The blend is familiar but always fresh. Sacramento metal vets the Deftones march into each new decade with batteries fully charged. A list of things that are still happening: 2021, the Super Bowl, and the Weeknd. The most thrilling example of this arrives this year with Set My Heart on Fire, Immediately. I just thought, ’Damn. —Madison Vain, Don’t call it a throwback. If you’ve been burying your feelings over the last couple of months, turn this record up and prepare for the flood. ), 2020 is full of quality stand-alone hits too. Gramophone is part of This spring’s Southside raises the stakes a little, introducing trap drums to “Let It Down” and “Hard to Forget,” tightening up pure country foundations on “2016,” and blending both sides beautifully on “Kinfolks,” “Young Once,” and “Drinking Too Much.”. Esteemed producer Robin Hannibal doesn’t work with just anybody, so the fact that he’s all over Niia’s second full-length album, II: La Bella Vita, should be a tip-off — this independent LA-based songwriter is the real deal. We’ve rounded up some of the best pop albums 2020 has seen thus far, check it out. Has 2020 already seen its best album? “Anything from my environment can become material, from an acoustic recording to conversations on public transport,” shares London artist and producer Li Yilei, whose debut album employs this all encompassing approach to sound. Charli expertly melts together industrial grime, fluttering tones, and lively production that further cements her niche corner of pop with boundary-pushing music lovers.–C.D. —Madison Vain, “My love won’t change, my love won’t change,” Isbell sings on “Overseas,” “my love won’t change a thing.” Sobriety anthem “It Gets Easier” makes its title promise and continues “but it never gets easy.” “Dreamcicle” evokes an idyllic summer night only to reveal its protagonist’s broken home and guilty desire to grow up and get out of town. They're listed below in chronological order. Why Robert Benchley Was the Master of Comedy About Nothing. Dua Lipa looked to the past with her ’80s-inspired sophomore record, The Weeknd issued a brooding, vibe-heavy contender, and Charli XCX did something unprecedented with her latest release. Two years removed from their Grammy-nominated debut album The Kids Are Alright, Chloe and Halle returned with the sophomore effort Ungodly Hour. Cosmopolitan participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Ethereal pop? Following in the footsteps of her great grandmother, and ‘Mother of Taraab’ Siti Binti Saad, Muharam has been paired with On the Corner producer and collaborator Sam Jones to merge traditional kidumbak percussion and Taraab layering. Having explored reissues, we turn our attention to albums – spanning from Zanzibar soul and Djibouti funk to Chicago jazz, UK hip-hop, Japanese house and beyond. Well, 2020 was the year these diehards were finally rewarded. Good News: Megan Thee Stallion features an excerpt from her interview with Vulture’s Hunter Harris on the cover. Sorry, I don’t make the rules! As breakout stars of Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment collective, Atlanta sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey enjoy fantastic beats, videos, and promotion the same way signees to artists’ imprints like John Legend have always made the most of resources trickling down from talented benefactors. All rights reserved. “Bloodstream” and “Circle the Drain” are summery tunes about the elusiveness of happiness and the knuckle-busting difficulty of putting up a strong front in the face of adversity. Jon Dolan & Brittany Spanos & Jonathan … The album’s thirteen songs not only showed the Baileys improved musically but it also proved that they were growing up, losing a bit of innocence and embracing their imperfections in the process.–W.O. Seattle’s Fleet Foxes make gorgeous, rustic folk designed to lift the listener up out of whatever place and time they’re settled in and drop them off in a world of misty mountains and windy plains. This album is alllll about losing love but finding yourself, so if either of those things have happened to you—even one without the other—you’ll have Instagram caption inspo for days. The Dancing Devils of Djibouti sees the nine-member collective merge funk-fuelled rhythms with traditional instrumentals, lead by the mesmerising vocals of singer Asma Omar. That’s where Uproxx comes in. With help from Rostam Batmanglij and Ariel Rechtshaid, the Haim sisters have crafted the breakthrough album they’ve been headed toward all along. Written and recorded from quarantine using social media as her crowdsourcing tool for collaboration, the record boasts playful hooks, futuristic distortion, and all the emotions that arrive with experiencing a global pandemic alongside a longtime partner. His timing is better, and his verses are more personal. Our 10 favourite new vinyl releases this week (6th November), Auntie Flo launches 24-hour radio station, Ambient Flo, Andrew Weatherall’s creative spirit and life explored in new book, Brooding dub meets “medieval cult sounds” on Tolouse Low Trax & Emmanuelle Parrenin’s new LP, Dâm-Funk returns to Garrett alias for new LP on Music From Memory, Choral ambiance floats through layered electronics on Venus Ex Machina’s, Fact relaunches print magazine with Ryoji Ikeda, Kelsey Lu, Pan Daijing, Kahlil Joseph in first issue. How I’m Feeling Now is the first major label studio album completely conceived in quarantine and an open-arm embrace of the noisy, glitchy electronics of Charli’s pals in PC Music and 100 gecs. Whoever you are, wherever you are—unplug from the news and find some much-needed respite with the best music of the year so far. Chloe x Halle deserve it; they’re great performers and solid actresses, as anyone who listened to 2018’s The Kids Are Alright or watches Grownish can attest. BTS’ fans (the “BTS Army,” if you will) have proven themselves more than deserving of world-class pop, and justly, that’s what BTS has provided and continues to offer on their latest. (Take a quick look at his bloody close-up on the album art for reference. To illustrate the point, he spends the whole of his second album, Eternal Atake, juggling three personas, each with distinct styles and quirks. The album feels like a world unto itself where the dominant sounds of this one don’t necessarily exist. Grimes, J Hus, The Big Moon, King Krule, Caribou, Childish Gambino and more – here's who's making 2020 not terrible . With help from Masego, Lucky Daye, Jhene Aiko, and more, her sophomore effort stands as her strongest release to date.–W.O. Lyra Pramuk explores a post-human, non-binary understanding of life through a sound she describes as “futurist folk” – think Arthur Russell hues – on Fountain. His albums have, since his 2010 debut, dared to toy with any sound that moves him. Bill Fay is still a force in his 70s. Lauv’s debut album is full of quality collabs like “Who,” featuring K-pop fave BTS. Synthetic Americana? Written by VF Team. Like a cooling breeze cascading over you on a springtime afternoon, DJ Python returns with new album Mas Amable, on Anthony Naples’ Incienso imprint. Kelly Allen is the editorial assistant for Delish & House Beautiful, where she covers a whole range of news including food, lifestyle, and travel. Pianist Alexandre Kantorow continues his extraordinary progress with a further remarkable example of his virtuosity and artistry, showing both skill and sensitivity throughout this captivating programme. Nyege Nyege primed us for brilliance of the album with a Metal Preyers cassette sampler at the start of the year – an evocative cut and paste aesthetic that abstracts Kampala’s nightlife into new formations continues throughout. On her brilliant second studio full-length as Soccer Mommy, singer-songwriter Sophia Allison traverses stress and family illness, closely capturing the bleak hollowness of depression through weaponized slacker rock. Like Behan, Fontaines is trying to make the most out of a sticky situation in songs like “I Was Not Born” and “I Don’t Belong,” both rejections of the weight of others’ expectations, or “Televised Mind,” which seems to poke fun at a world too glued to phone, TV, and computer screens to feel anything. We rounded up the 14 best albums that 2020 has had to offer, so far. Share. Esquire participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The median between Weeknd’s Max Martin and Illangelo modes is gorgeous, glistening synths over trap drums, with delightful deviations like the New Wave cut “Save Your Tears” and the power ballad “Scared to Live.” The writing’s just as tight, and there’s a cohesion of sound and vision we haven’t seen since his mixtape days. But that tag undersells the effortless smoothness of the album and the buoyancy of the grooves, which carry a whiff of Yonce’s progressive, often operatic approach to soul and otherwise evoke great forward-thinking groups through R&B history. Run the Jewels is like if the Alien sequels kept getting slowly and progressively better instead of going the other way around. There are plenty of quality tunes, from groovy Tame Impala to pop ballad queen Selena Gomez to broody The Weeknd for you to sink your teeth (ears?) … Harry Styles is redefining what it means to be a rockstar with his sophomore album Fine Line. Tapping into her love for jazz and Mariah Carey, La Bella Vita expertly showcases Niia’s incredible voice and emotional storytelling.–Caitlin White. Come for El and Mike’s advice for these divided times and stay for 2 Chainz, Zack De La Rocha, Gangsta Boo, and Pharrell. It’s unlikely to be the last cultural venue the city loses this year. 20. Basil E., a woman who gets things done. Though she was held captive by Blackground Records for years, JoJo proves why talent overrules all with each track that lives on the project. Across its 13-compositions Halo traversed from “aqueous, subterranean drones and plaintive folk pieces for violin and cello, to pseudoclassical piano mutations.”. Styles previously admitted the album’s theme is “all about having sex and feeling sad.” But rather than being explicit, those themes are artfully woven throughout the record. ICYMI, Slim Shady is back. Perhaps it should be old news by now, given the cadence at which her albums arrive, but the near-eight-year-wait for Fiona Apple’s latest missive was, in fact, worth it. There’s coarse punk rock and gritty sludge on one end and weightless songs about drifting and flying on the other. The Weeknd Will Headline the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime Show. Much has been made of the quality of Jay-Z’s raps here, for good reason. Thank goodness our Kosovar-British pop princess had a full disco album in the chamber. Sam Hunt is that guy. The fruits of Guns N' Roses' long-awaited return to the studio, maybe. NME’s best albums of 2020… so far. On Her Slow-Burning Sixth Album ‘Positions,’ Ariana Grande Is Explicitly In Love, Looking Back At Jay-Z’s ‘The Dynasty’ Album, 20 Years Later, Dorian Electra’s ‘My Agenda’ Takes A Deep Dive Into The Darkest Corners Of The Internet, The Rundown: A Good Faith Attempt To Explain How And Why ‘How To With John Wilson’ Is So Good, Desi Lydic On The Fitting ‘The Daily Show’ Tribute To Ruth Bader Ginsburg And How She Changed America, In ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,’ The ‘Victims’ Have Become The Performers, Iraqi-Canadian MC Narcy Explains The Danger Of Internet Deep Fakes, The Best Ways To Research Down Ballot Candidates And State Measures, Talking With NBA Veteran Al Harrington About Black Representation In Cannabis, Master Brewer Jaega Wise On Getting More Women Into The Beer Industry And Brewing During A Pandemic. —Madison Vain, Reggaeton is the most influential sound in global pop and hip-hop right now.