Welcome the new year of music! To conclude our re-cap of 2020, over the next two weeks I will be providing my Top 50 Albums of 2020. I hope you enjoy my list and be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
10 Songs on Repeat:
1. Ominous 80s by Black Wing (2020)- As its title suggests, this darkwave banger is deeply indebted to its 80s influences, seeing Dan Barret utilise thumping drums and tense synths to create those oh-so foreboding instrumentals he is famous for.
2. de nadie by Kali Uchis (2020)- A smooth Latin/Alternative RnB number from the Colombian-American, de nadie’s smooth and sensual aesthetic is only heightened by the sudden beat switch mid-way through, slowing the song down to a gorgeous pace, fitting the mood wonderfully.
3. Snow Day by shame (2020)- Predicting where the British post-punkers are going with their latest record is impossible, with Snow Day being one of the band’s most ambitious efforts yet, filled with a cacophony of tempo changes and a deeply angsty instrumental.
4. There Will Be Blood by Kim Petras (2019)- Spooky season might be long gone, but this hyper-pop banger can be enjoyed any time of the year thanks to its sheer catchiness.
5. Sure Shot by Polvo (1994)- A classic of the problematic math rock genre, the strange tune of this song’s guitars and surprisingly complex nature might be a little too much for some listeners but give it a chance, and it may impress you.
6. Scream Whole by Methyl Ethyl (2018)- This Australian psych-rock project has always seemed on the verge of greatness due to excellent, catchy and expressive singles such as Scream Whole. If only they could translate this skill into making entire albums.
7. Wor by Django Django (2012)- An overlooked band of the 2010s, simple yet other-worldly psych-rock jams such as Wor mightn’t be massively innovative, but they sure are loads of fun.
8. I Dream in Neon by Dirty Beaches (2013)- Soaked in layers of eerie reverb and cloaked in a shroud of mystery, this hypnagogic pop number is genuinely one of the most unsettling songs I have heard in a while.
9. Mr Your On Fire Mr by Liars (2001)- A short, efficient dance-punk/no-wave banger, Liars demonstrate that all you need for an effective is a good groove, memorable chorus and a simple instrumental.
10. Me and Guliani Down by the School Yard (Based on a True Story) by !!! (2003)- Rebellious, multifaceted, strange and hilarious, this dance-punk banger from !!! (pronounced chk chk chk) has been a personal favourite over the past few weeks. Seriously, this nine-minute epic is some of the most fun a single song can have.
You can find this week’s tracks here- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2kVpE2M1Af78NOgK3tVC40?si=mY1UEJL3S4-C8kvpYR6rvg.
Also forgot the link to last week’s tracks- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0kfZUH5e3z8FFVLUYlrT2z?si=PmlOqCkfR-2emk7PNYU6Gw.
Top 50 Albums of 2020 Part 1:
As we welcome the New Year, I think it appropriate to look through the albums that received the 50 highest scores over the tumultuous year that was 2020. So not to bore you, I will do this segment over a few weeks. So without further ado, here is the first leg of the list.
50. Bonny Light Horsemen by Bonny Light Horsemen- 7.4/10: A beautiful collection of traditional American folk songs from the newly formed supergroup. A nice, simple change from what I usually listen to.
49. ENERGY by Disclosure- 7.4/10: The closest this British house duo has come to replicating the brilliance of their 2013 debut, ENERGY is a respectable collection of dance-bangers that should feature on every party playlist
48. Making a Door Less Open by Car Seat Headrest- 7.5/10: Shrouded in controversy, Toledo’s massive step away from the guitar-driven work that has made him one of indie rock’s most prominent names might not meet the standards of his classics, but this synth-driven project certainly proves him to be an incredibly talented songwriter.
47. Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa- 7.6/10: A staggering improvement upon her debut, Future Nostalgia is packed with dance-pop bangers back to front and sees the British pop-star really find her groove.
46. Spirit World Field Guide by Aesop Rock- 7.6/10: Great flow, smart production and a generous serving of the weird and wonderful, Aesop Rock’s latest album is just more of the high-quality goodness I have come to expect from the Portland rapper.
45. Working Men’s Club by Working Men’s Club- 7.6/10: One of two dance-punk records to really grab my attention this year, Working Men’s Club debut is a dark, energetic and immaculately produced set of tracks, spear-headed by the charisma of frontman Sydney Minsky-Sargeant.
44. Weight of the World by MIKE- 7.7/10: One of abstract hip-hop’s leading voices, MIKE’s latest record broke no new ground for the rapper/producer, but still packed a punch thanks to the profoundly emotional, hazy and strange style he delivers.
43. Hey u x by BENEE- 7.8/10: A simple, fun and surprisingly unique collection of indie-pop gems is what makes the New Zealand superstar’s debut record really stand out from the bunch, proving her to be more than just a TikTok trend.
42. Man Alive! by King Krule- 7.8/10: A natural and less experimental continuation of The Ooz, King Krule’s latest LP sees the Londoner still shrouded in that same doom-and-gloom mentality, delivering yet another incredibly worthwhile and highly atmospheric art-rock record.
41. God Has Nothing to do With It Leave Him Out of It by Backxwash- 7.9/10: An innovative, short and efficient set of songs from the Canadian horrorcore experimentalist, what really got me about his album is how effectively traditional rock samples are used.
40. The Ascension by Sufjan Stevens- 7.9/10: One of the most ambitious efforts from the American indie legend, The Ascension might be an incredibly messy record but the sheer moments of beauty throughout make it a 2020 essential listen.
39. True Opera by Mental Jewellery and Moor Mother- 8.0/10: This team-up between two artists sees the pairing yield some well-produced, nostalgic and straightforward noise-rock bangers that thrive off their ability to call back the glory days of the genre.
38. folklore by Taylor Swift- 8.0/10: This Aaron Dressner produced surprise LP is Swifts best yet. Her voice works so well over the delicate folk instrumentals and was genuinely one of 2020’s best surprises.
37. Im Wald by Paysage d’Hiver- 8.1/10: This claustrophobic, lo-fi black metal album might stand at two hours long, but the oddly serene atmosphere the Swiss master manages to create throughout makes it that bit more manageable.
36. From King To A GOD by Conway The Machine- 8.1/10: Old-school, ruthless and hard-hitting, Conway’s latest and best LP is good old-fashioned East Coast hardcore hip-hop done right.
35. Vice Versa in Such Things by Avenade- 8.1/10: An album that has just managed to sneak in, right at the end of the year, Vice Versa in Such Things may not be making any waves beyond internet music communities, but it is a truly well-executed piece of noise rock meets emo glory.
34. Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers- 8.2/10: One of 2020’s breakthrough artists thanks to this deeply emotional album, Bridgers proves herself to be one of the modern era’s most essential singer-songwriters on the wonderful Punisher.
33. NEGRO by Pink Siifu- 8.2/10: One of this year’s most confronting set of songs, Siifu assaults the listener both sonically through harsh soundscapes and politically through his unfiltered rage towards American racism. Incredibly appropriate for 2020.
32. SAWYAMA by Rina Sawyama- 8.2/10: An ambitious and diverse set of pop-songs sees the Japanese born British pop artist cross genres as wide-ranging as nu-metal and RnB, making her debut one of the most exciting pop albums of the year.
31. Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞ by Kali Uchis- 8.3/10: In my opinion, Uchis’s Spanish language second album is better than her much loved debut, turning the alternative RnB sensuality up to 11 through smooth vocals and even smoother production.
30. I Disagree by Poppy- 8.3/10: The marriage of alternative metal and pop on this album is wild, and even a little confronting but works in so many ways it shouldn’t.
29. Ultimate Success Today by Protomartyr- 8.3/10: The latest effort from these Detroit post-punkers sees them play it a little safe whilst still managing to deliver tense, intelligent and memorable tunes.
28. Empty Country by Empty Country- 8.4/10: Scrappy, emotional indie rock with a hint of Americana and a decent helping of nostalgic undertones from one of indie’s most underrated songwriters. Need I say more?
27. Zeros by Declan McKenna- 8.4/10: Channelling glam-rock icons such as David Bowie and still retaining his distinctly modern voice, McKenna delivers some truly excellent British protest-rock on Zeros, an album packed back to front with some soaring rock anthems.
26. The Slow Rush by Tame Impala- 8.5/10: It goes to show how talented Kevin Parker is that his album now widely considered to be his weakest still manages to be absolutely superb and a head above many of his psychedelic peers.
And that is the first leg of my top 50 albums of 2020. Please come again next week for the Top 25.