albums of the year 2020

Buy now Bonus Exclusive: IRL Live in London 12" on orange vinyl. Site also contains reviews, ratings & more. Consider The Angel You Don’t Know proof-of-concept of an alt-afropop offshoot, destined for a global audience without sacrificing its cultural roots. They've done it again. –Philip Sherburne, Listen/Buy: Rough Trade | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify, “Genres keep us in our boxes,” Bartees Strange sing-raps on “Mossblerd,” a song that sounds like it’s falling apart even as he’s putting it together. The Quietus Albums Of The Year 2020. As 2021 approaches we reflect on a year unlike…, We're delighted to announce our new Live From Rough Trade livestream series, broadcast in high-definition from Rough Trade East, London.Our Live From Rough Trade shows…, Rough Trade Edit Podcast Albums of the Year 2020 Special, Suite For Iain and Jane / House Music All Night Long. To the casual listener, Beatrice Dillon’s avant electronic tracks might seem austere. “I no be politician/Me no like no politics,” Burna insists—and that rings true. III is themselves. However, it has certainly underlined the importance of music and the role it has to play to unite us, heal us and make the hard times more bearable. This year hasn’t been easy for the music community, or any community for that matter. The graceful melodies will embrace you, the words will kiss you on the forehead. Friday, November 27, 2020 The ultimate guide to the year's best new jazz albums as voted for by Jazzwise's peerless panel of reviewers – including the complete original Jazzwise reviews. GTL is a technical marvel as well as a creative one: producer JoogSZN’s beats retain their funk and low end while making space for Drakeo’s vocals, which come through impressively crisp. Buy now on Rough Trade Exclusive galaxy vinylBonus Exclusive: Copycat Killer 12". Stereogum's 50 best albums of 2020. But rather than finding comfort in the anthropomorphic gesture, Grimes renders a bleak, if beautiful, portrait of nihilism. But even though she’s sick of the bullshit surrounding her, she doesn’t let it consume her being. Graphic by Drew Litowitz, photos via Getty Images. On their fourth album, Tumor is smoldering and romantic, expressing their appetite through squalling guitar solos, slinky basslines, and an ensemble of guest singers who match their lusty fervor beat for beat. Now, Crutchfield gazes into the mirror and doesn’t shy away from the reflection. These instrumentals lend a “sense of comic relief,” Allison says, “like when you joke with your friend about your unhealthy habits.” In a year when hundreds of thousands of Americans perished, we needed friends desperately—someone to make us laugh, and someone to sit with us at shiva. –Colin Lodewick, In 2019, Chicago indie rock trio Dehd released the sparse and scrappy album Water, with songs informed by the romantic breakup of bassist Emily Kempf and guitarist Jason Balla, accompanied by Eric McGrady’s one-tom, one-snare minimalism. The Allmusic 2020 Year In Review. But in her instrumentation, she reaches for organic matter, sometimes painstakingly: Grimes meticulously tweaked acoustic guitar loops on “Delete Forever,” layering actual violins and banjo until they recall a post-apocalyptic campfire song. FTW's top 20 albums of 2020. Inner Song is club music at its most spiritual. Owens wrote the lyrics in a depressive state following a trauma-release therapy session, transforming that cathartic expulsion of her pain into a record with healing properties of its own. –Eric Torres. His 2020 album of original compositions is a radically different proposition: a 43-minute ambient suite meant to counter fascism’s global spread with joy rather than despair. –Brian Josephs, A band’s impact shouldn’t be hypothetical, but here’s Dogleg, the debutants of Michigan emo, whose breakout year mostly took place in the imagination. Released June 18, 2020 (Provided) Despite her questionable social media posts and meme-filled personality, Phoebe Bridgers knows how to destroy you with lyrics that wrap around the most bruised part of your heart and poke at the wound. –Madison Bloom, Ka has spent his 40s laboring over how to animate the ghosts of his home. –Rawiya Kameir, For 25 years, Dan Bejar has come across as the smartest absinthe-sipping aesthete in the room. It goes without saying, every single record in our list is outstanding and it is a privilege to share and shine a light on such exciting music. “I will never stop singing this song,” he acknowledges, 40 minutes in. In turn, each twinkling note relays the bittersweet tranquility of memories gone by. Buy now on Rough Trade Exclusive silver vinylBonus Exclusive: Lockdown Sessions 10", The Pulp frontman narrates a journey through evocative and explorative instrumentation that is totally sublime. It is a testament to Dylan’s spectral presence as a singer, and the sympathy of his accompanists, that the uptempo tunes often seem as misty and elusive as the slow ones. Lyrically, Burna muses on fame, destiny, and, on “Monsters You Made,” the legacy of colonialism in Nigeria. –Jazz Monroe, Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal, “My execution might be televised.” That line and others from Freddie Gibbs’ “Scottie Beam” appeared in black marker on handmade signs this summer, held aloft in cities across the country during what may have been the largest wave of civil-rights protests in American history. –Allison Hussey, It was an album that was rumored to be rap’s next opus before it even materialized. Caribou - Suddenly16. –Alphonse Pierre, On Microphones in 2020, Phil Elverum revived his earliest moniker to ponder his formative years across a single, wistful, 45-minute song. Rarely has there been an artistic statement this stirring, this staggering, this powerful. Thurston Moore - By The Fire18. One minute, he is at peace, nearly succumbing to whatever comes next; the next, he is spoiling for a fight, ready to wrestle death to the mat one last time. “I grew up in the shoes they told me I could fill, shoes that were not made for running up that hill/And I need to run up that hill, I need to run up that hill/I will, I will, I will, I will, I will,” she insists on another title track doubling as a renewed mission statement. On their pop- and R&B-bending second album Ungodly Hour, they’re figuratively slapping an ID card on a bar and saying, “Bartender, I need a drink.”, The Bailey sisters have quietly lost some of the wide-eyedness of the past and instead turned towards the flotsam and jetsam of twentysomething life. Rhythmically, Burna’s Afro-fusion sound connects homebase Lagos to Kingston, Atlanta, and London. While some vocal lines emulate pulsing bass and celestial synth, the prevailing current is a surging chorus of near-language, struck through with the unmistakable trembles and notches of a human voice. Pitchfork may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. So she built one via her fourth album, how i’m feeling now. The first of two incredible albums released by the band this year is weapons-grade R&B and luxuriates in being unapologetically Black. Fetch the Bolt Cutters is the sound of someone freeing themself from a mental prison built by others but unknowingly reinforced by the self. There, she brandishes a fist full of glow sticks to fight the dread that lurks in the dark. She buoys her bleak lyrics with the bright melodies and buzzing guitars that soundtracked Beavis and Butt-Head’s bickering on MTV in the ’90s. In 2018 we gave you our nine favourite albums, this year we're feeling generous and letting you have a couple more recommendations. –Jenzia Burgos, On her fourth studio album, UK singer-songwriter Jessie Ware conjures the erotic frisson of the cruisy dancefloors we aren’t permitted to congregrate on while the global pandemic rages on. Throughout Hannah, her fifth album as Lomelda, her expressive warble blooms and shrinks into strange and beautiful phrasings, heightening their meaning. Whether she’s fighting the urge to retreat back to bed or striving to permanently block a negative relationship, the 28-year-old singer and producer powers through with an impressively unbothered focus on growth amid the chaos. ... AC/DC, and Stephen Malkmus reminded us that rock isn't dead. Porridge Radio’s intensity feeds on feelings turned sour that rise and fall through Dana Margolin’s mouth in a range of escalated, climactic moments. Her fifth album’s title is a personification of the anthropocene, a theorized geological epoch in which civilization provokes its own destruction via climate crises. The resulting songs pierce her party girl persona with something more sentimental—and sometimes quotidian—but, true to form, she buoyed the vibe with sugar-rush hooks and blowout beats. Twentieth-century listeners imagined the music of the next millennium as a harsh, mechanistic grind or a frenzy of twitchy glitches. Yet, despite the gruelling impact of Covid both personally and professionally on so many people, many electronic acts still managed to battle on through as our 2020 Review of the Year feature explored. What’s Your Pleasure’s adrenalizing disco, electro-funk, and deep house are indebted to the pulsing eclecticism of defunct queer nightclubs like the Paradise Garage and the Saint: The title track recalls New Order’s early ’80s cyborg funk, while “Read My Lips” pays homage to R&B group Full Force’s muscular rhythm tracks of the same decade, and the sparkling arpeggios of “Save a Kiss” evoke Robyn’s yearning 21st-century electro-pop. It makes for a complex and personal statement about the nature and worth of Black creativity and labor. Ungodly Hour is a collection of low-key tracks that demonstrated true mastery of their intricate harmonies over slinky, charismatic production. Pitchfork's Highest Rated Albums of 2020. 50. Righteous anger pointed at society’s rulers flows throughout RTJ4, which was released at the start of June amid nationwide protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd. He sounds possessed here, supercharged by something supernatural—even when he’s just shouting a luxury brand’s name into the ether 15 times in a row. But these Fela-like or Marley-esque moments tend to melt into the glide-and-glisten of the sound. Nigel House.Powerful, primal, passionate music-making. Enough is enough. And in the past decade, the rooms have become markedly more luxurious, with sophisti-pop saxophone, synths, and strings giving new plushness to his formerly sparse songs. Hopefully, like Chloe x Halle, we reemerge into the real world, elegantly transformed by what happened in the wee hours of the morning. Alfredo, the dexterous 38-year-old MC’s collaboration with beloved producer the Alchemist, is by turns heavy and light—his “Beam” verse ends with a rude kiss off to an ex in the form of Jordan-Pippen wordplay: “without me the bitch wouldn’t have got a ring.” More than a time capsule, Alfredo is an unruly feast of language. (Find our 100 Best Songs of 2020 list here.) But the raw energy of Apple’s voice is the album’s life force, and there’s no mistaking the subjects of her missives—be it the men who refuse to recognize their abusive behavior; the women who, like Apple, were conditioned to compete with other women; the mean girls and those who called their bullshit; the users and the silencers; the people she fears will leave her. Within these entrancing soundscapes, stray ruminations float to the surface. Recording it over a few short weeks at the onset of the pandemic, Charli escaped isolation’s creative doldrums by opening up a feedback loop with her fans, sharing real-time updates and allowing them a hand in her process. Discover our Top 10 Albums below, celebrated by numerous special exclusive editions and releases. It's been a hugely challenging year both for musicians and for the publications that write about them - our continuing role isn't something we take for granted. On Have We Met, the Vancouver-based Destroyer maestro slips into another velvet interior, only to find it's a sort of Black Lodge. A brighter, twangier outing than the debut, fuelled by bolder experimentation, all the while retaining that sure-fire sound we have come to define this talented band by. “I can’t wait to be alone, to be one with my blackest fire,” she exhales on “Nu World Burdens,” over a twinkling melody and drums warm enough to make your heart flutter. Lead vocalist and songwriter Dana Margolin is incisive in her observations, and she often points them inward. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. –Vrinda Jagota, Listen/Buy: Rough Trade | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal, While the Korean-American producer Yaeji has anchored her previous work in strobe-lit beats and floor-shaking bass, her first full-length mixtape captures the anxious, aching throb of the morning after a night out. Meditative songs sit alongside pacy, beat-driven odes. 3: Special Interest - The Passion Of; 4: Lyra Pramuk - Fountain; 5: UKAEA - Energy Is Forever; 6: Duval Timothy - Help; 7: Squarepusher - Be Up A Hello; 8: Nadine Shah - Kitchen Sink; 9: Pa Salieu - Send Them To Coventry Whispers suggested the big names were back: A new AC/DC album, perhaps. The 50 Best Albums of 2020 The albums that got us through this chaotic year, featuring Fiona Apple, Bad Bunny, Lil Uzi Vert, Phoebe Bridgers, and more By Pitchfor k –Stephen M. Deusner, Listen/Buy: Rough Trade | Apple Music | Bandcamp |  Spotify | Tidal, Recorded in secret in quarantine and unleashed upon the world with less than a day’s warning, folklore was the first Taylor Swift album untethered from the traditional expectations of a blockbuster release. Still, without question, it’s Garcia’s performances and curatorial instincts that make this such a powerful statement of self. Idles - Ultra Mono15. The result is some of the finest songwriting of Swift’s career, vivid storytelling both personal and fictional (and somewhere in between), stuffed with more Easter eggs than a Marvel movie. Neither hot mess nor robot, sisters Chloe x Halle have chosen a different route, from YouTube sensations to Beyoncé protégées to grown women. Consequence of Sound's Highest Rated Albums of 2020. KiCk i is her first record to prominently feature several guest singers, with Björk, Rosalía, SOPHIE, and Shygirl all present to witness her various metamorphoses. So as she thrashes between anti-capitalist bops and introspective anthems, Sawayama assumes the role of both pop diva and pop rebel, subverting expectations of what the genre could and should stand for. Amidst the neverending whirlwind of 2020, it was tempting to crawl into a cocoon of nostalgic favorites and never come out. As 2020 comes to a close, our staff took a step back to honor the songs, albums, and artist discoveries that had the greatest impact on our lives. Rarely does a particular sound last longer than a single beat. He isn’t pining for the good old days; he is reacclimating himself in the present, poking holes in the very idea of nostalgia and showing how memories live on. –Michelle Kim, In February, electronic experimentalist Arca dropped @@@@@, a 62-minute song framed as a pirate-radio broadcast from a post-singularity future that begins with whispers of a “diva constructed.” KiCk i, released four months later, is the Barcelona-based musician’s more straightforward take on diva-hood. But Sawayama is not only a love letter to the pop music Rina (and I) grew up hearing on promo CDs that came with Smash Hits Magazine, it is an anxious exploration into her own multi-cultural identity, and the technicoloured and composite nature of our own personalities. III. But amongst the violent storm, once you succumb to its slow motion destruction, you too will find peace beyond the desolation. From albums years and years in the making (Jay Electronica, Fiona Apple, Lil Uzi Vert) to those recorded during quarantine-induced bursts of creativity (Charli XCX, Taylor Swift, Adrianne Lenker), here are the 50 releases that made 2020 a little better. Across the hour-long odyssey, Uzi hops between kaleidoscopic new worlds: one where it sounds like he’s skipping across a Sega Genesis circuit board, another where he’s hosting an ethereal party alongside a turnt choir. This has it all and then some.Immerse yourself in this sun soaked triumph built with the sweetest grooves going. Hers is a musicality of the disguise and the costumes are multiple. Here are the best albums of the strangest year in recent times. “If this is all that we get, so be it,” Kempf insists, a bit of wistful resignation that doubles as a mission statement for their proudly stripped-down approach. Enter SAULT, the mystery music making UK collective with an album that delivers equal parts grace and charge, manoeuvring through disparate sub-genres to create a magnificent medley of exaltation. Sawayama is an album that morphs musical elements into a giant megazord of monster pop, built to defeat the drab mundanity destroying our lives. –Ross Scarano, Megan Thee Stallion’s official debut album is a triumphant joyride that more than fulfills the promise of its title. It makes sense that the album gave them their biggest hit, the highly boppable “Do It.” While it feels like the duo shot up overnight and out of sight, their rise parallels the way the world has been living this year: inward and on an insomniac’s circadian rhythm. 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