5. Dua Lipa- Future Nostalgia
Future Nostalgia was one of the earliest albums I really loved this year- and to think that I didn’t really like much of her debut record whatsoever makes it stand out even more. It’s a breezy listen, full of pleasant, disco and funk inspired tracks that were insatiable. The delivery is confident, playful and memorable. The replay value is ridiculous, it’s just so damn fun. My favourite mainstream pop release of 2020. (Also, as a side note, the most beautiful vinyl package I picked up this year too.)
4. Boris- NO
Boris’ NO was the most epic, blazing, furious metal/punk release of 2020, and it was delivered by industry veterans. There isn’t a single second wasted on this album, every song just hits the right spot, mercilessly pummelling it’s listener with a series of epic riff after epic riff. Even when it slows down a little, it’s still heavy as fuck. This is the best Boris album in quite a long time, and will attract both casual fans back (hell, it might serve as a great starting point) and will please long-term Boris listeners alike.
3. Phoebe Bridgers- Punisher
Phoebe Bridgers’ “Punisher” was the biggest ‘grower’ release of the year for me- it’s subtlety is quite overwhelming at first. But, after a few listens, it really begins to open itself up to you, and is one of the most beautiful, poignant, political and outright beautiful collection of tracks of 2020. It was one that I kept going back to, it feels like it could have been written by ghosts. Worthy of all the hype and attention it is getting, Phoebe Bridgers really stepped up her game for this one, and will definitely be one of the most exciting new acts to watch in the future. Don’t skip it.
2. Seiko Oomori- Kintsugi
Seiko Oomori’s latest work wasn’t just another Seiko Oomori album, it was yet another landmark from her, which demands your attention and doesn’t let go. Here is her most confident, mature, and purely singer-songwriter style work since TOKYO BLACK HOLE, that will not only please her fans but has proven to even win over some of her long-term naysayers. There isn’t a track here that isn’t worth your time, even it’s damn Christmas track is a strong listen. Seiko Oomori has at this point, figured out exactly who she is- and has released the album that proves that she’s one of the most brilliant songwriters of our generation. The best Japanese pop album of 2020, easily
1. Rina Sawyama- SAWAYAMA
SAWAYAMA has been the soundtrack to my entire year, it’s gotten me through the bleakest moments of 2020, it’s exciting as fuck, crucially timed, and immediately feels like a landmark record in UK pop. Rina’s charming personality shines through in every song- and the issues she covers here all seem to be timely; ironically backed by cherry picked sounds from late 90s to mid 00s. It’s also got that circus funhouse feel of sounds, one moment you’ll be pummelled by a nu-metal riff, to be then hit by something that could have been on a Christina Aguilera record- all while fundamentally being self aware and with a wink. What is most important though, is that Rina’s written this record (even in its admittedly cheesier moments) from an earnest place, and that’s why people are still listening to it almost a year down the track. It’s the most significant release of 2020 for me, and was always gonna be my pick of album of the year. I absolutely LOVE this record.
Can’t wait to see what’s next from Rina.
And there we have it, 2020’s best albums wrapped up!