The WFM gang got together and voted for the best albums of 2020!
2020 has been one of the worst years in recent history, but we were still blessed with some incredible albums throughout to help us through it. From pre-lockdown albums to post-lockdown albums, bands and artists throughout the world continued to deliver on all fronts, especially releasing new music. So all of us here at WFM got together and took a vote on our favourite albums through 2020, of course we’re not saying this THE defintive list for everyone, but these are the albums that helped us get through 2020. Have a read through, let us know whay you think, give us your suggestions and above all be nice!
1. Blossoms – ‘Foolish Loving Spaces’
Number 1 on the WFM albums of the year list is of course, Blossoms’ Foolish Loving Spaces! Its fair to say that the third album from indies nicest lads is their best work to date, from The Strokes inspired Sunday was a friend of mine, to more down to earth and close to home My Vacant Days, this whole album is based on the general theme of love, and it works fantastically!
The album hosts a huge range of brilliant tunes, one of my personal favourites being the synth pop ‘If You Think This Is Real Life!’ If you’re in the need for more Blossoms (which I’m sure you are) have no fear, then recently released extended version has some new tracks on there!
Words by Jack Horsley
2. Sports Team – ‘Deep Down Happy’
In June Sports Team unleashed their debut album ‘Deep Down Happy’ on the world and it quickly became the soundtrack to our summer! The 12-track record features stomping fan-favourites like ‘Kutcher’ and ‘Camel Crew’ as well as new unheard material that became instant classics. The record is a very strong debut from the six-piece with a variety of sounds from the racing guitar tracks to the more relaxed post-punk vibes, as well as some brilliant lyricism and plenty of energy and passion. What’s not to like?!
Words by Emma Edwards
3. Fontaines DC – ‘A Hero’s Death’
If the success of Fontaines’ debut album ‘Dogrel’ last year brought them happiness, you wouldn’t know it. Gritty follow up A Hero’s Death clashes and scrapes, the Dubliners managing to eke out the frictions of stardom. Moody lyrics and claustrophobic themes feel less playful than in the group’s debut.
It’s a reminder that the issues they ponder are all too real, not make-believe. Unsurprisingly, vocalist Grian Chatten’s poetry remains as cutting as ever. Released only a year after ‘Dogrel’, perhaps the band didn’t get the chance to internalise their success. Or maybe they’re just pessimists. Either way, this melancholy collection cemented them as among post-punk’s brightest.
Words by Adam Goldsmith
4. IDLES – ‘Ultra Mono‘
IDLES’s third studio album is a record that could’ve so easily ridden the coattails of their rising popularity, but it opts to grab the coat by the horns and take it to a whole new level of momentum instead. Filled to the brim with the tools to make you feel like a badass whilst listening, Ultra Mono showcases their sound at its most immediate, and channels that energy with a mindset determined to throw it right in your face. It’s the most aggressive form of nice I’ve ever heard.
Words by Adam Reeve
5. Dua Lipa – ‘Future Noastalgia’
Britain’s biggest pop star in 2020? The 25-year-old built on the success of her eponymous debut album with this fantastic follow-up that builds on her dance-pop sound and adds elements of disco and funk into the mix too.
Lipa simultaneously manages to look back to the ‘80s and forward to an intergalactic future, and there’s just the right amount of camp to make this a thoroughly enjoyable listen that never gets old. ‘Physical’ is something of an homage to the Olivia Newton-John track, while there are hints of Madonna and Blondie in here for a retro feel. ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is an emphatic closer too, as Lipa takes her role model status in her stride on this feminist anthem, but space-pop banger ‘Levitating’ is the singer at her very best. A modern pop classic.
Words by Adam England
6. Pheobe Bridgers – ‘Punisher‘
If Phoebe Bridgers hadn’t charmed us enough already with her meme-worthiness and thirsting over Paul Mescal, she went and released Punisher, a work of absolute beauty that is somehow both unnerving and comforting. Floating towards the end of the world, Bridgers takes us on a journey of self-exploration, doing and not doing, fantasy and misery. All complete with Bridger’s ethereal vocal which curdles into a guttural scream at the drop of a hat, backed by chamber guitar and the odd horn (from Bright Eyes’ Nate Walcott). The escalating drive towards ‘I Know The End’ is rich and meaningful, and the record goes out in a blaze of fire. A perfect album.
Words by Ellen Mcnally
7. The Big Moon – ‘Walking Like We Do’
The Big Moon kicked of 2020 in the most beautiful of ways as they released their second album Walking Like We Do on January 10th. Their first album Love in the 4th Dimension had some great spots, notably ‘Cupid’, but the whole of their follow up just felt right.
The vocals throughout are gorgeous and bright which work with the music so well. Each track has an air of coolness about them, whether the band is embracing the piano as the centrepiece or driving forward with catchy guitars – they all have this effortless flow.
Words by Alex Wise
8. DMA’s – ‘The Glow‘
Australian three-piece DMAs returned this year with their third album The Glow – it broke boundaries and, they experimented with different sounds. Reviving and holding down their natural brit-pop personalities, their more pop suited and house produced tracks showed a different side to them that circulated some discussion about whether it was the right way forward. In conclusion, it is.
Words by Georgia Blackman
9. Strokes – ‘The New Abnormal’
The Strokes made a glorious return to form this year with their first album since 2013. The aptly titled ‘The New Abnormal’ was released in April and features 9 pop tracks with a fresh, low-key sound that simultaneously keeps the nostalgic energy of their early days. Featuring slow tempos, electropop synths and infectious riffs, the album blends together the bands famous 2000’s sound with influences from the 80’s to make for the freshest and most interesting album made by The Strokes in some years.
Words by Emma Edwards
10. HAIM – ‘Women in Music‘
Haim’s Women In Music Pt. III is the sisters’ best yet. It’s everything you want from a pop album; it’s musically dynamic, filled with immensely catchy melodies and clever, expansive songwriting. Lyrically, the multi-narrative shines through, offering diverse content diving into some deeper themes such as mental health and sexism. Yet it is still overlayed with Haim’s gorgeously bright musical style. Little snippets such as: ‘New York is cold/
I tried the winter there once…NOPE’ (‘Los Angeles’) and the slurring, caricatured fuckboy voicemail at the start of ‘3am’ bring a sharpness and playfulness to the record. Sunny and effervescent, ‘WIMP3’ is as perfect as 2020 is grim.
Words by Ellem Mcnally
11. October Drift – ‘Forever Whatever‘
Oh, if only we could all go back to January, when we were living in ignorant bliss to how the rest of 2020 would pan out, and being blessed with the highly anticipated debut album from Taunton lads, October Drift. Drenched in heavy guitars that exude the band’s signature, fuzzy sound, the album contained many a ‘souped-up’ version of previously released favourites including the beloved Losing My Touch, Cherry Red and Cinnamon Girl, alongside some intriguing unheard tunes. With these shiny new highlights including Just Got Caught , Milky Blue and Naked, the band’s artistic lyricism takes you on an emotional and poetic journey from start to finish, making for a truly beautiful debut that was definitely worth the wait.
Words by Megan Wood
12. The Cribs – ‘Night Network‘
2020 saw the comeback of Wakefield trio The Cribs. After several years away working out legal matters with their music, the Jarmans finally released Night Newtork bringing their total albums to 8. It was an emotional return for the band as it’s something which meant so much to their fans, as they entered some new territory with their sound, as well as sticking to their roots with certain songs. ‘Goodbye’, ‘I Don’t Know Who I Am’ and ‘In the Neon Night’ leave a positive lastin impression on the record, but front to back it’s special and will go down as one of the best Cribs records! – Full Review Here
Words by Alex Wise
13. Mac Miller – ‘Circles‘
If anyone was going to change the game of posthumous albums, it was always going to be Mac. We’ve been subjected to years of distasteful life-after-death Greatest Hits medlies from the industry, and then in the utterly travesty that is 2020 we had ‘Circles.’ Few people worked harder on curating their sound as Miller, and what he delivered was a follow up to 2018’s ‘Swimming’ that was near perfect, and an ideal reflection on the rapper’s life, losses and loves. If ‘Circles’ wasn’t tragically Miller’s best album, it’s certainly when he truly came into his own as an artist.
Words by Lauren Dodd
14. Yungblud – ‘Weird‘
All Yungblud has ever wanted to do is create a safe space for his fans. weird! differs from his first album in more ways than one: it’s a record of optimism and, most importantly, it reiterates Dom’s message that it’s okay to be – and to embrace the fact that you’re – a little bit weird. Tracks like mars and god save me, but don’t drown me out are honest, stripped back portrayals of trans rights, insecurities and drug abuse. the freak show is by far the most important track on the album, and the perfect one to end on: it’s empowering and unifying. weird! is our safe space.
Words by Zoe Waggitt
15. Halsey – ‘Manic‘
Halsey has had so many defining moments in her career it’s hard to dub one of her pieces of work as extraordinary, but ‘Manic’ is pretty close. The thing we always love most about Halsey is her unapologetic acceptance of just being a young woman in her 20’s trying to navigate her life through her music, without painting too perfect of a filter over the top of what she’s feeling. ‘Manic‘ was Halsey stepping into true megastar boundaries without forgetting her weird roots and frankly we’ve never loved her more.
Words by Lauren Dodd
16. Tame Impala – ‘The Slow Rush‘
Before the world went to shit, Tame Impala released his 4th studio album The Slow Rush on valentines day – so we naturally fell in love. The record came five years after indie darling album Currents, it was always going to be a tough album to follow but Kevin Parker knew what was needed as he opted for a much smoother sound, still doused in psychedelic themes. The album is nearly an hour long, but it doesn’t feel as if it is, the songs flow from one another making the entire experience a beautiful journey. Key tracks include ‘Is It True’, ‘Borderline’ and ‘Lost in Yesterday’, but it in all seriousness you should listen to the album in its entirety to get the full affect of Kevin Parker’s genius.
Words by Alex Wise
17. Taylor Swift – ‘Folklore‘
This surprise product of isolation, and Swift’s eighth record, dropped in July. With collaborations from The National’s, Aaron Dessner, and Bon Iver, it introduced a new, beautifully intimate and comparatively minimal, indie-folk sound. Packed tight with both imaginative storytelling and heartfelt, introspective tracks, Folklore came at a time when we all needed a ‘good cry’, providing an emotional soundtrack to this challenging year. Highlights include ‘invisible string’, ‘exile’ feat. Bon Iver, and ‘epiphany’, the latter drawing parallels between her Grandfather’s time at war, and frontline medical staff who ‘hold your hand through plastic now’. 5 months on, we’ve seen been blessed with its follow-up, sister album, ‘evermore’, so while the devil works hard, *cough, 2020*, it seems Taylor Swift works harder.
Words by Robyn Hartley
18. Bombay Bicycle Club- ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong‘
Bombay Bicycle Club are back with a bang with this “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong”. Much as it may capture the mood of the times, the title very much does not apply to a record that runs like a well-oiled machine, with the band picking up smoothly from where they left at the start of their lengthy hiatus.
One of the strongest points with this record is, however, that it doesn’t just feel like going back to the band’s past glories: the sound seems to have grown during this lengthy intermission, gaining the confidence to become more minimalist and subtle to great effect but also incorporating suggestions that range from soul to almost-punk. As is perhaps inevitable for a record with such a varied range, it is not perfect, but these imperfections end up making it more relatable.
Words by Chiara Strazzulla
19. Sea Girls – ‘Open up your Head‘
The debut album from Sea Girls was all we could ask for and more. ‘Open Up Your Head’ was released at a time when we needed it the most, and the 14 songs are collective bangers. From fan favourites such as ‘All I Want To Hear You Say’ to the brand new feel-good tunes like ‘Lie To Me’, this album embodies the very best of modern indie rock. Explosive guitars, irresistible vocals and all round dance-worthy hooks. If you’re feeling hopeless about love and life, stick this album on and sing till your heart’s content. Sea Girls’ album will be one that’s played for years to come.
Words by Lucy Bower
20. Gorrilaz – ‘Song Machine‘
In a year where everything has been moved online, it’s no surprise that virtual band Gorillaz have excelled once again in this abnormal situation. Song Machine (Season One: Strange Timez) is an audiovisual project started in January with a collection of singles and videos called ‘episodes’ each one featuring a different guest artist.
With each single being a three to four minute run time and having a featured collaborator (Elton John, Slaves, ScHoolboy Q) each track referencing a different genre and taking on a different style. What Gorillaz provide with this album is futuristic funk brought to us by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Damon Albarn.
Words by Holly Sawal