|UserReviews 164Approval 97%Soundoffs 13News Articles 16Band Edits + Tags 3,031Album Edits 7,840Album Ratings 3069Objectivity 87%Last Active 01-25-21 3:19 pmJoined 08-18-16Forum Posts 77Review Comments 7,770
|My Favorite 10 Albums of 2020|
This double album rock opera by Ayreon (which includes Dutch multi-instrumentalist Anthony Lucassen and a host of musical guests) isn't perfect. The story is fairly mediocre, and the LP is often stolen by artists playing secondary characters (especially Epica lead vocalist Simone Simons). But the music is lush throughout, and the story's Narrator is played by Doctor Who's Tom Baker, which was enough to nudge it into my Top 10.
Sufjan fans were divided over the merits of this LP, especially in comparison to his previous effort, 2015's "Carrie and Lowell." I get it, and I agree in a way -- "Carrie and Lowell" is probably a stronger album artistically. Unfortunately, with its themes of mental illness and child neglect, it's also about as much fun as visiting a sick friend in the hospital. For me, "The Ascension," with its mild and tasteful electronic stylings, is a far more enjoyable LP, and one I'm more likely to keep coming back to.
Strange To Explain
Woods is a Brooklyn-based outfit that combines elements of rock, folk and psychedelic music. Depending on who you listen to, "Strange to Explain" is anywhere from their ninth to their eleventh studio album. Suffice it to say these guys have been playing together for awhile, and it shows. I found it to be the kind of LP where you can just close your eyes for a bit and let the music carry you away, which is a good thing. I'm sorry I was never aware of them before this year.
Although Long-Island-turned-Connecticut folk artist Kenn Morr and his band are unknown on the national scene, they've put out a lot of excellent music over the years. This LP is one of their best. As always, the music is gentle and optimistic, anchored by Kenn's deep, somewhat gruff vocals and the band's elegant musicianship. It's always nice to see old friends do well.
The God-Shaped Void
I somehow missed this California prog-metal band during their heyday in the early-to-mid '90s. I guess it was because I wasn't listening to much (any) prog metal in those days. Anyway, they're back now after a 24-year hiatus, with an album that just creates a maelstrom of sound. Now I'm going to have to go back over their back catalog. Thanks, guys.
I discovered this solo instrumental Swedish Renaissance/Medieval music project earlier this year when garas entered this album in a Sputnik folk music contest. Jacob Ovgren (aka Borg) actually put out three different albums this year, but this one was far and away my favorite. It evokes images of woodlands (duh!), wedding feasts and king's halls. Good stuff.
HUMAN. :II: NATURE.
Ok, let's just admit from the outset that this is the stupidest album title of the year, and that the album isn't as good as 2015's "Endless Forms Most Beautiful." But these guys still manage to reach great heights here, with tracks like "Music," "Ad Astra," and especially the flawless and exciting "How's the Heart." If live music ever gets to be a thing again, I'm going to have to find a way to catch them in concert. They've become my favorite band of the modern era.
Never Not Together
I haven't listened to this New York-based alternative rock band since their debut album "High/Low" in 1996, on which they had a minor novelty single called "Popular." I don't know if I've ever even given them a second thought since then. But based on this album, wow, have I been missing out. Every year, there are LPs I check out more or less just for the hell of it that blow me away. This was one of those. It's a little bit of alt rock perfection.
I first learned about this classical folk artist this year, thanks to the monthly Sputnik Music Song of the Day list. Agnes Obel is a gem. She's a Danish version of Kate Bush for the 2020's. There are some truly beautiful songs on here. And to listen to a lot of her fans, "Myopia" isn't even necessarily her best work. No matter. It totally works for me.
The first time I became aware of this Australian synthpop band was in 2017, when their excellent "Haiku From Zero" LP just missed my Top 10 list. But this year, there was no holding these guys back. This is the kind of album all 80's music fans out there will love. Trust me when I tell you there's not a weak track on this LP. Which is why it's my #1 Album of 2020.
|Sputnik ate my list the first time. But at least I had some of it backed up.|
|Cut Copy at number 1, that's unique.|
I'll have to check it
|good list diva! it's great to see woods and agnes obel|
i still need to get to that borg album. 1 might appeal to me too
|Diva number 2 😍💞|
It's my number 1 of the year, Agnes is amazing.
|Excellent. Nice to see Agnes get some love.|