Gabe’s Favorite Albums Of 2020

Photo illustration by Gabe Rosenberg and Kateri Ang

Music in 2020 took one of two forms: those about our current moment, and those noticeably disconnected from it. Not that one is inherently better than the other — we deserve both validation and liberation.

Some records, like Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters or Run The Jewels’ RTJ4, were written far before the pandemic and this summer’s unrest, but were perfectly poised to address them. Some, like the projects from Taylor Swift, Adrienne Lenker and Charlie XCX, were born from the constraints of, consumed within, forever connected to quarantine. A few albums played like artifacts of times long past, signals from a society other than our own.

From within my living room, which since March doubled as my office, music has been a reassuring constant and a singular escape. A high-quality record player was my big home investment, one I’d deliberated over for years but finally committed to after weeks of boredom. (It’s a Denon, for the curious.) I’ve always loved the intentionality of listening to vinyl—these days, it’s enough to qualify as an event. That warmth brought to life albums like Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud and Chicano Batman’s Invisible People, among my favorites of the year, and led me to classics like Jackson Browne’s Lawyers In Love and Roberta Flack’s Chapter Two. A lot of Elvis too, surprisingly.

I gravitated towards playlists more than ever, both that I’ve made myself (a “resilient” mix conceived early in quarantine, a “warm noise” compilation of metal, shoegaze and post-rock to shepherd me through surges of anxiety) and those crafted by dear friends and strangers. Sharing songs seemed to be one of the few expressions of friendship not hurt by distance: “Here’s how I’m feeling, maybe you’re going through the same.”

So now: The music below is how I felt in 2020. Maybe you felt the same.

Stream selections from my favorite albums of the year, plus all my top singles of the year, on Spotify.

1. Fiona Apple — Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Fiona Apple has a few things to teach us about homes turning into prisons. “Fetch the bolt cutters, I’ve been in here too long,” Apple demands on the title track, an unintended quarantine anthem. Of any celebrity, she knows how it feels to tear oneself apart, to buck and bolt under expectations, to need escape at any costs. “I spread like strawberries, I climb like peas and beans,” Apple practically shouts on “Heavy Balloon.” “I’ve been sucking it in so long, that I’m busting at the seams.”

This is no mere cabin fever. Rather, much of Fetch the Bolt Cutters concerns itself with reversing cycles of violence. Apple recites the schoolyard chorus of “Relay” like a mantra: “Evil is a relay sport when the one who’s burned turns to pass the torch.” Apple chooses, over and over, to extinguish that flame. “For Her,” Apple gives voice to a Hollywood intern she came to know, repurposing a Singing In The Rain standard to deliver the album’s most startling moment: “Good morning, good morning, you raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in.”

On “Newspaper,” Apple becomes the only witness to the “curse” her ex-abuser inflicts on another woman. “I watch him walk over, talk over you, be mean to you, and it makes me feel close to you,” Apple confides. This is not how the world is set up to work: Apple knows she’s supposed to feel like other women are rivals, usurpers to cut down, but she refuses to place blame on anyone other than the perpetrator himself.

As Emily Nussbaum writes in her New Yorker profile, the years-long process of recording this album found Apple inviting collaborators to her home in Venice Beach to record in bits and pieces — this was, of course, back when we could still invite people over. Even more than her last record, 2012’s sensual masterpiece The Idler Wheel, every element of these songs is an opportunity for percussion. Apple’s piano and Amy Aileen Wood’s drum kit together evoke the inside of a factory, the churning, pounding exhalations of an extraordinary machine. There are dogs barking and rattling collars, chairs and feet on the floor — nothing is thrown away.

Within the first two minutes of this record, Apple’s voice pulls itself apart in agony and effort: “I know none of this will matter in the long run, but I know a sound is still a sound around no one.” This album is messy — no, not in the sense of being incomplete or ill-constructed, far from it. Apple veers to the far boundaries of her body, of her piano, offering more of herself than we had any right to hear. There may not be any justice in the system, but Apple gets her reckoning.

Must Hear: “Fetch The Bolt Cutters,” “Under The Table,” “Relay,” “Newspaper,” “Heavy Balloon”

2. Waxahatchee — Saint Cloud

Katie Crutchfield has undertaken quite the emotional journey since 2017’s brilliant, blistering Out In The Storm. Where that album was a full-throated yell — Waxatchee’s leap from lofi into the fury of ‘90s-esque guitar feedback — Saint Cloud is a deep, measured breath.

The instrumentation is all acoustic guitars and plinky pianos, Crutchfield’s slight Alabama twang up front, allowed to linger. Newly sober, Crutchfield finds that combatting her self-destructive tendencies is a real process. Those devastating digs, aimed at abusive men and at herself (“I’d never be a girl you’d like or trust or you’d respect,” oof), have evaporated, albeit slowly and after a great deal of work. The tender, patient “Lilacs” finds Crutchfield in no rush. She’s marking out the “slow, slow, slow passing of time,” learning to fill herself up on her own.

Saint Cloud is a cleansing, but not a lonely one: “I need your love too.” At times, like on “Can’t Do Much,” Crutchfield finds herself struggling to square that circle, frustrated with how infatuated she finds herself. How do we accept another’s place in our lives when we don’t see our own value, or when our only vision of a relationship is codependency? “In my loneliness, I’m locked in a room,” she sings. “When you see me, I’m honey on a spoon.”

The thing about a healthy relationship, Crutchfield discovers, is that self-improvement can be a collaborative process. “Can’t do much about it now,” she shrugs, resolved to let a good thing lie. (Not for nothing, but Crutchfield’s partner, Kevin Morby, released a thoughtful folk album of his own this year. Cohabitation has been beneficial for both of them.)

On “Ruby Falls,” Crutchfield mourns a friend who passed away from a drug overdose — and in doing so, she suggests an alternate universe where recovery wasn’t in her storyline, either. “Real love don’t follow a straight line, it breaks your neck, it builds you a delicate shrine,” she offers.

When I put Out In The Storm on my 2017 year-end list, I noted how extravagant, how fulfilling it was to see Crutchfield and her full band live, extracting every possible ounce of catharsis from those songs. Now, after having not seen a band in almost a year, and with no chance of a concert anytime in the near future, I hold out hope that when I do experience Saint Cloud performed live, this waiting — our own twisted, delicate path to recovery — will only deepen the revelation.

Must Hear: “Can’t Do Much,” “Fire,” “Lilacs,” “Ruby Falls”

3. Chicano Batman — Invisible People

I’m a little ashamed it took until Chicano Batman’s first English-language record for me to find this stalwart LA funk band, because their tight performances never needed translation. With vivid splashes of tropicália and ’70s soul, Chicano Batman makes music for hot SoCal days — you can practically hear the sweat dripping off the drummer on strutting opener “Color My Life.”

As a band of Latino men making music during the Trump administration, politics has never been far from mind, but it’s especially clear-focused on Invisible People. The album’s title track pays tribute to the immigrants and workers on whose labor, pain and scapegoating this country runs. “The truth is we’re all the same,” Martinez cries, “the concept of race was implanted inside your brain.” Heavy handed? Maybe a little, but the groove is impossible to deny. The fast-paced “Manuel’s Story” takes a more personal look at the migrant struggle, telling an uncle’s tale — tall or not, who’s to say — of fleeing drug cartels and seeking refuge.

The laid-back delivery of singer Bardo Martinez shines on R&B tracks like “I Know It,” a simple dedication of love where all the urgency comes from a single line: “Fate will prevail, and we will be together.” From his smoky baritone, Martinez jumps the octave on “and,” straining just a little. The only thing left to do from there is let the guitar take over.

On “Pink Elephant,” Martinez pays scuzzy tribute to an intimidating woman: “She’s quite incomparable in terms of style, extremely fucking dangerous and hostile.” I’ve no shred of clues to the subject of “Polymetronomic Harmony,” a phrase repeated overtop a serpentine acoustic guitar riff, but as with the rest of the album, it sure is a pleasure to let it wash over.

Must Hear: “Color My Life,” “I Know It,” “Manuel’s Story,” “Pink Elephant”

4. Adrianne Lenker — songs/instrumentals

At the turn of spring, Adrianne Lenker, the prolific Big Thief frontwoman, fled to a one-room cabin in the Massachusetts woods, escaping New York City, the relationship that collapsed within, and the disease rampaging across it.

Songs is one of the albums Lenker emerged with, 11 songs of just her voice and an acoustic guitar, the sounds of nature leaking in from the edges. I mean that literally: At the beginning of “come,” raindrops tap and creak through the roof, while chirping birds accompany the gentle plucks of “zombie girl.”

An intensely personal songwriter, this may yet be Lenker’s most intimate work — vulnerable in the way that any proximity is right now. “And I wanna be your wife, so I hold you to my knife,” Lenker confesses to her ex-partner on “not a lot, just forever.” You are listening from inside of her guitar, sitting cross-legged in the dirt next to her, breathing the same air. On “anything,” she looks into the shadow of a partnership already faded, imagines the less-possessive future where it hasn’t. “I don’t wanna be the owner of your fantasy,” Lenker whispers, “I just wanna be a part of your family.”

For most of us during quarantine, productivity is an elusive thing, but it’s Lenker’s way of being. These companion projects mark her fourth and fifth albums since 2018, although just two songs occupy Instrumentals: a collection of improvised guitar sketches on “Music For Indigo” and the self-explanatory “Mostly Chimes.” Beautiful and evocative as Lenker’s lyrics are, their absence opens up space but never silence. A stray tumble of wind, the resonance of a stricken chime, fingers skating over top of metal strings, a creaking floorboard, her collaborators all.

Playing the record in my living room, or listening through my headphones on the patio, it brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Could you even imagine a place other than here to spend time in?

Must Hear: “anything,” “half return,” “zombie girl,” “music for indigo”

5. Rina Sawayama — SAWAYAMA

If this year’s best pop albums are all pastiche — Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia a disco revival, Lady Gaga’s Chromatica a revival of Weird Lady Gaga Circa 2009 — then Rina Sawayama has defiantly claimed her own strange corner of nostalgia. SAWAYAMA is a fully myth-making debut, a brash and often beautiful collision of ’90s R&B, early ’00s ex-Disney pop and, wait, is that nu-metal?

Sawayama isn’t afraid of going head-to-head with excessive production, because she knows her voice can stand up to it. Fittingly, “XS” cribs its self-parodying maximalism straight from “Oops! I Did It Again,” while the rest of Britney’s early-2000s oeuvre isn’t far behind. She makes a convincing case for reviving New Jack Swing on “Love Me 4 Me,” while the intimate “Bad Friend” nods to more contemporary influences like Carly Rae Jepsen and Charlie XCX.

This eclectic aggregation has the effect of conjuring an alternate reality, insisting that women of color be recognized at music’s center of power. That timeline inevitably leads to “STFU,” a so-right-it-feels-wrong splice of rap-rock’s chunkiest guitars with Max Martin-esque pop grandiosity. What once served as the limpest expressions of agro-masculinity, Sawayama repurposes as an anthem for “any minority who has experienced micro-aggressions.” If there’s a genre that’s been dominated by men, either behind the scenes or in front, it belongs to Sawayama now.

Must Hear: “XS,” “Bad Friend,” “STFU!” “Love Me 4 Me”

6. Run The Jewels — RTJ4

It took centuries of discrimination, segregation, underfunding and political laziness to build the school-to-prison pipeline as it operates today. It takes just one verse for Killer Mike to distill this national hypocrisy to its essence: “They promise education, but really they give you tests and scores / and they predictin’ prison population by who scoring the lowest.”

What you need to know about RTJ4 is that it dropped in June, two days earlier than scheduled, because the streets of every major city in the U.S., a good number of minor ones too, were filled with protesters and this was the album they needed. Some albums are a gut punch; Killer Mike and El-P are a nonstop barrage. As Mike preaches, “Never forget in the story of Jesus, the hero was killed by the state.”

Arguably this decade’s most influential rap group, Run The Jewels has spent four glorious albums racing the edge of profane and profound, but RTJ4 feels the most keyed into whatever “this moment” is. During the long weeks when the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey filled in the air — and were met with pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets — Run The Jewels reminded us that brutality is not a bug but a feature of the American system. “The Thirteenth Amendment says that slavery’s abolished; look at all these slave masters posin’ on yo’ dolla,” Pharrell says on “JU$T.” A later guest appearance of Mavis Staples, icon of gospel and protest, only solidifies the timeline RTJ is drawing: There is no fight but this one.

The album’s closer, “A Few Words For The Firing Squad (Radiation),” finds the two men with a level of introspection we haven’t seen from them before. With Killer Mike reflecting on the lingering pain from his mother’s death, both he and El-P are clear that the struggle for justice wears on them. “Bein’ clear about the truth and bein’ sane have never really been the same,” El-P offers. For the first time, RTJ4 shows the war is taking its toll.

Must Hear: “Walking In The Snow,” “Ju$t,” “A Few Words For The Firing Squad (Radiation)”

7. Phoebe Bridgers — Punisher

Only Phoebe Bridgers would show commitment by promising to kill your Nazi neighbor and bury him under the yard. “Everything’s growing in our garden, you don’t have to know that it’s haunted,” she sings on “Garden Song,” a morose fantasy of domesticity. (Which of the five love languages is that? Maybe acts of service?)

Bridgers’ sophomore record, Punisher, is darkly funny in this way, filled with obsession and death but delivered so casually, so at home with that discomfort. That’s no surprise for longtime fans who admired Phoebe Bridgers’ vibrantly dark debut, Stranger In The Alps, my favorite album of 2017.

Since then, she’s proven to be someone who excels at collaboration. In 2018, she teamed up with fellow indie icons Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus for the folk supergroup boygenius; last year brought Better Oblivion Community Center, a more rock-oriented project with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes; she’s covered “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls with Maggie Rogers, guested on tracks by The 1975 and Kid Cudi, and produced the contemplative debut from her guitarist Christian Lee Hutson, who also appears throughout Punisher.

There’s an expansive Phoebe Bridgers Cinematic Universe being constructed, for sure, and those experiences seep back into her solo work. She makes room for a straight-up rocker like “Kyoto,” with horns aching and triumphant, and brings in a banjo and her boygenius collaborators for “Graceland Too,” a touching ode to close friends. Most of the sonic shifts are subtle — she still double-tracks vocals and reverbs guitars like Elliott Smith, to whom the title track is addressed. But the bottoms of the mix are heavier, like a waterlogged Brian Eno soundscape; the cello on “Chinese Satellite” sends shivers through the skeleton.

Punisher closes with “I Know The End,” arguably her best song to date, a drive through the apocalyptic countryside. Despite what the “America First rap country song” playing on the radio might suggest, there are no origins to return to: “Went looking for a creation myth, ended up with a pair of cracked lips,” Bridgers sings, the kick drum steadily revving the tune into its cacophonic conclusion, past the point of no return. Bridgers sings and brings entire landscapes into existence; she screams and wipes them all away.

Must Hear: “Garden Song,” “Kyoto,” “Chinese Satellite,” “I Know The End”

8. Fleet Foxes — Shore

Fleet Foxes always sound like possibility, even where none seems to exist. Listening to Shore, released on the autumnal equinox, is like sneaking a glimpse into a summer and fall different than our own. On the band’s fourth full-length, frontman Robin Pecknold presents few surprises: Beach Boys harmonies, check. Acoustic guitars, horns and lush orchestrations? Present. Copious use of minor chords and prime SAT words? You bet. But they’re all as welcome as old friends.

After the relative gloom and jazz-inflected cacophony of 2017’s Crack-Up, the band returns to a mix closer to 2011’s high-water-mark, the Americana epic Helplessness Blues. Now in his mid-30s, Pecknold has led Fleet Foxes for over a third of his life. While he’s always been a sort of old soul, a sense of perspective seems to be serving him well these days: “My worst old times look fine from here,” he reflects on “A Long Way Past The Past,” brass blaring softly behind him.

Escapism and mortality go comfortably hand in hand: “I’m gonna swim for a week in warm American Water with dear friends, swimming high on a lea in an Eden,” Pecknold declares on the glorious “Sunblind,” nodding to the late Silver Jews frontman David Berman, along with a dozen other musicians who died too young. Oddly, or maybe not, it’s one of the most optimistic tunes they’ve ever performed, an ode to being “loud and alive.”

Fleet Foxes has always pondered the purpose of toiling through an indifferent universe, but now they’re sounding more grateful than ever for the time they have. “I’ve been solving for the meaning of life, no one tried before and likely I’m right,” Pecknold cracks on the wry, twisting “Young Man’s Game.” You certainly can’t prove him wrong.

Must Hear: “Sunblind,” “Jara,” “Young Man’s Game”

9. Andy Shauf — Neon Skyline

A single night of accidentally running into your ex at a bar — that’s the devilishly simple plot of Neon Skyline, a concise concept album from Canadian songwriter Andy Shauf. With a ’70s AM radio palette a la Jackson Browne, Shauf follows our self-deprecating sadsack as he goes for a drink at the titular watering hole, finds out Judy is back in town, and wonders if their ill-fated relationship stands a second chance.

Shauf’s storytelling lives and dies on the particulars: snippets of conversation, jokes from the narrator and the characters, the overwhelming humanness of it all. This is a fully-inhabited world, with a bartender and friends and casual acquaintance, and Shauf wastes no time thrusting us inside: “I got so tired of her calling this our disease,” the protagonist says as he opens his first beer, “cause I’m just fine, sometimes I need to clear my mind.”

Neon Skyline came out at the start of the year, before anyone possibly knew that “going to the bar” would take a hard pivot from realism to fantasy, and the stakes are comfortingly low. On “Dust Kids,” the protagonist and Charlie shoot the shit about nothing in particular, talking about past lives in the way that everything sounds profound when you’re bored and slightly buzzed. Another song focuses solely on an anecdote from a fellow patron named Claire, puzzling over her own interaction with her son. “Claire walked away and Charlie looked at me with wide eyes, like we had accidentally walked into some stranger’s living room,” Shauf sings.

On “Try Again,” the protagonist makes a faint attempt at rekindling a spark with his ex, responding to Judy’s fake British accent with his own. “She laughs at me, says, ‘What was that supposed to be?’ I say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m from a different part of the country.’” They share a few jokes, take up a dance, replay past fights and part ways. It’s not meant to be: As with most trips to the bar, there’s little worthwhile at the bottom of the bottle.

Must Hear: “Neon Skyline,” “Dust Kids,” “Try Again”

10. Kathleen Edwards — Total Freedom

Line for line, Kathleen Edwards may be one of our greatest living storytellers. Total Freedom, her first album in eight years, is a document of recovering from burnout. On “Glenfern,” an alt-country travelogue of an opener, Edwards disassembles the romance of broke musicians traveling the world. “We met some of our heroes, it almost killed me,” she sings.

The story has been often-recited, because it’s vivid enough to fill its own song: Burned out from her musical career, a divorce and a short-lived relationship strained by her partner’s rising star, Edwards hung up her guitar and opened up a coffee shop called Quitters — yes, absolutely true — in an Ottawa suburb. “For 39 years, I’ve been keeping my options open,” Edwards sings, joking but completely honest.

Throughout Total Freedom, Edwards is excavating her sense of self-worth from the rubble of abusive relationships. “Nobody’s harder on me than me,” Edwards continues later on “Options Open,” with a similar sentiment on the brutal “Hard On Everyone.” In this archeological expedition, she separates out the treatment she received from the dignity she deserved. “You’re so hard on me. Why would I let you be?” Edwards questions. “Am I not the one you love?”

Under those oppressive conditions, under that pressure, doing nothing can often feel like the safer choice. “It’s been so long, but I’m staying in,” Edwards sings on “Birds On A Feeder,” immobilized by the comfort of her home. She bided her time by adopting a dog, watching the wildlife outside her window, doing a lot of nothing with her best friend. I’m grateful Edwards stepped outside again, at her own pace.

Must Hear: “Glenfern,” “Birds On The Feeder,” “Options Open”

Honorable Mentions

Snarls — Burst

A young indie band from my hometown of Columbus, Snarls came out of the gates fully formed with Burst. “Walk In The Woods,” one of my favorite singles of 2019 that turned into the album’s first track, has an exuberant chorus worth shouting out an open car window. Even in the middle of the band’s jagged guitars and emo sensibilities, the pleading delivery of singer Chlo White still manages to make a line like “I can’t quit you, baby, no matter how hard I try” feel classic, transported straight from the Brill Building. “All Of This Will End” hints at the next step for Snarls, a soft-to-loud punk anthem that’s felt absolutely fitting for the end of the year — and everything before.

Bumper — Pop Songs 2020

Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Galloway, of the frenetic indie-pop band Crying, realized they had never performed together despite living three blocks away, and what better time to start collaborating than a global pandemic? Their four-song debut EP is less dramatic than either of their individual projects, but full of playfulness, with Zauner’s sultriest delivery overtop hopping bass, muted chiptune synths, and the fakest ’80s strings possible. Call it “lofi chillwave to quarantine/work-from-home to.”

Megan Thee Stallion — Good News

“Hot Girl Summer” was pretty much canceled, yet Megan Thee Stallion perhaps more than anyone claimed 2020 as hers. Good News is her second record this year, after twice topping the Billboard charts — Beyoncé in tow for the “Savage” remix, and as a co-conspirator with Cardi B on the sensational “WAP.” This happened despite surviving a shooting by one “goofy-ass bitch,” who Megan tears apart on the confrontational album opener “Shots Fired.”

Business aside, Megan makes space for club-ready celebrations, speeding up a soulful Jazmine Sullivan sample on “Circles” and hyping herself up on the bawdy “Body.” She’s explicit, confident and frequently hilarious. “Invest in this pussy, support Black business,” Megan declares on “Sugar Baby.” Her stocks are only going up.

Taylor Swift — folklore

Eschewing the endless rollout that plagued her last few projects, Taylor Swift enlisted Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, The National’s Aaron Dessner and more for a surprise cabin-in-the-woods record of her own, scaling her colossal pop down to its country storytelling essentials. Gone are the cheerleader-pop flailings, replaced with gloomy (sometimes too gloomy) piano-led production.

But let’s not give the men too much credit: Folklore is everything that’s always been great about Swift’s diaristic songwriting, with less focus on herself and more investment in fictional characters, free from tabloid-probing. From the love triangle on “august” and “betty,” to the generational-epic-under-four-minutes of “the last great american dynasty,” Swift has space to experiment, room to breathe.

Perfume Genius — Set My Heart On Fire Immediately

Desire is a double-sided blade in the music of Mike Hadreas, whose fifth album as Perfume Genius is his most streamlined and astonishing. Set My Heart On Fire Immediately teeters between the blister of shoegaze and the balladry of Roy Orbison, a testimony of queer love and the unending struggle to feel at home in one’s body. “Describe” is the former, sluggish and bone-grinding, elevated to the heavens by Hadreas’ operatic falsetto, while “Without You” is the latter, a country-dyed note to self: “It’s enough, in the mirror, I can almost find your face.” Rarely has yearning sounded so urgent.

Flo Milli — Ho, why is you here?

Flo Milli is just trying to have a good time, and all of these scrubs keep interfering. On her perfectly-named debut Ho, why is you here?, the Mobile, Ala. rapper slings a half-hour’s worth of brags and put-downs. The bass-heavy beats are mostly accessories, with the exception of the SVP-sampling “Weak,” because Milli’s attitude and flow are the main instruments. “Beef FloMix” and “In The Party” are both delights, but “Like That Bitch” is her real victory lap, as much of a juvenile joy to hear as it must have been to record. “Actin’ light with that beef, I didn’t know that you exist,” she taunts, throwing in an extra “Who are you?” to add insult to injury.

Even more albums I enjoyed, in no particular order:

Thundercat, It Is What It Is; Soccer Mommy, Color Theory; Clem Snide, Forever Just Beyond; Destroyer, Have We Met; Laura Marling, Songs For Our Daughter; Lianne La Havas, Lianne La Havas; The Mountain Goats, Getting Into Knives and Songs For Pierre Chuvin; Kevin Morby, Sundowner; Shamir, Shamir; Mac Miller, Circles; Charlie XCX, how I’m feeling now; Margo Price, That’s How Rumors Get Started; Jay Electronica, A Written Testimony; HAIM, Women In Music Pt. III; Braids, Shadow Offering; Lady Gaga, Chromatica; The Chicks, Gaslighter; Lydia Loveless, Daughter; Angelica Garcia, Cha Cha Palace; Mungbean, I Love You Say It Back; Vistas, Everything Changes In The End; Christian Lee Hutson, Beginners; The 1975, Notes On A Conditional Form; Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia; Kelly Lee Owens, Inner Song; Beach Bunny, Honeymoon; Beabadoobee, Fake It Flowers; Sturgill Simpson, Cuttin’ Grass; Chris Stapleton, Starting Over; Ariana Grande, Positions; Fenne Lilly, BREACH; Bill Callahan, Gold Record; Bartees Strange, Live Forever; Aluna, Renaissance; No Joy, Motherhood; The Killers, Imploding The Mirage; The Beths, Jump Rope Gazers; Moses Sumney, grae; Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Reunions; Car Seat Headrest, Making A Door Less Open; Overcoats, The Fight; Tennis, Swimmer; Deserta, Black Aura My Sun; Katie Pruitt, Expectations; Ethan Gruska, En Garde; Half Waif, The Caretaker; David Keenan, A Beginner’s Guide To Bravery; Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated Side B

Favorite Singles Of 2020

Songs must be released by artists as designated singles. Lead artists cannot appear in the same year in both the list of top 10 albums and top songs.

  1. “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé

2. “On My Own” by Shamir

3. “Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak

4. “circle the drain” by Soccer Mommy

5. “Break My Heart” by Dua Lipa

6. “Bittersweet” by Lianne La Havas

7. “Identical” by Phoenix

8. “Me & You Together Song” by The 1975

9. “my future” by Billie Eilish

10. “Picture Of My Dress” by The Mountain Goats

Digital news editor, music geek, pun aficionado.

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