The Top 10 Albums Of 2020, According To Everyone
Best of 2020 lists are here. With so many lists out there, who has time to read all of them?
Turns out: We do. But because you probably don’t, we rounded up all the Top 10 lists we could find, smashed ‘em together in a big spreadsheet, and spit out overall Top 10 lists for the year’s best albums, songs, books, TV shows, movies and video games. You’re welcome.
The Best Albums Of 2020
10. Haim, Women In Music Pt. III
Writing with more personality and candor than ever about a range of difficult themes — depression, loss, misogyny, the complications of loving on one’s own terms — they’ve also loosened their taut pop rock just enough to breathe more life into it.
9. Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia
Dua Lipa’s dancefloor-commanding sophomore album makes listeners nostalgic for the sequined days of Studio 54, while piloting the recently revived disco sound into the future.
8. Bob Dylan, Rough And Rowdy Ways
“Rough and Rowdy Ways” is a timely rumination on death and doom and facing uncertainty bravely, the fruit of all the wisdom the 79-year-old has picked up through his travels (and his lifelong studies of world history and American music), as well as a function of maintaining a well-trained backing band. The arrangements are airy and delicate, grooves swaying like trees in a breeze — the better to spotlight Dylan’s weathered voice and perspective, which was old beyond its years in his 1960s and ’70s heyday and, this year, feels right on time.
7. Jessie Ware, What’s Your Pleasure?
Jessie Ware’s fourth album is, perhaps my perfect album: an orgy — and it is an orgy — of homages and ideas, harvested with such self-knowledge that it is undeniably her own. […] Ware’s album, doused in nights out, somehow doesn’t feel like a mockery of our introverted year. Instead it connects our pasts to the present, and the hopeful future beyond.
6. Run the Jewels, RTJ4
The album’s fiery message, bombastic beats and sharp humor offered both a musical reprieve and the soundtrack for a moment that needed one. […] When the world needed something, anything, Run the Jewels came through with their blazing fourth album.
5. SAULT, Untitled (Rise) / Untitled (Black Is)
In its mission to cover the gamut of emotions that come with the Black experience in 2020, SAULT runs wild sonically. […] By weaving spoken-word interludes with fully developed songs, SAULT ensures listeners are feeling every possible level of the revolutionary messaging embedded in the project.
4. Chloe x Halle, Ungodly Hour
I already knew Chloe x Halle were hyperskilled vocalists with Disney’s stamp of approval, but I was pleasantly surprised by the daring choices all over this album. Standout tracks on “Ungodly Hour” like “Tipsy” solidified their status as adult artists with a point of view and sense of humor (“If you love your little life / Then don’t fuck up”).
3. Taylor Swift, folklore
So what makes this Taylor Swift’s best album? It isn’t just “August.” Or even “Mirrorball.” It’s the way the songs keep giving up new secrets the longer you live with them. […] The way her usual stories about sneaking around and hiding secrets hit so different in a plague year when the shame of craving other people’s company felt like a scarlet letter. The way she enters her thirties with an album that dusts anything she did in her roaring twenties.
2. Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher
Equal parts 1970s Laurel Canyon (especially Joni Mitchell), 1990s indie (especially the late Elliott Smith), and 2000s emo, her songs are utterly 2020 in how they weave mundane millennial idioms into poetic portraits and landscapes. They are lifelike in that they usually have disparate things happening simultaneously. […] Bridgers’s ways of sliding between subjects and emotions in beautifully simple turns of phrase and melody and black humor keep the songs surprising, disarming, and devastating no matter how often I hear them.
1. Fiona Apple, Fetch The Bolt Cutters
Equal parts meticulous and haphazard, the self-directed songs pick up on the percussive thread of 2012’s “The Idler Wheel…” with elemental rhythms formed, in part, by handclaps, floorstomps, and furniture-banging. But the raw energy of Apple’s voice is the album’s life force… “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is the sound of someone freeing themself from a mental prison built by others but unknowingly reinforced by the self. Consider the load sufficiently lightened; on she climbs.