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Teenage Wet Dream

Teenage Wet Dream's Top Albums of 2020

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2020 was easily the worst year for all of us but somehow delivered some of the best music in years. Disco revival, female fronted rockstars, and some of the biggest releases in years. After much deliberation, here are my top 20 albums of 2020 - enjoy! ny1 

20. Punisher – Phoebe Bridgers

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Key Tracks: I Know The End, Garden Song, Kyoto, Savior Complex

Many people say rock is dead but they’re wrong – women rule it now and Phoebe Bridgers is front and center. Soft-spoken and delicate vocals with the right amount of angst and guitar. I expect big and bright things in this woman’s future and career!

19. how i’m feeling - Lauv

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Key Tracks: Modern Loneliness, i’m so tired…, Changes, Tattoos Together

Finally a sad boy who does not take himself too seriously! A great male pop star with a lovable personality and earworms for days. Album is a bit bloated but full of gems that will keep getting stuck in my head for years to come.

18. Miss Antropocene - Grimes

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Key Tracks: Violence, Delete Forever, 4 EM, We Appreciate Power

Definitely an unexpected turn after Art Angels (flawless) and her industrial rock tinged single “We Appreciate Power”, Grimes’s newfound motherhood and Lex Luthor boyfriend sent her down a different path with this record. Think Enya meets the Apocalypse and you get one of the most beautiful and intriguing recordings of the year.

17. positions – Ariana Grande

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Key Tracks: positions, pov, obvious, motive, nasty

Definitely been a grower for me, Ariana pumps out yet another R&B-pop collection of bops, just at her dirtiest and filthiest. First Ariana album to not rank in my top 10 of the year but I see this continue to grow on me with each single.

16. Dreamland – Glass Animals

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Key Tracks: Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Tangerine, Dreamland, Tokyo Drifting

One of my favorite bands released their long-awaited third album and follow up to 2016’s flawless “How To Be A Human Being”. While not as strong as their first two albums, the band has embraced their weird side and brought the world an upbeat, summery body of work with their signature quirkiness.

15. Hot Pink – Doja Cat

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Key Tracks: Say So, Juicy, Addiction, Won’t Bite, Like That

Technically a 2019 release but I did not give it a spin until early January. Everything I want from a female rapper – lots of color, lots of hooks, singing, and clever and quick rhymes. Reminds me of 2012 Nicki (in all the best ways). Wish the best for this woman and hope to see her continue to slay the scene!

14. evermore – Taylor Swift

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Key Tracks: tis’ the damn season, gold rush, willow, ivy, long story short

Will this be the final spot for Taylor’s SECOND surprise release of 2020? Whose to say but for now this is appropriate. Not as strong as it’s predessecor, evermore is still a cohesive and consistent body of work that once again illustrates that Miss Americana is one of the best songwriters in music PERIODT.

13. Imploding the Mirage – The Killers

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Key Tracks: Dying Breed, Fire & Bone, Caution, My God, Blowback

Hot Fuss is by far one of my favorite albums EVER and the band has unfortunately never been able to come close to it until their 2020 release Imploding the Mirage. Full of stadium sized hooks, guitars, and percussion, this album was recorded to be blasted in arenas and I hope to experience that sometime next year!

12. After Hours – The Weeknd

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Key Tracks: Blinding Lights, After Hours, Faith, Hardest to Love, Scared To Live

Pop (and Hip-Hop) has their share of moody, drug-using fuckboys/sadboys, but nobody wears that title more appropriately than The Weeknd. His most consistent and strongest effort since his early days, After Hours is Abel in his prime. The appropriate mix of Metro Boomin R&B sex anthems and Max Martin’s magic pop touch all wrapped into a 80’s inspired package.

11. DISCO – Kylie Minogue

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Key Tracks: Say Something, Magic, Dancefloor Darling, Real Groove, Celebrate You

I’ve always been a fan of most of her work (i.e. Fever, Aprhodite) but 2020 was the year I full dove into Miss Minogue’s discography and you can say I’m a giant stan and this album helped seal the deal for me. Kylie is definitely not the only disco/70’s inspired artist this year (see my next two entries) but she definitely had the most fun recording another strong addition to her discography.

10. Roisin Machine – Roisin Murphy

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Key Tracks: Murphy’s Law, Narcissus, Jealousy, We Got Together

Never heard of this woman before this year and was hesitant to give her a chance with this “interesting” album art but so glad I did. A different take on the popular disco sound of 2020 but with some of the best production and instrumentation by far. Think of a menopausal Adele recording her version of Robyn’s 2018 masterpiece Honey and you get Roisin Machine.

9. What’s Your Pleasure – Jessie Ware

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Key Tracks: What’s Your Pleasure, The Kill, Remember Where You Are, Spotlight, Save A Kiss

Don’t care for her past work but all the great reviews and my love for Dua’s record made me check Jessie Ware’s new album out. Best way to describe this album is if I Feel Love by Donna Summer was recreated for 2020. This is not “feet on the dancefloor disco” but “wiping your tears away at 3am last call” disco and I am HERE FOR IT.

8. Notes On A Conditional Form – The 1975

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Key Tracks: If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know), Guys, Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America, Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy), Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied

A bloated mess of a track list? Of course, but the pretentiousness and narcissism of Matt Healy is a big reason why The 1975 is my favorite band. Some of their best work with a diverse set of sounds and production that all come together seamlessly under The 1975 brand.

7. SAWAYAMA – Rina Sawayama

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Key Tracks: XS, Bad Friend, Who’s Gonna Save U Now?, Paradisin’, Dynasty

If you would have told me one of my favorite records would have been Y2K Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears meets Korn and Evanescence, I would have been quite shocked but here we are. Criminally underrated but this nu-metal, bubblegum pop record creates one of the most adventurous listens of 2020.

6. Set My Heart On Fire Immediately – Perfume Genius

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Key Tracks: Some Dream, Nothing At All, Describe, Without You, On the Floor

Easily one of the most emotional and eventual listens from start to finish. A whole swath of emotions exist inside this tracklist and it begs all you forum fags to give it a listen.

5. The Slow Rush – Tame Impala

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Key Tracks: Posthumous Forgiveness, Lost In Yesterday, Is It True, Instant Destiny, Breathe Deeper

A strong follow up to a strong discography, musical genius Kevin Parker does it again with this follow up to 2015’s flawless Currents album. Part acid trip and part Miami club banger, The Slow Rush is one of 2020’s strongest offerings and will continue to age well over time once the dancefloors are open again.

4. Women In Music Pt. III - HAIM

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Key Tracks: Now I’m In It, Gasoline, 3 AM, Los Angeles, Leaning On You

Just as I said with Miss Phoebe, women rule rock and HAIM are part of the forefront. Their strongest release by far and a huge step up from their 2017 album, Women In Music Pt. III captures everything that makes HAIM amazing: guitars, 90’s R&B inspired hooks, and a dash of Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell inspired melodies. A future classic for sure!

3. Chromatica – Lady Gaga

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Key Tracks: Rain On Me, Alice, Babylon, Free Woman, 911

Easily the release that excited me the most of the year – everything the world wanted and needed from Gaga. Straight forward, simple, campy and fun dance pop that ironically is delivered by some of her most emotional vocal performances to date. Chromatica’s biggest shortcoming doesn’t come from the music but the era itself – all the videos and performances that Miss Rona took away from us really upsets me but I have faith Gaga will use 2021 as an opportunity to deliver the era we all deserve.

2. folklore – Taylor Swift

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Key Tracks: the last great american dynasty, mirrorball, exile, illicit affairs, august

Just when I was ready to write her off (well not really) after the disappointing release of Lover (so middle of the road compared to her previous albums), Taylord really took 2020 by storm and made THE quarantine album. Her best songwriting and some of the most beautiful arrangements of her career create one of the greatest albums of the year and possibly all time. While more music is appreciated, this era was cut too short but I see it living in our speakers and Spotifies from years to come.

1. Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa

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Key Tracks: Levitating, Don’t Start Now, Physical, Hallucinate, Future Nostalgia

I had a hard time deciding which of the top 3 should be my #1 but then I started asking myself what I really love and look for in an album cycle. A collection of dance floor ready bops, hooks, and earworms? Check. An aggressive promo cycle of interviews and performances? Check. Big budget music videos? Check. A non-stop era with the momentum of a freight train? Check and check. Future Nostalgia is easily my favorite album of 2020 because it reminds me of mammoth pop eras like Teenage Dream and 1989. Full of fun and quality pop music, Dua Lipa has delivered one of 2020’s strongest offerings and I truly can’t wait until I can revisit dancefloors with all of these songs in hand.

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11 hours ago, Max said:

Every time I see Jessie Ware on one of these lists I doubt myself so much for having no interest in checking her music. I bet I'd love it. dead1

Her other stuff does nothing for me but this album is nothing but fantastic. Give it a spin! I’d start with Spotlight, What’s Your Pleasure, The Kill, and Soul Control to start. 

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when it's right it's right! stan Jessie, Rina, Phoebe, Róisín, PG, and HAIM! jj2 I wish I liked FN more but I find it a little overrated, I really like some songs (title track, Levitating, Break My Heart) but some of it falls flat for me — I guess it's still one of the best pop albums of the year though

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31 minutes ago, Hunty Bear said:

when it's right it's right! stan Jessie, Rina, Phoebe, Róisín, PG, and HAIM! jj2 I wish I liked FN more but I find it a little overrated, I really like some songs (title track, Levitating, Break My Heart) but some of it falls flat for me — I guess it's still one of the best pop albums of the year though

We have TASTE - there's no denying it! 

It may not be "fair" but FN is my #1 because it was such a well packaged era - great visuals, lots of promo, and perfect single choices. It's not perfect (last two tracks are ny14) but it's a really cohesive and solid pop effort. Definitely soundtrack to my 2020! 

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"Think of a menopausal Adele recording her version of Robyn’s 2018 masterpiece Honey and you get Roisin Machine." dead2 Great list again! Notes on a Conditional Form was such a polarising album, and even I was a little torn about it on my first listen but it has a bunch of their best stuff if you can look beyond the chaos of the tracklist order.

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