Album of the Year 2020

Well, the year 2020 wasn’t exactly the best year our human race has experienced, was it? Looking back to the last day of 2019, it feels like none of us really knew what we were about to step into. Not really. Once things started getting bad, they got bad quick, and just kept getting worse. With children returning to school in September, we thought things were picking up, and then we hit a second wave and a second (albeit short and Christmas-based) lockdown. And now, as I write this, we are in a third lockdown. Will it ever end? We have to focus on that I guess – the end. Personally, I don’t think this is a new normal per se. I’m not so sure that the coronavirus will ever go away entirely, but rather that we will get vaccinated, sooner rather than later I hope, and become more and more conditioned to coping with the virus. Just as our ancestors did with the common cold. That’s my take, anyway.

Less bleak now, and more positive, and if there is something positive we can take from 2020, it’s the enormous amount of incredible music that was released. Music will always prevail, and with incredible release after incredible release, it certainly didn’t let us down in 2020.

I intended to really dive into new music over the course of the year, but I didn’t anticipate listening to quite as much as I did. I listened to 201 new albums and a handful of EPs in total. The more I listened to, the more I found.

Without further ado, then, here’s my Album of the Year list for 2020, For the sake of a round number, and because it felt too brutal to cut the list down to a small number, this is my top 200. If you have Spotify, you can check out this handy playlist I put together highlighting a song from each album:

Album of the Year 2020 Spotify Playlist

200. Fiona Apple, ‘Fetch the Boltcutters’ 

199. Landshapes, ‘Contact’

198. Boat, ‘Tread Lightly’

197. Orchards, ‘Lovecore’

196. Viva Belgrado, ‘Bellavista’ 

195. Caribou, ‘Suddenly’ 

194. AJJ – Good Luck Everybody 

193. Stef Kett, ‘Cry And Sing’ 

192. Alexia Avina, ‘Unearth’ 

191. Thor & Friends, ‘3’ 

190. Woods, ‘Strange to Explain’ 

189. Jess Williamson, ‘Sorceress’ 

188. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, ‘Sideways to New Italy’ 

187. Jason Molina, ‘Eight Gates’ 

186. Hot Mulligan, ‘you’ll be fine’ 

185. The Big Moon, ‘Walking Like We Do’ 

184. Anna Burch, ‘If You’re Dreaming’ 

183. Best Coast, ‘Always Tomorrow’ 

182. ShitKid, ‘Duo Limbo/’Mellan himmel a helvete’ 

181. Better Now, ‘Slip’

180. Bob Nanna, ‘Celebration States’ 

179. Brian Campeau, ‘Ambience Driver’ 

178. Bibio, ‘Sleep on the Wing’ 

177. The Planet You, ‘Techxture’ 

176. The Guru Guru, ‘Point Fingers’ 

175. Wire, ‘Mind Hive’ 

174. Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, ‘Patchouli Blue’ 

173. Say Hi, ‘Diamonds & Donuts’ 

172. Daniel Davies, ‘Signals’ 

171. Soccer Mommy, ‘color theory’ 

170. Ando San, ‘Schemin’ Season’ 

169. Phoebe Bridgers, ‘Punisher’ 

168. Kate NV, ‘Room for the Moon’ 

167. Katie Dey, Mydata 

166. M. Ward, ‘Think Of Spring’

165. Becca Mancari, ‘The Greatest Part’ 

164. Mogwai, ‘ZEROZEROZERO’ 

163. OOIOO, ‘nijimusi’ 

162. Ultimate Fakebook, ‘The Preserving Machine’ 

161. Deerhoof, ‘Future Teenage Cave Artists’ 

160. Jackie Lynn, ‘Jacqueline’ 

159. Helvetia, ‘Fantastic Life’ 

158. Helvetia, ‘The Devastating Map’

157. InTechnicolour, ‘Big Sleeper’ 

156. Gigi Masin, ‘Calypso’ 

155. STRFKR, ‘Ambient 1’ 

154. DJ Python, ‘Mas Amable’ 

153. Sufjan Stevens & Lowell Brams, ‘Aporia’ 

152. Lights & Motion, ‘The Great Wide Open’ 

151. Standards, ‘Fruit Island’ 

150. Kestrels, ‘Dream or Don’t Dream’ 

149. Masaki Batoh, ‘Smile Jesus Loves You’ 

148. Geology, ‘Light of the Risen Year’ 

147. Touche Amore, ‘Lament’

146. John Vanderslice, ‘Dollar Hits’ 

145. Wares, ‘Survival’

144. Tricot – 真っ黒 

143. Squirrel Flower, ‘I Was Born Swimming’ 

142. Yumi Zouma, ‘Truth or Consequences’ 

141. Harry the Nightgown, ‘Harry the Nightgown’ 

140. Crisman, ‘Crisman’ 

139. Addy., ‘Eclipse’ 

138. Guided By Voices, ‘Surrender Your Poppy Field’

137. Stephen Malkmus, ‘Traditional Techniques’ 

136. Dominic Angelella, ‘Poison’ 

135. M. Ward, ‘Migration Stories’ 

134. Moaning, ‘Uneasy Laughter’ 

133. Of Montreal, ‘UR Fun’ 

132. HEISA, ‘joni’

131. Richard Houghton, ‘Sailing Through Rainbows of Sound’

130. Serengeti, ‘With Greg from Deerhoof’

129. Zoon, ‘Bleached Wavves’ 

128. Tina, ‘Positive Mental Health Music’

127. Floral Tattoo, ‘You Can Never Have a Long Enough Head Start’ 

126. Dryjacket, ‘Going Out of Business’

125. Snooze, ‘Still’

124. I Love Your Lifestyle, ‘No Driver’

123. Nada Surf – Never Not Together

122. Jack Name, ‘Magic Touch’

121. Jeff Pianki, ‘Remember It Now’ 

120. Theophilus London, ‘Bebey’ 

119. Andy Shauf, ‘The Neon Skyline’ 

118. Coriky, ‘Coriky’ 

117. Happyness, ‘Floatr’ 

116. STRFKR, ‘Future Past Life’ 

115. Jeff Rosenstock, ‘No Dream’ 

114. Harper’s Jar, ‘Thank You Ancestor Finger’

113. Mountains for Clouds, ‘Anxious & Aware’


111. Thurston Moore, ‘By The Fire’

110. Hayley Williams, ‘Petals For Armor’ 

109. Ratboys, ‘Printer’s Devil’ 

108. Gloe, ‘Dead Wait’ 

107. Spanish Love Songs, ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ 

106. Magic Sword, ‘Endless’ 

105. Sick Instrumental – ‘O Sonho e a Escada’ 

104. The Lovely Eggs, ‘I Am Moron’ 

103. Nadia Reid, ‘Out of My Province’ 

102. Kid Dakota, ‘Age of Roaches’

101. Bdrmm, ‘Bedroom’ 

100. Sparta, ‘Trust the River’ 

99. 2nd Grade, ‘Hit to Hit’

98. Sparks, ‘A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip’ 

97. The Cool Greenhouse, ‘The Cool Greenhouse’ 

96. Kidbug, ‘Kidbug’ 

95. PAINT, ‘Spiritual Vegas’ 

94. Ubiquitous Meh!, ‘Fecund With Love’

93. Wet Tropics, ‘Everybody Get In’

92. Wednesday, ‘I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone’ 

91. Lomelda, ‘Hannah’ 

90. Field Medic, ‘Floral Prince’ 

89. The Men, ‘Mercy’ 

88. Ground Patrol, ‘Geophone’

87. Stay Inside, ‘Viewing’

86. Hamerkop, ‘Remote’ 

85. Bill Callahan, ‘Gold Record’ 

84. The Homesick, ‘The Big Exercise’ 

83. Neil Young, ‘Homegrown’ 

82. Hum, ‘Inlet’ 

81. Real Estate, ‘The Main Thing’ 

80. Field Music, ‘Making a New World’ 

79. Land of Talk, ‘Indistinct Conversations’ 

78. Biffy Clyro, ‘A Celebration of Endings’ 

77. Long Distance Calling, ‘How Do We Want To Live’ 

76. June of 44, ‘Revisionist: Adaptations & Future Histories In The Time Of Love And Survival’ 

75. Car Seat Headrest, ‘Making a Door Less Open’ 

74. Shiner, ‘Schadenfreude’ 

73. NZCA Lines, ‘Pure Luxury’ 

72. Sand Co., ‘Forever Laying Down’ 

71. Algiers, ‘There is No Year’ 

70. O’Brother, ‘You and I’

69. Muzz, ‘Muzz’ 

68. Told Slant, ‘Point the Flashlight and Walk’ 

67. Morrissey, ‘I Am Not a Dog on a Chain’ 

66. Lee Ranaldo, ‘Names of North End Women’ 

65. The Strokes, ‘The New Abnormal’ 

64. Caspian, ‘On Circles’

63. Vasa, ‘Heroics’ 

62. El Ten Eleven, ‘Tautology’ 

61. Post Animal, ‘Forward Motion Godyssey 

60. Elvis Depressedly, ‘Depressedelica’

59. Laura Marling, ‘Song For Our Daughter’ 

58. Jerry Paper, ‘Abracadabra’ 

57. Haim, ‘Women in Music Pt. III’ 

56. Aiming for Enrike, ‘Music for Working Out’ 

55. Into It. Over It, ‘Figure’ 

54. Tame Impala, ‘The Slow Rush’ 

53. Kiwi jr., ‘Football Money’

52. Zelienople, ‘Hold You Up’ 

51. Frankie Valet, ‘Waterfowl’

50. Owen, ‘The Avalanche’ 

49. Emmy The Great, ‘April/月音’

48. Unwed Sailor, ‘Look Alive’ 

47. Colin Phils, ‘Trust/Fall’ 

46. Holy Fuck, ‘Deleter’ 

45. SPACESHIPS, ‘Pillars’ 

44. Caterpillars, ‘Where Shadows Go to Speak’

43. Modern Rituals, ‘This is the History’ 

42. Porridge Radio, ‘Every Bad’ 

41. Himmelrum, ‘Vand, Død & Ensomhed’

40. The Microphones – Microphones in 2020 

39. L.A. Takedown, ‘Our Feeling of Natural High’ 

38. Frances Quinlan, ‘Likewise’ 

37. Beach Slang, ‘The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City’ 

36. The Front Bottoms, ‘In Sickness & In Flames’ 

35. Six Organs of Admittance, ‘Companion Rises’ 

34. Dogleg, ‘Melee’ 

33. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, ‘The Clouds Hill Tapes, Pt. I, II & III’ 

32. Dan Deacon, ‘Mystic Familiar’ 

31. Wolf Parade, ‘Thin Mind’ 

30. Waxahatchee, ‘Saint Cloud’

29. The Beths, ‘Jump Rope Gazers’

28. The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, ‘Ways of Hearing’

27. Disq, ‘Collector’ 

26. Young Jesus, ‘Welcome to Conceptual Beach’ 

25. Dikembe, ‘Muck’

24. Healing Potpourri, ‘Blanket of Calm’ 

23. Bombay Bicycle Club, ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ 

22. Bright Eyes, ‘Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was’ 

21. Sinai Vessel, ‘Ground Aswim’

20. Protomartyr, ‘Ultimate Success Today’ 

19. The Cribs, ‘Night Network’

18. Mountain Time, ‘Music for Looking Animals’ 

17. Perfume Genius, ‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately’

16. Friend/Enemy, ‘HIH NO/ON’ 

15. Destroyer, ‘Have We Met’ 

14. Trace Mountains, ‘Lost in the Country’

13. Everything Everything, ‘RE-ANIMATOR’ 

12. Adrianne Lenker, ‘Songs’

11. Slaughter Beach, Dog, ‘At the Moonbase’

10. The Casket Lottery, ‘Short Songs for End Times’

9. Little Kid, ‘Transfiguration Highway’ 

8. Black Foxxes, ‘Black Foxxes’

7. Remo Drive, ‘Portrait of an Ugly Man’ 

6. Joan of Arc, ‘Tim Melina Theo Bobby’

5. Sufjan Stevens, ‘The Ascension’

4. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, ‘X: The Godless Void and Other Stories’ 

3. Pinegrove, ‘Marigold’ 

2. Empty Country, ‘Empty Country’ 

1. Criteria, ‘Years’

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