music on TikTok and enjoyed their pop, soul, and reggae sound. Horizons instantly puts you in a good mood with positive vibes throughout the album. This music will remind you of summer beach days and spending time with friends.

Favorite song: “Keep It Gold” 

Joywave’s Possession

I’ve become a fan of a lot of indie-pop and alternative rock bands like Joywave from television and movie soundtracks. The band recorded Possession, released in March, while thinking about the idea of control. The album’s producer even included audio from Voyager’s Golden Record from NASA. I think it’s interesting that many of the album’s songs were inspired by past events but still connect to what the world experiences today. 

Favorite song: “Coming Apart”  

Kygo’s Golden Hour  

Golden Hour, which came out in May, is the kind of album that makes you feel want to chase your dreams and sing out loud. “Higher Love” is a popular hit from the album, using 1990 audio from the late Whitney Houston’s cover of this song. The Norwegian DJ and producer collaborated with talented musicians such as OneRepublic, Oh Wonder, and Sasha Sloan.   

Favorite song: “Feels Like Forever” with Jamie N Commons 

Taylor Swift’s Folklore

A longtime Swiftie, I was beyond excited when Taylor Swift announced a surprise album in July. I loved the journey she took as an artist to write Folklore and experiment in another genre. I remember staying up past midnight to listen to all the new songs at once. I admire how meaningful and honest her songs are, which makes listeners able to relate through music. For example, “Epiphany,” is an emotional and beautiful tribute to war veterans and healthcare workers during the pandemic.  

Favorite song: “Exile” with Bon Iver

Katy Perry’s Smile

Just a few days after welcoming her daughter, Katy Perry released Smile. The title speaks for itself to mark the happy energy of this album. Themes of hope and empowerment are noticeable in many of the songs which make you want to dance and learn all the lyrics. I suggest checking out the fun music videos Katy Perry’s for Smile so far.   

Favorite song: “Daisies”


I’ve always found NEEDTOBREATHE’s music inspiring through their messages of love and faith. They released this album in September to reflect on the ups and downs people have in various relationships. I really like the vulnerability that’s visible on many of the songs to address what people face in handling challenges in self-worth and facing fears. Meanwhile, this is the band’s first album created since NEEDTOBREATHE became a trio.

Favorite song: “Banks”

Novo Amor’s Cannot Be, Whatsoever

Ali Lacey, who performs under the name of Novo Amor, is a Welsh musician and songwriter. Cannot Be, Whatsoever was released in November and features more upbeat songs than his first album. I find indie-folk music soothing and easy to listen to while doing homework or just relaxing at home. The album’s focus on self-discovery and finding peace encourages me to stay present in my life and keep trying my best.  

Favorite song: “Halloween”

The next album I’m looking forward to is Miley Cyrus’s “Plastic Hearts.” I can’t wait to see what new music I discover in 2021 and what different artists have in store for us!

Samantha is a senior and writer for Her Campus at Loyola University Maryland. She's a Communications major specializing in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Marketing. During her free time, Samantha loves discovering new music, fashion trends, food, running, and binge-watching Netflix.
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