The 25 Best Albums of 2020… So Far
2020 is half-way in the books. Say that again. 2020 is half-way in the books. Some can meet that statement with a sigh of relief while others look at the remaining six months on the calendar with trepidation. The world is in flux. Musicians have shaped times of social upheaval dating back to the 1960s and there are many carrying the torch in popular music today. This particular roundup bears some additional weight because there’s a need to balance albums that tackle the atmosphere of unrest directly with projects that lend listeners some much-needed respite. Music’s escapist qualities are needed now more than ever. The ongoing coronavirus quarantines have forced artists to drastically change their outputs. Charli XCX captured the moment as one of the first artists to not only champion but document her current loneliness in the home-studio-recorded how i’m feeling now. Killer Mike and El-P reconvened for the first time in four years as militant, angry and poignant as ever. Run The Jewels‘ RTJ4 grappled with and then plotted to dismantle the first term of Donald Trump’s presidency. There were also long-awaited albums that finally came to fruition and didn’t disappoint. Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake reached meme status given how many delays and label drama social media posts have occurred over the past three years. Jay Electronica spent an entire decade promising a transcendent album. Fans lost faith. He and JAY-Z delivered with A Written Testimony. The Weeknd’s After Hours rollout was a masterclass in thematics and cohesion with too many remixes to count. Now all we have to do is wait for Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red to hold us down for the back-half of 2020. It’s worth noting that while Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon released late last week, HYPEBEAST decided that there’s a need for more time to listen through the Brooklyn rapper’s posthumous project to properly give it space to resonate and to honor the artist who so deserves more listens. Overall, this mid-year recap is about finding all of the good that’s happened in the music world from January through June. If you search for it, you will find countless gems waiting for you in the digital crates. Without further ado, here are HYPEBEAST’s Best 25 Albums of 2020… So Far.