AllMusic Loves 2020


Look, we get it. By every possible metric, 2020 has been a rough year. When we started looking back at the music released over the past 12 months, we discovered that despite the tough times there have been plenty of moments to celebrate in 2020, at least as far as music is concerned. Some of these highlights may certainly look familiar to anybody who has been paying attention to music this year.

Fiona Apple made an audacious return with the dense, cacophonous Fetch the Bolt Cutters, while also appearing on Bob Dylan’s down and dirty Rough and Rowdy Ways. Other familiar names cut a lasting impression: Charli XCX captured the sound of the isolated zeitgeist on How I’m Feeling Now, Stephen Malkmus turned to folk on Traditional Techniques, Phil Elverum revived the Microphones for the aptly-named Microphones in 2020, and Kylie Minogue cut an ode to DISCO.

But there were just as many good to great albums and singles made from artists who aren’t quite household names. There was the wild and experimental All Thoughts Fly from Anna von Hausswolff, the bewitching Silver Ladders by Mary Lattimore, Poppy’s art-pop I Disagree, and Zephaniah OHora’s Listening to the Music, a Bakersfield country album recast for the big city. Rappers as varied as Boldy James, the Koreatown Oddity, and Headie One reached new artistic heights, and outliers Sault offered not one but two more dynamic and defiant albums.

For all of these records and many more, AllMusic found reasons to love 2020.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques
Soccer Mommy – color theory
Low Cut Connie – Private Lives
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Reunions
Zephaniah OHora – Listening to the Music
Brandy Clark – Your Life Is a Record
Taylor Swift – folklore
The Strokes – The New Abnormal
H.C. McEntire – Eno Axis
Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You
Sam Morrow – Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down
Lilly Hiatt – Walking Proof
HAIM – Women in Music, Pt. 3
Public Enemy – What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?
Waylon Payne – Blue Eyes, the Harlot, the Queer, the Pusher & Me
Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started
Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now
Jarv Is… – Beyond the Pale

Heather Phares
Arca – KiCk i
Julianna Barwick – Healing Is a Miracle
Bill Callahan – Gold Record
Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now
Cold Beat – Mother
Deerhoof – Future Teenage Cave Artists
Facs – Void Moments
Katie Gately – Loom
Magik Markers – 2020
Walter Martin – The World at Night
The Microphones – Microphones in 2020
Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine
Oneohtrix Point Never – Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
Perfume Genius – Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
Sevdaliza – Shabrang
The Soft Pink Truth – Shall We Go on Sinning So That Grace May Increase?
Soko – Feel Feelings
Susanna – Baudelaire & Piano
Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
Wire – Mind Hive

Tim Sendra
2nd Grade – Hit to Hit
Basic Plumbing – Keeping Up Appearances
Built to Spill – Plays the Songs of Daniel Johnston
Cornershop – England Is a Garden
Fuzz – III
Gum Country – Somewhere
I Break Horses – Warnings
Hen Ogledd – Free Humans
The High Water Marks – Ecstasy Rhymes
Kidbug – Kidbug
Los Blenders – Mazunte 2016
Loving – If I Am Only My Thoughts
Magik Markers – 2020
Odessey & Oracle – Crocorama
The Orielles – Disco Volador
Population II – A La O Terre
Spinning Coin – Hyacinth
Supercrush – SODO Pop
The Twilite Tone – Clearing
Winter – Endless Space (Between You & I)

Brigid Dawson & the Mothers Network – “The Fool”
Childish Gambino – “24.19”
Damaged Bug – “Sold America”
Helen Love – “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”
HOLY – “My Fata Morgana”
Holy Wave – “Schmetterling”
International Teachers of Pop – “I Stole Yr Plimsoles”
Jade Hairpins – “J Terrapin”
Kestrels – “Grey and Blue”
Steve Kilbey – “Sheba Chiba”
Little Barrie – “Steel Drum”
The Luxembourg Signal – “Take It Back”
Melkbelly – “Little Bug”
Moon Attendant – “Hot Power”
The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “Your Parents Were Wrong About You”
Smokescreens – “Working Title”
Wares – “Tall Girl”
Devon Williams – “Domesticated”
The Yearning – “Don’t Take Me to Heart”
Yelle – “Vue D’en Face”

John Bush
Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways
Fleet Foxes – Shore
Oracle Sisters – Paris I
The Orielles – Disco Volador
Bonny Light Horseman – Bonny Light Horseman
HAIM – Women in Music, Pt. 3
Idles – Ultra Mono
Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes – What Kinda Music
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Sideways to New Italy
upsammy – Zoom
Destroyer – Have We Met
Earth Boys – Earth Tone
Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
Charley Crockett – Welcome to Hard Times
The Flaming Lips – American Head
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
Tennis – Swimmer

Sam Interface – “Crud”
Sofia Kourtesis – “Sarita Colonia”
Konx-Om-Pax – “Rez [Skee Mask Remix]”
LT – “Darién Gap”
Till Von Sein – “Catching Rays”
Earth Boys – “Sonoma”
Andrew Weatherall – “Unknown Plunderer”
Moses Boyd – “Only You”
Oscar Jerome – “Sun for Someone”
Nubya Garcia – “The Message Continues”
The Orielles – “Come Down on Jupiter”
Oracle Sisters – “Asc. Scorpio”
Chicano Batman – “Color My Life”
#1 Dads – “Twice a Fool”
Sault – “Monsters”
Julianna Barwick – “Inspirit”
Perfume Genius – “Describe”
Protomartyr – “Processed by the Boys”
Nap Eyes – “Mystery Calling”
caroline – “Dark Blue”

Matt Collar [Spotify]
Angelica Garcia – Cha Cha Palace
Seaway – Big Vibe
Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong
Phantom Planet – Devastator
Hayley Williams – Petals for Armor
Sunny Jain – Wild Wild East
Nada Surf – Never Not Together
The Neighbourhood – Chip Chrome & the Mono-Tones
Hum – Inlet
Joel Ross – Who Are You?
Secret Machines – Awake in the Brain Chamber
San Cisco – Between You and Me
Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas
The Naked and Famous – Recover
The Vamps – Cherry Blossom
Chain Gang of 1974 – Honey Moon Drips
Takuya Kuroda – Fly Moon Die Soon
Christian Sands – Be Water
Endless Field – Alive in the Wilderness
Field Music – Making a New World

Seaway – “Big Vibe”
Phantom Planet – “Time Moves On”
Bombay Bicycle Club – “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)”
Angelica Garcia – “It Don’t Hinder Me”
Sunny Jain – “Immigrant Warrior”
Cassowary – “Belt Notch!”
The Strokes – “Bad Decisions”
The Vamps – “Married in Vegas”
The Chain Gang of 1974 – “Giving It Up”
The Neighbourhood – “Pretty Boy”
Kylie Minogue – “Magic”
San Cisco – “Messages”
Lianne La Havas – “Can’t Fight”
Hayley Williams – “Cinnamon”
Takuya Kuroda – “Change”
Field Music – “Money Is a Memory”
Hum – “Waves”
Nada Surf – “Something I Should Do”
The Naked and Famous – “Bury Us”
Secret Machines – “Talos’ Corpse”

Marcy Donelson [Spotify albums/singles]
Angel Olsen – Whole New Mess
Sondre Lerche – Patience
Frances Quinlan – Likewise
Miserable Chillers – Audience of Summer
The Strokes – The New Abnormal
Thurston Moore – By the Fire
Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways
The Saxophones – Eternity Bay
2nd Grade – Hit to Hit
A Girl Called Eddy – Been Around
Sports Team – Deep Down Happy
Yo-Yo Ma/Stuart Duncan/Edgar Meyer/Chris Thile – Not Our First Goat Rodeo
Anna von Hausswolff – All Thoughts Fly
Julianna Barwick – Healing Is a Miracle
Yves Jarvis – Sundry Rock Song Stock
Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline
Soccer Mommy – color theory
Dead Famous People – Harry
The Reflectors – First Impression
BOYO – Where Have All My Friends Gone?

Danny Elfman – “Happy”
Sondre Lerche – “Why Would I Let You Go”
Adrianne Lenker – “anything”
The Strokes – “The Adults Are Talking”
Sports Team – “Here’s the Thing”
Dead Famous People – “Looking at Girls”
The Beths – “Not Getting Excited”
Run the Jewels – “JU$T”
Irma Vep – “I Do What I Want”
don’t – “Yellow Feathers”
Honey Cutt – “Vacation”
Once & Future Band – “Freaks”
Helena Deland – “Someone New”
Tall Tall Trees – “Expectations”
Porches – “Do U Wanna”

Andy Kellman [Spotify]
Sault – Untitled (Black Is)/Untitled (Rise)
Irreversible Entanglements – Who Sent You?
Boldy James/Sterling Toles – Manger on McNichols
Cleo Sol – Rose in the Dark
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
Nazar – Guerrilla
Mourning [A] BLKstar – The Cycle
Thundercat – It Is What It Is
Teyana Taylor – The Album
Xavier Omär – If You Feel
Shabaka & the Ancestors – We Are Sent Here by History
Actress – Karma & Desire
Brandy – B7
The Bug ft. Dis Fig – In Blue
Ka – Descendants of Cain
Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas
King Krule – Man Alive!
Eddie Chacon – Pleasure, Joy and Happiness
Dinner Party – Dinner Party
Lyric Jones – Closer Than They Appear

Schoolhouse BLK f/ Big Sant – “Turn It Blue”
Omar S f/ John FM – “Hear Me Out”
Irreversible Entanglements – “No Más”
Luke James f/ Kirby – “All of Your Love [Remix]”
Laura Groves – “Infinite Wisdom”
The Vision – “Missing [The Maurice Fulton Extended Mix]”
Angela Muñoz – “I Don’t Care”
Charles Webster f/ Ingrid Chavez – “The Spell [Vocal Remix]”
Gabriels – “Love and Hate in a Different Time”
Loraine James f/ Jonnine – “Don’t You See It?”
Anz – “Loos in Twos (NRG)”
Dornik f/ Gavin Turek – “Do You Wanna?”
George Riley – “Trixxx”
Teyana Taylor – “Still”
Moses Boyd f/ Poppy Ajudha – “Shades of You”
Starchild & the New Romantic – “Fall_Window”
Bless the Mad – “Show Me the Way”
Carmen Rodgers – “Again and Again”
Terrace Martin – “Lies”
Dua Saleh – “Umbrellar”

James Christopher Monger [Spotify]
Kvelertak – Splid
Poppy – I Disagree
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Bibio – Sleep on the Wing
Creeper – Sex, Death & the Infinite Void
This Is the Kit – Off Off On
Skyway Man – The World Only Ends When You Die
Daniel Romano – How Ill Thy World Is Ordered
Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
Algiers – There Is No Year
Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
Loma – Don’t Shy Away
Myrkur – Folkesange
Nadine Shah – Kitchen Sink
Honey Harper – Starmaker
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Perfume Genius – Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
All Them Witches – Nothing as the Ideal
Early James – Singing for My Supper
Everything Everything – RE-ANIMATOR

Zeal & Ardor – “Wake of a Nation”
Algiers – “Dispossession”
Kvelertak – “Bråtebrann”
Loma – “Ocotillo”
Poppy – “Concrete”
Perfume Genius – “Describe”
Christine and the Queens – “People, I’ve Been Sad”
Agnes Obel – “Broken Sleep”
Sonya Belousova/Giona Ostinelli/Joey Batey – “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher”
Field Music – “Money Is a Memory”
Oneohtrix Point Never – “Long Road Home”
Jonathan Hultén – “The Mountain”
Everything Everything – “In Birdsong”
Zervas & Pepper – “Reeds and Rushes”
Matt Wilson & His Orchestra – “I Can’t Return”
Arch Garrison – “Like a Diamond Bright”
Caribou – “You and I”
Will Ferrell & My Marianne – “Jaja Ding Dong”
Kylie Minogue – “Say Something”
Phoebe Bridgers – “I Know the End”

Timothy Monger [Spotify]
Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia
Myrkur – Folkesange
BC Camplight – Shortly After Takeoff
En Attendant Ana – Juillet
Arch Garrison – The Bitter Lay
RVG – Feral
Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
Westerman – Your Hero Is Not Dead
The Streets – None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive
Faten Kanaan – A Mythology of Circles
The Homesick – The Big Exercise
Bibio – Sleep on the Wing
Shirley Collins – Heart’s Ease
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Fleet Foxes – Shore
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Toby Hay – New Music for the 12 String Guitar
Matt Wilson & His Orchestra – When I Was a Writer
Bill Wells – Plays the Music of Bill Wells
Cornershop – England Is a Garden

Christine and the Queens – “People, I’ve Been Sad”
Nap Eyes – “Mark Zuckerberg”
Laura Marling – “Fortune”
Kylie Minogue – “Say Something”
Mapache – “Cactus Flower”
International Teachers of Pop – “Don’t Diss the Disco”
Poppy – “Concrete”
Georgia – “Started Out”
Dirty Projectors – “Search for Life”
Remi Wolf – “Hello Hello Hello [Polo & Pan Remix]”
Arbor Labor Union – “Flowerhead”
Hamilton Leithauser – “The Garbage Men”
Baxter Dury – “I’m Not Your Dog”
Deerhoof – “Future Teenage Cave Artists”
Pure Bathing Culture – “Something Silver”
Tristen – “Can’t Walk That Back”
Monte Pride – “If I Had Known”
James Elkington – “Nowhere Time”
Bedouine – “The Hum”
Anna Burch – “Not So Bad”

Paul Simpson [Spotify]
The Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed
The Microphones – Microphones in 2020
Lauren Bousfield – Palimpsest
RXM Reality – blood blood blood blood
Vladislav Delay – Rakka
FARWARMTH – Momentary Glow
Nubya Garcia – Source
Hyph11E – Aperture
Nazar – Guerrilla
Linea Aspera – Linea Aspera LP II
Rian Treanor – File Under UK Metaplasm
Nathan Fake – Blizzards
Rafael Anton Irisarri – Peripeteia
Liv.e – Couldn’t Wait to Tell You…
Cocktail Party Effect – Cocktail Party Effect
Villaelvin – Headroof
Evicshen – Hair Birth
The Bug ft. Dis Fig – In Blue
Arca – KiCk i
Squarepusher – Be Up a Hello

Nailah Hunter – “White Flower, Dark Hill”
Jayda G – “Are U Down”
India Jordan – “I’m Waiting (Just 4 U)”
Khruangbin – “Time (You and I)”
Standing on the Corner – “Angel”
J Hus f/ Koffee – “Repeat”
En Attendant Ana – “Down the Hill”
Special Request – “Spectral Frequency”
Loraine James f/ Jonnine – “Don’t You See It?”
Klara Lewis – “Ingrid”
KMRU – “Peel”
Michael Rother – “Fierce Wind Blowing”
Beatrice Dillon – “Clouds Strum”
Sully – “Swandive”
2Lanes f/ Kesswa, John FM, Ian Fink & Shigeto – “Baby’s Born to Fish…”
Anz – “Loos in Twos (NRG)”
AceMo – “Mind Element”
FIT Siegel – “Exist On”
Tim Reaper – “Make It Real”
Aaron Spectre – “Impeach the Prez”

Neil Z. Yeung [Spotify]
The Killers – Imploding the Mirage
Lady Gaga – Chromatica
Kylie Minogue – DISCO
Deftones – Ohms
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Poppy – I Disagree
Acceptance – Wild, Free
Paris Jackson – Wilted
Ava Max – Heaven & Hell
Joywave – Possession
Blaqk Audio – Beneath the Black Palms
Duke Dumont – Duality
Hatari – Neyslutrans
Rina Sawayama – Sawayama
The Sounds – Things We Do for Love
Allie X – Cape God
BTS – Map of the Soul: 7
Blossoms – Foolish Loving Spaces
Run the Jewels – RTJ4

The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”
The Killers – “Caution”
Kylie Minogue – “Say Something”
Harry Styles – “Watermelon Sugar”
Myrkur – “House Carpenter”
Niall Horan – “Arms of a Stranger”
Joji – “Daylight”
BTS – “Dynamite”
BlackPink – “How You Like That”
Melanie C – “Who I Am”
The Head and the Heart – “Honeybee”
Tame Impala – “Is It True”
The Strokes – “Bad Decisions”
EOB – “Shangri-La”
My Morning Jacket – “Feel You”
Stabbing Westward – “Dead and Gone”
Grey Daze – “Sometimes”
Nathaniel Rateliff – “And It’s Still Alright”
Sonya Belousova/Giona Ostinelli/Joey Batey – “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher”
Will Ferrell & My Marianne – “Double Trouble”

James Wilkinson
Pacific Range – High Upon the Mountain
Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways
Bananagun – The True Story of Bananagun
Mapache – From Liberty Street
The Orielles – Disco Volador
Brigid Mae Power – Head Above the Water
Snowgoose – The Making of You
Doves – The Universal Want
Other Lives – For Their Love
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques
Jon Brooks – How to Get to Spring
Web Web – Worshippers
Sault – Untitled (Black Is)
Craven Faults – Erratics & Unconformities
Melenas – Dias Raros
Juniore – Un Deux Trois
Willie J Healey – Twin Heavy
En Attendant Ana – Juillet
Bill Fay – Countless Branches
Aoife Nessa Frances – Land of No Junction

Moonlight Parade – “Paint the Sun”
Grandaddy – “RIP Coyote Condo #5”
Damien Jurado – “Birds Tricked into the Trees”
Rose City Band – “Morning Light”
Andy Shauf – “Living Room”
Cavern of Anti-Matter – “The Dress Persepctive (demonstration)”
El Goodo – “The Grey Tower”
Belbury Poly – “They Left on a Morning Like This”
James Righton – “The Performer”
Bonny Light Horseman – “Bonny Light Horseman”
The Flaming Lips – “Flowers of Neptune 6”
Monophonics – “Chances”
Wax Machine – “Mysty Mountain”
Peel Dream Magazine – “Pill”
The Hanging Stars – “I Woke Up in July”
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “Falling Thunder”
Andy Bell – “Heat Haze on Weyland Road”
Kevin Morby – “Sundowner”
Emma Kupa – “Hey Love”
William Tyler – “With News About Heaven”

Rich Wilson [Spotify]
Pinegrove – Marigold
Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone
Beach Bunny – Honeymoon
Lemon Quartet – Crestless
Porridge Radio – Every Bad
Dogleg – Melee
Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud
Empty Country – Empty Country
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers
Julianna Barwick – Healing Is a Miracle
Rival Consoles – Articulation
Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song
The Flaming Lips – American Head
Anna von Hausswolff – All Thoughts Fly
Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
Goodbye Party – Beautiful Motors
No Thank You – Embroidered Foliage
Greg Dulli – Random Desire
Kooba Tercu – Proto Tekno

David Crone
Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG
The Weeknd – After Hours
R.A.P. Ferreira – Purple Moonlight Pages
Ka – Descendants of Cain
Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways
Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez
Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide
Boldy James/Sterling Toles – Manger on McNichols
Eartheater – Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin
Mac Miller – Circles
Manga Saint Hilare – Make It Out Alive
Laylow – Trinity
Moses Sumney – græ
Ajate – Alo
Armand Hammer – Shrines
Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You
Headie One – EDNA
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now
Brian Brown – Journey

Bob Dylan – “Key West (Philosopher Pirate)”
The Weeknd – “Faith””After Hours”
Ka – “Every Now and Then”
Bad Bunny – “Si Veo a Tu Mama””Compositor del Año””Yo Perreo Sola”
Gorillaz – “Aries”
Mac Miller – “Woods”
Moses Sumney – “Keeps Me Alive””Bless Me”
Unknown T – “Prison”
Boldy James/Sterling Toles – “Detroit River Rock”
M Huncho – “Indulge”
R.A.P. Ferreira – “CYCLES”
Teeway – “Private Ryan”
Run the Jewels – “JU$T”
Sada Baby – “2K20”
SL – “Hit the Block””Who Knows”
King Von – “Don’t Want to Be Me”
Lianne La Havas – “Paper Thin”
Loski/MizOrMac – “On Me”
KEYAH/BLU – “South””If You Know”
98s – “Pay Attention””Family”

Liam Martin [Spotify]
Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club
Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
Crack Cloud – Pain Olympics
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Katy J Pearson – Return
Bambara – Stray
Knxwledge – 1988
Anna von Hausswolff – All Thoughts Fly
Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
Osees – Protean Threat
Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today
Ghost Funk Orchestra – An Ode to Escapism
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques
Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension
Doves – The Universal Want
Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
Against All Logic – 2017 – 2019
Jaga Jazzist – Pyramid
Thurston Moore – By the Fire

Yves Tumor – “Gospel for a New Century”
Matt Berninger – “Serpentine Prison”
Katy J Pearson – “Hey You”
Real Lies – “Boss Trick”
Bambara – “Heat Lightning”
Working Men’s Club – “Angel”
Grimes – “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth”
Obongjayar – “Frens”
Muzz – “Bad Feeling”
Protomartyr – “Processed by the Boys”
Four Tet – “Baby”
James Blake – “Do You Ever”
Knxwledge – “itkanbe[sonice]”
Phoebe Bridgers – “I Know the End”
Crack Cloud – “Post Truth”
Gorillaz – “Désolé”
Cagework – “Simmer”
Osees – “Terminal Jape”
Billy Nomates – “Hippy Elite”
Will Butler – “Bethlehem”

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