It’s December 17th, and I’m coming in hot with my top 10 personal favorite albums of 2020.
First, some honorable mentions:
- Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide
- Poppy – I Disagree
- Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
- Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 4
- Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
And now, the list!
10. Strawberry Generation – Afloat
Strawberry Generation’s full-length debut is every bit as sweet as their band name. I especially love how natural the vocal dynamic between the male and female singers sounds. The slightly distorted mixing gives their sound a certain modesty that fits well with the lyrics. There’s also a refreshing lack of cynicism in this album. Was this seriously made in 2020?
9. The Microphones – Microphones in 2020
This one-of-a-kind release offers glimpses into one mysterious man’s life. Despite its repetitiveness, it still manages to be captivating, demanding the full attention of the listener. It’s easy to get lost in the space of this album. Microphones in 2020 possesses a flavor of existential dread that perhaps only the artist behind The Glow, Pt. 2 would be capable of bringing out. Thanks, Phil Elverum, always a pleasure.
8. The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
Dropped in the final month of 2020, this Avalanches album instantly blasted its way through to the top albums of the year, completely destroying the validity of mainstream year-end lists everywhere. Uplifting, soulful, and justifiably epic, this album serves as the light at the end of the 2020 shit-tunnel.
7. illuminati hotties – FREE I.H.: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For
Throughout Free I.H., Sarah Tudzin has this confident, downright condescending at times demeanor, and I can’t help but absolutely adore it. She just seems like such a cool badass of a person. Arguably the most fun record of 2020, Free I.H. is an upbeat, clever, and catchy 23 minutes of playful banter.
6. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
The production on this experimental hip-hop record features uniquely terrifying beats that sound like they’re straight out of a horror movie. Daveed Diggs’ style is a perfect fit for rapping over these beats, and he has some of the most insane flow I’ve ever heard on some of the songs. A bold, hard-hitting, thematically consistent album.
5. Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
I am thoroughly intrigued by this record! Yves Tumor’s vocals stand out as versatile and impactful. There are a multitude of genres and influences here, and I think the vocals are the key that tie all these genres together in a way that works spectacularly.
4. Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
Even in 2020, Grimes continues to show that she’s among the most talented musicians in her genre space. Heartfelt, thematically artistic, and unapologetically weird, this album has all the hallmarks of a great Grimes record.
3. Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
Released in the early days of quarantine, how i’m feeling now no doubt mirrored what many people were feeling at that time: feelings like boredom and the longing for human connection. If there’s one album that perfectly encapsulates the vibes of early quarantine, this is it, folks.
2. Adrianne Lenker – songs
Lenker must have uncovered some profound spiritual treasures during her time in that Western Massachusetts cabin, because this collection of songs she wrote there is nothing short of magical.
1. The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers
Jump Rope Gazers had everything I had hoped for in a follow-up to Future Me Hates Me, and more. The Beths dial back the aggression in this release, revealing another side to the band that sounds every bit as lovely as their previous work.
You can read more about the album here, where I spend like 2000 words essentially swooning over Liz Stokes’ songwriting and projecting my own emotions and experiences onto her.
And there’s my top 10! It really has been a great year for music.