The end is nigh, at least for If you weren't quite so adventurous — and were too embarrassed to share your Spotify Wrapped playlist this year — there's still enough time to catch up on the glut of great music released this year. Whether you're looking for something to soundtrack your New Year's Eve party or long slog down the motorway back home, here's our favourite releases of the year so far. After electrifying Glastonbury during his Friday headliner slot, the British rapper has become a voice on issues such as knife crime and Brexit. His second studio album mirrors its predecessor in selecting interesting names for collaborations, with a track featuring H. Elsewhere tracks like 'Crown' and 'Big Michael' display the range of his vocal talents. Skip to: 'One Second' — A slow and swaying track on which Stormzy sincerely reminds the listener: ' I am not the poster boy for mental health'. Amazon Spotify. Onto the next album since leaving One Direction behind him, wide-trouser enthusiast and curly-haired heartthrob Harry Styles is using his second release to have a bit more fun. From the Miami-esque pink and blue album artwork to the tropical sounds of tracks like 'Watermelon Sugar' and 'Canyon Moon', there's a warm energy in Fine Line, one which fizzles in the club-ready 'Lights Up'.
Microphones in 2020
Anchored by sturdy, stunningly pretty folk-rock backings, Adrianne Lenker, her voice tremulous but tenacious, makes existential musings amid verdant nature. The Californian troubadour, who has steadily wound his way through the fringes of Americana and indie for over 15 years, delivers another romantic, faintly psychedelic masterpiece. Tip of the Sphere is his ninth studio album of ever-expansive Americana, one where his myth properly matures. With as much an affinity with hip-hop and progressive rock as jazz, the trio of reeds player Shabaka Hutchings, synth player Dan Leavers and drummer Max Hallett make one of the most cosmic statements of the current British jazz revival. It may also be the best. An overlooked masterpiece of modern soul, the Indiana quintet are shamelessly retro in their style: all pert brass and crooning close harmonies. But when the songwriting is this perfect, who cares about originality? The gothic teen queen came through with some characteristically unsettling productions on her debut album, but equally showed an unexpected love of show tunes that posited her as a Gen-Z Fiona Apple.
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The Red Headed Stranger and the Boss broke hearts , revealing their anxieties as each meditated on legacy and mortality, and FKA twigs warped heartache and depression into the most glinting sounds of tomorrow imaginable. LP smashed through the public consciousness. Extreme lyrical confession is the mode du jour, and the real winners are us, the listeners. These are the best albums of Nearly a decade into her dizzying career—one full of futuristic sounds, dreamy vocals, and physics-defying dancing—British born artist Tahliah Barnett arrived with her finest work yet as FKA twigs in It's incredible to see Earl Sweatshirt completely reject popular hip hop music. After his breakthrough solo album, Doris, it seemed that he was primed to be the next big star in the genre. But, throughout this decade, he's spurned that possibly trajectory more and more, as his music becomes more strange, more experimental, and increasingly more unique. His latest collage of creativity comes in the form of Feet of Clay , a 7-song album that clocks in at less than 15 minutes.
Last year was a banner year for big-name artists dropping big-name releases. By strong contrast, was more of a transitional changing of the guard year, allowing space for new faces, like Billie Eilish and Lizzo, to make big splashes and for seasoned veterans, like Wilco and Solange, to create bigger, fresher waves. Buffalo brothers Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine and longtime associate Benny the Butcher are Griselda, a rap crew whose hard-nosed punch lines, effortless flows, and intricate storytelling brought them to the attention of our patron saint of internal rhyme, Eminem. Their Shady Records debut W. Gothic sounds from producers Daringer and Beat Butcha set the scene for grimy stories about the stresses and spoils of hustling. The beats bang, and the quotables run fast and hot, like a river of blood. In four albums, Kentucky troubadour Sturgill Simpson evolved from a rising country star to a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter to a kind of Nashville outlaw to a rock star making records about the stresses of making records. The members of the country quartet the Highwomen come from different walks of life.