Last week we began our countdown of my Top 50 Albums of 2020. This week, we continue the countdown and find out what my favourite album of the year was! I won’t take anymore of your time, so I hope you enjoy this week’s music roundup and be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
10 Songs on Repeat:
1. Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear (2009)- The indie/folk rock’s most recognisable song, Two Weeks is a swirling, melodically beautiful ballad that stands as an indie rock modern classic and proof of this band’s excellence.
2. Just Like You by Viagra Boys (2018)- Another great band with a great name, these Swedish post-punkers have been making a name for themselves via their ability to create quasi-parody tracks whilst still delivering brilliant songs. Just Like You is a sharp, funky reflection upon a loser who has a dream of living a successful life.
3. Dramamine by Modest Mouse (1996)- The lead single from the indie legends 1996 debut, Dramamine is a simple yet impactful track highlighting how this band has been great from the very start.
4. Attention Challenge by The Koreatown Oddity (2020)- A hard-hitting abstract hip-hop number about the never-ending quest some engage in to go viral, it is multifaceted, and an excellent example of by Dominique Purdy is one of the best emerging voices in underground rap.
5. First Light by Django Django (2015)- Another track from the underrated Scottish/English psych-rockers, First Light is smoother than the material found on their debut but is just as exciting and hypnotic.
6. One Beer by MF Doom (2003)- I include this song as a tribute to one of my favourite rappers ever, MF Doom, who was revealed to have died in October of 2020. A genuinely devastating loss, his innovation will continue to ensure his music stays relevant.
7. Jason by Perfume Genius (2020)- Delicate and intimate, Jason is one of many gorgeous songs that can be found on the singer songwriter’s most recent album.
8. Washer by Slint (1991)- Considered one of the bands to have revolutionised the post-rock genre, Slint’s album Spiderland is a minimalistic and deeply unsettling affair that to this day is as strange as ever, with my highlight being the tense Washer.
9. BagBak by Vince Staples (2017)- Fast-paced and filled with explosive energy, BagBak is one of many great industrial hip-hop bangers from the California rapper’s Big Fish Theory.
10. The Vigilante by Avenade (2020)- The closing track off the musicians latest LP, The Vigilante perfectly marries Avenade’s love for noise rock and emo into a soaring package.
Top 50 Albums of 2020 Part 2 – The Top 25:
25. Ultra Mono by IDLES- 8.5/10: It might be the British punk rockers weakest outing yet, but the immediacy and politically volatile lyrics of this record are why they are quickly becoming one of the biggest acts on the world.
24. The Passion Of by Special Interest- 8.5/10: Bursting with revolutionary spirit and intelligently combining the worlds of punk rock and hard-techno, this New Orleans band’s second LP is one of the most unique listens of 2020.
23. Skin by Kill Bill, Rav and Scuare- 8.6/10: A short yet incredibly colourful abstract hip-hop record I would recommend to fans of Tyler, the Creator and BROCKHAMPTON any day of the week thanks to its skilful rapping and intelligent production.
22. What’s Your Pleasure? by Jessie Ware- 8.6/10: The album that more-or-less spearheaded the miniature disco revival of 2020, What’s Your Pleasure? is a sultry, incredibly well produced and performed romp of a dance-pop record.
21. No Moon by Black Wing- 8.7/10: A classic offering from one of underground music’s best artists Dan Barret, serving up a healthy dose of synth-soaked doom and gloom with a slight offering of optimism throughout.
20. Circles by Mac Miller- 8.7/10: The first and (hopefully) only posthumous release from Mac Miller might just be his best thanks to his heart-breaking performances and the considerate, subtle production.
19. græ by Moses Sumney- 8.7/10: This double LP feels like it’s on the forefront of pop music, creating some wonderfully abstract compositions accompanied by excellent vocal performances. Whilst not every experimentation lands on its feet, its ambition is enough to carry it alone.
18. After Hours by The Weeknd- 8.8/10: The 80s inspired After Hours sees the Canadian pop-star deliver his Swan Song, a massive collection of head-banging, mysterious jams that deservedly dominated the pop world in 2020.
17. RTJ4 by Run the Jewels- 8.8/10: In my opinion, the alternative hip-hop duo’s fourth record is their best. About as politically relevant as an album can be, RTJ4 is one hell of a rebellious good time, seeing the two seasoned rappers/producers deliver banger after banger.
16. Little Dominique’s Nosebleed by The Koreatown Oddity- 8.8/10: Odd, well-produced jazz-rap that finds the perfect balance between the personal and the political and delivered all with incredible humour and sensitivity.
15. how i’m feeling now by Charli XCX- 8.9/10: Recorded in a span of just a few weeks, Charli XCX’s latest LP is a reflection of life in Quarantine, combining personal songwriting with the Brit’s now-signature off the wall production to deliver both her most intimate and best album yet.
14. songs by Adrianne Leneker- 8.9/10: acoustic guitar and vocals held together by a piece of emotionally tight string is all the Big Thief frontwoman needs to be impactful on her latest solo effort, making songs my favourite folk LP of the year.
13. What’s Tonight to Eternity by Cindy Lee- 9.0/10: This album from the former Women singer is their take on hypnagogic pop, taking the nostalgic intentions of the genre and feeding through a filter of emotional turmoil and noise, giving 2020 one of its most unsettling albums.
12. Misanthrope by We Are Only Human Once- 9.0/10: Messy, loud and bursting with personality, this noise-pop record is one of my favourite underground releases of the year and perfectly captures the angsty mess that was 2020.
11. A Written Testimony by Jay Electronica- 9.1/10: Though many have since turned on the rappers long-awaited debut, I still hold the deeply spiritual A Written Testimony in high regard.
10. Magic Oneohtrix Point Never by Oneohtrix Point Never- 9.1/10: Lopatin’s latest LP is a beautifully psychedelic yet deeply personal encapsulation of the producer’s fantastic career so far. Though many have not given too much attention to this record, I for one, can’t get enough of it.
9. Heaven To a Tortured Mind by Yves Tumor- 9.2/10: More accessible than his previous record but still filled to the brim with wild and adventurous soundscapes, Sean Bowie’s latest experimental pop LP is helping to establish him as one of this new eras most forward-thinking artists.
8. A Hero’s Death by Fontaines D.C.- 9.2/10: The Irish post-punkers really outdid themselves on their second LP, swapping the scrappy punk rock of their debut for something far more foreboding and existential, combining excellent lyrics and rumbling instrumentals to excellent effect.
7. West of Eden by HMLTD- 9.3/10: The long-awaited debut LP from the London based glam-punk provocateurs is an ambitious, genre-hopping delight of a record and potentially one of the most unique pieces of music in rock music in 2020.
6. Descendants of Caine by KA- 9.4/10: An emotional, slow-burning abstract hip-hop record bursting with intrigue and tragedy, KA really outdoes himself on his latest and best LP, flexing his skills as a rapper both lyrically and technically over some complex beats.
5. Every Bad by Porridge Radio- 9.5/10: The album that has helped launch the British indie rockers into the limelight, Every Bad is a tense, incredibly well-produced record spearheaded by the presence of frontwoman Dana Margolin, whose lyrics and vocals give this record so much life within the dreary compositions.
4. Miles by Blu and Exile- 9.5/10: A return to the music world for one of underground hip-hops most beloved duos, Miles is the simple things down right. Immaculate production paired with brilliant rap and precise storytelling make this a rap album for the ages, with the plethora of great songs making its long runtime fly-by.
3. Set Fire to My Heart Immediately by Perfume Genius- 9.6/10: Words quickly fail this album. A canopy of art-pop beauty, Mike Hadreas touches on difficult personal themes such as abuse, heartbreak, love and sexuality with an elegance rarely seen in pop music. The exquisite production also helps to lift this album to the extreme heights it gets to.
2. Visions of Bodies Being Burned by clipping.- 9.7/10: For the second year in a row, experimental hip-hop trio clipping. release a spooky masterpiece. In all seriousness, these guys are on possibly one of the best unbeaten streaks in hip-hop history, with Visions of Bodies Being Burned being the second instalment in a series of Halloween themed albums. Whether it’s the draw dropping rapping of Daveed Diggs or the frightening, precise and harsh production of Snipes and Hudson, clipping. are in their own lane right now, and you need to check them out.
1. Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple- 9.9/10: This record is the simple result of letting a talented musician do what they want. Totally unshackled from label expectations and left alone to do as she pleased, Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters is one of those albums that reverberate in the music industry for years. Lyrically flawless, instrumentally complex and packed with the entire spectrum of emotional expression, this LP has quickly become an all-time favourite for me and is already going down in musical history as a modern classic. Hence why it is my album of the year.
And that is 2020 finished. Thank you all for reading my work this year. This has been a fun experiment, and I hope you guys had a good time too. Now let us see what 2021 has in stores.
To listen to my favourite tracks on each of these 50 records, check out this playlist- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0L29nbwgs0Tidq7q5LRoqK?si=i3ESrzlDQS6qN3E-X-6C8Q.