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The Best Albums of 2020: 40 – 31

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 favorites 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 #41 – check them out here – we continue our countdown from #40 to #31 below.

40. Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers

The 20 year-old British rising star Beabadoobee has drawn attracted some attention by releasing four EPs between 2018 and 2019, with her last one named Space Cadet having the most success.

In 2020 she has continued to create a name for herself by releasing her critically acclaimed debut album Fake It Flowers. Being just a normal girl with normal girl problems, she documents her journey so far with diary entry-like songs written in her bedroom. 

She sings about love, hinting at the relationship she has with her boyfriend on “Horen Sarrison” or sadness and confidence on “Care”. Her sound flows between 90’s influenced moody dream-pop, pop-rock anthems, and hard guitars accompanied Bea screaming her lungs out on Charlie Brown.

Beabadoobee wanted to create a good album to dance to the same way she used to dance to her favourite music and she did a great job doing that.

39. Soccer Mommy – color theory

She may only be twenty years old, but Sophie Allison has already obtained the bedroom pop queen title, as Soccer Mommy. Her own offering for the year of 2020, Color Theory, behaves as a stepping stone for her to integrate alternative pop/rock sounds inside her musical identity.

Her melancholy aesthetics can be noticed visually on her blue, yellow and gray palette she has chosen for the dazzling album cover. On the audio side, there is a certain “sad but cool” sensation while she refers to mental health issues with both sarcasm and humble shimmering tone of voice.

38. Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour

What better start to a career than an endorsement from Beyoncé herself could anyone wish for. That’s exactly what happened to two sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey when Queen Bey loved their cover of Pretty Hurts on YouTube, signed them and took them on tour. The duo has now released their second album Ungodly Hour.

They have once again bet on their heavenly power of beautiful harmonies and showed us they are maturing with their music, creating a layered confessional portraying their entrance to adulthood, owning their sexuality and trying to figure out their place in life. With Ungodly Hour, Chloe x Halle are rightfully predicted to become the future of R&B.

37. Jessy Lanza – All The Time

Electronic pop will never be treated the same since Jessy Lanza’s record All The Time is out there. The Canadian musician is hailing from the streets of New York and has created an innovative crossbreed between classic upbeat commercial music and futuristic techno.

The different layers of this tracklist could be the proof that art can come from new age technology and producing equipment. The use of lush synthesizers, glitchy high hats and light starry vocals, guide the listener to an arcade game where friends and objects are pixelized. Funny how this rather vibrant musical cosmos harmonises so well with her sentimental lyrical performance.

36. BTS – Map Of The Soul: 7

The K-pop supergroup BTS continued their world domination in 2020 with the release of their 4th full-length album Map Of The Soul: 7, breaking many of their previous records. Including songs from the previous mini-album Map Of The Soul: Persona and full of symbolism, it follows their story, rise to fame, accepting their past and all they went through to become who they are today.

The massive 20-song album spans from emotional rap pieces such as Interlude: Shadow to the traditional Korean music influenced Black Swan or the Latin pop energy on Filter. With guests such as Halsey on the hit song Boy With Luv or Sia, BTS continue to pave their way to the top of the Western world music industry.

35. Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated Side B

Not many people can say they have had such a huge hit as Carly Rae Jepsen in 2012 with “Call Me Maybe”. After releasing her fourth album Dedicated in 2019, she decided to make this year better and give us the gift of Dedicated Side B.

We have known well that Carly Rae Jepsen is an amazing songwriter and she only continues to prove it with this 12 songs compilation. Jepsen’s signature 80’s inspired upbeat pop gives out summer vibes and fills us with energy to dance around without a care in the world.

Dedicated Side B being full of tracks Carly Rae Jepsen deemed not good enough for the previous album is only a confirmation that her talent deserves to be recognized.

34. Sault – Untitled (Black Is)

The truth is that there is not much published knowledge for the UK ensemble Sault, because of their choice to avoid any contact with the media, while also not revealing their names or looks. Their purpose is clearly focused on painting the picture of Blackness in modern society.

Untitled (Black Is) is serving as a rhythmic blues album enhanced by disco, funk and afrobeat features, while crystal soul voices protest in a singing formation. The triggering messages concerning the black sorrow and joy are delivered in complete tastefulness among luxurious melodies. There is entity to these issues so it is no wonder why they released the sequel Untitled (Rise) so soon after.

33. Open Mike Eagle – Anime, Trauma and Divorce

Before 2020 turned into a disaster for everyone, Los Angeles based rapper Open Mike Eagle had already been going through a rough personal path. He had decided to document his feelings in a heartbreaking yet humorous fifth album named Anime, Trauma and Divorce.  

As the name of the record suggests, the artist explores the dark parts of his life such as the downfall of his marriage, money problems, anxiety and mental health with references to anime as can be heard on Death Parade. Although serious topics, Open Mike Eagle doesn’t forget his comic roots as he takes dark jabs at himself instead of others as a means to get over the trauma.

32. Victoria Monet – Jaguar

You definitely know some of Victoria Monét’s work even if you have not heard her name before. She has songwriting credits on songs for superstars such as Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown or Ariana Grande with the hugely successful hit thank u, next. The Californian singer has now decided to reveal more of her talents as her solo album Jaguar was released in 2020.

On what is supposed to be only a part of her debut project she introduces her velvety vocals and emotional lyrics exploring different sides of lust. From the smooth and sexy R&B sound of Moments to the lively disco-influenced collaboration with SG Lewis and Khalid on Experience, Victoria Monét has convinced us she is one to lookout for.

31. Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas

It took Lianne La Havas almost five years of self exploration and redefining her music in order to release a new complete collection. The British singer-songwriter chose to use her name as the title of this album, in the character of a newcomer’s first LP. Does this mean she wishes to introduce herself again?

A well crafted studio album where you can feel the thrill of the musicians to reach quality captivating sound. Lianne steps into this ideal setting and lets herself become vulnerable by revealing romantic affairs led to tragedies and insolvent mysteries of her mind. Profound sentiments are freed in such a delicate way as the tracklist progresses.

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

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