Amended to include December releases. Also publishing this in keeping with my tradition of posting my top 20 from each year.
Gorgeous, romantic acoustic ballads that are constantly exposed and vulnerable. A rainy day album if I've ever heard one.
Standing up to heteronormative country music traditions, boldly and with courage.
|My Morning Jacket
The Waterfall II
A soft, glowing summer rock album.
Not the era-definer that her rabid fans will make it out to be, but still a beautiful record with a ton of replay value.
Fleet Foxes' most immediate and well-produced album.
Theatrical, grandiose pop-rock with a knack for earworm choruses.
A stunning collection of folk song re-imaginings.
Microphones in 2020
One of the best poets of our time puts his existential thoughts to music.
One of the best Deftones albums comes twenty five years into the band's storied career.
Fetch The Bolt Cutters
A landmark release which feels like it will be just as culturally important as it is musically enjoyable.
The Golden Days are Hard
Scratchy, underproduced folk-rock from a bunch of likeable Canadian nobodies.
Scratchy, underproduced country from an emerging voice who seems destined for even bigger things.
Indie-rocker turns Americana/country songwriter, becomes Dylanesque out of nowhere and wins Pitchfork accolades.
80's-tinged electronic/indie-rock that also manages to feel decidedly futuristic.
An apocalyptic snowglobe filled with the ash of a burning society.
We Will Always Love You
Effortlessly smooth, catchy, and soulful. Feels timeless, like a modern-day classic was just dropped in our laps.
Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was
The best Bright Eyes album covers themes of divorce and apocalypse.
Posthumous hip-hop/psychedelic/R&B record is ahead of its time.
Halo of Hurt
Dark, brooding alt-rock that daringly steps in to fill the shoes of that band-which-shall-not-be-named.
The future of country music.