–Simon Reynolds, Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal, The opening notes of Lyra Pramuk’s debut album, Fountain, are like a slow tracking shot through the gates of a musical Atlantis. On the slow-burning “It’s Lomelda,” she croons off a list of her musical heroes and their work, from Yo La Tengo to Frank Ocean to Sufjan Stevens’ devastatingly spare “The Only Thing.” She turns a conversational bit of advice into a soaring mantra on “Wonder,” repeating the phrase “When you get it, give it all you got, you said” across vocal peaks and valleys. AC/DC reconvened to pay tribute to their late founding member Malcolm Young, winding up with deeply felt good-time rock & roll. Hadreas sings about misery and disconnection, about feeling unrecognizable to himself, about shepherding an inexperienced lover through his first gay encounter and picking his pockets afterwards. –Peyton Thomas, London-based tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia made her debut album Source with the goal of exploring her roots: both her heritage as a child of Guyanese and Trinidadian immigrants, and the things that ground her as a person. So, to cap this truly remarkable year, we've assembled our 50 favourite albums from 2020. Traditional structures melt into long vamps, as on the tormented psychedelic ballad “Kerosene!,” which distills the album’s beguiling agony. Look, Pramuk seems to declare, at how much we contain. - - - 50. –Jessica Kariisa, Room for the Moon feels like a safe place to hide from mounting anxiety. The 50 Best Albums Of 2020: 50-41 / 40-31 / 30-21 / 20-11 / 10-1 Amidst the neverending whirlwind of 2020, it was tempting to crawl into a cocoon of nostalgic favorites and never come out. “You girls mean business,” he bellows to two “fleet-footed guides from the underworld” on the swaggering “False Prophet.” “And I do too.” –Andy Cush, In a year of isolation and unattainable intimacies, Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas is our poet laureate of constant longing. The napkins might be white linen but nobody’s using them. Nubya Garcia â Source –Ivie Ani, The warm, gracious folk on Shore seems to materialize from an alternate universe where there are no storm clouds or push notifications. Workaround inverts that dynamic: By requiring sustained close attention to the thumps and shimmers in your headphones, it offers something truly meditative. 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. –Anna Gaca, Phoebe Bridgers will tweet about eating ass with one hand and crush your heart with the other. All rights reserved. Heavy Light is filled with existential dread, but it aspires to a gentler world, one where the burden of being isn’t so leaden. The fruits of Guns N' Roses' long-awaited return to the studio, maybe. Each element, shorn of everything extraneous, glows with significance. This album arrived in the thick of a global lockdown, and I don’t think you could have found a voice more suited and comforting than Laura’s at that moment in time. III is themselves. As ever with late-period Dylan albums, death lurks in every corner: as a prompt for bloody, Frankenstein-ish experiments in “My Own Version of You,” a red river to be traversed in “Crossing the Rubicon,” a body who shares his bed in “I Contain Multitudes,” a nameless rival in “Black Rider.” The gravity of Dylan’s voice and the clarity of his vision allow him to address these wraiths as an equal, one with intimate knowledge of the darkness they inhabit. Stereogum's 50 best albums of 2020. The record effortlessly weaves between reggae, cumbia, Ethio-jazz, and more, containing wild energy and profound chill. 50. For all of the record’s industrial squall and techno blast beats, it doesn’t just inspire destruction—it asks what you’ll rebuild from the rubble. With this intimate hospice of a record, Allison gave us both. –Marc Hogan, On YHLQMDLG, aka Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana or I Do Whatever I Want, Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny honors his home island’s past of sweaty marquesina throwdowns with a score of perreo bangers for the new age. 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. 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 â including the complete original Jazzwise reviews. Close friends and peers contributed voice, reeds, percussion, and piano; the album’s nine tracks shift from airy drones to richly rendered deep house, from lyrical etudes to propulsive classical minimalism. The 50 Best Albums of 2020. Posted by Max Mazonowicz Published . The album is always enchanting and full of small surprises: the particularly cartoonish warble of a synth on “Sayonara,” the intimate binaural hums on the meandering “Marafon 15,” the burst of laughter answering the lure of a saxophone on the cosmos-traversing “Plans.” New details peek out on every listen, like elements of wonder waiting to be discovered. Throughout Hannah, her fifth album as Lomelda, her expressive warble blooms and shrinks into strange and beautiful phrasings, heightening their meaning. 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. But with the addition of six songs on the deluxe edition in May, the record kicked dirt on the arbitrary and outdated rules of rap albums. The 50 best albums of 2020: the full list Fiona Apple Composite: Gary Miller Our countdown is complete, topped by a mercurial work of sprawling invention by a woman who has dug deep to survive. Site also contains reviews, ratings & more. Let’s face it: listening to new music wasn’t exactly easy this year. Here are the best albums of the strangest year in recent times. The 30 best country and Americana albums of 2020, including records by Ashley McBryde, Elizabeth Cook, Jason Isbell, and Hailey Whitters. Girls on the Absurdist Meme, Anti-Colonial History, and Soul Records That Inspired, Phil Elverum on the Song He Wishes He Wrote, A Day in the Life of Bad Bunny, Introverted Superstar, Jessie Ware Explains Why This Smoldering Alicia Keys Ballad Is Her Personal Anthem, Phoebe Bridgers on the 10 Things That Influenced, Moses Sumney Is Ready to Claim His Spotlight, Fiona Apple on How She Broke Free and Made the Album of the Year. The third full-length release for the Australian electronic duo features guest appearances from such artist as Blood Orange, Leon Bridges, Vashti Bunyan, Neneh Cherry, Rivers Cuomo, Perry Farrell, Karen O, Jamie xx, Mick Jones, Sananda Maitreya (formerly known as Terence Trent D'Arby), Johnny Marr, MGMT, Oroño, Sampa the Great, Pink Siifu, Tricky, and Kurt Vile. The pianist and multidisciplinary London artist’s work skirts conventional disciplines, tinkering with the very concepts of “jazz” and “club” music as it synthesizes a substitute. –Quinn Moreland, Fifteen years ago, on the title track to Extraordinary Machine, Fiona Apple declared, “I still only travel by foot, and by foot, it’s a slow climb.” She worked her way up to the clear heights of Fetch the Bolt Cutters over the course of the last half-decade or so, largely at her L.A. home alongside trusted bandmates and friends and a small shelter’s worth of barking dogs. Thurston Moore - By The Fire18. –Eric Torres. A confident and utterly engrossing album from a band firmly at the helm of their own creative calling. For all its gentleness, it is an album of deep resolve, unshakable in its commitment to the idea that a better world is possible. –Paul A. Thompson, For years, Matmos’ Drew Daniel used his solo project the Soft Pink Truth to join his disparate interests, reimagining punk classics and black metal as squirrelly glitch techno. With no stadiums to fill, Swift could take risks that would have previously seemed unimaginable in a discography calibrated to reach the cheap seats: work with the National’s Aaron Dessner as her principal collaborator, duet with Bon Iver, make tracks that sound like Low and the Sundays, drop an s-bomb within the first 20 seconds of the first song. To the casual listener, Beatrice Dillon’s avant electronic tracks might seem austere. The album soars when Megan nods to the greats of rap and R&B, from a jolly rework of Juvenile to the Jazmine Sullivan-indebted bad bitch anthem “Circles.” More than anything, these songs remind us that even when the worst comes to pass, good times might be right around the corner. These are our 100 favorite albums of 2020. But if you listen closely, a universe might open in the split-second space between two hi-hats. Ad Choices, The albums that got us through this chaotic year, featuring Fiona Apple, Bad Bunny, Lil Uzi Vert, Phoebe Bridgers, and more, 6 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, The 30 Best Electronic Music Releases of 2020, 5 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, 7 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, 4 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, Chance the Rapper Shares New Song “The Return”: Listen, The Best Music of 2020: Pitchfork Readers’ Poll Results. –Madison Bloom, Ka has spent his 40s laboring over how to animate the ghosts of his home. 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. The Strokes â The New Abnormal His first album of 2020, YHLQMDLG , â¦ Instantly, it felt more like an unfocused, loose, and chaotic mid-aughts Lil Wayne mixtape with memorable tracks like “All In,” where the flexes are brilliantly batshit (Lil Baby threatens to wreck his Lambo truck just to prove, to no one in particular, that it’s not rented). View Top 100 AlbumsTell us your favourites and keep the conversation going #RTtop100, And so to wrap up this most dismal of years, we offer up some of our personal album picks for 2020 from both sides of the…, It's been a pretty sh*t year, but great music has lifted us and carried us through. 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. –Sam Sodomsky, On Eternal Atake, Lil Uzi Vert employs an extraterrestrial concept that should be kitschy—in the album’s trailer, he’s jetted into the cosmos in a saucer the size of a city block by a humanoid cult—but instead lends the LP an intergalactic sheen. These are the best rock albums of 2020. We count down to number one, with entries from Soccer Mommy, Run The Jewels, HAIM and Moses Sumney ... Whatever your taste, the best 50 albums from this year â¦ 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. Slap bass intrudes, his gnomic utterances fold in on themselves, and his clenched voice disappears completely amid ambient guitar and unholy noise. A stirring set of songs that lift, punch, and play, while also pausing for tender thought and rather poignant clarity. 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. In the warm thrum of “Describe,” the oceanic splash of “Without You,” and the barnstorming buildup of “Some Dream,” Set My Heart on Fire Immediately throws open doors to the dusty rooms where we’ve all been lurking inside ourselves. â¦ 10 minute read. Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, his fifth album, celebrates the endless possibility and vulnerability of the body without losing sight of the fundamental absurdity of the human ordeal. Putting that lens to the side, his stories about the ease of embracing hate (“Solitude of Enoch”) and post-prison families (“Unto the Dust”) are just as gripping and vivid. It lies at the intersection of beats and ambience, where sounds are just vibrations entering and leaving the body, cleansing it of toxins. 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. Nigel House.Powerful, primal, passionate music-making. The Allmusic 2020 Year In Review. A workout of sheer musical magnitude and absolutely their best yet. Synth stabs that at first seem uniform take on entirely new shapes with every repetition. "THIS IS NOT A LIVE ALBUM – it’s an ALIVE ALBUM" reads the press release. Bullet casings fall to the floor on opener “Nonbinary,” but Arca isn’t under attack: “I do what I wanna do when I wanna do it,” she deadpans, and then proceeds to prove it by remaking herself with each track. On his first album, Live Forever, there’s a righteous defiance to the way the D.C.-via-Oklahoma artist scrambles 2000s indie rock (the intimacy of Bon Iver, the bombast of the Arcade Fire) with hip-hop cadences, emo intensity, and punk catharsis, as though he’s working it all out in real time. There, she brandishes a fist full of glow sticks to fight the dread that lurks in the dark. It makes for a complex and personal statement about the nature and worth of Black creativity and labor. Heaven to a Tortured Mind balances listeners on that knife point, declaring Tumor’s rock-star bona fides with roguish style. Lyrically, Burna muses on fame, destiny, and, on “Monsters You Made,” the legacy of colonialism in Nigeria. “I will never stop singing this song,” he acknowledges, 40 minutes in. AllMusic's Highest Rated Albums of â¦ On this album, Bridgers talks to the deceased, arranging a bouquet of lyrical details to lay on the tomb of a singer whose life was taken long ago. 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. Written By SPIN Staff December 10 2020, 9:45 AM ET. 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. She recorded the album with Slowdive’s Neil Halstead at his studio in the coastal English county of Cornwall, and cites the quiet minutiae of seaside life—cream tea, a pub quiz, the Sunday roast—as inspiration for the music. The Quietus Albums Of The Year 2020. But the best albums of 2020 proved that incredible new music will always make their way to our ears, even in the toughest of times. You air-drum the little hitch in “Fox” again and again across your steering wheel; you throw your chest forward in your home-office at all the perfectly executed half-time breakdowns; you do isometric lunges while Stoitsiadis sings about disintegrating. The entries are listed in alphabetical order, and include several releases that also appear in our overall list of the yearâs best albums . 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. Many of those selections appear above in his top 10 picks. –NM Mashurov, Rina Sawayama’s debut album is unafraid to present all of her paradoxes. A list of the top albums of the year from Uncut. It is. (“Percy Miller, ‘bout it ‘bout it, ‘bout the dough/Macarena to the money after shows,” she sings on single “Fancy.”) And yet, maybe improbably, she synthesizes wide-ranging references into a genreless style that could very well be predictive of a post-Spotify moment. “I no be politician/Me no like no politics,” Burna insists—and that rings true. The historical sweep of the music is equally broad, not simply focused on this-minute sounds but spanning decades of influences and collaborators—the latter ranging here from ancestral icon Youssou N’Dour to nineties legends like Timbaland and Diddy, to recent stars like Stormzy. Idles - Ultra Mono15. (All releases featured here are independently selected by our editors. Enough is enough. –Rawiya Kameir, For 25 years, Dan Bejar has come across as the smartest absinthe-sipping aesthete in the room. This has it all and then some.Immerse yourself in this sun soaked triumph built with the sweetest grooves going. Buy now Bonus Exclusive: Every Bad BBC Session 12". Buy now on Rough Trade Exclusive green/clear vinylBonus Exclusive: Sawayama Remixed 12" on green/clear vinyl. She wants to hear a lover blinking; she sees a horse’s eyes rotting. Rarely does a particular sound last longer than a single beat. Where on his debut album Sumney lingered on lack and absence, on græ he delivers effulgence and multiplicity with a shapeshifting swagger. Descendants of Cain’s frosty tone evaporates in its final minutes: “I Love (Mimi, Moms, Kev)” is Ka’s dedication to the people who saved him. What We Drew burbles between frenetic drum patterns and hip-hop cadences, glossy electro beats and sinister synths. Twenty tracks is long enough for græ to form a private cosmology of ambivalence and assertion—a map of Planet Sumney as it lay in 2020, with its blush tones and icy eruptions and violent rocky swirls. Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud13. For their exquisite follow-up Flower of Devotion, Dehd upgraded to a proper studio, refining their gritty alchemy without scrubbing it too clean. 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