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Last Updated: 11 December 2020

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Lets face it: listening to new music wasnt exactly easy this year. Amidst the neverending whirlwind of 2020, it was tempting to crawl into a cocoon of nostalgic favorites and never come out. But the best albums of 2020 prove that incredible new music will always make their way to our ears, even in the toughest of times. From albums years and years in making to those recorded during quarantine-induced bursts of creativity, here are 50 releases that make 2020 a little better. Check out all of Pitchforks 2020 wrap-up coverage here. The Bailey sisters have quietly lost some of the wide-eyedness of the past and instead turn towards flotsam and jetsam of twentysomething life. Ungodly Hour is a collection of low-key tracks that demonstrate true mastery of their intricate harmonies over slinky, charismatic production. It makes sense that the album gives them their biggest hit, highly boppable Do It. While it felt like the duo shot up overnight and out of sight, their rise parallels the way the world has been living this year: inward and on insomniac circadian rhythm. Hopefully, like Chloe x Halle, we will reemerge into the real world, elegantly transformed by what happen in the wee hours of morning.-Allison P. Davis

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Arca: KiCk i

Nonbinary, opening track on Arca's fourth studio album KiCK I, is a delectable declaration of her new gender expression. This is Venezeluan producers ' most accessible record yet, featuring superstar Bjork and Spanish pop sensation ROSALIA, but there are no signs of compromise here. Having come out as Non-binary in 2018, Arca has since transition and Nonbinary is a self-affirming infectious pop track with tongue-tying whisper lyrics-its French tips wrap around dick-while its saccharine third verse exemplifies her bold new self. With a memorable beat full of sporadic gunshots and hollow-out syncopate drums, warp on loop, she concludes her most contentious and catchiest song to date with lyrics: What treat / It is to be / Non-binary / Ma ch e rie / Tee-hee-hee / Bitch. Arcas carefully control cacophonies stand on the fringes of dance music and pop, but KiCK I feels more like an exploration of the internal landscape. Her three previous albums-Xen, Mutant, and Arca-along with the 62-minute single released earlier this year, have deservedly won her critical acclaim and fervent fanbase. Her singular production incorporates unorthodox elements-abrasive percussion, high-pitch whines and screeches-while hinting at chords and convention, but turning away from normality at the last moment. This latest project, audacious 12-track album, is a heightened version of her previous projects, now overlaid with pop sheen. On KiCK I, Arca probes the boundary between noise and pop with chaotic, rich, layered textures, which fuel her anthemic production. Splashes of her familiar sounds are evident throughout, but it also allows space for choruses alongside touches of trap, reggaeton and pop. Afterwards, Arca create orchestral backdrop for Bjork to whisper-sing in Spanish, implementing meditative pause amidst album turbulence, while ROSALIA also hops on KLK for a hyperkinetic, club-ready track. It is the first time Arca has collaborated with others on a solo album, and aforementioned features, along with feted producer SOPHIE and London electronic artist Shygirl, help to elevate the project, adding further colours to Arcas world. Considering the range of genres incorporated in the album, it is stunning that it never veers fully towards only one. Instead, KiCK I incorporates pop, experimental, noise, electronica and psychedelia into one project. Amid a highly acclaimed career, Arcas latest album presents a new high-water mark.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Dehd: Flower of Devotion

Jesus and Mary Chain, Royal Trux and Spacemen 3 are evoked by many albums these days, but theyre present in glorious splendor on Flower Of Devotion, third full-length by Chicago trio Dehd. With singers Emily Kempf and Jason Balla trading snarling, sneering, drawling vocals over twanging, heavily reverbed guitars and echo-laden drums, its album that could have come out on Drag City Records in 1992 but instead brought a welcome jolt to today's feeble rock landscape. What makes Flower Of Devotion so much more than nerd-out for wizening rockers with long memories is the trios ' unexpectedly hook-fill songs, which are actually strengthened by their idiosyncratic setting: Kempf punctuates her verses with yelps and whoops and even almost-yodels; Ballas's drawl is almost comically exaggerated, and he knows how to craft distinctive riff or melody that take full advantage Of his guitars reverb being turn up all way, all Time. The bands ' template is basically the same as their earlier release. Its just five times better, with drastically improved sound and much more assured songwriting. There is even an almost-ballad, Flood, with a slow-ish beat and wistful, somber tone. Songs deal with weighty topics. Several are about loneliness and isolation, while Month, according to Balla, explores the cyclical nature of memory and how our relationship with particular time changes through years, but the combination of their singing styles and bounce of music often distracts from lyrics until after a couple of listens. Flower Of Devotion is one of the most lively and inspired rock albums to come down the pike in recent memory and hopefully will inspire a pack of like-mind young musicians, who have never heard of the bands mentioned above, to follow in its wake.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Kelly Lee Owens: Inner Song

Kelly Lee Owens has long been master at crafting beautifully-textured yet banging techno-pop but with Inner Song-her long-await COVID-delay follow-Up to 2017s brilliant self-title debut-Welsh singer, producer, songwriter and former nurse is particularly gutting. Inspire by the hardest three years of my life, Owens channels loss and grief into raw and evocative compositions-its resonance to many in 2020 only increases the emotional burden these songs carry. Opener Arpeggi, gradually-building instrumental Radiohead cover-about being brought back to the surface from a dark place-acts as a sonic rebirth. Follow by On, near-choral crying-On-dancefloor glimmer that lay bare pain of relationship ending. But, as the beat intensifies halfway, Owens ' internal melancholy becomes masked by pulsing techno production; it is almost like she is wiping away tears, slowly coming to terms with loss. Nowhere is this truer than on albums emotional centrepiece Jeanette-in homage to her absolute legend nan, its fittingly uplifting celebration of her life. And it was this journey of acceptance and reconnecting with self that permeate Inner Song. Owens comforting Repeat whispers Of it feels SO good to be alone on Night is the sonic equivalent of a calming hug, while Re-Wild is a trippy fusion of swirling synths, dream-state empowerment and confidence-rebuilding; free yourself with truth, that is already in you, she instruct. Elsewhere, Owens draws on the climate crisis and her love of nature: incorporating samples of melting glaciers and people literally skating on ice, Melt! Is call for action, her clipped vocal disappearing into the distance. Corner Of My Sky, collaboration with Owens homeland hero, Welsh artist and former Velvet Underground member John Cale, tells the story of land where they grow up via speak-word, poetry and song. Carrying a cinematic atmosphere, it paints a vivid picture of why we should appreciate natural world intricacies. Poignantly instructive repetition of polysemic lullaby-like closer Wake-Up stretches this idea, pondering the importance of stopping for a moment: losing our minds for short-term gain, short term everything; never pausing to take it in, always avoiding your sense of dread, Owens sings, her timely lyrics documenting how easy it is to lose touch with what really matters in life. By allowing her songs to breathe, leaving space for contemplation, Inner Song is a perfectly-arrange album where each track has a part to play: emotive-yet-euphoric collection that makes for late-Night reflection, Kelly Lee Owens has made one of the most beautiful records of the year.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Grimes: Miss Anthropocene

Grimes embodies unhuman on Miss Anthropocene. Her fifth album title Is personification of Anthropocene, theorized geological epoch in which civilization provokes its own destruction via climate crises. But rather than finding comfort in anthropomorphic gesture, Grime renders a bleak, if beautiful, portrait of nihilism. Imminent annihilation sounds so dope, she sings on My Name Is Dark, prescient picture of a doomsday raving. But in her instrumentation, she reaches for organic matter, sometimes painstakingly: Grimes meticulously tweaks acoustic guitar loops on Delete Forever, layering actual violins and banjo until they recall post-apocalyptic campfire song. Grimes once treated lyrics as meaningless sound, but here, shes shockingly honest about the pain of posh isolation: Ill tie My feet to rocks and drown / Youll Miss Me When Im not Around.-Arielle Gordon

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Lil Uzi Vert: Eternal Atake

Eternal Atake, long-await sophomore album from Philly rapper Lil Uzi Vert, was one of the year's best rap albums out gate. In flawless rhyme workouts like POP and emotional moments like Bust Me and Chrome Heart Tags, Uzi proves he contains multitudes as a rapper and as a writer. The deluxe edition, which comes out the week after the original Atake release in March, piles a whole new album on top of that: Lil Uzi Vert vs. World 2. Where Atake is mostly solo affair, Lil Uzi Vert vs. World 2 showcases Uzis incredible chemistry with peers. Yessirskiii feature shockingly animated 21 Savage; Strawberry Peels, Uzi, Gunna, and Young Thug show out. There are also batshit-brilliant solo songs like Moon Relate and haughty swag raps like Come this Way. The result is the sound of a rapper spitballing and almost always hitting the mark. The same is true of Atlanta rapper Gunna s Wunna. The breakout star of Young Thugs YSL Records has a great ear for beats, cadences, and melodies. His sophomore album is an effortless glide between short, moody cuts, produced in large part by Tennessee trap maestro Wheezy. The Deluxe edition haphazardly dumps eight more into the mix and jumbles original sequencing without destroying flow or diminishing quality. It trick a lot of anxious artists will try and fail to repeat next year.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Haim: Women in Music Pt. III

In nutshell: LA group got personal on their melancholy third album. Here was soundtrack to a thousand LA sunsets, late-night anxiety dreams and relationship breakdowns. The sisters ' humour and vulnerability was evident in the acerbic album title Alone. Haim embark on a slight detour from classic rock-inspire pop they were known for; calculating risk. Instead, they combine gloomy electronica and sleek 90s-indebted R & B to create perhaps their most introspective and cohesive album to date. It is in these experimental quirks that the nuance and evolution of Haim songwriting truly shines. SP NME say: have produced a record that is experimental, soothing and vulnerable; it is thing of great beauty.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Bob Dylan: Rough and Rowdy Ways

If nothing else, Bob Dylans ' 39 studio album should forever put to rest the idea that the storied songwriter is losing his voice. On his first collection of original material in eight years, he sounds unusually attune to the suggestive power of his craggy instrument, using small changes of inflection to convey wry self-mockery, roaring prowess, and certain uneasy nostalgia. Rough and Rowdy Ways can be approximately divided into two types of song: ballads, which nearly evaporate as you listen, and more conventionally rocking blues-base numbers. It is testament to Dylan's spectral presence as singer, and the sympathy of his accompanists, that uptempo tunes often seem as misty and elusive as slow ones. As ever with late-period Dylan albums, death lurks in every corner: as prompt for bloody, Frankenstein-ish experiments in My Own Version of You, red river to be traverse in Crossing Rubicon, body who shares his bed in I Contain Multitudes, nameless rival in Black Rider. The gravity of Dylan's voice and the clarity of his vision allow him to address these wraiths as equal, one with intimate knowledge of the darkness they inhabit. One minute, he is at peace, nearly succumbing to whatever comes next; next, he is spoiling for fight, ready to wrestle death to mat one last time. You girls mean business, he bellows to two fleet-foot guides from the underworld on swaggering False Prophet. And I do too.-Andy Cush

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers writes winsome, quiet songs that harken back to tail end of second-wave emo, when artists like Conor Oberst, David Bazan, and Chris Carrabba built sturdy careers blurring lines between rock and folk, diary entries and song lyrics. Bridgers ' sophomore solo album, Punisher, is a millennial answer to classics that shares their penchant for seeking profundity in seemingly mundane and understanding through oversharing. The title track imagines getting to meet the late Elliott Smith and catastrophically failing to play it cool; Kyoto is about how you ca lose your problems by changing time zones. Dark cloud following protagonists of Bridgerss songs in spite of their attempts to change up routines and scenery, make Punisher one of the year's best and most relatable depression albums.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Fiona Apple labors at sculptors pace, having crafted only five studio albums since unveiling her debut, Tidal, in 1996. That amounts to a rate of one, or maybe two, fully realized works per decade. Theres footage of her testing out I Want You to Love Me stunning opener to Fetch Bolt Cutters, album No. 5 at live shows as early as 2013. Recording begin in earnest in 2015. It would take time for Apple and her band to realize that her raw songs about managing mental illness and navigating stuffy, patriarchal social circles didnt need a formal studio. Much of Bolt Cutters was recorded in the singers ' Los Angeles home, which makes autobiographical elements of songs like Shameika, Heavy Balloon, and title track all more personal; particularly exciting stretch of music might get her friends dog to bark, and random household item might get repurposed as percussion instrument. Apple classical training and creative playing make this tour de force. Further she strays from the pop-orient sound of Tidal, more she comes into focus as one of one. No one else would think to make this album. No one else could.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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