Play Button: Best Podcasts of 2020

If you haven’t tried the trending “How Bad Is Your Spotify?” quiz by The Pudding, you should know that it’s pretty brutal. But unlike the A.I. bot that judges your music preferences, we know your Spotify account is more than just earworms from your favourite singers. To add to your podcast playlist, our editors and writers have compiled a list of podcast bests that has captured our attention in 2020.

Faced with many periods of isolation, many of us have turned to different forms of escapism to get through the year. Whether it’s following a dance trend on TikTok or binge-watching shows on Netflix, the array of entertainment at our fingertips has helped to ease our anxieties about the pandemic. The podcasts we’ve selected couldn’t have come at a better time — from relationship advice to calls for social advocacy, here are some of our top picks that tided us through 2020.

The Michelle Obama Podcast

A post-White House project, the former First Lady talks to family, friends, and colleagues, giving a glimpse into the private life many are curious about. Listen to her reflect on her life after leaving the White House, discovering her authentic self, and even conversations with her very famous husband. Nothing like listening to the first Black First Lady to get inspired and feel empowered.

Wild ‘Til 9

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Lockdowns may not be the best for relationships but here’s an influencer and her tech mogul partner, who’s open about their struggles as a self-admitting “polar opposite couple”. In Wild ’Til 9, Lauren Riihimaki and boyfriend, Jeremy Lewis, get personal about topics surrounding red flags, having a baby-timeline, and keeping things spicy in a relationship — you know, all that juicy stuff.

Brave Yourself

Brave Yourself is a podcast by Noor Mastura, a Singaporean activist who started the #MuslimMeToo movement. Committed to bringing to light the transgressions made by Muslims in positions of power towards the community, from workplace harassment to abuse of power that has been kept under wraps, she hopes to create change in a “culture of denial, apathy and oppression⁣” and lend a voice to victims. Definitely an eyeopener and an enriching lesson in the stories that go untold within our community.

The Lonely Hour

While this podcast didn’t arise from the pandemic, its exploration of loneliness and solitude is timely. More than ever, this prolonged period of isolation has arisen in many a feeling of restless uncertainty. The show’s host, Julia Bainbridge, tackles the stigma behind the topic of loneliness and shares the joys it can bring. But don’t worry, despite delving into this heavy theme, the podcast promises not to be “a bummer” and encourages listeners to go inwards to reflect and ponder, giving us a break from our fast-paced lives.

Archewell Audio

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

We’ve only listened to a preview of this podcast but we’re already intrigued! Since their banishment, I mean retirement, from the British Royal family, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, have set up life as pretty common folk in America. The news of a deal with Spotify to produce a podcast series through their audio production company, Archewell Audio which appears to be the name of the podcast as well, is surprising but their intent is not. True to their brand, the couple aims to spotlight diverse perspectives and voices in their content, and highlight stories that reveal our interconnectedness during this troubling time.

 

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