I’ve been doing a top ten albums list for almost 10 years. About 3 years ago my buddy Paul and I started this music blog. We went gangbusters the first year and as these things occasionally do, it lost a little steam over the past 2 years. Paul has posted a few articles but this may be the only one from me since my ten best of 2019. Nevertheless, I felt I owed it to my loyal small handful of followers to get this past years list up. So here goes….
2020 was an interesting year in music. Artists were left without that creative outlet that touring provides, so many improvised. Live streaming performances and stripped down, acoustic music with lo fi production became a thing., even from bands and artists we think of as big loud arena ready performers.Some went to the vault and recorded alternative versions of previously releases. The Bouncing Souls released Volume II , acoustic versions of some of their great rockers. I loved this album.
My number 10 album is by BillJe Armstrong/ Green Day. Really just a fun project of power pop covers including Hanna”s fave “That thing you do ” from the movie sound track> Here’s one i had on regular rotation.
10 Green Day “NO FUN MONDAYS”
9. The Beths. “JUMP ROPE GAZERS”
I like finding new music and owe this find to Paul. Not sure if he recommended this band but he has been a fan of female led bands and opened my eyes to what I was missing. Great range in this band.
8.Drive-by Truckers. “THE NEW OK”
Easy to get fooled into thinking these guys are just a southern rock band. They definitely have that southern twang thing going but they have a bit of punk and a socially progressive message. This song was inspired by the BLM protests this past year especially in Portland.
7.Chris Stapleton “STARTING OVER”
This artist has been around country music more than 10 years as a songwriter. He’s now put out a few excellent albums. This one is no exception and this song cold might be the best single song I heard this past year. AMAZING voice!!
6.Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “ REUNIONS”
His winning streak continues. whether solo or withe the fantastic 400 unit, Jason Isbell puts outfantastiic music. This song released early in 2020 was like a prediction for the rest of the year.
5. Haim “ WOMEN IN MUSIC PT. III”
These sisters had a hit a few years back and Iv’e always like their cool LA vibe but this album kicked it up a notch . This song is great but the whole album is worth a few hundred listens
4.Dawes “GOOD LUCK WITH WHATEVER”
These guys have become regular occupants of my top 10. They just keep surprising me
3.The Killers “IMPLODING THE MIRAGE”
This band seems to be permanently stuck somewhere between 1985 and 1992(and I mean that in good way). loved this album from top to bottom.
2. The Menzingers “ FROM EXILE”
After seeing them open for Frank Turner a few years ago, I’ve been a big fan of this local PA band. best played LOUD
1.Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band “LETTER TO YOU”
Bruce had been pretty quiet for a few years until his very different introspective “Western Stars” last year. I thought that was great and it was my chill out album of summer 2019. I was beginning to wonder if Bruce was settling into his rock star emeritus phase. Then came this…which i think is the best thin he’s done since The Rising. He draws on his whole body of work without sounding like he’s recycling. Quirky characters like from his early work appear in “If I were the Priest”. “Janey Needs a Shooter” would be at home on “Darkness”
The chorus fo this son starts with a defiant “I’M ALIVE…” which was the perfect message at the end of 2020.
8 thoughts on “Best albums of 2020 (imho)”
Nice seeing a new post from you, Mike. First of all, I’d like to wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!
I also like your list. Some of your picks are completely new to me. Among the latter, spontaneously, I like The Menzingers in particular. It’s also not the first time I’ve come across Haim, but essentially, I only know them by name and plan to explore them more.
Hey , thank you and best wishes to you! Menzingers have been one of my favorites for for a few years. Definitely worth looking at their back catalogue
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In the meantime, I took a look at HAIM and The Beths. I really like the latter! And thanks for reminding me of Menzingers! 🙂
Totally agree about HAIM – huge leap forward and one of the year’s best.
I love learning new music this way – good insight Mike! These are certainly going to be on agenda to listen in the new year.
Thank you I think word of mouth is sometimes the best way to find new music
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Ah yeah absolutely, another’s opinion is valued just as much as your own I reckon.
A very diverse and interesting list of albums! It’s a different style to what I normally go for, but I’m intrigued to listen to them all! I have also recently published an article on my blog where I count down my top 25 albums of the year. If you have time, it would be great if you could check out my article and let me know your thoughts 🙂 Thank you very much and I look forward to following you!