What if careful, syllable-by-syllable songwriting held hands with clever concepts and intuitive, sticky melodies? At every turn, she's quotable — not only in richly explanatory turns of phrase, but also in simple statements that stuff massive feelings into blunt, concise moments: "You hold me just like water in your hands." (Read the review; hear the Popcast.). Some 2020 albums were already well underway before the pandemic; others were made under quarantine, with long-distance collaborations or none. Better to think of the best music of 2020 as an urgent cacophony of distinct voices rather than a chorus with a single melody. Powfu’s debut major-label EP pulses with hopelessness. Lili Trifilio writes chirpy songs about awful sadness. (Read the review; hear the Popcast. Her unexpected quarantine-era alliance with Aaron Dessner of the National deliberately and gorgeously blurs the crisp contours of her past songwriting. Like white light refracted through a prism to reveal an array of colors, ordinary … I binged on Adès' rambunctious concerto, performed with extroverted virtuosity by Kirill Gerstein, for weeks. Drew Anthony Smith for The New York Times. Miss Colombia dissects what national hierarchies are engineered to value; its reference point is the singular 2015 debacle when Steve Harvey mistakenly awarded the Miss Universe crown to Miss Colombia instead of Miss Philippines. The year in music: The 9 best Jersey albums of 2020. (Read the review. (Read the review.). Any time you try to lock her in to any one genre, narrative or state of being, you can already feel her eyeing her toolbox. Run the Jewels, ‘RTJ4’. As she affirms on the tectonic "Eso Que Tu Haces," her work is a ceremony that names violence so that it can not call itself love. The debut album from the Alabama rapper Flo Milli is a fusillade of bratty taunts and bratty flirts over beats so ornery and wobbly they sound like they’ve been assembled from Tinkertoys. These songs are fresh-air triumphs of the downtrodden. And less than two weeks after “SIGN” appeared, Autechre suddenly released another hour of music on the more aggressively disorienting “PLUS.” (Read the interview.). The most sumptuous offering from a year accidentally obsessed with disco (Dua Lipa’s sleek “Future Nostalgia,” Róisín Murphy’s bold “Róisín Machine,” and Lady Gaga’s otherworldly “Chromatica” being the runners-up), the British singer and songwriter Jessie Ware’s “What’s Your Pleasure?” is a lusty feat of dance-floor escapism — an affable podcaster and happily married mother of two Cinderella-ing herself into a club vixen for a night. The songwriter and producer Georgia Anne Muldrow calls herself Jyoti — a name bestowed on her by Alice Coltrane — for her forays into jazz. Our annual list of favourite new albums is a reflection of the last 12 months within the Rough Trade community. For a year that teetered much of the time on the verge of total shutdown, 2020 saw the release of a lot of very good music. The songs avenge and exorcise all sorts of slights and traumas, distant and recent, mixing spite with amusement. Perhaps a year of isolation made two particular kinds of albums more appealing: ones that were deeply steeped in the past, and ones that sounded like a person working on no one’s calendar but their own. The music touches down in slow-motion R&B, but moves toward abstractions — orchestral, jazzy, electronic — as Sumney ponders solitude and connection, masculinity and identity, self-doubt and self-realization, existence and transcendence. Pimienta's performance is often playful, and here, she is the emcee of her own quinceañera, a celebration she was never able to celebrate with her mother in her youth. Sometimes art breaks through. 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