I had meant to share this before last year ended. That dreaded year. But alas it’s here now.
These albums became timestamps on the year, at least on a personal level. Waxahatchee introduced Saint Cloud the same day I lost my job in late March. Fiona Apple helped as I applied for jobs a couple weeks later. As I moved to a new city in late June, a handful of these albums made the drive a bit easier.
Music has this way of making time halt.
I’ll share the movies I enjoyed most before the Academy Awards on April 25. Since so many movies pushed their release dates, it’ll give me enough time to watch the movies I didn’t get to during 2020.
For now, I’m working on a couple more blog posts. 2020 brought change. Plenty of it. I’m focused on writing more in 2021. I hope you don’t mind.
Without further ado…
Note: These are in alphabetical order. They’re just albums I really liked. I couldn’t possibly rank one over another.
Apologies to Haim, Moses Sumney, Field Medic, soccer mommy, Run the Jewels, 070 Shake, Taylor Swift and more.
The Avalanches, We Will Always Love You
I know moments ago I said I couldn’t rank one album over another. This album makes that difficult. The variety of collaborators sticks out. Blood Orange, Kurt Vile, Leon Bridges, MGMT, Pink Siifu, Jamie xx, Denzel Curry. Just name after name. Listening to this over 71-minute album feels like a never-ending journey. Sure, certain songs jump out more than others, but how it unfolds from one song to the next makes it nearly impossible to only listen to one song. Give it a try. All hour and 11 minutes.
Charli XCX, how i’m feeling now
I can’t pinpoint exactly why I like Charli XCX’s music so much. It probably has something to do with the production, namely BJ Burton, who has worked heavily with Bon Iver, specifically their past two albums. Burton also co-wrote 7 Years, his only writing credit on the album. She made this album over a six-week isolation as the pandemic shutdown England, making it ideal for 2020. Bop after bop.
Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters
The first truly great album of the decade. A record that will be played time and time again.
Fleet Foxes, Shore
Shore arrived on the first day of fall. It’s an ideal album for a Western New York autumn, especially in 2020. I remember walking around my neighborhood to this calm and spectacular record, providing the necessary comfort for such a difficult year.
Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist, Alfredo
What a combination. I have a certain regard for “Scottie Beam.”
Kevin Morby, Sundowner
There’s something mystical about Kevin Morby. His storytelling is as impressive as ever on Sundowner.
Novo Amor, Cannot Be, Whatsoever
I found Novo Amor while listening to a random playlist created by Spotify based on Bon Iver. The Welsh native debuted his first EP in upstate New York, however. That was in 2014. Since, Novo Amor, who’s birth name is Ali John Meredith-Lacey, has created two full-length albums, including Cannot Be, Whatsoever. His style harkens back to Bon Iver’s earlier days, which is probably why his music resonates so strongly with me. I urge you to give him a listen.
Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher
Was there ever a doubt? I listened to Phoebe Bridgers more than any artist in 2020, according to Spotify.
Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud
Waxahatchee displays a song writing clinic in Saint Cloud. These songs never grow old—even after the fifth or sixth listen. Katie Crutchfield’s talent has a songwriter is impressive with an innate ability to make every single song feel so personal.
Yves Tumor, Heaven to a Tortured Mind
In early quarantine, I kept playing the single Kerosene! It felt so unique. In early April, Yves Tumor’s third album arrived, bringing with it style and persona.