The death knell may be ringing for live music around the world—save for a socially-distanced party here or a drive-in show there—but away from the live setting, it's been a hell of a year for music. Our own homegrown rap and drill scenes here in the UK have done a roaring trade and artists from every genre have used the time to bunker down in their studios and give us some of the best albums and singles of their careers. All that is to say, in a round about way, that while us music journalists haven't had anywhere to go to enjoy music in its natural habitat, we've been spoiled rotten with things to write about—and not just COVID-19.
Away from the pandemic, the music industry has had other issues to face up to. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery brought about a social reckoning that was long overdue. It became a time for white journalists, publishers and industry figures to reevaluate their behaviour and their position, particularly those who operate in spaces focused on Black music and culture. In turn, more Black voices were given a chance to shine and the world of journalism was all the better for it. New stories were being told in more honest ways and while there is of course a long way to go yet, the start of this rebalance is shaping an exciting new landscape for us all.
Here are some of the best pieces of music journalism that dropped in 2020, chosen by the Complex UK music team (and extended family).