As 2020 draws to a close, it’s time to look back. The Thunder Agency team has put together a list of what we think are the best pop albums of 2020. It turned out to be a good year for pop music. Several major artists used the period when tours were canceled to release their own music. It was also the year in which many nostalgic sounds returned: disco, but also 80s synth pop made a huge comeback. Because it is difficult to choose which album is really the best, this list has been drawn up in random order.
Curious about what we think are the best dance albums of 2020? Then read this blog.
These are the best pop albums of 2020 according to Thunder Agency
The Weeknd – Afterhours
For many people, The Weeknd – Afterhours was one of the best pop albums of 2020. The single Blinding Lights is without a doubt the biggest hit of the past year and The Weeknd – In Your Eyes was a worthy successor. It was also the first time in years that we were allowed to hear a saxophone solo on the radio again. The Weeknd, together with the undisputed hit producer Max Martin, personally ensured the comeback of the 80s sound. While the indie scene has been eager to take advantage of the unique synthesizers of the 80s in recent years, The Weeknd made it mainstream – and not without success. The Weeknd – Afterhours is one of the most streamed albums in the world right now.
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Despite her canceled world tour, 2020 turned out to be the year for Dua Lipa. Her studio album ‘Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia‘ broke all records. Several radio hits were the result: not only Don’t Start Now, but also Physical, Levitating, Love Again and Break My Heart received the necessary airplay. The album is a mix of several hit producers, including producer Ian Kirkpatrick, with whom she previously wrote her hit “New Rules”. The Monsters & Strangerz, Stuart Price and SG Lewis also contributed. Later in the year, the remix album ‘Club Future Nostalgia‘ was also released, mixed by The Blessed Madonna, with contributions from Missy Elliot, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Mark Ronson, KAYTRANADA, Dimitri From Paris and Horse Meat Disco. This is how Dua Lipa managed to attract her fans all year round.
Kylie Minogue – Disco
Who would have thought Kylie Minogue would still be making a comeback? We certainly didn’t. Yet her new album broke all streaming records in England and showed that it is still relevant. Her album is full of hints to -yes- disco. Musicians appear to collectively share the desire for the dance floor this year. Minogue has built a studio at home for the production of this album and has lifted her production skills to a higher level. The result is a fabric that sounds like it learned the existence of disco during quarantine. Minogue proves that at 52 she can easily fill a dance floor; as good as artists half as young. The album ‘Kylie Minogue -Disco‘ delivers what it promises!
Roisin Murphy – Roisin Machine
Ex-Moloko singer Roisin Murphy returns to the dance floor with her fifth album. The first ideas around this album are no less than 10 years old, although this didn’t stop her from releasing other albums in between. She collaborated with her regular producer Richard Barrat, with whom she has been releasing music since the start of her career. The album is filled from start to finish with dancefloor-oriented songs and is brimming with references to house, disco, nu-disco and funk. Roisin Murphy – Roisin Machine is an irresistible album and in our opinion one of the best pop albums of 2020.
Taylor Swift – Folklore
Taylor Swift manages to stay in the news time and again and finally shook off the image of the superficial pop artist in 2020. At the beginning of this year she launched the album Folklore, which was not filled with teenage pop like earlier albums, but with real songs to listen to. Are you a fan and can’t get enough? Nice. Because last month she unannounced released her second album of this year: Taylor Swift – Evermore. Unique, because it is not common for one artist to release two albums within one year. This unusual marketing stunt has paid off for her: at the time of writing, she is ranked No. 13 as the world’s most streamed artist. Taylor Swift – Folklore is one of the best pop albums of 2020 in our opinion.
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
Did we mention disco is making a comeback this year? Jessie Ware’s album What’s Your Pleasure also borrows heavily from the genre, but sounds less mainstream pop than other examples in this list. An interesting album, with many electronic influences and features from well-known producers such as Benji B, Midland and Morgan Geist (Storm Queen). The entire album was recorded in the London home of guitarist James Ford – who, along with Joseph Mount’s guitar playing, is the glue of the album. In the United Kingdom, Jessie Ware has become one of the most influential singer-songwriters. The album Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure achieved third place in the album top 100 and is certainly one of the best pop albums of 2020.
Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
Crushed, distorted, chaotic and at the same time the edges of slick pop music: the album Charli XCX is a bit of a stranger in this list. It was one of the first lockdown albums of the year, was recorded largely in isolation and was released in mid-May. Lyrically, the album is confrontational: Charli XCX sings openly about her insecurities, fears, depression, but also love and friendship. The album ‘Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now‘ is one of the best pop albums of 2020 in our opinion.
Lauv – ~how i’m feeling~
Almost the same title as Charli XCX’s album? We can’t make anything else out of it. No fewer than 21 tracks are on this extensive album by Lauv, including a collaboration with one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world: ‘BTS’. Great, because Lauv still releases his music under his own management and is therefore proof that the music world is moving into an interesting period. A period in which young artists can create a career on their own terms. Back to Lauv – ~how i’m feeling~. Like his previous singles, this album is packed with tight, perfectly crafted melodies, uniquely found synths and sounds and crossovers with genres such as pop, dance, hip-hop and K-pop.
Chromeo – Quarantaine Casanova
The funky duo Chromeo did not sit still in 2020: they launched their own label Juliet Recordings, on which releases with, among others, Anomalie were released. David also started the occasional duo The Brothers Macklovitch with his brother A-Trak. The album Quarantine Casanova is full of funny references to the COVID-19 crisis, including lyrics like ‘6 feet away, that’s how I’m gonna love you’, ‘Roni’s got me stressed out’ and ‘I could be your Clorox Wipe’. The quarantine album of 2020.
RAYE – Euphoric Sad Songs
This was the year RAYE completely shook off the studio singer image and transformed herself into pop star. The song ‘Secrets’ featuring Regard was one of the biggest mainstream dance hits of 2020. On top of that, she launched her album ‘Euphoric Sad Songs’ on Polydor/Universal, a relatively short-lived 9-song album. Besides her hit ‘Secrets’ and the somewhat cheesy follow-up ‘Regardless’ with Rudimental, the album contains a mix of perfectly designed pop songs. This album also borrows a lot from disco – and therefore really fits 2020 – but a ballad is also included. RAYE – Euphoric Sad Songs is the last of this list with the best pop albums of 2020.