Reviews 164
Approval 97%

Soundoffs 13
News Articles 16
Band Edits + Tags 3,031
Album Edits 7,840

Album Ratings 3069
Objectivity 87%

Last Active 01-25-21 3:19 pm
Joined 08-18-16

Forum Posts 77
Review Comments 7,770

01.06.21 Early 202101.03.21 Albums I Just Picked Up
01.02.21 Top 10 Local (NY) Albums of 202012.30.20 My Favorite 20 Songs of 2020
12.26.20 My Favorite 10 Albums of 202012.24.20 R.I.P. Leslie West
12.15.20 This Week's Pickups12.11.20 James Bond Films Ranked
11.25.20 Finishing Out 202011.08.20 AEW Full Gear - ***SPOILERS***
11.01.20 Latest pickups10.30.20 November 2020 Song of the Day
10.15.20 Contenders for My 3000th Rating10.14.20 11 Ratings to 3000
09.29.20 Fall Gift Basket08.14.20 Top 10 Horror Films of the 2010s
08.03.20 Weekend Haul06.19.20 Folk Tournament Finals
More »

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.
9Sufjan Stevens
The Ascension

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.
7Kenn Morr
Open Field

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.
6Psychotic Waltz
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.

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.
3Nada Surf
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.
2Agnes Obel

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.
1Cut Copy
Freeze, Melt

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.
Show/Add Comments (5)


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy