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Feature: The 40 Best Albums of 2020

So: that was 2020. Not one we’ll look back on especially fondly, to say the least, and yes, it’s arguably so obvious that it’s not worth mentioning, but in relation to end-of-year lists, it’s important to acknowledge the effect the pandemic has had on the way we’ve listened to music.

Unlike every other year in living memory, the overwhelming majority of music has been experienced at home, occasionally with friends, but more often than not alone. And while music produced as a direct result of covid didn’t start to appear until halfway though the year, what we chose the listen to has undoubtedly been shaped by our relative isolation.

There are albums on this list alone that probably would have been higher had live music been on the agenda, and others still that haven’t appeared at all. Not that quiet introspection was necessarily all we wanted by any means, but any list published should be done so with the caveat that some artists and their albums have suffered more than others without the visceral thrills of experiencing them live, loud and – most importantly – alongside other people.

Regardless, the year has seen the release of some truly sublime bodies of work. Here are my very favourites of an outrageously good bunch.

40. Rafael Anton Irisarri – Peripeteia

39. Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders

38. Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight to Eternity

37. Austra – Hirudin

36. Oneohtrix Point Never – Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

35. Ultraista – Sister

34. Nathan Micay – The World I’m Going To Hell For

33. Ana Roxanne – Because of a Flower

32. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Mosaic of Transformation

31. Omar Apollo – Apolonio

30. Juliana Barwick – Healing Is A Miracle

29. Actress – Karma & Desire

28. Lorenzo Senni – Scacco Matto

27. Armand Hammer – Shrines

26. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately

25. Trevor Powers – Capricorn

24. Georgia – Seeking Thrills

23. Gabriel Garzon Montano – Aguita

22. Kota The Friend – Everything

21. Jessy Lanza – All The Time

20. Andrea – Ritorno

19. Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind

18. Brent Faiyaz – Fuck The World

17. Ty Dolla Sign – Featuring Ty Dolla Sign

16. Sea Oleena – Weaving A Basket

15. India Jordan – For You

14. Apollo Brown & Che Noir – As God Intended

13. Sault – Untitled (Black Is)

12. Empress Of – I’m Your Empress Of

11. Oklou – Galore

10. NNAMDI – BRAT

09. Quinton Barnes – Aarupa

08. Gia Margaret – Mia Gargaret

07. The Soft Pink Truth – Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase

06. Keeley Forsyth – Debris

05. Nation Of Language – Introduction, Presence

04. DJ Python – Mas Amable

03. Buscabulla – Regressa

02. Anjimile – Giver Taker

01. 070 Shake – Modus Vivendi

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