While many of us lingered and struggled inside of our homes — and are still patiently following quarantine protocols until this global pandemic ends (with the major exceptions here being NBA YoungBoy and The Chainsmokers) — the best albums released in 2020 were able to transport us away from such existential bother. The releases on our list took to the far-away cosmos (Honey Harper and The Avalanches) and back to Baby Pluto (Lil Uzi Vert). They connected artists from the Caribbean (Puerto Rico’s Bad Bunny) to the Fennoscandian Peninsula (Sweden’s Bladee) and even to the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand-based Tami Neilson). They found ways to break free from societal constructs and confines of masculinity (Dorian Electra and Yves Tumor), femininity (HAIM and Flo Mili), and patriarchy (Fionna Apple and Taylor Swift) — and, for good measure, embodied the acts of creative rebirth (Lil Wayne and Machine Gun Kelly) and spiritual awakening (Jay Electronica). There was a little something for everyone in a year where most had everything taken away, and while some sectors of the music industry will most likely not make it out of this alright, at least the quality of the following records didn’t suffer in the process.
Below are two handfuls of Honorable Mention albums that almost made the cut but just missed out, and which we’ve already written about this year. Coming next week are our Top 25 albums of 2020 (delivered in two parts: 25-11 and a Top 10). In the meantime, read some words from us and listen to some albums from these recommended artists. Paul Attard