Margolin’s sharpened nerves are used as a weapon against her personal demons. She buoys her bleak lyrics with the bright melodies and buzzing guitars that soundtracked Beavis and Butt-Head’s bickering on MTV in the ’90s. The song’s title sentiment is simply uttered on the hook—he’s wounded, yet hopeful that the sentiment’s warmth can be felt. He sounds possessed here, supercharged by something supernatural—even when he’s just shouting a luxury brand’s name into the ether 15 times in a row. –Dean Van Nguyen, From the opening disco swagger of “4 American Dollars,” U.S. Girls’ Heavy Light crackles with kinetic energy. Righteous anger pointed at society’s rulers flows throughout RTJ4, which was released at the start of June amid nationwide protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd. Neither hot mess nor robot, sisters Chloe x Halle have chosen a different route, from YouTube sensations to Beyoncé protégées to grown women. Written By SPIN Staff December 10 2020, 9:45 AM ET. Now, Crutchfield gazes into the mirror and doesn’t shy away from the reflection. Recording it over a few short weeks at the onset of the pandemic, Charli escaped isolation’s creative doldrums by opening up a feedback loop with her fans, sharing real-time updates and allowing them a hand in her process. Buy now on Rough Trade Exclusive silver vinylBonus Exclusive: Lockdown Sessions 10", The Pulp frontman narrates a journey through evocative and explorative instrumentation that is totally sublime. 3: Special Interest - The Passion Of; 4: Lyra Pramuk - Fountain; 5: UKAEA - Energy Is Forever; 6: Duval Timothy - Help; 7: Squarepusher - Be Up A Hello; 8: Nadine Shah - Kitchen Sink; 9: Pa Salieu - Send Them To Coventry These are tracks with expressive, textured sounds. Buy now on Rough Trade Exclusive yellow vinylBonus Exclusive: Live at the Nave 10" white/black splatter. Plus a plethora of releases from rock's rising stars. It’s time to 'WAKE UP’, the revolution has come and Black Is it’s soundtrack.Emily Buy now on Rough Trade Exclusive blue vinylBonus Exclusive: 5 and 7 on Rough Trade Exclusive blue vinyl. 1: Hey Colossus - Dances/Curses; 2: The Soft Pink Truth - Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase? By now, Drakeo has been released from jail, making GTL a testament to resourcefulness that will hopefully remain an anomaly in his catalog. Check out all of Pitchfork’s 2020 wrap-up coverage here. Nigel House.Powerful, primal, passionate music-making. To all the artists, labels, our friends and our customers, thank you for your support in 2020. The album reflects her newfound ease, all big skies, wide open spaces, and Americana twang. Heavy Light is filled with existential dread, but it aspires to a gentler world, one where the burden of being isn’t so leaden. (Find our 100 Best Songs of 2020 list here.) Heaven flirts with familiar rock motifs as often as it subverts them, morphing into something unrecognizable. So as she thrashes between anti-capitalist bops and introspective anthems, Sawayama assumes the role of both pop diva and pop rebel, subverting expectations of what the genre could and should stand for. There, she brandishes a fist full of glow sticks to fight the dread that lurks in the dark. Slap bass intrudes, his gnomic utterances fold in on themselves, and his clenched voice disappears completely amid ambient guitar and unholy noise. largest wave of civil-rights protests in American history. FTW's top 20 albums of 2020. December 18, 2020 9:00 am. –Dani Blum, Cut off from her usual muses—her crew and the club—Charli XCX needed a different kind of community space to inspire her this year. Writing with more personality and candor than ever about a range of difficult themes—depression, loss, misogyny, the complications of loving on one’s own terms—they’ve also loosened their taut pop rock just enough to breathe more life into it, incorporating the ‘90s Lilith rock of Sheryl Crow, the blue-skied strums of Wilco, and a groovy Lou Reed interpolation. Oh, and those extended guitar-driven instrumentals we know you are all drooling for? Share br />this article: –Sam Sodomsky, On Eternal Atake, Lil Uzi Vert employs an extraterrestrial concept that should be kitschy—in the album’s trailer, he’s jetted into the cosmos in a saucer the size of a city block by a humanoid cult—but instead lends the LP an intergalactic sheen. On their pop- and R&B-bending second album Ungodly Hour, they’re figuratively slapping an ID card on a bar and saying, “Bartender, I need a drink.”, The Bailey sisters have quietly lost some of the wide-eyedness of the past and instead turned towards the flotsam and jetsam of twentysomething life. –Evan Minsker, Grimes embodies the unhuman on Miss Anthropocene. All rights reserved. However, it has certainly underlined the importance of music and the role it has to play to unite us, heal us and make the hard times more bearable. Poignant collages of interviews split the album into sections; the speakers’ recollections of hurtful memories and childhood bedrooms suffuse the music with empathy. –Vrinda Jagota, Listen/Buy: Rough Trade | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal, While the Korean-American producer Yaeji has anchored her previous work in strobe-lit beats and floor-shaking bass, her first full-length mixtape captures the anxious, aching throb of the morning after a night out. His deep familiarity with each of those touchstones—he prefaced Live Forever with an EP of National covers—allows him to explode them from within and rethink not just how but if they speak for him. This album arrived in the thick of a global lockdown, and I don’t think you could have found a voice more suited and comforting than Laura’s at that moment in time. The result is some of the finest songwriting of Swift’s career, vivid storytelling both personal and fictional (and somewhere in between), stuffed with more Easter eggs than a Marvel movie. Stereogum's 50 best albums of 2020. After steamrolling detractors over classic Biggie on withering opener “Shots Fired,” the reigning Hot Girl shifts her focus to more pressing concerns, namely flexing and sexing. “If this is all that we get, so be it,” Kempf insists, a bit of wistful resignation that doubles as a mission statement for their proudly stripped-down approach. Bedroom is that album, a full-on submergence in a swirling pool of gothic shoegaze, abundant with suffocating jams and life-saving attacks of adrenaline. Tom Misch + Yussef Dayes - What Kinda Music17. Hers is a musicality of the disguise and the costumes are multiple. That’s the precise kind of biting honesty that Alana, Este, and Danielle brilliantly amplify on Women in Music Pt. It makes for a complex and personal statement about the nature and worth of Black creativity and labor. Her fifth album’s title is a personification of the anthropocene, a theorized geological epoch in which civilization provokes its own destruction via climate crises. A stirring set of songs that lift, punch, and play, while also pausing for tender thought and rather poignant clarity. AllMusic's Highest Rated Albums of … Rarely has there been an artistic statement this stirring, this staggering, this powerful. View Top 100 AlbumsTell us your favourites and keep the conversation going #RTtop100, And so to wrap up this most dismal of years, we offer up some of our personal album picks for 2020 from both sides of the…, It's been a pretty sh*t year, but great music has lifted us and carried us through. It is a testament to Dylan’s spectral presence as a singer, and the sympathy of his accompanists, that the uptempo tunes often seem as misty and elusive as the slow ones. Gordon’s howls are hell-bent and infatuated, with Tumor’s raspy pleas pushing them both closer to the edge of oblivion. Yet, despite the gruelling impact of Covid both personally and professionally on so many people, many electronic acts still managed to battle on through as our 2020 Review of the Year feature explored. “I have a gift, I’ve been told, for seeing what’s there,” she sings on “The Eye,” and her perspective has never sounded so clear. As befits an artist obsessed with being a superhero, Burna Boy’s music is thoroughly posthuman: much of its succulence comes from how the singer’s lilting cadences mesh with Auto-Tune. The Quietus Albums Of The Year 2020. On Have We Met, the Vancouver-based Destroyer maestro slips into another velvet interior, only to find it's a sort of Black Lodge. –Jia Tolentino, From her early punk recordings alongside sister Allison to her quietly devastating solo albums, Katie Crutchfield is always steadfast in her truth. If you'd picked up a pen at the end of last year and listed the things to look forward to in 2020, you'd have been spoiled for choice. Throughout Hannah, her fifth album as Lomelda, her expressive warble blooms and shrinks into strange and beautiful phrasings, heightening their meaning. Twirling in the fog of producer DJ Parrot’s near-industrial spin on 12” disco, Murphy lets us into her wildest dreams and wrongest desires (“Ten lovers in my bed / But I want something more,” she sings on “Something More”). These instrumentals lend a “sense of comic relief,” Allison says, “like when you joke with your friend about your unhealthy habits.” In a year when hundreds of thousands of Americans perished, we needed friends desperately—someone to make us laugh, and someone to sit with us at shiva. Follow our countdown of the 50 best albums of 2020 Like the insect that wears its skeleton outwards - she adorns a polished carapace that hides a candid nature. Look, Pramuk seems to declare, at how much we contain. No artist wants to be pigeonholed, but for Strange this resistance is crucial to the art he makes as a Black man working in a field most associated with white dudes. On this album, Bridgers talks to the deceased, arranging a bouquet of lyrical details to lay on the tomb of a singer whose life was taken long ago. Hadreas sings about misery and disconnection, about feeling unrecognizable to himself, about shepherding an inexperienced lover through his first gay encounter and picking his pockets afterwards. –Olivia Horn, Listen/Buy: Rough Trade | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal, Quality Control / Wolfpack Global / Motown / Capitol, It’s taken time for Lil Baby’s My Turn to grow into the beautiful, sprawling mess that it is. It’s sassy R&B, beach-ready house, crass nu-metal and ultra-pure-neon-pop-power, all stuck together with PVA glue and glitter. –Philip Sherburne, Listen/Buy: Rough Trade | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify, “Genres keep us in our boxes,” Bartees Strange sing-raps on “Mossblerd,” a song that sounds like it’s falling apart even as he’s putting it together. Consider The Angel You Don’t Know proof-of-concept of an alt-afropop offshoot, destined for a global audience without sacrificing its cultural roots. Site also contains reviews, ratings & more. It’s both the country album she was destined to make and an acknowledgment that self-acceptance is hard-won; Saint Cloud reckons with addiction, sobriety, imperfect romance, trauma, and trying to navigate it all. Much like Sufjan Stevens in the songs of Carrie & Lowell, Allison ventures into the tundra of her despair and emerges with an unsparing and unsentimental account of survival. Somehow the record doesn’t suffer from the delay, if anything the often drumless production—heavy on somber piano melodies and lush samples—is timeless. There is almost no reverb. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. The Allmusic 2020 Year In Review. A confident and utterly engrossing album from a band firmly at the helm of their own creative calling. –Jenzia Burgos, On her fourth studio album, UK singer-songwriter Jessie Ware conjures the erotic frisson of the cruisy dancefloors we aren’t permitted to congregrate on while the global pandemic rages on. –Eric Torres. With Saint Cloud, Crutchfield’s fifth album as Waxahatchee, she climbs to solid ground, emerging from the storm self-assured. Informed by what our customers have talked to us about, what’s been in most demand across our shops, and what we’ve all been turning to in response to a very testing year. Perfume Genius, Phoebe Bridgers, Fiona Apple, Lil Uzi Vert, Bad Bunny, and Moses Sumney. According to bandleader Robin Pecknold, Fleet Foxes’ fourth album carries the mission to live “fully and vibrantly” in celebration of lost heroes like Arthur Russell and John Prine, an especially poetic resolution in the grey hours of the present. He isn’t pining for the good old days; he is reacclimating himself in the present, poking holes in the very idea of nostalgia and showing how memories live on. But even though she’s sick of the bullshit surrounding her, she doesn’t let it consume her being. –Brian Josephs, A band’s impact shouldn’t be hypothetical, but here’s Dogleg, the debutants of Michigan emo, whose breakout year mostly took place in the imagination. But they’re also jam-packed with sharp, critical observations about growing up with dual identities, the Orientalist gaze, and the trappings of femininity. Equal parts retro and fresh, Future Nostalgia is redolent of elements from the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, nodding to the work of artists like Blondie, Chic, Kylie Minogue, Nile Rodgers, Prince, Madonna, and Daft Punk. After recording various live concerts throughout 2018, this record is the result of a collaborative writing project with audiences, informed by the band's ever-developing performances. –Jazz Monroe, Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal, “My execution might be televised.” That line and others from Freddie Gibbs’ “Scottie Beam” appeared in black marker on handmade signs this summer, held aloft in cities across the country during what may have been the largest wave of civil-rights protests in American history. Instantly, it felt more like an unfocused, loose, and chaotic mid-aughts Lil Wayne mixtape with memorable tracks like “All In,” where the flexes are brilliantly batshit (Lil Baby threatens to wreck his Lambo truck just to prove, to no one in particular, that it’s not rented). Sawayama is an album that morphs musical elements into a giant megazord of monster pop, built to defeat the drab mundanity destroying our lives. The album is always enchanting and full of small surprises: the particularly cartoonish warble of a synth on “Sayonara,” the intimate binaural hums on the meandering “Marafon 15,” the burst of laughter answering the lure of a saxophone on the cosmos-traversing “Plans.” New details peek out on every listen, like elements of wonder waiting to be discovered. He does a lot more of whatever he wants throughout the rest of the record—from sad boi trap to acoustic rap balladry to emocore—but not without first celebrating those who made it all possible. Stallion ’ s sassy R & B, beach-ready house, crass nu-metal and ultra-pure-neon-pop-power, all stuck together PVA... Imagined the music of the sound of someone freeing themself from a mental prison built by others unknowingly. Bejar the cagey proprietor of this dream world or the disoriented guest, record. By the self has evolved from fragile, complicated vulnerability to maternal love and maturity all. 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