20 defining albums of 2020

Britni Dunn and Bart Carmody

2020 has been a tumultuous and shocking year, but one bright thing that came out of this year was the plethora of inventive and beautiful music.

Many artists found themselves with an excess of time and creativity during the pandemic and produced some of the most top-notch records of their careers.

To honor the mind-blowing amount of high-quality music that has come out this year, The Pace Press has compiled a list of 24 of the greatest albums that defined the year. 

For your listening pleasure, here are the marvelous works of music that came out this year, unranked but in order of release date:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mac (@macmiller)

Mac Miller: “Circles”

Release Date: January 17, 2020

Major music in 2020 opened up on a very bittersweet note with Mac Miller’s posthumous album “Circles” in mid-January. Miller’s untimely death in September of 2018 shocked not only the hip-hop industry but industries across the board, some of his closest friends and acquaintances being funk legend Thundercat and pop sensation Ariana Grande. While many cite Miller as a rapper at heart with projects like “Best Day Ever” and “K.I.D.S.” being incredibly nostalgic for many youths these days, his evolution as an artist over the past decade has been like none other. His 2013 release “Watching Movies with the Sound Off” received vast critical acclaim, being cited as a conceptual art piece that explored the inner struggles and maturity of a previously whimsical hip-hop rascal, while his album only three year later “The Divine Feminine” featured previously unexplored rap-pop ballads and gorgeous, sometimes harp-filled production paired with harmonious vocals from Miller. This evolution is what makes his 2020 release “Circles” so bittersweet – it perfectly shows just how far Miller had come, while showing that he still had so much to offer. The utterly enjoyable “Blue World” feels magically melancholic, as Miller spits over a chopped-up and synth-filled sample of a barbershop quartet cut, but is only immediately contrasted with pure-melancholy cut “Good News,” a song so eerily foreboding and gloomy that it’s brought many listeners to tears. While Miller had been taken from us far too soon, “Circles” feels like the perfect send-off to an artist with such an incredible talent to blend and shape genres so effortlessly.

Highlights: “Blue World,” “Good News” “Right”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @badbunnypr

Bad Bunny: “YHLQMDLG” 

Release Date: Feb. 29. 2020

Latin trap and reggaetón star, Bad Bunny, has had one of the quickest assents to stardom in recent years. The Puerto Rican pop star, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, now known as Bad Bunny, was a grocery bagger posting on Soundcloud in 2016, and has since played sold-out arenas, had incredibly successful singles as well as released a critically acclaimed debut album, “x 100pre.” Bad Bunny’s sophomore album is an even deeper look into the roots of reggaetón and Puerto Rican influenced Latin trap. “YHLQMDLG,” or Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana (I Do Whatever I Want) was one of the greatest albums released in 2020. Bad Bunny’s album features flawless production that recalls the best parts of the past of reggaetón and the new era of reggaetón. The star produced the party album of the year, and during a year where we are stuck inside, this album is the perfect way to feel like you’re at the club or the beach again! 

Highlights: “Pero Ya No,” “Safaera” “Hablamos Mañana” 


Jhené Aiko: CHILOMBO

Release Date: March 6, 2020 

The masterful storyteller and R&B artist Jhené Aiko released her third studio album this year, “Chilombo,” which is her given last name and means “wild beast.” The remarkable 20-track piece is filled with Aiko’s signature smooth and completely chill voice and rhythms along with the whimsical essence she leaves in her music. Aiko’s “Chilombo,” is its own atmosphere, giving off vibrations of a picturesque day relaxing in the sun. The album is a look into heartbreak and the feelings that come along with a break-up and Aiko’s journey of healing and becoming more and more confident. The entire album is full of Aiko’s easy-flowing, fluttering melodies, cementing her role as someone who creates some of the most atmospheric and tranquil R&B music of our time. One of the shining stars of the album is the seductive and inventive bop: “P*$$Y Fairy (OTW),” in which Aiko’s sultry, glimmering voice effortlessly coos: “I got you sprung off in the springtime/ Fuck all your free time/ You don’t need no me-time/ That’s you and me time/ We be gettin’ so loud/ That dick make my soul smile/ That dick make me so proud.” “Chilombo,” is a vibe of its own and a remarkable piece of music that shows off Aiko’s ethereal vocal range and texture. 

Highlights: “Triggered (Freestyle),” “B.S. (Feat. H.E.R)” “Tryna Smoke”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Weeknd (@theweeknd)

The Weeknd: “After Hours” 

Release Date: Mar. 20, 2020

The Weeknd created a new album that mixes the sound of his original mixtapes and later radio hits that seem to be close to, if not exactly, what Abel Tesfaye has been searching to create. Tesfaye has created a cinematic world along with his music; “After Hours,” being the most cohesive concept album the artist has created yet with the villainous, melancholy and over-the-top persona he has created for albums as well as short films, including the “After Hours,” short film. Throughout the life of this album (performances, the short film, album cover, etc) Tesfaye is seen in a red suit, a bandaged nose and a bloody face. “After Hours” is the most satisfying of Tesfaye’s works cinematically and musically, with a masterful blend of R&B, a plethora of syths and new-age pop that the Weeknd is known for. The album debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the biggest first streaming week for an R&B album ever. The single, “Blinding Lights,” was basically the background music to 2020 spending four weeks at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and continuing to be one of the top songs throughout the year. Tesfaye hauntingly sings in his unmistakable falsetto about his usual tropes of sex, loneliness and destructive tendencies but this time with a refined vision that fulfills the artistic vision fans have waited to see from the star. 

Highlights: “Blinding Lights,” “Heartless” “Save Your Tears”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by DUA LIPA (@dualipa)

Dua Lipa: “Future Nostalgia”

Release Date: Mar. 27, 2020 

British pop icon Dua Lipa, who won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2019 proved herself to be an ascending star with her sophomore album, “Future Nostalgia.” The “Don’t Start Now” powerhouse finds herself pushing the limits of her sound and voice great pay off. The glittering album is a mixture of electro-pop, disco and her classic radio-hit sound, making for a magnetic and cohesive piece that brought fans together at the beginning (and throughout) quarantine. Lipa created what could be called her best song to date with the hit, “Levitating,” a disco-inspired track that is an all-out blast to listen to, and might have you using “sugar boo” as a new pet name: “You want me, I want you, baby/ My sugarboo, I’m levitating/ The Milky Way, we’re renegading.” She brings a storm of girl power and woman empowerment to the forefront throughout the entire album, but especially on the last track, “Boys Will Be Boys.” Lipa has cemented herself in the world of pop princesses with this shining album that fits its name so well, it is full of nostalgia and pop of the future. Read more about it in our full-length review! 

Highlights: “Levitating,” “Physical” “Boys Will Be Boys”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Strokes (@thestrokes)

The Strokes: “The New Abnormal”

Release Date: April 10, 2020

After seven long years of waiting, a couple of solo departures and even an appearance at a Bernie Sanders rally during the early days of the most recent election, fans of iconic new-age rock band The Strokes were finally rewarded for the patience with their newest LP, “The New Abnormal.” While the album did feel like a disembarkment into new sounds and aesthetics, it simultaneously felt like a return to form for the New York legends, as songs like “The Adults Are Talking” and “Eternal Summer” showcased some of frontman Julian Casablancas’s rarely-exhibited falsetto vocals, while the track “Bad Decisions” featured the band’s trademark lo-fi rock sound that was so effortlessly captured in their earliest works. The record is almost perfectly sliced in half, as the first half of the album featuring more upbeat and hopeful ballads, and the second half of the album feeling more melancholy and longing, making for a perfect combination that conveys a cocktail of emotions for an album delivered during a summer of uncertainty and unprecedentedness.

Highlights: “The Adults Are Talking,” “Eternal Summer” “Why Are Sundays So Depressing”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Pitchfork (@pitchfork)

Fiona Apple: “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”

Release Date: April 17, 2020 

Fiona Apple created what many critics and fans have called the album of the year through her vulnerable, unequivocal and heart-breaking “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” Apple breaks free of all former conventions of music in this album with gnashing chords, banging drum beats and vocals unlike anything she has ever created. The album has a type of ethereal, untouchable quality of its own, as it feels like Apple is releasing her deepest, most truthfully painful emotions through the music. Apple experiments not only with music, but impressive lyricism that is so raw it can only be accompanied by screams, growls, unbelievable trills and tricks and any other unconventional sound the artist could use to express the emotions that seem to be jumping out of her. “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” explores Apple’s deepest traumas and the pain women face in the aftermath of sexual assault and abuse in a way that is guttingly honest. The resilience and self-love displayed through the hurricane that is “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” is striking. The first track of the album, “I Want You To Love Me,” is a stunning piano ballad, entering listeners into the new era of Apple that will leave you breathless with the sheer gravity of all you hear: “And while I’m in this body/ I want somebody to want/ And I want what I want/ And I want you/ To love me.” The album is a look into the sociopolitical climate of the world, the effects of evil men in power as well as a look deep into Apple’s own mind. Read more about it in our full-length review!

Highlights: “Shameika,” “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” “Ladies”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rina Sawayama (@rinasonline)

Rina Sawayama: “SAWAYAMA”

Release Date: April 17, 2020 

One of the most inventive and boundary-pushing albums of the year came from the Japanese-British model and pop singer, Rina Sawayama, with her self-titled debut. The album is a whirlwind, masterful mix of nu-metal influences like Korn and Y2K pop princesses like Britney Spears for an unbelievable, emotion-filled album that sounds like nothing anyone else in the pop industry is producing. Sawayama achieves a feat like no other with the metal-inspired “STFU!” in which the artist tells racists in her twinkling whisper to shut the f*ck up in between heavy guitar-laden verses that express the frustration of dealing with years of microaggressions. She also takes on an Evanescence-like quality in the very first track, “Dynasty,” beginning the album with a bang and telling listeners right from the jump that this album will go far beyond the borders of pop. Sawayama has a playful and other-worldly take on the pop music of today with songs like “Comme Des Garçons (Like the Boys),” a club banger empowering women to feel confident and “XS,” a commentary on the “excess,” of today’s pop music. “Sawayama,” is one of the greatest triumphs of 2020 and pushes the limits of music in a way that is stunning to hear unfold. 

Highlights: “STFU!,” “Akasaka Sad” “Paradisin”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kehlani 🍯🔥 (@kehlani)

Kehlani: “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t”

Release Date: May 8, 2020

Kehlani’s second full-length album was one of the highest critically acclaimed R&B albums of the year. The intimate R&B triumph displays the singer’s ability to create a space in music that feels so present and intentional. The album displays love that is, in ways, always in danger of being lost– a love Kehlani seems to sing about with warm familiarity. The album is packed with fantastic featured artists like Jhené Aiko, Masego, Lucky Daye and James Blake, along with a short skit from Megan Thee Stallion, playfully entitled: “Real Hot Girl Skit.” “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t,” has no shortage of sensual R&B club tracks like “Serial Lover” in which the artist sings: “I got bodies I’ma take to the grave/ I got girls I wanna give my last name/ no regrets, don’t got no shame/ playin’ no games/ play my way.” The album does show many of Kehlani’s softer sides with her ability to convey so much through her sweet and honey-like voice, she especially showcases this in the James Blake feature “Grieving,” and “Everybody Business.” The most striking emotional piece, however, is “Lexii’s Outro,” a track that is a tribute Kehlani’s close friend Lexii Alijai, who passed away this year at the age of 21. The hauntingly beautiful track is full of energy as the incredibly talented Alijai raps: “Matter fact, don’t let ’em see you down/ ‘Cause if they see you down, they gon’ try to get up/ They gon’ know that you stuck, exactly what they want/ So even if you f*ckin’ up, you gotta put on that front/ You gotta act like you’re on top, even if your sh*t sunk.” Kehlani utilizes all of her strengths, proving she has carved out a unique, enduring spot in the music industry that suits her incredibly well, allowing fans to watch her transcendence musically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Highlights: “Toxic,” “Water” “Open (Passionate)” 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Charli (@charli_xcx)

Charli XCX: “How I’m Feeling Now”

Release Date: May 15, 2020 

Pop star of the future, Charli XCX, released one of the most important albums of 2020. “How I’m Feeling Now” was made alongside fans, allowing them inside looks into the writing process and allowing fans to write right along with her through social media. XCX created “How I’m Feeling Now” in a very DIY style way, from her home in Los Angeles. She used the tools at hand, and the feelings of the current moment amid the pandemic to create a project unlike anything else. She makes sure to bring the club into quarantine with lyrics like: “I just wanna go real hard/ pink diamond in the dark,” set to raucous club beats in the very first track “Pink Diamond.” She also provides more introspective moments like the penultimate track “anthems.” The star sings: “I want anthems/ late nights, my friends/ New York.” She also discusses her long-term relationship that was heading downhill before the pandemic, only for XCX and her boyfriend to become closer through quarantine. This provides for some of the star’s most candid lyricism like in the track “7 Years,” an intense pop record in which XCX sings and raps: “I really, really love you for life/ Without the Holy matrimony, I’m wife /We went from distant to inseparable types.” XCX is at her most vulnerable in this album that is truly the ultimate timestamp for the year 2020. This is an album showing the universalities of the struggles of loneliness, anxiety and confusion while in a worldwide crisis, in which people are, for the most part, isolated. 

Highlights: “forever,” “claws” “party 4 u”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga)

Lady Gaga: “Chromatica”

Release Date: May 29, 2020

Lady Gaga’s sixth studio album was released after delays due to the pandemic in May, introducing fans into the glittering, neon world of Chromatica. The star’s single with Ariana Grande, “Rain on Me,” took the world by storm as the two powerhouse singers created an anthem for a world of people that felt the water raining down on them, having the world singing: “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive.” “Chromatica” returns to Gaga’s dance-pop roots, blending in electronic, pop and house music into the album that is full of the grand theatrics Gaga is known for. The star brought fans the funky and camp concept album that they have been craving while possibly being her most emotional record to date, giving listeners an unfiltered look into her mind. The star sings about her antipsychotic medication in the hit “911,” over one of the best dance beats created this year, Gaga robotically sings: “I can’t see me cry/ Can’t see me cry/ This is the end/ My biggest enemy is me/ Pop a 911.” She tackles her mental health head-on throughout the album, making it one of her most honest pieces of works to date. “Chromatica,” packs a punch with unbelievable tracks that seem otherworldly like “Sine From Above,” a track that feels like a fever dream in the best way– the two artists created a song that was triumphant and incredibly over-the-top. This is also the case with the last track, “Babylon,” which holds an air of silliness and light-heartedness that is hard to capture, but Gaga is able to pull it off. The track is a perfect end, allowing Gaga to express the gossip that has been so prevalent in her life of stardom. “Chromatica” is one of the defining albums of 2020 and brings hope, color and the dance floor to a year that was completely lacking in all of it. 

Highlights: “Sour Candy (Feat. BlackPink),” “Enigma” “Replay”




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by chloe x halle (@chloexhalle)

Chloe x Halle: “Ungodly Hour”

Release Date: June 12, 2020 

The incredibly talented Beyonce-influenced sister duo, Chloe and Halle, released their sophomore album that displayed a brilliant transition into the more mature era of their lives than with R&B masterpiece that is “Ungodly Hour.” The pair dive deeply into their personal and intimate lives with hit after hit, an album that pulses with life and joy through the sisters’ hardships and triumphs. The pair playfully sing about casios, quickly doing their makeup for parties they’re late for, and threatening to kill unfit lovers. The futuristic pop sound is especially prevalent in the title track, the pair wistfully harmonizing: “When you decide you like yourself (holler at me)/ When you decide you need someone (oh, call up on me)/ When you don’t have to think about it/ Love me at the ungodly hour.” Chloe x Halle also slowed it down quite a few times throughout the album for times of self-reflection and moments of complete vulnerability like “Forgive Me” and “Wonder What She Thinks if Me.” The pair slow it down in the slick latter track in which they mesmerizingly explore what it would be like to be the other woman. The album has no skips and is an exceptional piece of work from the two sisters that listeners have literally gotten to watch grow and become two fantastic artists. 

Highlights: “Baby Girl,” “Do It” and “Busy Boy”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Phoebe Bridgers (@_fake_nudes_)

Phoebe Bridgers: “Punisher”

Released: June 18, 2020 

Phoebe Bridgers has begun a new era of indie-alternative music since she released her first album 2017’s “Stranger in the Alps,” in which she set the precedent of her calm, blunt voice that deadpan tells listeners details that most would find useless, but make Bridgers’ music what it is. “Punisher,” earned the artist her first Grammy nominations this year, with five nominations including Best Alternative Music Album. The album is wistful, heavy and filled with influence from one of the singer’s favorite artists, Elliot Smith. Bridgers is more herself here than ever and has only skyrocketed in her career since releasing her first album, bringing the lessons and tricks from that onto her sophomore album to make for an absolute triumph filled with experimental tracks, drums and screaming. Each song on the album is like a pinch to the heart and a punch to the gut, strikingly honest and forthcoming. The album can be summed up in the words of the last track, “I Know The End,” sung in Bridgers’ conversational tone: “Either way, we’re not alone/ I’ll find a new place to be from/ A haunted house with a picket fence/ To float around and ghost my friends/ No, I’m not afraid to disappear/ The billboard said, “The end is near”/ I turned around, there was nothing there/ Yeah, I guess the end is here.” 

Highlights: “Garden Song,” “Graceland Too” and “I Know The End.” 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Arca (@arca1000000)

Arca: “KiCk i”

Release Date: June 26, 2020

Since the earliest days of her career, Venezuelan producer and vocalist Arca has shown incredible promise and potential to create some of the most ethereal, otherworldly sounds in modern-day music. From the earliest works of her solo career such as her “Stretch” EPs, to producing for an array of notable artists such as Kanye West, FKA Twigs and Bjork, the artist’s flair for enchantingly uncanny production has always been near-unachievable. And her most recent LP, “KiCk i,” feels like the perfect testament to that fact. Challenging modern-day pop through both cunning lyricism and unrelenting glitch-pop production, Arca sounds as supernatural as she looks on the album’s cover, dressed in sci-fi esque wardrobe against a minimalistic yet coldly futuristic background. While her self-titled album prior to this release focused more on her incredibly lonesome ballads belted over ambient production, “KiCk i” features more percussion-filled, rapidly-changing beats. The track “Nonbinary” is unapologetically fierce, as Arca self-flirtatiously opens the song with “I do what I wanna do when I wanna do it/Bitch, I got the bags to prove it/Hips to move it around and make shapes, yes/Trim the waste off and the waist down girl, it’s life off/It’s french tips ‘round a dick.” The song “Mequetrefe” is a similarly new look for Arca, as she takes an original reggaetón beat and distorts it until it’s just barely recognizable; just catchy enough for the listener to still want to dance to something so warped. “KiCk i” being the first installment in a four-part series, it’s nearly impossible to tell what sounds Arca will achieve next.

Highlights: “Nonbinary,” “Mequetrefe” “KLK (feat. ROSALÍA)”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Juice WRLD 9 9 9 (@juicewrld999)

Juice Wrld: “Legends Never Die” 

Release Date: July 10, 2020 

Songwriter, rapper and deeply loved and celebrated artist, Juice Wrld’s, first post-humous piece of work was dropped in July of this year, giving fans a poignant and evocative look into his mind. This album is one of Juice Wrld’s most emotionally-charged and self-aware pieces of work, dealing with some of the internal struggles the icon was facing like anxiety, heartbreak and drug addiction. Juice Wrld created an enduring album that put in effort to show his fans how they can overcome and face deep-rooted issues and sadness. The album is filled with the emo tinges that Juice Wrld is known for, with a conversational tinge to it, especially in the gut-wrenching track, “Wishing Well.” The song deals with the late rapper’s addiction to drugs like Percocet with gritty honesty that feels all too familiar and haunting for fans: “Let’s be for real/ If it wasn’t for the pills, I wouldn’t be here/ But if I keep taking these pills, I won’t be here,” and a simple but deeply painful repeated message: “I can’t breathe, I’m waiting for the exhale/ Toss my pain with my wishes in a wishing well.” “Legends Never Die,” has 21 tracks and includes masterful features from The Weeknd, Trippie Red, Kid Laroi and more. The album was one of the top streamed rap albums of the year, debuting at no.1 on the Billboard 200 and providing a continued look into the life and mind of the young Chicago-native rapper that will remain one of the most celebrated pieces of his work for many years to come. 

Highlights: “Wishing Well,” “Can’t Die” “Come & Go (With Marshmello)”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

Taylor Swift: “Folklore”

Release Date: July 24, 2020 

Taylor Swift has always been known to be a perfectionist, someone who writes all of her songs with intricate meaning and painstaking detail, often leading super-fans on scavenger hunts of sorts in her lyrics and videos, so it came as a complete shock when Swift announced she was surprise-releasing a quarantine album with no advertising or singles. The album was co-written with alternative-indie band, The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bleacher’s Jack Antonoff, with who Swift has worked with many times before. “Folklore” is definitely a diversion from Swift’s bright radio-pop “Lover,” and is instead an indie-influenced album that takes fans back to Swift’s early career that focused more on acoustic storytelling. The album is exactly its title: folklore. It is a collection of stories– some that are made up from Swift’s wandering quarantine brain like the teen love triangle of “Cardigan,” “August,” and “Betty,” and some that she was told like that of her grandfather in the military and doctors during the pandemic in the song “Epiphany.” This album seems to be the beginning of a new era for Swift’s life and music, an era that cares less about how others perceive her, as can be summed up in the very first lines of the album: “I’m doing good/ I’m on some new sh*t/ Been saying yes instead of no.” 

Highlights: “Exile (feat. Bon Iver),” “Invisible String” “Betty”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jaden Smith (@c.syresmith)

Jaden: “CTV3: Cool Tape Volume 3”

Release Date: Aug 28, 2020

Six years after “CTV2,” the third volume of The Cool Tapes, Jaden Smith sheds his dark and gloomy persona surrounding the “SYRE” and “ERYS” periods for a funky and retro album that recalls to the cheery classic pop influences of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, a stark difference from his last couple projects. “CTV3” is a combination of Jaden’s philosophical, emotional rapping and beachy, colorful pop. Jaden is at the top of his game in this particular project, pushing his artistic limits sonically and lyrically to create a feel-good album that holds the weight of isolation perfectly. In one of the best tracks of the album, “LUCY!,” Jaden utilizes a sound that is completely opposite of that of his past few works, making a wavy and beachy pop track. The track is inspired by The Beatles’ “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds,” and has a classic beach movie feel to it as Jaden sings about a dreamy hallucinogenic-filled date: “On our first special date/ I thought we’d just hallucinate/ These are the wine and grapes/ Under the weeping willow tree.” The young artist shows off his impeccable rap chops throughout the album, despite its completely different feel than his past works, especially in the “SYRE” era throwback “Rainbow Bap.” Jaden combines the free-flowing vibrations of the album with his classic rap style, with quite possibly the best lyricism on the album: “Just another cold mornin’ in Paris, I know/ I wish I was takin’ you home/ But I ain’t takin’ the long train no more/ You don’t care about me and it’s tough, girl/ And I’m tryna feel your love but I’m not fucked up enough/ Man, what a pity New York City lights glow.” The entire album is like a rainbow kaleidoscope, giving a much needed reprieve from the dark clouds of the year. 

Highlights: “Rainbow Bap,” “Photograph” “Endless Summer (Feat. Raury)”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fleet Foxes (@fleetfoxes)

Fleet Foxes: “Shore”

Release Date: Sep. 22, 2020

The indie-rock band, Fleet Foxes, known for their distinctively existential, profound and nature-themed sounds and lyrics that make you feel like you’re hiking through the most peaceful mountainous landscape imaginable, released their fourth studio album to coincide with the autumnal equinox. “Shore,” was a true bright point in a year filled with sadness. While the album certainly has its share of melancholy moments and a heavy air to it due to the pandemic, lead singer Robin Pecknold’s radiant and hopeful lyrics and upbeat guitar riffs make for a true clear-eyed moment of reflection for a murky year. This album pays tribute to the influences of Pecknold including Robert Swift, Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Russell, John Prine and many more in the glimmering, folksy track “Sunblind,” and it is certainly a piece of work that lives up to the legendary influences of Pecknold. “Shore” is an incredibly timely album that revels in the little joys one can find in such a painful year while taking stock of the great losses sustained. The album is ultimately a message of hope for change, especially showcased through the song “A Long Way Past the Past,” in which Pecknold gracious final lines are: “That’s that, we’re a long way from the past/ I’ll be better off in a year or in two.” Read more about it in our full-length review!

Highlights: “Can I Believe You,” “For A Week Or Two” “Thymia”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by DORIAN ELECTRA (@dorianelectra)

Dorian Electra: “My Agenda”

Release Date: October 16, 2020

After their tumultuous entrance into the mainstream in 2019 with the debut LP “Flamboyant”, PC music superstar Dorian Electra had fans everywhere anxiously awaiting to see what was in store next. The album was a glitchcore rollercoaster ride that featured enormous bubblegum-pop production, witty self-awareness, and lyrics that challenged gender politics and the spectrum of sexuality. And while their newest LP “My Agenda” does not fall short of the same charm that “Flamboyant” achieved, it is certainly a 180 in sound and style – a dive into the darker side of Electra’s persona. The two album covers perfectly contrast one another; “Flamboyant” featuring Electra looking ethereal in front of a heavenly baby blue background, and “My Agenda” featuring Electra in a pitch-black setting, complete in crudely-done villainous make-up, wielding a sword. “My Agenda” also opens up in a very dark tone, with “F The World,” where almost Castlevania-like synths lead into an all-out, no-punches-held breakdown of glitch-pop and synthesized vocals from the artist. The song “Edgelord,” featuring early 2010’s Internet sensation Rebecca Black, is also sonically similar, as the two artists’ suave deliveries and clever narratives on incel culture make for an appropriately edgy and enjoyable anthem. Through both tongue-in-cheek concepts and twisted, chopped-up production, Electra has certainly shown that they have many tricks up their sleeves to come with “My Agenda.”

Highlights: “F The World (feat. The Garden, Quay Dash, & d0llywood1),” “Barbie Boy (feat. Sega Bodega)” “Edgelord (feat. Rebecca Black)”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hot Girl Meg (@theestallion)

Megan Thee Stallion: “Good News”

Release Date: Nov. 20, 2020

Rapper and absolute superstar Megan Thee Stallion, who was recently named GQ’s Rapper of the Year,  released her debut studio album, “Good News,” in an effort to give the world some good news in a year filled with bad news. The album is the ultimate comeback from the long year, especially for Megan who has had a plethora of issues on her plate this year like dealing with the death of her mother and being shot in the foot by Tory Lanez. She begins the album strong and full of energy with “Shots Fired,” addressing the shooting, then rapping “Circles,” an ode to all she has been through this year and “every bad bitch’s song.” Megan makes space to address the trauma she has been through within the past year or so in the song, singing: “Bullet wounds, backstabs, mama died, still sad/ At war with myself, in my head, bitch, it’s Baghdad/ New n*gga tryna come around and play clean/ And my clothes fit tight, but my heart need a seamstress.” The rest of the album keeps up with the full force of energy that it begins with, but is, as promised, all-out fun and a celebration of all she has been through. The album is full of hits like “Savage (Remix)” that features Beyonce, “Girls in the Hood” and “Body,” which became an Internet dance sensation after the music video came out (which featured Taraji P. Henson, Jordyn Woods, Blac Chyna and more). Megan brings unpredictable gems into the album as well, like the unexpected electro-pop “Don’t Rock Me to Sleep,” which differs greatly from the rapper’s usual sound and style. The star’s debut album is certainly not lacking in all-star features like SZA, City Girls, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Young Thug and more. 

Highlights: “Go Crazy (feat. Big Sean and 2 Chainz),” “Freaky Girls (Feat. SZA)” and “What’s New.”


HONORABLE MENTIONS: Albums we couldn’t do without

  • 070 Shake: “Modus Vivendi”
    • Release Date: Jan. 17, 2020
  • Eminem: “Music To Be Murdered By– Side B”
    • Release Date: Jan. 17, 2020
  • Beach Bunny: “Honeymoon”
    • Release Date: Feb. 12, 2020
  • Tame Impala: “The Slow Rush”
    • Release Date: Feb. 14 2020
  • King Krule: “Man Alive!”
    • Release Date: February 21, 2o20
  • Cavetown: “Sleepyhead”
    • Release Date: Mar. 27, 2020
  • Yves Tumor: “Heaven To A Tortured Mind”
    • Release Date: April 2, 2020
  • Hayley Williams: “Petals for Armor”
    • Release Date: May 8, 2020
  • Perfume Genius: “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately”
    • Release Date: May 15, 2020
  • The 1975: “Notes On A Conditional Form”
    • Release Date: May 22, 2020
  • Teyana Taylor: “The Album”
    • Release Date: June 19, 2020
  • HAIM: “Women in Music Pt. III”
    • Release Date: June 26, 2020
  • BTS: “Map of the Soul: 7 ~THE JOURNEY~”
    • Release Date: July 14, 2020
  • Ellie Goulding: “Brightest Blue”
    • Release Date: July 17, 2020
  • Flo Milli: “Ho, why is you here?”
    • Release Date: July 24, 2020
  • Shamir: “Shamir”
    • Release Date: Oct 2. 2020
  • Blackpink: “The Album”
    • Release Date: Oct. 22, 2020
  • Ariana Grande: “Positions”
    • Release Date: Oct. 30, 2020
  • Kylie Minogue: “DISCO”
    • Release Date: Nov. 6, 2020
  • Kali Uchis: “Sin Miedo (Del Amor y Otros Demonios)”
    • Nov. 18, 2020
  • Miley Cyrus: “Plastic Hearts”
    • Release Date: Nov. 27, 2020
  • Rico Nasty: “Nightmare Vacation”
    • Release Date: Dec. 4, 2020
  • Kid Cudi: “Man on the Moon III: The Chosen”
    • Release Date: Dec. 11, 2020
  • Jack Harlow: “Thats What They All Say”
    • Release Date: Dec. 11, 2020
  • Taylor Swift: “Evermore”
    • Release Date: Dec. 11, 2020
  • Paul McCartney: “McCartney III”
    • Release Date: Dec. 18, 2020