Top 50 Albums of 2020: 20-11

20.  DESTROYER- HAVE WE MET

One of Dan Bejar’s better album releases in a career filled with peaks and higher peaks of his now eleven albums.  Bejar is typically aloof and detached, providing winking commentary over groovy, soft rock beats.

Key Tracks Crimson Tide; Kinda Dark

19. NO AGE- GOONS BE GONE

Fifteen years into their career, this now underrated, L.A. two-piece punk outfit is still making incredible post hardcore to a diminishing audience.  “Goons Be Gone” veers between woozy, noise rock and anthemic punk for the pit.

Key Tracks War Dance; Turned To String

18.  U.S. GIRLS- HEAVY LIGHT

Seventh album by mastermind Meg Remy calls out capitalism and the patriarchy with the sounds of disco and sixties girl groups.  The more you listen the smarter “Heavy Light” sounds.  

Key Tracks 4 American Dollars; Born To Lose

17.  THE 1975- NOTES ON A CONDITIONAL FORM

Millennial Manchester quartet doubles down on their maximalist approach, filling this double album with screaming punk, perfect pop, experimental electronic and lengthy interludes; everything but the kitchen sink.  While a bit inconsistent, “Notes” begins to reveal its many delights on subsequent listens.

Key Tracks Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America; Roadkill

16.  LADY GAGA- CHROMATICA

One of pop music’s biggest stars returns to her dance diva roots, delivering her best album since “The Fame Monster”.  Gaga’s plethora of club anthems are welcome in a year when we couldn’t even dance in public.

Key Tracks Stupid Love; Enigma

15.  ROISIN MURPHY- ROISIN MACHINE

Fifth solo album by Irish outre disco queen combines twelve-inch singles from her last decade of music with a handful of new tracks.  Murphy puts deep house music into a pop context.  

Key Tracks Something More; Jealousy

14.  BARTEES STRANGE- LIVE FOREVER

One of 2020’s top newcomers, D.C. based Strange’s promising debut album is a mish mosh of punk, folk, arena ready rock & rap, bringing to mind TV On The Radio.  “Boomer” and “Mustang” are two of the best powerhouse rock tracks of the year.  

Key Tracks Boomer; Mustang

13.  FLEET FOXES- SHORE

Fourth solo album by Robin Pecknold’s Fleet Foxes is a folk-rock beauty, reigning in the more experimental impulses of their previous album “Crack-Up”, presenting their most straight forward album since their perfect self-titled debut.  

Key Tracks Sunblind; Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman

12.  CHRIS STAPLETON- STARTING OVER

Fourth full-length album by one of country music’s best and biggest artists.  Stapleton is who he is by remaining authentically true to himself; his blend of blues, classic country, classic rock & soul is as potent as ever.  “Starting Over” is his best album since “Traveller”.  

Key Tracks Cold; Arkansas

11.  PERFUME GENIUS- SET MY HEART ON FIRE IMMEDIATELY

Fifth album by Mike Hadreas may be his best yet.  Here, Hadreas has taken a move away from the starkly personal and confrontational nature of his past work toward a look at an exploration of the human body.  Though there are always at least two or three genius songs per album, the highlights on “Set My Heart On Fire Immediately” are even more abundant.  Hadreas has quietly become one of the most consistently great artists in the indie world over the past decade. 

Key Tracks On The Floor; Nothing At All

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