30. CARIBOU- SUDDENLY
Long running project of producer Dan Snaith, “Suddenly” boils electronic music down into two to three minute slices mirroring perfect pop.
Key Tracks Home; Never Come Back
29. FONTAINES D.C.- A HERO’S DEATH
Second album by one of punk’s leading lights, Dublin’s Fontaines U.K. a grimmer and more downbeat offering for this terrible year of 2020; showing the band more musically varied than previously thought.
Key Tracks A Hero’s Death; I Was Not Born
28. BOB DYLAN- ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS
Just shy of 80 years old, Dylan is one of music’s truest legends and you can never count him out. “Rough and Rowdy Ways” is her best album since at least 2006’s “Modern Times”. “Murder Most Foul” is a hybrid of folk & blues and contains Dylan’s longest studio track ever, the meditative but mind-blowing “Murder Most Foul”.
Key Tracks Murder Most Foul; False Prophet
27. LIL UZI VERT- ETERNAL ATAKE
Arguably 2020’s first rap event album, Philly rapper delivers a plethora of tasty tracks at a frenetic pace. The results are so consistent that it’s hard to pick out the highlights.
Key Tracks POP; Celebrity Station
26. GRIMES- MISS ANTHROPOCENE
First full-length release by former indie-pop star, who is now a full-fledged pop star and married to Elon Musk. “Miss Anthropocene” is experimental as ever though certainly more top heavy and a bit less consistent than 2015’s neo-classic “Art Angels”.
Key Tracks 4AEM; Delete Forever
25. NINA SAWAYAMA- SAWAYAMA
Japanese-British singer’s promising debut embraces a huge tent for pop music drawing on turn of the millennium styles as wide ranging as Britney/Christina teeny popper pop to nu-metal, updating these sounds for modern ears.
Key Tracks Who’s Gonna Save us Now?; XS
24. CHARLEY CROCKETT- WELCOME TO HARD TIMES
Country blues traditionalist who just came on my radar this year. Though Crockett’s music sounds like it came straight out of the late fifties or early sixties, he doesn’t sound directly influenced by any single artist and his distinctive baritone and witty storytelling make him a vital part of an emerging country back to basics movement.
Key Tracks Run Horse Run; Fool Somebody Else
23. KVELERTAK- SPLID
Fourth album by Norwegian metallers, who make party music to the sounds of NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) & Black Metal. “Splid” is the group’s first offering with new vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen and also their first with some songs in English- most notably “Crack Of Doom”.
Key Tracks Crack Of Doom; Bratebrann
22. LAURA MARLING- SONG FOR OUR DAUGHTER
Seventh album by criminally underrated British singer-songwriter. Just past thirty, “Song For Our Daughter” explores feminism, love and sexuality and celebrates Marling’s much earned wisdom after long being perceived as precocious.
Key Tracks Held Down; Strange Girl
21. TAME IMPALA- THE SLOW RUSH
Maybe a slight step down in quality by one of the most consistently great acts recording today. Kevin Parker, leader and mastermind of the project, which started out as a psych-rock band, takes Impala even further down the synth-rock rabbit hole. Tripped out disco prog for a new decade. There is plenty to like here and it gets better with each listen.
Key Tracks Lost In Yesterday; Breathe Deeper