Best Music of 2020

Despite the awful year that 2020 was, some incredible music was still released this year. And with live music coming to an end in early March across the entire planet, it was vital that we support the artists (and venues) to keep the industry alive. With nine Bandcamp Fridays complete and more on the horizon, this was the biggest music highlight for me this year — In 2020, I discovered new artists and supported many old favorites, too. Spending not only money, but hours and hours listening, more than I have in previous years, given that I had more time to explore. So here it is, my annual best music list — I hope you find something you like!

Top Albums of 2020

  1. SAULT – Untitled (Black Is)
  2. SAULT – Untitled (Rise)
  3. Matt Berninger – Serpentine Prison
  4. Mourning [A] Blkstar – The Cycle
  5. Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud
  6. Moses Sumney – Græ
  7. Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings E&F Sides
  8. Destroyer – Have We Met
  9. Jyoti – Mama, You Can Bet!
  10. Nubya Garcia – Source
  11. Run The Jewels – RTJ4
  12. Sir Richard Bishop – Oneiric Formulary
  13. Shabaka and the Ancestors – We Are Sent Here by History
  14. Arbouretum – Let It All In
  15. Bill Fay – Countless Branches
  16. The Soft Pink Truth – Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?
  17. Gwenifer Raymond – Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain
  18. Gil Scott-Heron & Makaya McCraven – We’re New Again
  19. Fleet Foxes – Shore
  20. Jeff Parker – Suite For Max Brown
  21. Josh Johnson – Freedom Exercise
  22. RJD2 – The Fun Ones
  23. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
  24. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl – Artlessy Falling
  25. Thundercat – It Is What It Is
  26. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  27. Monophonics – It’s Only Us
  28. Taylor Swift – Folklore
  29. Phish – Sigma Oasis
  30. Jeff Tweedy – Love is the King
  31. Demae – Life Works Out… Usually
  32. Siti Muharam – Siti of Unguja (Romance Revolution on Zanzibar)
  33. Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes – Heritage of the Invisible II
  34. Adrianne Lenker – songs
  35. Nas – King’s Disease
  36. James Tillman – Modern Desires
  37. ohbliv – Spirit Medicine
  38. Bonny Light Horseman – Bonny Light Horseman
  39. Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  40. Ambrose Akinmusire – On the tender spot of every calloused moment
  41. Cut Worms – Nobody Lives Here Anymore
  42. Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
  43. Fourtet – Sixteen Oceans
  44. Medhane – Cold Water
  45. Black Devil Disco Club – Lucifer is a Flower
  46. Ego Ella May – Honey For Wounds

Top Jazz Albums of 2020:

  1. Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings E&F Sides
  2. Nubya Garcia – Source
  3. Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes – Heritage of the Invisible II
  4. Jeff Parker – Suite For Max Brown
  5. Josh Johnson – Freedom Exercise
  6. Shabaka and the Ancestors – We Are Sent Here by History
  7. Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra – Dimensional Stardust
  8. Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling
  9. Immanuel Wilkins – Omega
  10. Tom Misch & Yusef Dayes – What Kinda Music
  11. Tino Contreras – La Noche De Los Dioses
  12. Matthew Halsall – Salute to the Sun
  13. Lettuce – Resonate
  14. The Necks – Three
  15. Jahari Massamba Unit – Pardon My French
  16. Yazmin Lacey – Morning Matters
  17. Katalyst – Nine Lives
  18. Susan Alcorn Quartet – Pedernal
  19. Dougie Stu – Familiar Future
  20. Ron Miles – Rainbow Sign
  21. Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder & Kamasi Washington – Dinner Party
  22. Kamaal Williams – Wu Hen
  23. Keith Jarrett – Budapest Concert
  24. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids – Shaman!
  25. Chip Wickham – Blue to Red
  26. Bill Frisell – Valentine

Top Hip Hop Albums of 2020:

  1. Run The Jewels – RTJ4
  2. RJD2 – The Fun Ones
  3. Nas – King’s Disease
  4. ohbliv – Spirit Medicine
  5. Medhane – Cold Water
  6. Shabazz Palaces – The Don of Diamond Dreams
  7. Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof
  8. Public Enemy – What Ya Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?
  9. Knxwledge – 1988
  10. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
  11. Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel
  12. Navy Blue – Àdá Irin
  13. Beans – Venga
  14. Astairé – Volume 1
  15. The Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed
  16. Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo
  17. Mo Fingaz – Gusto
  18. Armand Hammer – Shrines

Top Reissues of 2020:

  1. Various Artists – The Harry Smith B-Sides
  2. Tom Petty – Wildflowers
  3. Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah
  4. Grateful Dead – Dave’s Pick Vol. 36 – Hartford, CT. March 26, 1987
  5. Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen – Found in the Ozone
  6. Windy & Carl – Unreleased Home Recordings
  7. Thelonious Monk – Palo Alto
  8. Heshoo Beshoo Group – Armitage Road
  9. Bill Evans – Some Other Time: The Lost Session from Black Forest
  10. Various Artists – Southeast of Saturn