With the end of the year approaching, I might as well list some of my favorite albums of 2020. Sure, I don’t have the clout of Pitchfork, AllMusic, or Rolling Stone, and some people will find my musical tastes questionable, but I like what I like. Who are you to judge? This year has easily put everyone in a mood, and music is one way I’m able to cope with everything and everyone — it’s personal.
It’s a shame that I’ve hardly commuted for the majority of the year, since my subway trip to and from work is my optimal time to listen to music. Still, even though I’ve been stuck inside for the last 10 months or so in a nearly empty apartment building, it’s nice to not have neighbors; I can blast music at any hour of the day without a care in the world.
Here are my top 10 favorite albums, in no particular order (the socialist in me hates ranking things):
Gorillaz – Song Machine
For an animated band, it’s fun to see Gorillaz mature and literally age. Their newest album is catchy as hell, with collaborations with Elton John, Beck, Schoolboy Q, Peter Hook of New Order, St. Vincent, and Robert Smith of The Cure.
Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension
A spiritual successor to The Age of Adz, Sufjan Stevens’ latest album combines the loneliness and retrospection of Carrie & Lowell and “Mystery of Love” with Radiohead-esque electronic beats.
The Strokes – The New Abnormal
Well, The Strokes are back. A lot of their newest tracks feel very meta/breaking the fourth wall, and their lyrics feel full-grown and ring of post-2000’s and NYC jadedness.
Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
Speaking of comebacks, Fiona Apple’s newest album has a sense of self-awareness and each lyric contains such unbridled rawness and emotion — especially for these times. I’m not surprised that Fetch The Bolt Cutters is #1 on so many end-of-the-year charts.
Dan Deacon – Mystic Familiar
If you want to feel meditative but dance-y, you can always rely on Dan Deacon. Unlike previous albums, he’s relying on his own vocal talents overlaid onto his quirky electronic beats.
The Weeknd – After Hours
For a pop album, it’s naturally catchy as fuck. “Blinding Lights” has been played all over, and as an aging hipster averse to all things popular, I still love listening to it.
Beyoncé – Black is King
Okay, I know this is a visual album, and my only gripe was the remake Lion King quotes scattered throughout each track. Regardless, I love the art direction for each segment and I enjoy the catchy beats.
Moses Sumney – græ
A frequent collaborator with Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, Moses Sumney’s sophomore album is so soulful and so personal — it definitely reflects my feelings towards this year.
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
An indie darling, Phoebe Bridgers’ newest album definitely lives up to the hype. From her collaboration with Conor Oberst and lyrics about her toxic relationship with Ryan Adams, Punisher is also very deserving to be on a lot of end-of-the-year lists (as well as her Grammy nods).
Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
Yeah, I love Grimes, and yeah her relationship with Elon Musk is kind of disgusting (just because of who he is), but her fantasy-inspired, video game-loving, dark electronic album is pretty damned good.
And for good measure, here’s a nice laugh of The Pudding’s AI telling me how bad my Spotify is. I loved the analysis: