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.