Yahoo Entertainment is counting down the top 10 albums of 2020, as voted on by our staff. Ranging from rock to rap to pop, here is the music that we couldn't stop listening to during a difficult year.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Women in Music Pt. III
Megan Thee Stallion
The Slow Rush
Run the Jewels
Fetch the Bolt Cutters
THE WEEKND: (SINGING) Ooh, I'm blinded by the lights.
LYNDSEY PARKER: It's the most wonderful time of a not-so-wonderful year when we make our list and we check it twice. I'm Yahoo Entertainment Music Editor Lyndsey Parker here to count down the top 10 albums that powered us through a difficult 2020, as voted on by our staff. In at number 10, it's a tie between pioneering first-wave LA punk band X, who back in April, surprise-released "Alphabetland," their first album with their original lineup since 1985, and critics' darling, Jason Isbell and his 400 Unit with "Reunions."
At number nine, we have sister act Haim with their Grammy nominee for Album of the Year, "Women in Music Part III." Coming in at number 8 is a woman whose hot-girl summer extended all the way through winter 2020, Best New Artist Grammy nominee Megan Thee Stallion, with her full-length debut "Good News," which featured savage collaborations with SZA, DaBaby, Young Thug, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Lil Durk, and of course, Beyonce.
At number seven, we have Australian neo-psychodelic stadium titans, Tame Impala, with "The Slow Rush," which our own Dylan Stableford says "would have been the soundtrack of the summer if there had actually been a summer in 2020. Instead, the pandemic robbed us of one. Otherwise, you would have been hearing Kevin Parker's synth-laden psych-rock masterpiece at rooftop parties and backyard barbecues from Maine to Malibu. Oh, well, as Parker sings on the album's opener, there's always 'one more year.'"
- (SINGING) Ooh, la la, ah oui oui. Ooh, la la, ah, oui oui.
LYNDSEY PARKER: In at number 6 is Run the Jewels' explosive "RTJ4," which our staff's Kelly Matousek describes as flawless from end to end. She says "'RTJ4' wasn't just a bunch of singles. It was assembled to take you on a ride and make you think while you're there."
Disco diva Dua Lipa boogies into the number-five spot with the house-party soundtrack of 2020, "Future Nostalgia," which our own Jen Kucsak says "dropped at just the right time as the pandemic hit back in March. I listened to 'Levitating' and 'Don't Stop Now' on repeat, and it made me hit the dance floor in my very own living room and made me happy during the darkest of days." Indie singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers is in at number four with "Punisher." Says our writer Laura Ferreiro, "While artists like Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware provided welcome respite from the dumpster fire that was 2020 with their disco-tinged tunes designed for dancing cares away, Phoebe Bridgers' poignant, reflective songwriting offered solace in an even more edifying way. On her masterful self-produced second album, Bridgers confronts, examines, and ultimately embraces darkness, something many of us can relate to in these challenging times."
Fiona Apple's comeback album, "Fetch the Bolt Cutters," in at number three, was a big hit with many of our writers with three of them making it their personal number-one pick. Robert Burke described it as a career high for Fiona, while Steve Baltin called it "innovative, smart, daring, literate, and musical" and predicted, "Do not be surprised when, 10 years from now, it shows back up on best-of-the-decade lists."
TAYLOR SWIFT: (SINGING) I knew you. Your heart beat on the high line once in 20 lifetimes, I--
LYNDSEY PARKER: Taylor Swift had a very busy 2020, dropping two surprise lockdown albums, "Folklore" and "Evermore," that made various individual lists, but it was "Folklore" that went all the way to number two on our overall top 10. Says writer Lori Majewski, "Taylor Swift is both the biggest pop star on Earth and the greatest songwriter of the millennium. Rarely is an artist both at the same time, but with the quiet masterpiece 'Folklore," Swift demonstrates she may actually be more talented than she is famous. Let that sink in."
And, finally, the Grammy committee may have gotten it very wrong with the nominations this year, but Yahoo got it very right, voting to make The Weeknd's bizarrely snubbed "After Hours" our top record of the year. Abel Tesfaye made his boldest artistic statement yet with his dark and dystopian fourth studio album, which ran the gamut from the '70s adult contemporary "Scared to Live" and "In Your Eyes" to the John Hughes soundtrack-style '80s soft pop of "Save Your Tears" to the hard-hitting '90s techno of "Hardest to Love" and "Too Late." In the process, he made a timeless album for 2020 that redefined what pop music could be.
And there you have it. Here's looking forward to more great music and, hopefully, great live concerts in the new year.