The 50 Best Albums of 2020

40. Caribou Suddenly

2020 • ELECTRONIC • MERGE

Although it was released in the first quarter of the year, just a quick revisit in Caribou’s Suddenly and it is possible to remember why it was one of the best projects of early 2020. Being the most focused project of the composer and producer so far, Suddenly uses only electronic tables, remixed voices and contemporary samples to create his electrifying magic, which is totally focused on the instrumental, giving almost no importance to lyrical content. However, this does not mean that the album does not deliver a complete experience, on the contrary, it delivers an almost unique experience. “Home,” the best of the album, for example, uses Gloria Barnes’ vocals to build its chorus and, although it sounds repetitive, it ends up being an extremely pleasant, memorable and catchy track. “Filtered Grand Piano,” by its turn, leaves the rest of the vocals behind to create a sparkling synthetic orchestra. Of course, Suddenly may sound sleazy and tiring with time, however, every time you listen to it, you will remember why you like it. ―Leonardo Frederico


39. Empress Of I’m Your Empress Of

2020 • POP/R&B • TERRIBLE

Among the many factors that make I’m Your Empress Of a great album, we can highlight three of them: the fluidity, the ability to create captivating songs easily and the intimacy of the record. Unlike the previous album, I’m Your Empress Of has only the singer as the main producer. But that is not what makes Empress Of personal, but the theme: Rodriguez narrates her last breakup. In addition, it is worth mentioning the various comments from her mother that are scattered throughout the project and that act as great advices. Furthermore, we can see how well the album flows, with one song connecting to the other in a very harmonious way. Finally, it is worth mentioning how all the songs are very entertaining and cool to hear, being small R&B/Pop hits. Even though it becomes a blur over time, you always remember its best qualities. ―Leonardo Frederico


38. Megan Thee Stallion Good News

2020 • RAP/HIP-HOP • 300 Entertainment 

American Rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s long-awaited debut fully fulfills the promise that the singer made before releasing it. “I feel like I had to name my album Good News because we’ve been hearing so much bad news,” she told Apple Music. Indeed, Good News is the good news that we all needed. The album is fun, catchy, dancing and bold. From her initial outburst, “Shots Fired,” to even the weakest songs on the album, “Body,” Stallion is capable of creating something well-produced ― even if it sounds cringe and uncomfortable. Tracks like “Circles” and “Sugar Baby” are spontaneous, organic and natural hits. “Movie” and “Freaky Girls” are experiments that test Stallion’s talent ― and she passes. ―Leonardo Frederico


37. Arca KiCk i

2020 • EXPERIMENTAL/ELECTRONIC • XL

Arca’s KiCk i is an interesting project. Working on the strong trends of friends that are making pop underground ― for example SOPHIE and Charli XCX, managed by A. G. Cook, both giving a futuristic and unique face to what many consider the Pop of the future ―, Arca traces her album as something personal, probably the most personal she has ever released. Being the first work that she releases after revealing to be a non-binary person ― but she doesn’t care when they refer to her by the female pronoun ―, KiCk i is full of synthesizers, of course, however, it also carries the great skill of the singer’s voice, in addition to personal lyrics that portrayed her personal life in a way never seen before. In, for example, “Nonbinary,” she sings, “I don’t give a fuck what you think/You don’t know me/You might owe me.” On the last track, “No Queda Nada,” we see a romantic ballad dedicated to her fiancé. It may not be Arca’s most ambitious album but, in some ways, it is the most important. ―Leonardo Frederico


36. bdrmm Bedroom

2020 • ROCK • SONIC CATHEDRAL

One of the best debuts we were able to see this year was the British band bdrmm’s first album. In Bedroom, totally inspired by heavy and deep synthesizers, guitars and drums, the band traces a history in their own way. Here, they are not concerned with whether the listener will understand what they are trying to say through well-arranged words. On the opposite, they are more concerned with creating a strong, precise, sharp, sentimental and communicative sound so everyone can feel what they want others to feel. Incredibly, they did it. From the opening, “Momo,” until the last track, “Forget the Credits,” they can make you feel happiness, love and sadness mostly through strings, percussions and fully digital noises. ―Leonardo Frederico


35. Chris Stapleton Starting Over

2020 • COUNTRY • Mercury Nasvhille

Chris Stapleton’s fourth album, Starting Over, can be seen as a kind of restart and goes back to the roots. Chris had been working with Spotify’s popular and successful singers for a while, what could easily have diverted him from following his path of Country simplicity. However, Starting Over proves that Stapleton still on his path faithfully and no spotlight will look better than a farm. On this album, he looks back to the simplicity of the countryside: a troubled love, a functional love, a dog, the past and the future. All of this cinematic is accompanied by an analogical and organic instrumental that, in most cases, can paint in our minds Chris playing it on a balcony at sunset. The most golden jewel on the album ends up being “Maggie’s Song,” in which he tells the story of a dog in a realistic way, almost like a movie. In reality, Starting Over itself could easily be a movie. ―Leonardo Frederico


34. Declan McKenna Zeros

2020 • ROCK • Tomplicated

On the first track of his 2017 debut What Do You Think About the Car?, little McKenna appears saying, “I’m gonna sing my new album now.” Now, in his new record, Zeros, he seems to entertain that same child, delivering a record that looks more like a vintage retro children’s movie about space and the future. In fact, this is the best way to define the album since its sound, which has a touch of innocence, but also a desire for maturity, revolves around sparkling neon synthesizers that resemble the 80s, from video games and arcades to family fights over rebellious teenagers. However, as much as it looks like a light project, in reality it goes much deeper than that. In some tracks he debates machismo and drugs, in others, environmental problems and beauty standards ― oh, all of this putting Daniel as the main point of almost all scenarios. In the end, you sit and listen to Zeros and remember your childhood with sweetness, however, quickly remember that you are now a more responsible adult and know that you cannot stand still without doing something to change the world around you. ―Leonardo Frederico


33. Miley Cyrus Plastic Hearts

2020 • POP/ROCK • RCA RECORDS

Miley Cyrus’ latest release, Plastic Hearts, is probably the wisest and most calculated move the singer has made in her entire career. For the first time, Cyrus seems to be 100% comfortable with his artistic decision ― in fact, you can see that everything she sings and shows really looks like her. Ironically, the album is not made up of cheap synthesizers and lyrics about getting high all day. Surprisingly, this is a turning point in Cyrus’ career. This time, she appears a little with Stevie Nicks, singing Rock mixed with Pop and Disco. The most amazing thing, however, is how alive it all sounds ― can you really imagine a dark background with Cyrus dressed in Silver with sparkles while you listen to some of these songs. But, also, the album sounds like an enhanced retelling of everything Cyrus has ever done, like “High” which turned out to be what all of Young Now was supposed to be. We couldn’t be happier for this new Cyrus’ personality. ―Leonardo Frederico


32. The 1975 Notes on a Conditional Form

2020 • ROCK/ALTERNATIVE • Dirty Hits/Interscope

When viewed from a macro perspective, you can understand why Notes on a Conditional Form can be seen as The 1975’s biggest album ― not the best, the biggest. Without a doubt, it is their most experimental, daring, political, conscious and dense album to date. With an introduction that shows Greta Thunberg advising people to rebel, Notes follows different narratives and sounds. In “People,” they appear as a garage Punk/Metal band from the 2000s. However, the album is broader than that. “The Birthday Party” appears as a romantic and slow alternative Rock track and “Shiny Collarbone” as a curious experiment that looks like a mix of Sufjan Stevens and Tame Impala. Although Notes sometimes sounds overwhelming for its duration, it is still an immersive project with impressive lyrics and an interesting and bold sound. ―Leonardo Frederico


31. Chloe x Hale Ungodly Hour

2020 • POP/R&B • COLUMBIA

On the cover of their newest album, Chloe and Halle, also known as Beyoncé’s protégés, appear in a shiny plastic dress and silver metal wings. In fact, in Ungodly Hour they look like angels, delivering strong songs that carry an immeasurable value. Going in the opposite direction of most artists today ― albums with more songs of shorter duration to maximize stream numbers ―, they deliver 13 songs where each works as a closed unit but also talks to all the others. Ungodly Hour can also be seen as the sisters’ supreme R&B manifesto, in which they deliver songs about relationship, feminism and racism in a way that, despite being conscious and political, never fails to be fun, striking and even dancing. While in “Wonder What She Thinks of Me” she works with feminism, asking themselves what the guy’s wife is thinking about them, in “Ungodly Hour” they reach the necessary epiphany. From now on, they will take off to an even better place. ―Leonardo Frederico


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