2020 in review: the albums

December 24, 2020

It’s probably not possible to declare a “best” album of 2020 when everyone’s musical experience was so deeply personal and deeply subjectve. Instead, the AP team has collected the albums that stuck with us; those that the year only deepened our affection for and connection to. These are not the “best” albums of the year. These are the albums that meant the most to us and changed us for the better.


The Muslims – Gentrifried Chicken
On their latest full length, The Muslims craft that most mythical of creatures: a perfect punk rock record. Come for the titles like “Death Grab For Bootie” and “Woke Jokes & Pot Smoke.” Stay for the onslaught of righteous fury and gleefully anarchic energy. (Nathan Leigh)

Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind
Heaven To A Tortured Mind is a genre defying project pushing sonic boundaries like only Yves Tumor can. (Warren Bokwe)

KeiyaA – Forever Ya Girl
Lyrically KeiyaA is both brash and super vulnerable, inviting her fears and insecurities out to play, but poised with reassurance from her divine ancestral guardians. The production of the project is lush yet light as air, capturing a bit of the enchanting improvisational energy of her live shows. (Syron Townsend)

Beauty Pill – Please Advise
The long-running DC indie rock band continue a decades-long winning streak that finds bandleader Chad Clark’s songwriting and production in top form. Its brief running time packs a full year’s worth of emotion into 4 flawless tracks. (Nathan Leigh)


Terrace Martin, 9th Wonder, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington – Dinner Party
When four Grammy winning artists form a supergroup, you’d expect the world to stop and listen. For some odd reason, this project has not received the recognition it deserves. For a project with seven songs, it is neatly packaged and you will find yourself continuously pressing the repeat button. (Thembela Ngayi)

Amaarae – The Angel You Don’t Know
The force that is Afro-pop has become undeniable on the world’s stage. This album is a sleek, swaggy, and danceable example of what’s next for the genre. Enjoy while twerking in the mirror. (Syron Townsend)

Bob Vylan – We Live Here
UK Punk / Grime duo Bob Vylan stick it to the man on their potent debut full length project. (Warren Bokwe)

Spillage Village – Spilligion
One of the most overlooked albums of 2020, Spilligion is a soulful blend that is rooted in religion, socio-politics and hip-hop. Spillage Village has captured what Kanye wanted to do with Jesus Is King. (Thembela Ngayi)


YellowStraps – Yellockdown Project
The two Belgian brothers’ Yellowckdown Project might be the most underrated “quarantine” project for 2020. With the duo facing the challenge of releasing one track per week, every week of lockdown, featuring a different artist and written in 24 hours. Their efforts have culminated in a 13-track project, with features from artists spanning the UK, US, France, Iceland, Holland, and Germany, all created over the internet. (Thembela Ngayi)

Algiers – There Is No Year
Was it hubris or prophecy to declare Algiers’ There Is No Year the album of the year 2 weeks into January? Either way, from the name on down, few albums could hope to embody the swirling mix of unease, anxiety, mourning, and rage of 2020 as well as Algiers’ masterpiece. (Nathan Leigh)

Dreamcrusher – Another Country
I honestly find the buzzing, thrashing, industrial vortex of noise perfect for mediation. The 40 minute project is not split into discernible tracks, making it ideal listening for letting your mind slip free from the illusions of time and space that this year has proven to be purely arbitrary anyway. (Syron Townsend)