• Mark Mathews

The Best Albums of 2020

Wow! Aside from the civil unrest in the states, the planet deciding to burn itself to the ground, insane politics across the globe, apparent aliens living amongst us and of course, who can forget the old COVID-19 pandemic, this year has been INCREDIBLE....

...for music!

Yes, this year has been the best for music in a long time. There have been phenomenal albums from artists across pop, indie, dance, alternative, folk, and everything in between! It's been an absolute joy to be a music lover.

And so, without further ado, here are my thoughts on ten albums (in no particular order) that are: The Best Albums of 2020!

Mac Miller - Circles

Circles is the posthumous album from the sublime and sorely missed, Mac Miller and marked his sixth studio album. It is a collection of tracks that show how he had developed and gone even further as the inspiring artist that he was. Melding positivity with underlying currents of despair and sadness, the album is a fitting tribute to a truly great artist.

Standout track: Good News

Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song

A real contender for my favorite album of the year, Inner Song by Kelly Lee Owens is an absolute majestic LP from start to finish. Fusing pop sensibilities with extended dance-infused tracks, the album is both surprising and familiar in equal measure. Sonically, it is a masterpiece in my eyes (or ears), with both Owens and long time collaborator James Greenwood co-producing and giving it it's distinctive sound, with all it's squelchy, phasey techno soundscapes. It's PJ Harvey meets Kid A era Radiohead. Beautiful stuff.

Standout Track: L.I.N.E

Pheobe Bridgers - Punisher

Well, obviously the Queen of morose indie music was going to make an appearance, and yes, this album is also up there as a contender for, 'favourite of 2020'.

Alas, the one and only Phoebe Bridgers has followed up her absolutely stunning debut, A Stranger In The Alps, with her second outing, Punisher and there are no signs of her talent waning in any way whatsoever. Beautiful melodies, angelic vocals, and poetically dark lyrics make punisher the next huge step she makes to becoming the massive star she is destined to be. The hipster in me feels sad that she is really starting to make ever-larger waves that are resulting in losing her as my special little secret, but it is all so duly deserved and I am forever in awe of what she is able to create. The greatest talent in the past 5 or 6 years. Fact.

Standout Track: I Know The End

Jacknife Lee - The Jacknife Lee

Celebrated producer, Jacknife Lee, dropped The Jacknife Lee this year and it was played on repeat for a very, very, very, very long time by me in Lockdown! The man just knows how to write a banger. This is an eclectic collection of tunes, but they are ALL tunes that you can't help but adore!

Standout Track: The Studio

Holy Fuck - Deleter

Another one with BANGERS on it. Holy Fuck make some really dark and dirty stuff and Deleter is full to bursting with tunes that you could be sweating to on the dancefloor for hours on end. There is a cinematic feel to it all that totally envelops you and takes you in from the first note. Headphones in or stereo turned up and lose yourself in this one. Absolutely mint.

Stand out track: Luxe

Taylor Swift - Folklore

I never thought I would connect so much with a Taylor Swift record, but 2020 has been a weird beast so it's perhaps not surprising when you get surprised like this. This is not to say I've got anything against what Tay-Tay has been doing, it was simply just not to my tastes. But then she dropped Folklore and all that changed.

Collaborated and produced by the likes of The National's Aaron Dessner, Bleachers' JackAntonoffand and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Swift has done a David Bowie and surrounded herself with experts in their Indie-Folk field and created a tremendous collection of songs. Don't be a dull music snob and go check out this record.

Stand Out Track: the 1

Ólafur Arnalds - Some Kind Of Peace

Ooooh, baby, Some Kind Of Peace is the perfect tonic for the year that has been 2020. Glorious, uplifting, soothing, cleansing, and centering, Ólafur Arnalds has managed to create the most universal album I've heard for, well, I don't know how long. Like a musical alchemist, Arnalds has melded genres, sounds, ambiance's and electronics to make a truly reflective and soul awakening album that will surely be looked upon as one of the finest albums to come out of this decade.

Stand out track: Woven Song

Loma - Homing

Loma have made an elegant and moving Indie-Rock album with Homing. There are moments and elements of Folktronica, cut out using a dream-pop cookie cutter, which makes for an album that truly does feel like it takes you out of yourself and into some other dimension. Definitely one for listening with headphones on.

Standout track: Homing

Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death

Dublin's punk royalty, Fontaines D.C only went and did it again this year, by writing the most ear seducing, guitar-driven post-punk album of the year with, A Hero's Death. Painting dark soundscapes with their axes and colouring the detail with deeply poetic, almost The Pogues like lyrics, A Hero's Death shows you the sweetness of life, whilst simultaneously baring it's deeply cut scars of despair. The best guitar band out there at the moment.

Stand Out Track: A Hero's Death

Sault - Untitled (Black is)

Sault is one prolific group, and my oh my, that is a good thing for us music junkies. Mixing psychedelic soul, trip-hop, electro-funk, and some performance poetry to boot, Untitled (Black is) channels it's creators (all who remain anonymous) anger, mistrust, hope, and pain and gives it the most soaring, soulful voice of all the year. With the backdrop of the BLM protests, this truly makes the hairs on your neck prick up to it's singular and strong identifiable voice. A massive one of 2020.

Stand Out Track: Bow

So, there you go, my thoughts on the subject! I won't lie though, that was super hard this year. There were so many great tunes and albums that it was hard to keep up. I really hope 2021 is half as good (musically!) as 2020!

Let me know what you disagree/agree with and throw in your own thoughts below!

Hey, do you know one of the best things you could do for me and my music is to follow me on Spotify?! Click HERE and give me a lovely follow and if you fancy adding some of my tracks to a playlist of yours, even better! xxxx

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