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Bruner's re-imagining of '70s jazz fusion and funk creates a loose, warm and charmingly goofy vibe driven by his inventive bass playing. At certain moments, 2020 felt like a year that … Last Name . The 50 Best Albums Of 2020 (Nos. At certain moments, 2020 felt like a year that might not ever come to an end. He told the French music service Qubuz that "there was a lot going on in the U.K., politically and socially. In fact, her given first name was Mtumwa, which literally means "slave" in Swahili. But the year that was to come was even harder, so hard that Gia Margaret could barely sing about it. Because times have changed." Each promises edification, but also flat-out thrilling listening. These artists had their lives upended as well – it's amazing to look back on this six months of music and realize they made nearly all of it before the year even began. Three years after releasing their lauded, electronically textured, traditionally rooted (and Obama-approved) debut album, Les Amazones d'Afrique returned this January with its follow-up, Amazones Power. A: The albums that do not show exact numbers are the ones that have had sales corrections from Billboard Q: Aren't those numbers kind of low for Childish Gambino? Best Music Of 2020. 20. On long-awaited SOUTHSIDE, Hunt proves why he's QB 1 of the genre. Freddy Gibbs / The Alchemist, Alfredo 5. Protomartyr, Ultimate Success Today 9. Reunions is an album that, just like a real-life reunion, brings together the past and present, with an eye towards the future. Site also contains reviews, ratings & more. —Marissa Lorusso, Run The Jewels has built its reputation on a potent mix of satire and poignant social commentary, taking aim at everything from religious hypocrisy and economic injustice to systemic racism and the myriad ways we brutalize each other. Nick Hakim, WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD 3. Dec 2. Pimienta's second album, Miss Colombia, explores the colonized premise of belonging to a country. It's a stunning introduction to a music not quite like any other. hide caption, How can it be possible that we're only halfway through the year? Turns out, Boyd was feeling a similar discomfort months earlier while writing the album. Alone time can be good, a source of growth: "Let the dystopian morning light pour in," she sings, walking away with her longing, learning to love it. Goodie Mob, Survival Kit 2. 2020 was so stuffed with urgent voices it could be hard to discern the melody from the noise. His latest album as a bandleader, solo experimenter and multi-instrumentalist editor/tinkerer positions him as a steady center of a fluctuating family of inspired creative associates. Anjimile - Giver Taker 47. NPR. Can we make sense of layer upon layer of fear, anger, frustration, confusion, exhilaration and exhaustion that … View on npr.org. Illustration: Rae Pozdro for NPR Here's our guide to the greatest albums that emerged from a year of cacophony. Each is the favorite of one member of the NPR Music team. An innovator, Hunt's already inspired a cohort of upstarts — the kind of guys who namecheck '90s country and 2010s hip-hop on the same track. The 50 Best Albums Of 2020: 50-41 / 40-31 / 30-21 / 20-11 / 10-1. NPR's Best Albums Of 2020 // Illustration: Rae Pozdro for NPR . This week we shared NPR Music's best songs and albums of 2020, lists voted on, politely argued over and presented by our staff, station partners and contributors. From writer Audre Lorde's "A Poem for Women in Rage" to Body Count's "Cop Killer" to Rihanna's short film for "Bitch Better Have My Money," Black artists illustrate their feelings, real-world experience and what Lorde called an "ancient nightmare" through revenge fantasies against white supremacy. Thanks to a pair of lungs as powerful as the monsoon winds blowing in from the subcontinent and a voice that called attention to the islands' history of social injustice, Saad turned the tables on the royal court's music and became one of the region's first international stars. Editor, NPR Music. In an interview with NPR, Bruner reflected on the importance of connection and creativity, despite loss and confusion: "Get out of your mind and come out here with everybody else and just be here. Miss Colombia is the needle Pimienta uses to thread herself — a Black and Indigenous Wayuu woman, a mother — to the land upon which Colombia and its project of erasure was staked. We didn't vote on them. Infused with electronic beats and jazz, grime and trip-hop, every song on the record fills the range of emotions I'm feeling right now. The 50 Best Albums Of 2020: 50-41 / 40-31 / 30-21 / 20-11 / 10-1 Baritone Mark Stone sings the role of death with self-assured devilry, while mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn sensitively interprets his impotent victims. For Drakeo the Ruler, it's flat-out reality. —Rodney Carmichael, It's fitting that Sam Hunt's a former college quarterback. They certainly have. "Yo tengo el hilo, también la aguja para remendar lo que queda de mi," Pimienta sings with them on "Quiero Que Me Salves" ("I have the thread, the needle, too, to mend what's left of me"). 20-11) that emerged from a year's worth of cacophony. Dec 2. Explosion In … At its core, Cain has a soulful, narratorial quality, one you might find in a noir film or in conversation with an older relative. They changed how we listened to music, too: so often alone, through wires and screens and glitches and delays. They'll give us so much more in the months to come, no doubt, as reckoning continues to rise to the surface of their songs. In interviews this year, Waylon Payne spoke of the songs on his second album, Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, as though they were works of unfiltered emotional purging. Nuanced and deliberate, Hunt deploys his influences with dexterity — take the slick Webb Pierce sample on "Hard to Forget," or the of-the-moment update to the country anthem "Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90's," or the confessional apology "Drinkin' Too Much." It's not a work to reach as many people as possible; it's meant for us to meet María José Llergo on her terms. NPR’s sites use cookies, similar tracking and storage technologies, and information about the device you use to access our sites (together, “cookies”) to enhance your viewing, listening and user experience, personalize content, personalize messages from NPR’s sponsors, provide social media features, and analyze NPR’s traffic. But his manifesto on multiplicity is hardly confined to words. The loping grooves, whose roots stretch back more than 100 years, pulsate with a modern-day vibrancy that will appeal to anyone with a passing interest in jazz and electronic music. But in order to grasp that designation, it helps to understand where trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is coming from: an oral tradition that connects West African griots to antebellum work songs to freestyling MCs; a jazz lineage of endless renewal and flux; a Black avant-garde ranging from rough-hewn to operatic; a tradition of calling out injustice, in personal and sociohistorical terms. Our homes have become offices, churches, mutual aid hubs, child- and eldercare centers. —Daoud Tyler-Ameen, It's breathtaking to witness Moses Sumney use the expansiveness of his imagination as an instrument of artful resistance: against racially coded categories of genre; binaries of gender performance, identity and outsiderness/belonging; the choice between isolation and intimacy; mind-body dualism. A list of the top albums of the year from NPR Music. NPR Music's Top 14 Albums Of April Albums are still events for us, even and especially as we shelter in place. Illustration: Rae Pozdro for NPR Illustration: Rae Pozdro for NPR At sure moments, 2020 felt like a yr that may not ever come to an finish. News from NPR. You can adjust your cookie choices in those tools at any time. (In turn, they are criticized for depicting the same kind of violence that can be found in any Hollywood movie by a white director.) Courtesy of the artist —John Morrison (WXPN), The stories Frances Quinlan tells in her songs aren't simple, and she doesn't let you in straightforwardly. The top shelf guests, including Kamasi Washington, Childish Gambino and funk legend Steve Arrington from Slave, are fully integrated into the mix. Meanwhile, protestors flood the streets by the millions with cries to abolish prisons and police as the crooked criminal justice system proves Black lives matter less and less in America. This collection of ambient tracks, interludes, full-band workouts and focused jams includes contributions from prior partners Makaya McCraven and Rob Mazurek. Homeboy Sandman - Don't Feed The Monster 48. The trumpet playing is scarily assured, and the compositions open up in surprising ways; consider the tensile unfolding of "Blues (we measure the heart with a fist)." You may click on “Your Choices” below to learn about and use cookie management tools to limit use of cookies when you visit NPR’s sites. Duma, Duma 3. In orchestration that is massive, beautiful and frightening, Adès's music singularly underscores the inevitability of death in deadly times. On the album's closing song, "Power," they sing, "Wake up, scared man! The mix of María José Llergo's Romani roots in her vocal stylizations, the real deal flamenco guitar and the subtle but graceful electronic elements pressed all of my musical buttons in a way that I had not heard before. Below you'll find lists of top 10 albums and songs from the members of NPR … Fresh Air Weekend: The Best TV, Music And Movies Of 2020; Remembering Jazz Legends David Bianculli shares his list of TV shows that brought us together. Then I turned to the grim and masterful Totentanz (Dance of the Dead). "It might sound real but it's fictional / I love that my imagination gets to you," he raps on the album closer, "Fictional." At certain moments, 2020 felt like a year that … NPR Music's Best Albums Of 2020 // Illustration: Rae Pozdro for NPR. Originally titled To Be Angry, the Alabama-born, L.A.-based rapper, singer and producer Pink Siifu looks to Sun Ra, Amiri Baraka, Ras G, Death and Bad Brains — radical expressionists of Black thought and sound — to create a blasted meditation on state brutality and systemic racism. In the album's most disturbing — and equally affecting — track, "walking in the snow," Killer Mike raps about the school-to-prison pipeline, Black death at the hands of police, and the media that exploit that violence for profitable murder porn. So on this edition of All Songs Considered, NPR Music's Ann Powers and I discuss the top 20 albums in our 2020 Listener Poll and reflect on a pretty good year of music, with some odd twists. —Bobby Carter, In a 2018 interview with The Creative Independent, Emily Sprague was asked how she began her relationship with modular synthesis and sound design, especially given her established career as something closer to a singer-songwriter. 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