A euphoric lance of a pop album that pierced the misery-bloated boil that was 2020 with rebelliously silly lyrics, OTT Elton John vocals, a drum ’n’ bass drop and more bangers than any other record on this list. (Don’t @ me, Bad Bunny fans.) ‘Chromatica’ has been a pretty constant soundtrack to my entire year. In fact, my favourite memory of summer 2020 goes like this: I’m at a seated, socially distanced queer cabaret night in north London. The DJ puts on ‘Rain on Me’. Suddenly everyone is singing and dancing and security is telling people to sit back down, but they all love the song far too much to be seated. Even on your hundredth listen, it’s impossible to keep still. Kate Lloyd
It’s been a peculiar year for the music industry. Gigs and festivals have been basically off the cards since March (though drive-in and socially distanced concerts made a good effort). Many major releases were pushed back as a result. And while we’ve all been stuck at home, our listening habits appear to have changed too. Way back in 2019, we might not have felt we had the time to play full albums right the way through, instead opting for the easy thrill of a curated playlist stacked with back-to-back bangers. But this year, it felt way more acceptable to just kick back and enjoy records the old-fashioned way: from start to finish.
In 2020, many of us have turned to old comforts: the albums we grew up with, the music we usually seek solace in during tough times. But there’s also been a great deal of new stuff that’s felt either incredibly timely, incredibly nostalgic, incredibly chill – or just really, really, really good.
So, need some new listening? In no particular order, here are 15 of the best albums of 2020, packed with tunes which got Time Out staff around the world through some dark times this year.