They say that if you have nothing positive to say then you shouldn’t say anything at all. This year sucked and that’s all I have to say on the matter. The arts have been the one consistently uplifting thing in our lives for the last 12 months, but those people who have been working to provide us with the music we love are dramatically losing out because gigging hasn’t been possible and streaming services don’t pay artists close to enough. I’m excited to share my favourite albums of the year with you, but please, if you find that you love any of these reccommendations, do what you can (even if it’s not very much) to directly support the artists by buying their work! Bandcamp has been running a promotion since the start of the pandemic wherein all proceeds from music bought on Fridays go directly to the artists. Our governments aren’t doing the vital work to support the arts, so let’s do our best to make up for it.

Also, if you have been following the writing I do on this blog, then you may have noticed that posts have become less and less frequent of late. Well, it may surprise you to hear that I am doing a PhD which aside from being time consuming, also means that because I spend all day reading and writing about music, continuing to do so as a hobby is a lot more draining. I’m still going to be posting when I can, and you can bet that I’ll carry on doing these year-end lists for the foreseeable future, but individual album reviews and other bits of writing are going to be put on the back-burner. Thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog for the last five years! Keep an eye on my facebook and twitter for other pieces of writing that I put out and feel free to DM me on the latter if you want to chat about any of the albums on this list.

50. We Are Sent Here By History by Shabaka and the Ancestors

49. Brother Sister by Watkins Family Hour

48. DRM by Sam Gendel

47. Motivational Speakeasy by Jordan Tice

46. Runway by Bob Reynolds

45. Life on Other Planets by Moon Hooch

44. In Common 2 by Walter Smith III, Matthew Stevens, Micah Thomas, Linda May Han Oh, Nate Smith

43. Little Big II: Dreams of a Mechanical Man by Aaron Parks

42. Big Vicious by Avishai Cohen

41. AuB – Self Titled

40. Women in Music Part III by HAIM

39. ARTEMIS – Self Titled

38. Likewise by Frances Quinlan

37. The Source by Nubya Garcia

36. A Message for Mobley by Bob Reynolds

35. 25 Trips by Sierra Hull

34. Bonny Light Horseman – Self Titled

33. The New Abnormal by The Strokes

32. Getting Into Knives by The Mountain Goats

31. RE-ANIMATOR by Everything Everything

30. Emergency Shelter Intake Form by Gabriel Kahane

29. To the Earth by Dinosaur

28. N O D R E A M by Jeff Rosenstock

27. Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers

26. Trio Grande by Will Vinson, Gilad Hekselman, Antonio Sanchez

25. Spirit World Field Guide by Aesop Rock

24. Artlessly Falling by Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl

23. World on the Ground by Sarah Jarosz

22. Songs From Home by Fred Hersch

21. Satin Doll by Sam Gendel

20. UNLOCKED by Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats

19. RTJ4 by Run the Jewels

18. High Heart by Ben Wendel

17. Formations by Hawktail

16. Wherein Lies the Good by The Westerlies

15. Planet B by Jasper Høiby

14. Visions of Bodies Being Burned by clipping.

13. Compass Confusion by Junk Magic

12. Dinner Party by Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington, 9th Wonder

11. Songs for Pierre Chuvin by The Mountain Goats

10. Natural Selection by Dan Weiss’ Starebaby

9. You Already Know by Ted Poor

8. Sam Amidon – Self Titled

7. The Intangible Between by Orrin Evans & The Captain Black Big Band

6. Not Our First Goat Rodeo by Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma ft. Aoife O’Donovan

5. RoundAgain by Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, Brian Blade

4. Anime, Trauma and Divorce by Open Mike Eagle

3. Splintered Stories by The Spike Orchestra

2. Lianne La Havas – Self Titled

1. Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple