Shedding the careful precocity of their debut, the Bailey sisters’ second album skipped the traditionally salacious we’re-grown-now stage of pop evolution to paint in complex emotional shades. LS Read the full review. Aided by producer Blake Mills and a crew of A-list session pros (including bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Jim Keltner), he commands every one of the numerous styles he attempts. Yet Folklore found a moment of stillness in the turmoil, turning even the darkest musings into something sparkling and beautiful. Robin Pecknold surprise-released the sweeping. Best of 2020: Music Critic Top Ten Lists Published: November 30, 2020. This list is drawn from votes by Guardian music critics – each critic votes for their top 20 albums, with points allocated for each placing, and those points tallied to create this order. Let’s just hope he doesn’t leave us waiting another five years for the next chapter. –. Look Back at 2020 One Last Time: Our Podcasts on the Year’s Best Music Listen to our Rolling Stone Music Now podcasts on last year’s best songs, albums, and more The singer lands more sure-footed than ever with her fifth solo album, A jangly and pensive journey down old southern roads, it finds the recently-sober Crutchfield considering past mistakes and paths toward healing. LS Read the full review. Fetch the Bolt Cutters arrived eight years after its predecessor, The Idler Wheel…, but opener “I Want You To Love Me” maintained her signature idiosyncrasies, vulnerability and wit — all qualities that bloom further as the record continues. Thirty years after the invention of the “parental advisory: explicit content” sticker, pop celebrated Tipper Gore’s prudish legacy with its filthiest year in recent memory. Ware might be telling us to save a kiss — but in return, she managed to save the whole summer. Who else has the strength to enlist Josh Homme and Mavis Staples on the same album, much less the same song (“Pulling the Pin”)? The gushing minimalism of Steve Reich, the dreamy jazz-fusion of ’70s ECM artists, the ambient-adjacent pulse of the Field’s From Here We Go Sublime — these seem like possible ingredients melted down and absorbed into the masterful new work from the Soft Pink Truth, a.k.a. The Freshman 15: 2020's Best Debut Albums Published: December 14, 2020. Near-loss becomes as harrowing as outright loss: “Tired of Tears” (which most directly addresses his daughter’s struggle) is Stainthorpe growing weary of gloom and mourning, despite it being his very group’s life force. Guest vocals can be either gnomic (“destiny is stuck in heaven blowing nitro”, Zsela intones) or collapsing (Sampha’s corrupted cries), though Loveless’s chorus of “don’t you want to know me better?” makes for his best earworm since 2010’s Maze. The Philadelphia shoegaze quartet followed their quietly acclaimed 2018 LP, Dance on the Blacktop, with the colossal The Great Dismal — bringing in new members, conjuring My Bloody Valentine, delving deeper into their gritty and eccentric sides, and exploring what it means to be human. Lyrically, it’s steeped in imagery drawn from the present moment. When she sings, the effect is of catching someone unwittingly mumbling along to Janet Jackson through their headphones; her quicksilver vocal intimacy allows for flirtation and hurt to flicker through like electrical surges. The best music of 2020. If there was ever a year to wade into an Alabama creek, stare at the sun and figure out how the hell you’re going to keep on keepin’ on, it was 2020. expands its scope. BestEverAlbums.com brings together over 40,000 charts and calculates an overall ranking of the best albums of all time. – B.G. “I thought the sea would make some pattern known / And swim us safely home,” Hadreas laments on sparse closer Borrowed Light. More laid back than its predecessor (the more rock-focused Out in the Storm) Crutchfield’s best album yet reminds us to accept imperfection and find the joy in our search for whatever comes next. BBT. It’s also a great smokescreen: the album’s implicit content, about grief and anxiety, is far more revealing than the raunchy stuff. “Describe” is fuzzy dream-pop country, while “On the Floor” is funk-washed grind, complete with organ notes straight out of the Maytals. That could also be said for dusting off previous collaborator and notorious recluse Zack de la Rocha. After securing his place in reggaetón, Bad Bunny shifted the goalpost to a more global outlook with his second solo album, (which stands for “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana” and translates as “I Do Whatever I Want”). Friday, November 27, 2020 The ultimate guide to the year's best new jazz albums as voted for by Jazzwise's peerless panel of reviewers – including the complete original Jazzwise reviews. Frustrated by its absence this year, the self-professed workaholic made an album of sugary obliteration that signalled her fierce hunger for the highs: “I’m so BORED,” she spat on Anthems, a bratty shriek to scare off disassociation. The ad-libs remain the same, but 21 is a different savage. 2 peak on the Top Latin Albums chart. Marching through tracks with a “mind on a mission on the road to perdition”, the rap duo leave a wake of flame streaked across each one. Snaith flirts with old-school hip-hop breakbeats on “Home” and dusty jazz loops on “Lime” (digging up some wonderfully rare soul samples along the way), but he never strays too far from the soulful, house-inspired pop songcraft he’s mastered on these past two albums. Sincerity and connection, he suggests, are the only tonic: it’s there in the album’s guileless evocations of American soft-rock and emo (at 31, Healy comes from the last generation to experience an unmediated adolescence and with it unselfconscious teenage tastes) and its yearning for true devotion. But Grande’s horniness has been part of her artistic identity for years – on Positions, it offered a safe retreat from headlines about heartbreak and tragedy. Their widely beloved 2019 debut single Bad Blood suggested the Yorkshire quartet could go in any number of directions – vintage new wave, jangly indiepop – but they headed for the club, using the industrial synth pulsations of Depeche Mode and early Ministry, and guitars that nodded to various legendary Mancunians – Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr, Vini Reilly. “Do you hate yourself? There’s been a loose school of electronic producers to emerge in recent years including Objekt, Laurel Halo, Call Super and Minor Science, who, informed by jazz, dub, techno, jungle and ambient, create a kind of maximal minimalism: richly detailed productions that nevertheless drape elegantly. Who else has the strength to enlist Josh Homme and Mavis Staples on the same album, much less the same song (“Pulling the Pin”)? His lyrics are surrealism of the kind André Breton originally intended for the movement back in 1924, “an absolute reality, a super-reality”: bizarre imagery that nevertheless feels true to life, and in thrall to it. Then again, that’s just one reason why Poppy may very well be a, harmonies to cutesy teen pop choruses to djent-y guitars, while on “I Disagree,” she adopts a clipped trap triplet flow before a chorus that nods to vintage Evanescence. The album opens with the atmospheric “Jealousy,” introducing the emotional world these songs inhabit. The recent craze for bedroom pop had a further boost this year as so many of us were increasingly confined to our bedrooms, although there’s a sneaking suspicion this term can undersell the ambition of these (often female) artists. –, If there was ever a year to wade into an Alabama creek, stare at the sun and figure out how the hell you’re going to keep on keepin’ on, it was 2020. But the Grammy-nominated album is the greatest distillation to date of these two singular talents, with their collaboration enhancing one another’s strengths. The 15 Best Pop Albums of 2020 By Paste Staff December 31, 2020 | 2:30pm The 20 Best Indie Rock Albums of 1995 By Garrett Martin December 28, 2020 | 12:00pm More from Best Albums adheres to the unwritten sequel rule. By Sean Maunier on January 8, 2021 Apple’s lighthearted yet confrontational songs made a terrible year a little easier to process. Price is at her most stunning on the gospel-tinged confessional “Prisoner of the Highway,” in which she reflects on the cost of being an artist on the road while in love and starting a family. In essence, it’s been the band’s ultimate challenge for decades: seamlessly melding their arty atmospherics and eight-string metal intensity. Metacritic User Poll: Vote for the Best of 2020! Calling on heavyweights like industry favorite Jeff Bhasker and mega-producer Stuart Price, Lipa found escapism through dance-friendly jams. But one encouraging sign from the music industry has been the number of artists innovating on the fly — figuring out ways to sustain their careers through the madness. But the Grammy-nominated album is the greatest distillation to date of these two singular talents, with their collaboration enhancing one another’s strengths. Nothing could’ve swept this monumental release under the rug. The standout track, the anthemic Wildfire, is pulled from the headlines – with George Floyd’s death and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests haunting every line. - Zach Schonfeld, “Disco revival” is hardly a novel concept in pop music, but it takes a certain kind of star to make it feel fresh again. Her gloriously disorienting third LP takes this dichotomy to an extreme, breezing through disparate sounds with the ease of scrolling a news feed. Paramore’s Hayley Williams has been inching toward a solo career for nearly a decade. The 50 Best Albums of 2020. The guitars on “April Ha Ha” are abrasive and hypnotic, hurtling the listener, into darkness. - Z.S. LS Read the full review. All rights reserved. 16. It’s as much fun hearing him sing about the powers of headgear on “Dragonball Durag” as it is watching him try to charm the pants off folks in the video. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. BBT Read the full review. –, Freddie Gibbs and Alchemist approach their art like athletes, forever strengthening muscle and refining their respective forms. Price is at her most stunning on the gospel-tinged confessional “Prisoner of the Highway,” in which she reflects on the cost of being an artist on the road while in love and starting a family. Pantha Du Prince - Conference of Trees [Modern Recordings] Aside from the wrecking ballad Lose You to Love Me, it’s confidently unruffled, taking the Talking Heads-aided oddness of her 2017 single Bad Liar as her template. –. – Josh Chesler. LS Read more. From there, it plays with catchy hip-hop on “Boomer,” brassy indie-rock on “In a Cab” and intimate folk on “Far” — all proving that Bartees is one of our most versatile emerging artists. Still, nothing on Orion sounds like giving up. –, , Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker became an in-demand artist throughout the industry — countless festival gigs, teaming with. A list of Pitchfork's best music of 2020. Humanity, for example, is “a room of pit ponies / Drowning forever in a sea of love”. In late May, the U.S. faced a social and cultural reckoning that had been building for years. But Disco didn’t just compete with this year’s surprisingly widespread revival of the genre; Kylie’s fantastical dancefloor, one of catharsis and community, resonated precisely with these weird times. –, The gushing minimalism of Steve Reich, the dreamy jazz-fusion of ’70s ECM artists, the ambient-adjacent pulse of the Field’s, — these seem like possible ingredients melted down and absorbed into the masterful new work from the Soft Pink Truth, a.k.a. “royal screw up” shines a light on her own insecurities, while also making revelations. Recorded over a five-year spell in her California home, Fetch the Bolt Cutters encompasses every euphoric rush and hopeless roar as Fiona Apple telescopes between historic incidents that once diminished her to find their common thread. At 48, he’s never sounded less interested in chasing rap trends or compromising his vision, and Descendants of Cain is all the better for it. It’s all tied together with oracular pronouncements from Morgan Freeman, who muses on the nature of snitches with a twinkling gimlet eye. Ariana Grande’s sixth album made no bones about its primary concern – namely bones every which way until Tuesday, upholstered by slinky, lavish R&B. “Concrete” moves from Pet Sounds harmonies to cutesy teen pop choruses to djent-y guitars, while on “I Disagree,” she adopts a clipped trap triplet flow before a chorus that nods to vintage Evanescence. “Let it drift and wash away,” he sings on Whole Life. The 30 Best Albums of 2020 (So Far) Written By SPIN Staff May 21 2020, 1:39 PM ET. This is El Conejo Malo’s world domination — and now we’ve had front-row seats. Calling to mind the insularity of John Carroll Kirby’s work with Solange and Eddie Chacon, Forever, Ya Girl spirals around murky thickets of R&B, harmonised incantations and stilted beats that mustered a sense of off-kilter propulsion. The same goes for power ballad “I’d Die For You,” where she parallels a soaring Stevie Nicks. – B.G. The songwriter’s debut LP, Fake It Flowers, takes on ’90s nostalgia, offering hints of Lush, Elliott Smith, Veruca Salt, Sonic Youth and…Pavement. “‘angry white guy’ music in a purely reactive mode.” What he created instead is a luxuriant deep house odyssey, percolating and humming with drones, bells, murmuring voices, twinkling piano and even some live saxophone. Written By SPIN Staff December 10 2020, 9:45 AM ET. This time, Wayne Coyne and company explored something a little more conventional than their past mystical journeys: Tom Petty and Mudcrutch’s stop in Tulsa in the 1970s. It does cover a lot of ground, however, and proves that artistry is alive and well even in this most traumatic of years. It is testament to the allure of her sweet club-pop visions that Jessy Lanza’s breakout stemmed from her most insular work yet. Music reviews, ratings, news and more. Yet Heavy Light made good on both halves of its name, contrasting those crushingly depressing perspectives with loose, sun-streaked funk and soul and strutting choruses – the sound of people in a room, finding hope where they can. - L.S. From the singsong chorus of Tomorrow to the twanging riff of John Cooper Clarke, the melodies are insistent and prodding, set to unleash a poorly coordinated army of robot dancers when indie discos reopen. It was more than worth the four-year wait, offering a reason to believe in a year where there weren’t many options. 4. Reflective closer “One More Hour” perfectly caps the album, drifting listeners through various stages of Parker’s journey of time and love. Drew Daniel, best known as half of the electronic duo Matmos. On the fluttering “bloodstream,” Sophie Allison grapples with an inexplicable inability to remain happy. Soft rock’s poet laureate returned with one of his strongest sets yet, with the coldwave chill that arrived on Ken (2017) now getting right into his bones. The title of Charli XCX’s lockdown album might be read as business as usual: she is, after all, our most hyper-present and reactive pop star, one obsessed with stimulation. – Stephanie Mendez. BBT Read the full review. feels like a pre-pandemic fever dream. Recorded on both sides of the pandemic, the group’s layered fourth record offers the warmth of a tweed sweater — best exemplified by “Can I Believe You,” the delicate “Young Man’s Game” and the bittersweet tribute to Richard Swift, David Berman and others on “Sunblind.” In a year that’s felt like a long winter, has brought a meditative sense of acceptance. Best Albums of 2020 Isolation was unavoidable this year: Some albums embraced it, some raged against it, some tried to imagine a world without … He shows his brilliance on “How Sway” and once again proves his funkiness on the star-studded “Black Qualls.” As usual, Bruner demonstrates why he’s one of our generation’s most versatile musicians — fearless and unafraid to take a groove to a different time and place. LS Read the full review. Taylor shows how sex itself is communication, adding up to one of the hottest, most emotionally astute albums of the year. 19. (or even After Laughter) all over again. These are Complex’s picks for the 50 best albums of 2020. The dominant mode was strafing house. The uber-Kylie album thunders through the genre’s history, from the Voulez-Vous-ing of Last Chance and sly references to Gloria Gaynor and Earth, Wind & Fire to its stylish 90s French touch reincarnation. – L.S. / Break yourself? – R.R. In collaboration with a supreme court of rap producers including The-Dream, the Alchemist, Hit-Boy and No ID (plus curveballs James Blake and Khruangbin), Jay’s production is astounding, with dial-scrolling samples from Vashti Bunyan, Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, John Williams’ Valley of the Dolls soundtrack and Louis Farrakhan. The resulting arrangements are a spring clean for the mind. There are frequent pleas for better communication and reciprocity, likely to comfort anyone gaslighted into thinking, “Is it just me?” But when the connection works, it really works, as evinced by the numerous rapturous slow jams. In contrast to that dreamlike haze was KeiyaA’s clarity of thought. When it does, it’s not to recalibrate the fractured relationships with helpless lovers and fathers, but in more fleeting escapes: the tender country hum of Graceland Too narrates a story taking MDMA, looking at the moon and driving to Graceland, finding salvation in the illusion. It references Olivia Newton-John, turn-of-the millennium Madonna, 1930s Lew Stone (and by extension, 90s White Town), 80s INXS, Lily Allen and the Who. The singer lands more sure-footed than ever with her fifth solo album. “’Cause you are a question that I thought I could solve,” she sings. On, , his storytelling remains gruff and rich with detail, his matter-of-fact lyricism full of unflinching wisdom (“Never marinate on beef you don’t plan on finishing,” he growls on “Patron Saints”) and his grainy production more complex than ever. Ware might be telling us to save a kiss — but in return, she managed to save the whole summer. He blends his bleeding-heart baritone with delicate synth washes and New Order-worthy bass lines, compelling us with sheer charisma to consider the weight of each word as he delves into heady topics like body dysmorphia, romantic refuse and self-worth. 2 on the, 200, but it’s also a creative leap for reggaetón itself. The concept of Chromatica was unusually light for her: a planet of kindness punks? – Daniel Kohn. What are the best albums of 2020? – R.R. They’ve been on a creative hot streak coming off of 2012’s Koi No Yokan and 2016’s Gore, but neither of those LPs achieve the holistic balance of Ohms. With that resolve came an expansion of Owens’ sound: encouraged by Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, she sang more and counterbalanced her emotionally astute songwriting with increasingly daring production – on Melt!, puckered rapids of minimal techno traced the cracking of an ice cap. The same goes for power ballad “I’d Die For You,” where she parallels a soaring Stevie Nicks. It was bleak, touching on addiction and death, yet carried a sense of triumph. If you were forced to describe Rina Sawayama’s debut as succinctly as possible, you’d probably opt for a pop/R&B/nu-metal hybrid with a dose of stadium-rock bombast, which sounds like the most appalling generic fusion in musical history. The Best Albums of 2020 This year was highlighted by projects from artists like the Weeknd, 21 Savage, and Megan Thee Stallion. The imaginative innocence of “Dinosaur on the Mountain” melds with the acid trip dreaminess of “Flowers of Neptune 6” and the Beatles-esque psych ballad “Mother Please Don’t Be Sad,” fitting together like the kind of Lips puzzle only they can assemble. Now a “full-time rapper” (“Glock in My Lap”), 21 balances the felonious with the luxurious. She had spent a few years off the pulse with try-hard Kiss Me Once (2014) and Nashville-inspired, retirement-tempting Golden (2018). By Louder 16 December 2020. Released on Valentine’s Day, the album builds upon the artist’s knack for perfectly fusing prog-rock and psychedelic pop. Most of the lyrics are unintelligible, except for when Domenic Palermo defeatedly sings, “Isn’t it strange / Watching people / Try and outrun rain?” – D.C. 25. Meg Remy is pictured with a little kid on the cover – a symbol of hope, you might think, but then biological and natural maternal relationships turn out to be corrupted, too. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode II, Blockbuster movie sequels typically raise the stakes to go bigger than the original, and 21 Savage & Metro Boomin’s Savage Mode II adheres to the unwritten sequel rule. Alim Kheraj Read more. Dead bodies are largely swapped out for more bands and women, as homicides are in the rearview. But this complex art-pop style, exemplified by lead single “Simmer,” is an intriguing step in a new direction. And as fans, at least we’ve had new albums to help us process our continuing semi-apocalypse. Katie Crutchfield, now 10 years removed from her place in indie-punk cult favorite P.S. Producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes use “electronic voice phenomenon” ghost recordings, corroded signals and electroshock bursts of bass and noise to keep you constantly choosing fight or flight. “Burn it to the ground,” she sings. The clenched fussiness of 2017’s Crack-Up abated for more subtly detailed, openhearted arrangements – padded and cottony on Featherweight, earnest and loving on Sunblind, a tribute to departed songwriters such as Richard Swift and Arthur Russell – as Pecknold resolved to accept the things he cannot change, to surrender to contentment and honour community in divided times: “We’ve only made it together, feel some change in the weather.” LS Read the full review. This is a blessedly uncategorisable record by the New York drummer and hyphenate talent, spanning Frank Ocean-ic romantic R&B lamentations, autobiographical improv, bumping neo-soul, flute fantasies, trip-hop and more, with guest stars ranging from Vijay Iyer to Angela Davis. 21 Savage matches Boomin by subtly experimenting with his own delivery — making his menacing, mid-pitched drawl looser and occasionally more melodic. But instead of hurrying to follow it up, Dan Snaith spent years reveling in his dance-y alter ego, Daphni and being a parent to his two young daughters. BBT Read the full review. Considering the dramatic origins of her third album – lupus, a kidney transplant, splitting from Justin Bieber and the Weeknd, rehab for her mental health – Gomez could justifiably have released an hour of equally high-intensity bloodletting, but Rare abides by the maxim “when it’s hot, write it cold”. Drew Daniel, best known as half of the electronic duo Matmos. BBT Read the full review. With more space for Frank Delgado’s shadowy synths and Sergio Vega’s melodic bass, the band’s dynamic shifts have never been more satisfying — like on “Pompeji,” where clean guitars and crooning give way to a flood of distortion. Now a “full-time rapper” (“Glock in My Lap”), 21 balances the felonious with the luxurious. It’s been a gradual evolution with each successive project inching him closer to the kaleidoscopic sprawl of, , his fifth and most expansive LP. “Maybe music is kind of what we need,” Lipa said on Miley Cyrus’ Bright Minded Instagram Live series back in March. Nigerian pop continued to establish itself more firmly on the international stage in 2020 with successful albums by Burna Boy, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Tems and more. December 22, 2020. The effect is like clambering inside a single particular mind, one that is – as the brilliantly unreadable title suggests – jangled by anxiety but also fumbling towards happiness. A little bit of Nashville and Southern rock seems to have been good for her soul. Claire Boucher – AKA Grimes – intended Miss Anthropocene as a concept album about a personified, demonic climate crisis. But WIMPIII is much looser. But keeping still forced Charli to actually sit with her feelings – a much harder job than simply acting on them – and her fourth album contains moments of dawning horror at what that stillness revealed. Its plush disco setting evoked the era’s velvet, feathers and static-crackled polyester – cinders at the drop of a lit Vogue. –, As a pandemic-riddled summer ushered in an even longer pandemic-riddled autumn, at least we had the bucolic sounds of Fleet Foxes to provide some comfort. It turns out to be one of 2020’s most striking and unique pop albums, the kind of risk-taking debut that gets you excited at what the artist behind it might come up with next. Like many of the band’s buzzy, globetrotting grooves, some new lines may come off as opaque — with bassist Laura Lee using multiple languages (including Turkish, Japanese and Portuguese) on the disco winner “Time (You and I)” or abstract spoken verses and a French-language chorus on the seductive “Connaissais de Face.” Other messages are simpler, as “You’re not crazy” is repeated no less than 14 times on the melty “If There Is No Question.” The spacious album, recorded in a barn in the band’s native city, draws from their celebrated melting pot of influences — like, “Spanish disco” and “Israeli, Yemenite jams”, Few artists could convincingly cover Korn and Carly Rae Jepsen in the same set, and next to zero can conjure both of those acts within a single song. Coyne tried to answer the what-ifs surrounding that visit, delving deep into imagined characters and druggy nostalgia. Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started, Since her first album, 2016’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, Margo Price has often been positioned in outlaw country, flanked by comparisons to Bobbie Gentry and Loretta Lynn. But the response to. “’Cause you are a question that I thought I could solve,” she sings. The record has, commercially as the first all-Spanish-language album to reach No. The rapper had already been stretching out into the role of a Bruno Mars-ish funk singer, and here he tries that out at a lower tempo, seeming to really enjoy letting his voice reach for longer notes or more fragile types of song: psychedelic balladry, indie-folk, white soul. LS Read the full review. Pick up the December 2020 issue to discover the Top 20 reissues/archive albums of the year. El-P fills his lyrics with funny Burroughsian grot and non sequiturs that somehow make perfect sense, while Killer Mike dispenses scorn like ticker tape on some of his most proficient bars yet. There is something profoundly restorative about Saint Cloud’s back-to-basics, largely analogue approach; its reliance on subtle, wending melodies and guitar licks that resound with dog-eared familiarity. Its homespun rhythms, swaggering and souring piano, and sweet harmonies laced with industrial clatter provide the mercurial force for her to break open the codes of silence and mistrust that exploitative men use to divide women. – D.C. Tara Joshi Read more. Released in March, Colores won best urban album at the 2020 Latin Grammys, and scored the Colombian superstar a No. The 10 best albums of 2020, including Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers and Chloe x Halle Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY Published 9:23 pm UTC Dec. 14, 2020 Updated 4:43 pm UTC Dec. 15, 2020 Music reviews, ratings, news and more. You can’t argue with science BBT Read more. The Best Albums of 2020 Jeffrey Lee Puckett posted December 7, 2020 Here we are with the final installment of Discogs’ year-long look at the albums that you, the community, have told us are the most desirable from the first year of each decade . But on her third LP, That’s How Rumors Get Started, Price veers closer to classic rock and away from the honky-tonk that once echoed through the Nashville songwriter’s music. Quite simply one of the best bands in the world right now, who have something to say and the means to say it. “And it’s good to just get people to dance and have fun.” – Bianca Gracie. And so harebrained odes to partying sit next to deeper contemplations of what it means to thrive: on Miguel’s Happy Dance, Bruner is frustrated by advice to dance the pain away, yet accepts that sometimes superficial relief is all there is; the compact drums and fizzing synths never peak, confining him to purgatory – until How Sway, a skittish 75-second blast of fusion, blows out the cobwebs. LS Read the full review. But this album was made following the death of Bruner’s close friend, rapper Mac Miller; its telescoping focus and subaquatic funk perfectly mirrored the tides of grief. Ammar Kalia Read more. –, Blockbuster movie sequels typically raise the stakes to go bigger than the original, and 21 Savage & Metro Boomin’s. – Max Bell, “Don’t do to me what you did to America,” Sufjan Stevens croons on the 12-minute epic “America.” And the broader mood of his eighth solo LP, The Ascension, is just as overcast — full of poetic despair set against the experimental, electronic beats and wispy melodies that have defined much of Stevens’ music. Yet absolution prompts a tug of war, and the spectre of shame looms, although it’s now dressed in the rollicking chug of On the Floor, the poppiest Hadreas has ever sounded. The first thing that hits you is the quality of the songwriting and production; then the message of the song falls like a feather, not a brick. Still, nothing on, sounds like giving up. (Find our 100 Best Songs of 2020 list here.) The 10 Best Albums of 2020 Our critic picks the top albums of the year, fantastic music that served as both a comfort and a welcome distraction. The 15 Best Pop Albums of 2020 By Paste Staff December 31, 2020 | 2:30pm The 20 Best Indie Rock Albums of 1995 By Garrett Martin December 28, 2020 | 12:00pm More from Best Albums And Crutchfield’s acceptance of the inevitable seems spookily prescient given that she made the album last year.