We Present To You… We Plug Good Music’s Best Albums of 2020
Finally, we kissed 2020 goodbye and we have the chance to wish it never comes back. Just like a Hollywood action movie, this year had it all. The global pandemic put the world on hold and united us in a unique way. Each one of you deserves an applause for staying strong and going through one of the most difficult times the modern age history of the planet has ever seen.
Even if your plans did not turn out as expected, we hope that your dreams still stand strong and you are prepared to make them true as we feel the 2021 breeze. From the bottom of our hearts, we send all our positive energy to our readers in the prospect of good health, endless growth and unconditional love.
It is true that Covid-19 affected tremendously the creative industries, resulting in the cancellations of live performances and closing down of venues for many months. Luckily, creators garnered support from fans and did not postpone their projects. In fact, many successful works based their inspiration on the occurring circumstances.
As far as the music industry is concerned, the idea of public events was enormously altered as well as most fresh tracks had a sensation of maturity and exploration of inner thoughts. You already know we are music nerds, so believe us when we say that we spent loads of free time listening to new releases and we narrowed them down to our annual ‘Albums Of The Year’ list.
Afrobeats and grime were at the core of the widespread hip hop genre when indie and electronic pop conquered the hit charts. Furthermore, K-pop bands managed to break the barriers of the countries left for them to become a phenomenon not only sonically. Latest technologies transformed fan experiences to connect instantly with their favourites from their homes.
Brace yourselves for a wide range of different genres and never heard before names. From the greats such as The Weeknd, Dua Lipa and, once again, Taylor Swift to the unexpected additions of progressive artists like SAULT and Perfume Genius, this is a master class of meaningful lyrics and quality instrumentation.
We appreciate Tereza Bittnerova and Zoe Eskitzopoulou who are back as the writers of our list again this year and brought all the details of each piece. The first part of our ‘Albums of 2020’ list highlights the best albums of the year, from #50 to #21 – check them out here – we continue our countdown from #20 to #11 below.
20. Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine
Róisín Murphy made a name for herself in the ‘90s as one half of Moloko, a trip hop duo. Now in 2020, she is bringing disco music back in its best form on the new album Róisín Machine. She has gone back to her roots and music beginnings in Sheffield as she widely collaborated with her long-time friend Richard “Parrot” Barratt on this record.
Although a club is the last thing we can go to in the current global situation, Róisín Murphy successfully brings the dancefloor to every living room with groovy synths, addictive hooks and feel-good energy. Murphy’s smooth vocals and near-perfect production make Róisín Machine a standout record in the disco revival.
19. PVRIS – Use Me
The alternative band PVRIS has given us a complex record, where nearly every track is single material. Use Me is the work of the singer and frontwoman of the band Lindsay Gunn can be proud of. She is finally not afraid to take credit for her talent and abilities as she hints on the song Dead Weight.
Captivating opening track Gimme a Minute showcases dark electronics, incredibly catchy hook and Lindsay’s energetic vocals, joined by heavy guitars towards the end, giving a clear example of the best characteristics of this album. With Use Me, Lindsay Gunn and PVRIS prove they are getting better at what they do with every record.
18. Headie One – Edna
Coming from North London’s, Tottenham, drill star Headie One served us an extended debut solo project with 20 tracks and many significant appearances. Having dealt with many controversial situations, many thoughts awaited to be unfolded, resulting to his confessional speech.
In a disarming manner, EDNA includes rhyming bars about life opportunities he had ignored, choices he made out of anger and how God’s guidance is a salvation. Every aspect of hip hop spectrum is explored when reflections of grime become more distinguishable than others. Skepta, Stormzy, Young T and Mahalia are a few of the guests supporting one of Britain’s headliners.
17. Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter
The British singer-songwriter, Laura Marling, is no stranger to audiences with Brit Awards nominations popping up in the last decade. In the year of 2020, she releases Song For Our Daughter, as a letter to a fictional child, and she is in the waiting queue for the Mercury Prize as well as Best Folk Album at the Grammies.
As the playlist progresses, moments of clarity, pure instrumentations and stripped down vocals pave the way to listeners heart. It may not get simpler than it already is and it would not become better if more complicated additions were applied. Laura’s humble confidence flourishes while she gains inspiration from her studies in psychoanalysis and concerns that young ages does not last as long as it is supposed to be.
16. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Dua Lipa has blown up in 2017 when New Rules became an incredible hit. Since then, she has been cementing her status as the princess of pop. On the newest album Future Nostalgia she goes back in time to find inspiration but manages to find room for innovation and creativity.
The disco sound of the record is an homage to music Dua Lipa grew up listening to. She samples the ‘90s hit “Your Woman” by White Town on “Love Again”, ponders on a possible heartbreak caused by new love on “Break My Heart” and gives “New Rules” style manual to what to do after a break up, this time to the guy.
Although screaming your lungs out to what would surely be a great show was made impossible this year, Dua has brought the party to our headphones with one of the best pop records of this year.
15. Taylor Swift – Folklore
After the hugely successful release of Lover in 2019, everyone expected 2020 to be Taylor Swift’s year as she was supposed to embark on what would undoubtedly be one of the biggest tours of the year.
Many busy celebrities used their time of involuntary vacation to do nothing and rest, however she did the exact opposite. She buried herself in work and delivered one of her most interesting projects to date and gave us Folklore when we needed it the most.
Folklore feels much more personal than most of Taylor’s previous work. Without the usual big promotional campaign, she delivered 16 folk-pop songs that remind us of her country roots and tell us how far she has gone. With interesting stories about her house, reminiscing over her lover in the style of Lana del Rey or a beautiful sad duet with Justin Vernon about a damned relationship, Taylor Swift confirms she can turn anything to gold.
14. Pa Salieu – Welcome To Coventry
In the age of 2020, Pa Salieu claims it is still okay to use the term mixtape, as people did mostly during the early stages of hip hop. The underlying reason might be the style of his debut recording Welcome To Coventry. Born in England and raised by his grandparents from a toddler in Gambia, Salieu and his music are a melting pot of African sounds and hard-hitting grime raps.
Features from Boy Boy, Eight9FLY and M1llionz elevate the 15-track collection to an all-inclusive project. Proud of his Gambian roots, the rapper steps up with “Frontline” and “My Family” with inviting dancehall beats and convinces that there are important lyrical messages. Forming a series of timeless hits, a biography is unveiled right in the minds of auteurs.
13. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
Nostalgia vibes of the joyous disco era illuminate from the full-length album What’s Your Pleasure?. Lustful vocals and fast pacing rhythms set the tone for an elegant party night. Sensations start to blast off when headphones are struck by simmering synthesizers and shuffling drums.
Jessie Ware has undeniably earned one of the places in the “enfant gâté” of British musicians. People surrender their bodies to her glamorous, mysterious and hypnotic voice. Following her previous serene works, she boosts her abilities to the extreme and reaches the right tribute to the sparkling times of dancefloors.
12. Benny The Butcher – Burden Of Proof
Benny The Butcher may have be known for a while now as a member of the Griselda group and the Black Soprano Family, but he is standing fresh and tall all by himself on his latest release Burden Of Proof. The working hours that have been put to this are obvious from the accelerated exploitation of every element in the soundscape.
Moreover, really clever is the choice of the additional contributors targeting to reach a wider range of fans. Hit-Boy, serves as the producer offering his aggressive instrumentations to surround Benny alongside the likes of legendary Freddie Gibbs, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and the list goes on. He is cold with feisty words of realism that at the end of the day, the streets are the place to prove your worth.
>11. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
Inspired by his participation in “The Sun Still Burns Here” performance, singer-songwriter Perfume Genius created the groundbreaking album Set My Heart On Fire Immediately. The singer has always followed his intuition in music making with references to subjects he is directly connected to, like sexuality, addiction and his fight against Crohn’s disease.
The epicenter of this record is the enigma of love. Does it really exist? Can a partner be stable? Am I guilty of wanting passion in my life even if I am gay? These are a few questions that emerge within misty, hazy new wave melodies. Paying attention to Mike Handreas’ voice, the essence of uncertainty and mental dispute can not be unnoticed.
Click HERE for a full list of our Top 50 Albums of 2020!
Words by Tereza Bittnerova and Zoe Eskitzopoulou // List curated by Ayo Adepoju