Although we finalized our Top 10 albums of 2020 late last year, we've decided to prepare for our picks from 2021 by naming the best albums which we overlooked from last year! Some of these were records which we were already familiar with, while some of these gems were released as early as January 2020 and it still took a year for such titles to fall under our radar...
Given the chance for us to include them in our list of 2020's best albums, we'd instantly swap some of these titles in a heartbeat with some of what we put last year. Overall, we're (once again) more than glad to present to everyone our top picks for the best albums that we've largely ignored/overlooked from 2020, and we hope that all of you can give these albums a listen too!
Shabrang by Sevdaliza
In terms of sound, it’s tough to find anything that sounds remotely similar with the work of the talented Sevdaliza. Shabrang is a slow-moving beauty, hooking it’s listeners with it’s fascinating set of cryptic parables that‘s as artsy as the album’s title. The record is a haunting piece of R&B + art-pop, which is what makes it one of the most unique albums that we’ve listened to in the past few years. It’s a record that truly delivers on all fronts—leaving most (including us) speechless by the end of it’s runtime.
Lianna La Havas by Lianna La Havas
Following the release of her sophomore album Blood in 2015, the self-titled album from Lianne La Havas shows us that the five year hiatus in preparation for this was well worth the wait. The record compiles a soulful set of ear-worms that are a captivating listen to anyone who gives it a shot, with it’s concept rooted on the life cycle of nature + getting back from the shattered pieces of a relationship. La Havas’ intimate vocals combined with the lyrical exploration make for an easy listen to get into, which is why we highly recommend the record!
Disco by Kylie Minogue
We must admit, we weren’t exactly too big on Kylie Minogue’s Disco upon it’s release. Yet as time went by, from revisits to full-on playbacks a little over a year later have made this a constant spin for us—both on vinyl & digital platforms. Kylie’s Disco is upbeat and catchy in every turn, with it’s dance-pop nature full of a warm & glittery glow that’s irresistible on the dance floor. When listening to the record, Kylie doesn’t ask us to take her too seriously—rather she only asks us to have a good time with her music (which she definitely helps us with!)
Zeros by Declan McKenna
Despite it's musical influence from the style of Bowie and The Beatles, Declan McKenna’s Zeros manages to do what most albums don't successfully do––which is the balance of properly honoring it’s influences + reinventing the glam rock genre altogether. We can honestly admit that it’s songwriting is just as good as it’s sound, in addition to the notable production that channels the 70’s. It’s a highly inventive record that is fun & fresh in every listen, which is why we’re so glad the album fell under our radar this year!
Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) by Kali Uchis
Isolation already poised Kali Uchis as one of the most promising R&B sirens of today, and Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) just further proved our point. Although it didn't make as much waves as it's predecessor, the album is sweet, sultry, and savory in all the right places it needs to be. Uchis delivers her vocals with her signature confidence and style, but this time it's paired with the more Latin fused influences that she's pushed for in her music. In it's entirety, Sin Miedo is a very hypnotic listen that invites viewers to pay attention at every moment––promising a fulfilling experience by the time you get to the end.
I Disagree by Poppy
Shedding out the bubblegum YouTube persona that she used to be known for, Poppy's first output under Sumerian Records showcases a self-assured woman being the artist she's always wanted to be. I Disagree is an experimental & excellent metal record which doesn't feel too far off from her previous album Am I Girl, with it's bigger + bolder sound being a natural progression of Poppy's in terms of artistic growth. Finally free of the constraints from her abusive manager & label, this catchy and stellar album makes for a perfect rebirth for the Poppy we used to know.
Roísín Machine by Roísín Murphy
Roísín Machine is one of the best albums to come out of 2020, yet it took us until the early months of 2021 to fully appreciate it for the underrated gem that it is. Brimming with flashes of house, nu-disco, and funk all at once, Róisín Murphy’s latest LP is seamless set of music that’ is worth dancing the night away too. Murphy’s visuals and promotional material for the record are absolutely eye-catching, leaning towards campy, pop-punk material to grab the attention of listeners from all over. The utilization of such influences fit hand in hand with what Roísín Machine really was—which is a phantasmagoria of disco dynamite.