BSR Web Staff: Music We Are Looking Forward To In 2020

Written by on January 30, 2020

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The new year is upon us, and for the first collab piece of the decade, the BSR Web Staff decided to write about music they are looking forward to in the next 12 months.

Brandon Lewis- Anything country

Anybody that knows me knows that I can listen to any version of modern country. My love for country started in 2012 when Florida Georgia Line (FGL) released “Cruise”. “Cruise” relaxed me and put me in a good mood anytime it would come on the radio. 

For about six years, I pretty much had a man crush on FGL. Any album they would release I would be at the store, buying it immediately and jamming out to them in my room. Then, one day while flipping through radio stations, I found 99.5 WGAR, Cleveland’s country music station, and just like I was with FGL in 2012, I was hooked. Over the last two years, I have listened to over 15 different country music stars, including Luke Combs, Chase Rice, Cole Swindell, Kane Brown and Scott McCreery just to name a few. 

My current favorite country song is “See You Tonight” by McCreery. That will probably change in a couple months when I hear a new catchy tune! So to me, it doesn’t matter who the song is by, nor does it matter what the song title is. Whoever comes out with new country music in 2020, I’m here for it all!


Grace-Marie Davies- My Chemical Romance

Despite the fact that I constantly claim I’ve moved on, deep down I’m still an emo child at heart. So when My Chemical Romance announced that they were regrouping, I unashamedly cried in pure joy. I will defend the fact that My Chem is an amazing band until I’m put in a hole in the ground, despite how pathetic that is when you put a mental image to it.

While not as obsessed as I was in my teenage years, My Chem was one of those gateway bands that got me into a whole different genre of music that I hadn’t explored during that time. I was still deep into alternative rock, but I still had the stigma surrounding emo tainting my judgement of music. Once I got rid of that though and actually listened to My Chem, I found I really enjoyed the music a lot, and it really resonated with me.

Now that they’re back though, I hope they put out a live album. I’m not counting on new music although that would be killer. I just want a live album of some sort from them. Watching someone live stream their reunion concert on Instagram was an amazing, yet odd experience, but a live album, that would be amazing!


Rory Larrison- Hayley Williams, Coin and Jack Antonoff

Initially, I was disappointed at Paramore’s decision to take a break from writing music, but when front woman Hayley Williams debuted her solo career, I knew it would be enough to fill the gaping hole in my heart. Her new single “Simmer” gives an angry sound that transports the listener back to the early 2007 Paramore era while adding a new brooding, foreboding layer that proves that femininity is not synonymous with weakness. It’s a great transition into what seems to be a new chapter of William’s life: A chapter of solidarity and courage. Other singles have already been teased, and I’m excited to see where she takes it next.

Additionally, Coin’s third album “Dreamland”, is set to release Feb. 21, and it’s one I’ve been highly anticipating. Track seven, “Youuu”, is a song I experienced live almost two years ago in a small venue in Columbus and instantly fell in love with. Waiting for the official studio release was frustrating but most definitely worth the wait. The song does a great job of capturing the themes of love and loss that fans and I can expect to see in the majority of the rest of the album. “Dreamland” will contain 14 tracks total, making it the longest Coin album yet, and I’m not-so-patiently waiting to hear what else the band has to give in 2020.

Not last and certainly not least, the artist I’m expecting great things from this year is Jack Antonoff. His recent work for Lorde, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and even his side project, Red Hearse (with producer Sounwave and singer Sam Dew) brought him several Grammy nominations, but the promise of more Bleachers music is what really gets me excited for the next year in music. Although Antonoff’s solo project might not top the charts as often as his collaborations with big-name singers do, Bleachers is one of those projects that remains truly authentic, raw and creative in its delivery, which is something that sets it apart from the rest of today’s pop/alternative/whatever-you-want-to-call-it genre.

There’s a thousand other musicians I’m ready to expose my eardrums to this year, so by no means are these the only artists you should keep an eye on. Just make sure to give them a listen if you have some extra time– you won’t regret it!


Khiara McCarroll- Hayley Williams

Hayley Williams has been an inspiration to me for a long while. She’s been the front woman of the pop rock band Paramore since it’s conception in 2004 and has written much of their music, and I have enjoyed pretty much all of it throughout the years. Paramore was such an influential band to me and many others for so long, and we could always rely on them for some good tunes. 

When Williams announced that she would be releasing solo music as Rory mentioned above, I was stoked. She’s of course been singing with Paramore for years and has collabed with other artists without the band (such as Zedd, American Football, Chvrches and B.O.B), but she had never really released music on her own that was completely hers. One of my favorite people in one of my favorite bands releasing her own music? Exciting stuff.

 On Jan. 22, she released a new song, “Simmer”. It was melodic, haunting and catchy. It was what I thought it would be and completely different than what I would’ve imagined at the same time. After hearing “Simmer”, I’ve been pretty excited to hear the rest and can’t wait to see what the rest of her music will be like. 


Tanisha Thomas- Iyla

I discovered Iyla through Twitter after seeing numerous tweets praising her song “Juice.” At first I was hesitant, but I am glad I finally took a listen because it is a HIT.  The infectiousness beat of “Juice” made me fall in love with her. She has very sultry, smooth vocals over R&B instrumentals.

She just released her song “Tattoo Tears,” and it has me excited for the next project she is releasing. Her lyrics mostly covering love and heartbreak tug at my feels every time, and I can’t wait to hear more of what she has to offer. Until then, I’ll have her “War +Raindrops” EP on repeat.’

From the start, I rooted for Normani because she had the total package. I always thought she was the best singer in the group and she has moves. Her performance at the VMA’s last year proved that, especially with how she powered through the technical difficulties that happened during it. That’s when I knew she was going to be a star. 

2019 was her warm-up year, and I wish it wasn’t. “Motivation” was a nice bop, but the promotion for it was lackluster. I was disappointed she did not promote “Waves”, featuring 6LACK more because it showcased her range in music. She could go from R&B to Dance to Pop.

However, I am glad she was able to prove herself with “Dancing With A Stranger”.  If she got herself out there more with performances, interviews and social media promotion, she would have been set, but 2020 will definitely be her year. I am excited to see what Normani puts out before (hopefully) dropping her debut album this year. 




Nolan Shumate- Frank Ocean, Phoebe Bridgers, Rage Against The Machine, Run The Jewels 4 and The 1975 

*puts on clown makeup* I’m excited for new Frank Ocean in 2020! *tears slowly wipe away clown makeup*. 

I’ve been saying that I’m excited for new Frank Ocean every year since around 2010, but I think this year is the year that he doesn’t power bomb my hopes and dreams through a table. Late in 2019, Frank Ocean released two singles, “DHL” and “In My Room” but also teased several other tracks, including “Little Demon”, “Cayendo” and “Dear April”  at his LGBTQ club. These new tracks show a shift in approach for Frank that, as a long time stan, is really exciting.

Frank Ocean is also set to headline Coachella in April, which is the most public thing he’s done in years, and one of only a handful of live shows he’s played in the last decade. I’ll look like an idiot when 2021 rolls around, and I’m still downloading cut Frank Ocean demos from 2016 onto my computer but, man, I really want there to be new Frank Ocean in my life. It’s all I ask for.  

If I’m forced to talk about things that will actually happen though, there are definitely some other projects set for 2020 that I’m really excited for. Phoebe Bridgers has announced a new album slated for a 2020 release. Coming off the success and slight stylistic change of Better Oblivion Community Center, I’m excited to experience the new creative ways that she’ll find to curb stomp my heart.

I’m excited to see “Run The Jewels 4” come out during an election cycle. I’m excited to see The 1975 release another album with a title that I’ll never be able to remember correctly. I’m beyond excited about the fact that Rage Against The Machine is playing shows in 2020 and are likely trying to swing an election. I’m excited for people to get mad about a Rhianna album not coming out. 

Generally speaking, 2020 looks like it could be a really good year for music. Just don’t talk to me for a few days when the new Frank Ocean doesn’t happen. 


Reegan Saunders- Tink and the Lost Boys, Exotic Woo and 208 

Ok kiddos, 2020 is shaping up to be the year of the greatest Detroit music since the days when “The White Stripes” played the now burned down Gold Dollar (rest in peace to this beautiful piece of history). The underground scene is growing through a wide set of collaborations, my favorite being the evolution of Nice Place and Dirt Room into Old Main. If you don’t know what any of these names mean, go check them out on Instagram! Also, there are a lot of really good articles about them online, which is good because I have yet to write my own. Anyways, I have decided to use this collab piece as an opportunity to plug some of my favorite local bands and talk about where the future of music in Detroit is headed. 

First up is Tink and the Lost Boys. If you read my previous piece on them, then you know I have maybe too much of a personal connection to them. Needless to say, over the winter holiday, I had the opportunity to sit in on the recording process of their new album. The promise of fun indie rock that was provided by their single “Detroit Blues” is definitely transferred into this album, so definitely look out for that release before late spring. 

Up next is Exotic Woo!! And yes, I just used two exclamation points because one is attached to the band title and one is being used to describe my abundance of excitement. I don’t know when their EP is going to be released, but the new songs I have heard are full of loud, chaotic noises, similar to those of artists like Ty Segall (speaking of which I am very excited for new Ty Segall and this upcoming tour! The song “Double the Dream” was just released, and it is quite interesting. Check it out).  

The last release I am looking forward to is new music from 208. 208 is a two-piece band composed of two of the coolest beings I have ever met. Kyle and Shelby are both passionate about printmaking, music and all things to do with the Detroit community. Their sound is raw, fuzzy and uncontrolled, yet beautifully harmonious. You can find their latest releases on Bandcamp right now. 

And with all the speculation of which pieces of music will be released also comes the question of who will play the summer music festivals. In particular I am placing my bets on the MOPOP music festival lineup- maybe The Strokes, Ty Segall, The Black Keys? A girl can dream. 


Zac McDowell — Heavy Music

Anyone that knows me knows that I love heavy music; metal, hardcore, punk, etc. Code Orange have their 3rd record coming this year, Lorna Shore has one this month and Four Year Strong releases one in February.  

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