In 2021, Real Gone celebrated its twelfth year online. It’s hard to believe we’ve endured for so long, but that’s down to you – our enthusiastic and still growing audience – coming back every week to explore the more “cult” aspects of a new release schedule as well as continuing to enjoy our occasional dips back into music’s past.
Having long established a house style, our approach remained the same as the past few years: the site has mixed in depth pieces on new albums with occasional “archive pieces”, full length videos, and other bits of musical news and streams. That’s got us through another tricky twelve month stretch. That makes it sound like a prison sentence, but even with the ongoing pandemic hovering over all of us, it’s been far from bad.
By the end of 2019, few people would have suggested we’d live through a year any more devastating than 2016. That year, famous musicians seemed to be dying on a weekly basis. 2020 had even more of a drastic effect on the music industry with a global pandemic putting a halt on gigs and forcing various small, grass roots venues to close their doors forever.
On the plus side – and you always have to look for a positive, even in the most dire of circumstances – a dramatic change in circumstances has forced musicians to change their way of working. For those with home studios, it’s meant we’ve seen an increase in output. We’ve even been given unexpected albums – right at the end of the year, there were surprise releases from Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift and various other interesting albums were put together remotely. …And as we take stock on a terrible year, it seems that the gift of recorded music has been one of our only constants: 2020 may have been an absolute bastard in so many ways, but we’ve all found new music to love.
It’s been a great year at Real Gone. Not only did the website celebrate its tenth birthday, but we got more requests and submissions for review than ever! This year, everything felt like it had truly come together and paved the way for the next phase of the website’s lifespan.
This year, Real Gone received hundreds upon hundreds of review items and digital streams. Obviously, there isn’t enough time to review everything…but from the mountain of stuff we got to listen to and review, there was a lot of great music.
As always, it’s been an interesting year for music, but unlike a few previous years, there have been no clear winners or stand-outs. There has been a lot of great music, of course…and this year, we’ve found it very hard to pick favourites.
Our top ten albums, as always, has been restricted to things that actually got reviewed at Real Gone and very much represent our broad musical scope. Hopefully, a couple of our choices will align with yours, but more importantly, we hope our top picks will open your ears to something new.
2016 has been an interesting year. We’ve heard hundreds of albums and we’ve heard lots of good ones, but in comparison to the previous couple of years there has been a paucity of great ones. Nevertheless, there’s always gold to be mined and here are Real Gone’s top ten albums of the year.
[As always, in the interest of fairness, the choices are limited to those actually reviewed on the website]