This is probably the latest “best albums of the year” list to be published for 2020. Like, I should probably forget it and concentrate on looking ahead to the rest of 2021, right?
Well, I just so happened to love the music of 2020 so gosh darn much that I HAD to get my “best of” list out there.
Not to mention I became a first-time dad recently, so I tend to now run late on just about every project thanks to endless diaper changes and late-night feeding times.
Here are 10 of my favorite albums of 2020. Happy (belated) New Year!
Perfume Genius “Set My Heart On Fire Immediately”: Dreamy pop music that you’ll chill to. Then, you impact of the lyrics set in and send your mind racing.
Grimes “Miss Anthropocene”: It’s kinda weird. It’s kinda not. It’s Grimes who once again succeeds in making a cohesive album while swaying between genres.
Fiona Apple “Fetch The Bolt Cutters”: Still relevant and biting, Apple turns in one of her best efforts that seems all too appropriate for a chaotic 2020.
IDLES “Ulta Mono”: Idles continue to be one of the most important voices in a male-dominated rock scene, tackling issues such as toxic masculinity, fascism and mental health all while name dropping Flava Flav and Frida Kahlo.
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit “Reunions”: It may not pack as much sonic punch as 2017’s “The Nashville Sound,” but the beauty of “Reunion” is in Isbell’s lyrics. Raw, honest and relatable is what Isbell does best, and “Reunions” has all three in droves.
Phoebe Bridgers “Punisher”: Skin heads, ghosts and a house by the hospital. None of this sounds like a good time. Luckily, Bridgers is here to be your guide through these twisted tales. Her wafer-thin voice delivers words that weigh a ton, making you feel as though everything will be OK. Well, kinda OK. Hold on tight for the album-closer, “I Know The End.”
Jeff Rosenstock “No Dream”: “Go kick rocks and die. Woo!” Rosenstock belts out on “Scram!” Rosenstock doesn’t hold back on “No Dream.” The album is a 40-minute sprint of pounding rock music peppered with Rosenstock’s straight-forward lyrics that are both quirky and, at times, poignant.
Hum “Inlet”: Hum pick up where they left off on their last full album, 1998’s “Downward Is Heavenward.” The Champaign, Illinois band returns to their trademark churn. Their wall-of-guitar sound keeps from trending toward being dated on “Inlet.” If you come looking for late ’90s nostalgia, you’ll find it here. You’ll also find an album that slots nicely among your more current favorite rock albums.
Porridge Radio “Every Bad”: This post-punk album carries a glossy sheen that is barely peeking through several layers of filth. There is a rawness to “Every Bad” that seems approachable. It’s the snarling dog that you have to pet. It’s the jagged rocks you scale before leaping into crystal blue waters.
Run The Jewels “RTJ4”: Killer Mike and El-P do their thing. They rap. They speak their minds. They call out issues that divide. If you’ve been paying attention to Run The Jewels, you know what you are getting into here. Your expectations are met on “RTJ4.” Oh, Mavis Staples and 2 Chainz show up, too.
Other great albums I heard in 2020: HAIM “Women In Music Pt. III,” Megan Thee Stallion “Good News,” Deftones “Ohms,” Floral Tattoo “You Can Never Have a Long Enough Head Start,” Beach Bunny “Honeymoon,” Drive-By Truckers “The Unraveling,” Car Seat Headrest “Making a Door Less Open,” Armand Hammer “Shrines,” The Lawrence Arms “Skeleton Coast.”