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Our Top 10 Albums of the Year // 2020

It's something you've definitely heard before but this year's been a pretty strange one; lockdown meant I got to listen to a lot more music than usual - and that's saying something. Lockdown also gave plenty of music makers time to produce some of the greatest albums of their careers. 2020 has literally been a goldmine for debuts, comebacks and seconds which meant it'd be a difficult task to narrow down the best albums to just ten. But after a long time pondering and a while cutting, scrapping and rethinking, here's the final list - with some honourable mentions to end!

10: Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

At ten we have 'Future Nostalgia' by queen of pop Dua Lipa. Now she's never really been on my radar but when she released her first single from the upcoming album, 'Don't Start Now', I was hooked! March saw Lipa take on her most ambitious musical venture yet with the release of her second studio album. It flits from 80s movie score sounds to power pop anthems in the space of forty minutes. It's one I didn't expect to be on my end of the year list, but it made it and I'd definitely recommend giving it a listen if you haven't already.

Favourite track(s): Don't Start Now, Hallucinate

9: Nova Twins - Who Are The Girls?

The first time I heard this album was when I wrote a feature about the band for another publication. Nova Twins' frenzied concoction of punk and grime is something unique to them and it's something I've certainly not heard before. This year has been crazy for them; having been on the receiving end of a Heavy Music Award and teaming up with the likes of Bring Me The Horizon. 'Who Are The Girls?' is a call to the misfits with snarling lyrics, heavy sounds and thundering hooks that bite!

Favourite track(s): Play Fair

8: Franc Moody - Dream In Colour

This was actually a last minute entry on the list! I've had Franc Moody's one track 'Dopamine' on repeat this year and I hadn't realised they released an album in August until a few weeks ago - and I had to include it here. This bass-heavy, funked-up work-of-art is a gateway to colourful electro collisions and groovy melodies that make you want to get up, sway your hips and take a sip of that fresh cold pint! It's especially needed at the moment.

Favourite track(s): Dream In Colour, Grin and Bear It

7: Sorry - 925

This debut album from the London act was a breath of fresh air, in my opinion. The quartet experiment with a mixture of different sounds, an amalgamation that makes them sound so different to anyone else. The compelling youths drift from pop to post-punk effortlessly, already establishing themselves in the industry. It's raw and punchy and it's only the beginning for this band!

Favourite track(s): More, Perfect

6: Nothing But Thieves - Moral Panic

'Moral Panic' is the third studio album from the Essex five-piece and although not my favourite release of theirs it's certainly worthy of a mention. It's a lot more experimental in its ways and that's why I like it. With claustrophobic themes and sonically pleasing hits, Nothing But Thieves keep true to their alternative take on indie rock whilst managing to keep it fresh in this explosive album.

Favourite track(s): Phobia

5: The Big Moon - Walking Like We Do

I’d only ever heard ‘Your Light’ before I bought the album, which I loved, so when I walked passed the album in the store I thought I’d give the rest of it a go - and my god, was that a great decision. With it’s sweet harmonies and summery hooks that evokes that Glastonbury outlook on life, the Mercury nominated band have produced a bright second album that lets you escape for forty minutes.

Favourite track(s): Don't Think

4: Bad Nerves - Bad Nerves

I got to chat to some of the lads in Bad Nerves for another publication the other month which introduced me to their debut - and to be completely honest, I haven't switched it off since. Bad Nerves take on the spirit of the Ramones in this adrenaline-fuelled punk-rock album; it's blistering, riff-heavy sound is something that's been missing from the scene for a while. It's brash, raw energy serves as a distraction from what's happening at the moment.

Favourite track(s): Baby Drummer

3: Creeper - Sex, Death & the Infinite Void

Not to be dramatic, but my jaw literally dropped when I first heard the second album from the Southampton lot. I've been a fan for years so I sort of put off listening to this at first because I didn't want to be dissapointed - but boy was I wrong. This flirt with life and death is exactly what we needed to hear from them. They undertake this new persona with a Rocky Horror attitude, a Bowie flair and Nick Cave productions. It's one for the big stages where I hope to see them very soon.

Favourite track(s): Be My End

2: Blossoms - Foolish Loving Spaces

Blossoms have not stopped this year! Live albums, television appearances, Christmas songs and the release of their third studio album 'Foolish Loving Spaces'. This album is the epitome of festival season and has done well to soundtrack this summer - to fill the void of the lack of live performances. With anthemic hooks and choruses written for arena-size venues, Blossoms have released their best album yet.

Favourite track(s): If You Think This Is Real Life

1: Hayley Williams - Petals For Armor

'Petals For Armor' was the album I've been waiting to hear for ten years to be honest; and it was well worth the wait. Hayley provides an insight into her grief, love and femininity with raw lyricism and her powerhouse vocals. She takes us on a therapeutic journey of pop-rock sensibilities and a raw vulnerability that showcases the battles Williams fought and overcame. There's a maturity to this album that we've never really seen before from any Paramore production; we see Hayley blossom into her own entity and I love it. 'Petals For Armor' is an album you need to sit down and listen to properly - to actually take it in.

Favourite track(s): Watch Me While I Bloom

Honourable mentions:

It goes without saying that there's been some banging albums released this year that didn't make it onto the list - so here's just a few worth mentioning!

The Strokes - The New Abnormal

The Magic Gang - Death of the Party

Idles - Ultra Mono

Dream Wife - So When You Gonna...

Tame Impala - The Slow Rush

The Blinders - Fantasies of a Stay At Home Psychopath

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