The Best Albums of 2020



With every passing year the world of music expands at an exponential rate, with thousands of albums constantly being released each month -- all available with a single click, for free, through digital streaming services (personal preference: Spotify).


The following Top 30 Albums of 2020 have been selected after listening to more than 1000 brand new records this year. This list features countless genres, languages, and styles.. if it's the best, it's here, regardless of who made it or where it came from.


Scroll down for a Spotify playlist and detailed write-up of all 30 albums!


List of The Top Albums of 2020

  1. BLACKPINK - The Album

  2. Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

  3. TWICE - EYES WIDE OPEN MORE & MORE

  4. YUKIKA - SOUL LADY

  5. Run the Jewels - RTJ4

  6. Glass Animals - Dreamland

  7. Big Gigantic - Daybreak

  8. DREAMCATCHER - Dystopia : The Tree of Language Dystopia : Lose Myself

  9. IZ*ONE - BLOOM*IZ Oneiric Diary TwelveOne-reeler / ACT IV

  10. Shawn Wasabi - MANGOTALE

  11. Silverstein - A Beautiful Place to Drown

  12. PassCode - STRIVE

  13. Poppy - I Disagree

  14. Yung Gravy - Gasanova Baby Gravy 2

  15. Lil Uzi Vert - Eternal AtakeLUV vs. the World 2 Pluto x Baby Pluto

  16. Oliver Tree - Ugly is Beautiful

  17. Megan Thee Stallion - Suga Good News

  18. Princess Nokia - Everything Sucks Everything is Beautiful

  19. blackbear - everything means nothing

  20. DaBaby - BLAME IT ON BABY DELUXE My Brother's Keeper (Long Live G)

  21. Bring Me the Horizon - POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR

  22. Louis the Child - Here for Now

  23. Felly - Mariposa

  24. Ballyhoo! - Message to the World

  25. GROUPLOVE - Healer

  26. The American Classic - Forgive

  27. Denzel Curry - UNLOCKED

  28. Anti-Flag - 20/20 Vision

  29. FEVER 333 - WRONG GENERATION

  30. Chris Brown & Young Thug - Slime & B


Spotify Playlist of All Songs

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2sub6wRI4YqwXrZ2jgU323

Read About the Top 30 Albums of 2020

BLACKPINK - THE ALBUM

BLACKPINK is officially in your area. Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa pack more creative hits and absolute bangers into their debut full-length record than most artists could dream to create in their entire career. The appropriately titled THE ALBUM unquestionably sets the benchmark for international girl group K-pop in 2021 and beyond, easily claiming the #1 spot for best album of 2020 along the way.


Essential Songs

How You Like That

Ice Cream

Lovesick Girls


Lyrical Excerpt

Met him, then get him: I make sure we stay

Got the venom to dead him if he want a snake

I mean, sneak, I mean, play hide and seek

Know that I'm gonna find you

Make sure you get left 'fore you leave

Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

In an alternate universe where Dua Lipa's good friends (and collaborators) in BLACKPINK didn't unequivocally claim the title of best record of the year, Dua Lipa would be sitting at the top of the pack with her incredible sophomore full-length, Future Nostalgia. Masterfully curated and perfectly sequenced, the British singer-songwriter executes every idea with incredible precision and peerless vision to truly create what is inevitably going to be future nostalgia.


Essential Songs

Levitating

Don't Start Now

Physical


Lyrical Excerpt

If you wanna run away with me, I know a galaxy

And I can take you for a ride

I had a premonition that we fell into a rhythm

Where the music don't stop for life

Glitter in the sky, glitter in my eyes

Shining just the way I like

If you're feeling like you need a little bit of company

You met me at the perfect time

TWICE - Eyes Wide Open MORE & MORE

If there's anyone who could hope to contend with the genius and performance of #1 BLACKPINK and #2 Dua Lipa in 2020, it's Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu, and their career-redefining Eyes Wide Open (and accompanying MORE & MORE). 2020 finds TWICE delivering pitch-perfect, energetic K-pop that checks every box required to be considered a best of the year: unique, creative, and masterfully-executed.


Essential Songs

MORE & MORE

I CAN'T STOP ME

SAY SOMETHING


Lyrical Excerpt

I'm hearing all the alarms ring-a-ling

They go off every time that we're face to face

Why is it so hard to resist temptation sweet as honey?

I know it's too late

I feel it deep inside, I'm gonna lose the fight

Eventually I know that I'll be crossing the line

I try warning myself, 'cause I'm in need of help

Can't hold me back, already standing right at the edge out of control

YUKIKA - SOUL LADY

Yukika Teramoto channels the retro city-pop vibes of decades ago and infuses them with fantastic modern production and sounds to create SOUL LADY. Elegant and heartfelt instrumental opener "From HND to GMP" sets the tone for the entire album, a semi-autobiographical story that begins with a young Japanese woman flying out of Tokyo's Hanedia airport (HND) and landing in Seoul's Gimpo airport (GMP). Eventually becoming a SeOUL LADY along the way (and singing exclusively in this Korean foreign tongue), her truly beautiful debut album masterfully delivers the soundtrack to a late-night drive or leisurely stroll through a nostalgic, pre-pandemic, bustling city. Invoking profound serendipity, things close with the story's heroine learning that "All flights are delayed" upon arriving at the airport en route back home, where the only lyrics on the track are a response to that information: "“What should I do?”", spoken in native Japanese for the first and only time on YUKIKA's masterpiece record.


Essential Songs

SOUL LADY

I FEEL LOVE

All flights are delayed


Lyrical Excerpt, translated from original Korean

With a single ticket in my hands

All the dreams in me are precious

The scent of the city wraps around me today

It keeps making my heart flutter

Nights I was exhausted with loneliness

Countless lights come into my eyes

Overflowing into the night

I’m gonna play a little more

I’m gonna find a different me

Run the Jewels - RTJ4

When Killer Mike and El-P issue another installment in their self-titled album series, it's immediately a contender for album of the year, and 2020's RTJ4 is no exception to that rule. Politically, humanely, and emotionally light-years ahead of most of their peers, the fourth album from Run the Jewels was released during a time when most of the world is trying to play catch up to where the group was in 2013 with their debut; this makes RTJ4 sound even more potent, more virulent, and ultimately, more important than ever.


Essential Songs

ooh la la

yankee and the brave

JU$T


Lyrical Excerpt

Every day on the evening news, they feed you fear for free

And you so numb, you watch the cops choke out a man like me

Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, "I can't breathe"

And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV

The most you give's a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy

But truly the travesty, you've been robbed of your empathy, replaced it with apathy

I wish I could magically fast forward the future so then you can face it

And see how fucked up it'll be

I promise I'm honest, they coming for you the day after they comin' for me

Glass Animals - Dreamland

On their third album, Dave Bayley and his band pick up where How To Be a Human Being left off, this time swapping biographical fiction for autobiographical fiction. Dreamland is clean, slick, and, at its best, energizing and exciting, even when the topics swerve into darker themes. With their trademark tropical rhythms, quirky-yet-complex beats, and sugary smooth vocals, Glass Animals show no sign of slowing down from what they do best.


Essential Songs

Your Love (Deja Vu)

Tokyo Drifting

Heat Waves


Lyrical Excerpt

Usually I put somethin' on TV so we never think about you and me

But today I see our reflections clearly in Hollywood, layin' on the screen

You just need a better life than this

You need somethin' I can never give

Big Gigantic - Free Your Mind

Released in February 2020, Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken let the speakers blow right off the bat on Free Your Mind, setting the tone for not only the album but for an alternate reality where this year wasn't plagued by a world-wide pandemic that halted humanity. On their latest full-length record, Big Gigantic is all party, a perfect electronic soundtrack to the nights out at social gatherings, clubs, and concerts that just couldn't happen in 2020.


Essential Songs

Let the Speakers Blow

St. Lucia

Friends


Lyrical Excerpt

Who ready for this hard bass?

Claim you don't love me yet I'm always on your mind

Who got another head bop?

Who pull up with the hits for your head top?

Who dancing by the strobe light whole night?

Wanna take me home like a low price?

Better save money for the paid dues

Make money don't let the money make you

DREAMCATCHER - Dystopia : The Tree of LanguageDystopia : Lose Myself

DREAMCATCHER is dark (and sometimes dangerous) in their 2020 Dystopian world. With heavy guitars, moody atmospheres, and a penchant for instantly-memorable choruses, JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Handong, Yoohyeon, Dami, and Gahyeon clearly separate themselves from their peers and carve out a unique K-pop niche that only DREAMCATCHER seems to be able to fill.


Essential Songs

Scream

Red Sun

Jazz Bar


Lyrical Excerpt, translated from original Korean

After everyone leaves, I open my eyes again

All traces are gone, they can't believe me

Don't be sad no more, for me, no more

Forget everything you saw

Pretend that nothing actually happened

Like that, one by one, everyone goes crazy

I just wanna make you scream

IZ*ONE - BLOOM*IZ Oneiric Diary TwelveOne-reeler / ACT IV

With just 30 months to create as much high-quality content as possible (their contract as a supergroup is set to formally expire in mid-2021), IZ*ONE uses 12 of their final months as well as anyone could imagine. With the full-length BLOOM*IZ (and accompanying, absolutely-stacked mini-albums, Oneiric Diary, Twelve, and One-reeler / ACT IV), Jang Won-young, Sakura Miyawaki, Jo Yu-ri, Choi Ye-na, An Yu-jin, Nako Yabuki, Kwon Eun-bi, Kang Hye-won, Hitomi Honda, Kim Chae-won, Kim Min-ju, and Lee Chae-yeon make the most of their distinct, individual talents to contribute more than two dozen upbeat, cheery, and infectiously catchy songs to the 2020 world of music.


Essential Songs

Secret Story of the Swan

Panorama

FIESTA


Lyrical Excerpt, translated from original Korean

Would you listen to a fairy tale-like story between two of us?

The secret that we made, would you keep it in your eyes?

The small world filled with you that will open the door

With your glance toward me, I get into you more and more

From the fingertips, it starts: a fairy tale

Shawn Wasabi - MANGOTALE

Shawn Wasabi curated and produced the happiest 'TALE of 2020 on his debut full-length. Across its twelve bubbly, bright songs, the American producer invites a wide variety of guests to tell the story of MANGOTALE as they speak in snacks and play 2020's quarantine-lifeline, Animal Crossing. There is arguably no better cure for the common cold than fresh fruits and likewise no better cure for the common bout of occasional sadness than fresh MANGOTALE.


Essential Songs

HALO HALO

LEMONS

the snack that smiles back


Lyrical Excerpt

I'm gonna be the snack that smiles back

I'm gonna be the Kit to your Kat

Ooh, the snack that smiles back, ooh, the Kit to your Kat

I'm gonna be the one you unwrap

Just take me out and break me in half

Silverstein - A Beautiful Place to Drown

Canadians Shane Told, Josh Bradford, Billy Hamilton, Paul Koehler, and Paul Marc Rousseau return with their tenth full-length record, releasing several of their best songs to date in the process. Never afraid to break from their genre's expectations and norms, A Beautiful Place to Drown finds the quintet experimenting with a large variety of styles and guest performers to deliver an exciting, interesting record.


Essential Songs

Burn It Down

Bad Habits

Madness


Lyrical Excerpt

I'm a romantic ambulance chaser

Fuck pen, let's write in eraser

And when it's all done, I'll be alright

I thought "last time" was the last time

Enough's enough, it's time to wreck havoc

I'm growing cold, I'm caught in your madness

Soon enough, you'll only end tragic

I hear your voice, the comfort in sadness

PassCode - STRIVE

Mixing metalcore, punk, electronic dance, pop, hardcore, metal, and everything in between, PassCode demands, and captures, your attention with their trademark blend of heavily auto-tuned vocals from Nao, Kaede, and Hinako, and brutally intense screams and harsh vocals from Yuna. In 2020 the quartet (backed by a first-class rock band) impeccably executes their brand with STRIVE, their fifth full-length album since forming in 2013.


Essential Songs

STARRY SKY

Seize Approaching BRAND NEW ERA

SPARK IGNITION


Lyrical Excerpt

Hypnotic charm, attraction: I have got it

Awaken new sensations soon to be felt: I own the skills

Far above what you've imagined, I'll be standing

We'll shake up all foundations, sample that taste: I own the skills

Never, never assume you could level us soon

Poppy - I Disagree

On her third full-length record, Poppy takes the final moments of 2018's Am I a Girl and expands them into a full album of dark, industrial sounds laced with breakdowns, screams, and metalcore instrumentalization. Never shy to "be weird" or entirely different from what you might expect, Poppy is weird in a whole new way on I Disagree, her heaviest and most intense release to date.


Essential Songs

I Disagree

Concrete

BLOODMONEY


Lyrical Excerpt

I disagree: everything you believe is a tragedy

I disagree with the way you keep preaching insanity

I disagree with all of the reasons you're mad at me

I disagree: everything in your life is a tragedy

Yung Gravy - Gasanova Baby Gravy 2

No one executes the dichotomy of lighthearted heavy-hitting hip-hop better in 2020 than Yung Gravy on Gasanova and Baby Gravy 2, the latest two albums from the the Minnesota rapper.


Essential Songs

Welcome to Chilis

yup!

Bag of Chips


Lyrical Excerpt

Light them blunts up when I walk in the building

Gravy gettin' buck every time I get up in it

Always pull up with a plethora of women

I be like, "Yup, bitch, that's how I be livin'!'"

Lil Uzi Vert - Eternal AtakeLUV vs. the World 2 Pluto x Baby Pluto

Philadelphia rapper Lil Uzi Vert is both surgically precise and completely out of control on Eternal Atake, his best work to date. Wrapped in fierce trap production and a bizarre "out of this world" theme, LUV goes hard song-after-song, with his creative flows being the only thing that eclipses his clever lyrics. Not content with one fantastic album, the young rapper tacks on two more full-length releases in 2020, including more than a dozen tracks with Future.


Essential Songs

POP

Lo Mein

Silly Watch


Lyrical Excerpt

Chopstick came with a large lo mein

Extra clip in it, nigga, I ain't got no aim

Balmain pocket filled with fresh romaine

And I stay with the cash like a XO chain

Fifty-five hundred, nigga, that's your range

When I go to the club, make it storm, hurricane

Nigga pull up, think he G.I. Joe

Man, 7.62, turn him G.I. Jane

Oliver Tree - Ugly is Beautiful

Oliver Tree's debut full-length is the culmination of years of writing, recording, rewriting, re-recording, and reworking the singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer's vision of creating a cohesive album that elegantly combines every popular genre music. At its best, Ugly is Beautiful is a stunning example of everything that you wouldn't expect to work.. to work, and to work exceptionally well. Everyone should peer into Oliver Tree's world at least once to see if it's something that makes sense to you.


Essential Songs

Alien Boy

Bury Me Alive

1993


Lyrical Excerpt

Three doors down so you can't ignore it

I'll hunt you down like a tyrannosaurus

My teeth are sharp like the great white shark

Let me taste that flesh, it's my favorite part

Got a eagle beak, with the ostrich feet

Seven spider eyes for every day of the week

Means I'm still up working while your bitch ass sleeps

I'm an alien among the human beings

Megan Thee Stallion - Suga Good News

The braggadocios Megan Thee Stallion is in top form on Suga. The Texas rapper stacks hard-hitting bars on top of fiery beats that, all of it coming together to somehow perfectly match the extravagance her larger-than-life persona.


Essential Songs

B.I.T.C.H.

Captain Hook

Savage


Lyrical Excerpt

I'd rather be your B.I.T.C.H (I'd rather keep it real with ya)

'Cause that's what you gon' call me when I'm trippin' anyway

You know you can't control me, baby, you need a real one in your life

Them bitches ain't gon' give it to you right

Princess Nokia - Everything Sucks Everything is Beautiful

Princess Nokia invites you to her hardcore hip-hop Circus on Everything Sucks, and it's as Gross as the New York rapper would lead you to believe. Nothing is off-limits, and Princess Nokia pulls no punches about any topic she wants to discuss, or rather, tell you the facts about.


Essential Songs

Harley Quinn

Crazy House

Welcome to the Circus


Lyrical Excerpt

I'm going crazy and dumb, I'm disrespectful as fuck

I heard they mad and they angry, their daddy ain't showed 'em love

I don't give no fucks, matter fact, not two

I'm disrespectful, offensive, and I've got nothing to prove

Fuck you, and fuck you

blackbear - everything means nothing

blackbear has always bounced in and out of various genres, managing to always find at least one spectacular song in any particular space. On everything means nothing, he continues to do the same, with the California producer/rapper/singer's now-signature vocal cadence tying everything together to create another solid entry into his extensive discography.


Essential Songs

hot girl bummer

i feel bad

me & ur ghost


Lyrical Excerpt

I swear that you're so good at making me feel bad

You're like a college grad that majored in the art of fucking over everything we had

I wanna rip these pictures off the wall and paint 'em all in black

My favorite memories of us are ones I wish we never had

DaBaby - BLAME IT ON BABY DELUXE My Brother's Keeper (Long Live G)

DaBaby invented a very particular rap style, and, upon finding there is a considerable public appetite to hear more music that sounds this way, he continued to use his prized possession to its fullest in 2020. The North Carolina rapper is direct in every aspect of his craft, and on BLAME IT ON BABY he demands your full attention every moment of the way.


Essential Songs

ROCKSTAR

CAN'T STOP

TALK ABOUT IT


Lyrical Excerpt

Brand new Lamborghini, fuck a cop car

With the pistol on my hip like I'm a cop

Have you ever met a real nigga rockstar?

This ain't no guitar, bitch, this a GLOCK

My GLOCK told me to promise you gon' squeeze me

You better let me go the day you need me

Soon as you up me on that nigga, get to bustin'

And if I ain't enough, go get the chop

Bring Me the Horizon - POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR

Midway through POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL, Bring Me the Horizon hits their all-time career high, teaming up with BABYMETAL for the absolutely bone-crushing "Kingslayer" (and its impressive 90-second intro, "Itch for the Cure (When Will It Be Free?)"). It's these cross-culture, intercontinental musical pairings that help make 2020 the best year of music ever and to find it on an already-solid record makes things even more invigorating.


Essential Songs

Itch for the Cure (When Will It Be Free?)

Kingslayer

Parasite Eve


Lyrical Excerpt

Hi, are you looking for the other side?

Feel like nothing ever seems quite right?

Are you circling the drainpipe, getting off on pain like you're corrupted?

I need to know where your loyalties lie

Tell me, are you gonna bark or bite?

Do you really wanna twist a knife in the belly of the monster?

Get the fuck up, wake the fuck up!

Wipe the system and back the fuck up!

You're a puppet, when they cut your strings off don't come crawling back

Louis the Child - Here for Now

Illinois producers Frederic Kennett and Robby Hauldren crush the production on Here for Now, inviting an onslaught of guests to join the party and do the same on the album's lyrics and vocals.


Essential Songs

Big Love

Every Color

Little Things


Lyrical Excerpt

Carpe diem, make love get the cream

Now or never, prime time like Deion

I'm the lion, I can smell if you're frightened

Big love linkin' up like a hyphen

We don't deal with that fear 'round here, no

Free to laugh, free to cry, let your tears flow

At your best, be yourself with your people

Get high, we don't care if it's legal

Felly - Mariposa

Connecticut singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Felly is as smooth as a Caribbean breeze on Mariposa, each song an invitation to what feels like a midnight beach-side party.


Essential Songs

New Soul

Heartstrings

Come Alive


Lyrical Excerpt

I'm such a new soul straight from the afterlife

Promise if I make it home I'ma show you paradise

Dropped in Hell, I saw a vision

Made me gasp for air, exhaled permission

Welcome back to earth, won't play no victim

Had to check my worth, see what was missin' now..

Ballyhoo! - Message to the World

Ballyhoo! is relaxed and introspective on their latest full-length record. The proud Maryland band continues their laid-back island sound on Message to the World, a perfect soundtrack to a relaxing day at the beach.


Essential Songs

Message to the World

Social Drinker

Scarlet Blue


Lyrical Excerpt

I’m going to make the most out of all I’ve been given

Let the cards fall where I lay them

Cause I’ve been making mistakes

But I swear I’ve been learning

And I’ll crawl out from the mayhem

This is a message, a message to the world

You know this is a message, a message to the world

GROUPLOVE - Healer

GROUPLOVE continues to deliver more of their upbeat, anthemic sound on Healer. Here the California natives explore a world of topics, tying them all together with their signature wit and sound.


Essential Songs

Deleter

Youth

Inside Out


Lyrical Excerpt

It's the future, and I'm brain-dead

Yeah, I'm destitute, yeah, I feel no roots anymore

Take another picture, show 'em what you're doing

And how we built a lighthouse out of all these godforsaken ruins

We know it's coming, none of this can live

The world will recover once you put us in the past

The American Classic - Forgive

Wyatt Smith, Kenney Li, Luke Morris, and Jake Wertman breathe life into pop-punk on Forgive. The debut record from the Maine quartet bounces between aggressive, delicate, and downright heavy, but it's always infectiously catchy and demanding of your constant attention.


Essential Songs

Caught Up

Fraud

Gone Away


Lyrical Excerpt

I really meant to stay, but life gets in the way of everything I meant to say

But life's got me caught up in this situation, my damnation

It's hard to see the light at the end

I'm just trying to keep it together, just for the winter

Lighting fires in the snow when there's no place to go, I'll keep you warm

The cold is bitter, don't think that I'll make it through

It's taking me from you

Denzel Curry - UNLOCKED

Teaming up with Kenny Beats, Denzel Curry follows up his fantastic 2019 Zuu with a more experimental, and in some ways more stripped back, record. UNLOCKED is a freeform-styled invitation into the unrestrained mind of one of Florida's most exciting rappers.


Essential Songs

DIET_

Take_it_Back_v2

Lay_Up.m4a


Lyrical Excerpt

Get money from a show, then deposit it

Your shows got no hoes, I acknowledge it

So braggadocios, spit sick shit, it's atrocious (nasty)

Risin' like the stocks, stockbroking

The Shogun, came through with no gun

One man, Ichiban, fresh out of Japan, do as I command

And what I demand is some fuckin' peace and quiet

I told 'em please go to church, and please get on a diet

Anti-Flag - 20/20 Vision

Fueled by four years of an American Presidency that completely opposes everything Anti-Flag stands for, the Pennsylvania punk rockers go off like a bomb on 20/20 Vision.


Essential Songs

It Went Off Like a Bomb

Hate Conquers All

You Make Me Sick


Lyrical Excerpt

When I think about you, you make me sick

You're a maniac, a liar, you're a piece of shit

Cynical, condescending hypocrite

Everything you do, you make me, make me sick

FEVER 333 - WRONG GENERATION

FEVER 333 hones in on their powerful art, slamming eight brief-but-overcharged hardcore songs down the listener's throat with WRONG GENERATION.


Essential Songs

BITE BACK

BLOCK IS ON FIRE

WRONG GENERATION


Lyrical Excerpt

Woke up this morning to people mourning

Another brother they murdered just as a warning

That if we speak up 'bout how they treat us

They’ll do it over and over until we bite back

This time we bite back, so let's bite them back

Chris Bown & Young Thug - Slime & B

Teaming up for some of 2020's smoothest, sexiest R&B, Chris Brown and Young Thug are in perfect form and in complete sync on Slime & B, a fantastic soundtrack to a late-night, relaxing evening.


Essential Songs

City Girls