The Top 12 Albums of 2020

2020 was a difficult year, but one thing we can all count on is music to help us through! At The Insurance Emporium, we’ve taken a look at the chart-topping albums of 2020 to see what music, old and new, got us through the last year!

12. folklore, Taylor Swift

Top 12 Albums Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift switches styles in this surprise hit released in July 2020! Much more minimalist than what we’re used to hearing from her, “folklore” trades the ‘80s electro-pop we’re used to hearing from Taylor Swift to a more stripped back style. Soft pianos and delicate guitar notes are the name of the game. The song writing is more mature and well realised, taking familiar themes of love lost and twisting them with new themes, ideas and perspectives.

11. Music to be Murdered By, Eminem

Slim Shady has had a strange career over the last few years. After 2017’s “Revival” flopped, he’s come back strong with surprise albums “Kamikaze”, “Music to be Murdered By”, and its “Side B” deluxe edition, with a little bit of old-school hip hop beef with Machine Gun Kelly sprinkled in for good measure. Music to be Murdered By (and its deluxe counterpart) is laden with features from artists old and new, with everyone from Dr Dre to Skylar Grey and Young M.A, not to mention the late, great Juice WRLD. Lacking some of the bite of his early work, it’s still a solid album and solidifies Eminem as a master of the craft.

10. 50 Years – Don’t Stop, Fleetwood Mac

Top 12 Albums Fleetwood Mac

Is it cheating to count this huge three-CD, 50-song collection as one album? Perhaps. But for such a legendary band, we can make an exception! Chronicling the band’s huge career from 1968 to 2018, “50 Years – Don’t Stop” features the highlights of Fleetwood Mac’s career. Just as introspective and masterfully written as when they were first released, songs like “You Make Loving Fun”, “Dreams” and the sing-along “Go Your Own Way” hold up wonderfully today. We’re just glad the collection included the band’s greatest song. Don’t tell any sweet Little Lies, you know what we’re talking about!

9. Diamonds, Elton John

Perhaps inspired by 2019’s bio-pick “Rocketman”, perhaps because he’s a living legend of a musician, Elton John’s greatest hits collection “Diamonds” is still going strong! The full three-disc collection spans Elton’s entire career, highlighting why he’s been a staple of British culture since the late ‘60s. Just one look at the track list shows why he’s so influential. If we had to pick just one track? It wouldn’t be right to go for anything but “Rocket Man”, would it!

8. Greatest Hits, Queen

Freddie Mercury Queen

For such a humble little island, we’ve produced some incredible music over the years, haven’t we? We don’t have to explain Queen’s legacy. It’s impossible to play huge anthems like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” without getting a room to sing along. Meanwhile, songs like “Fat Bottomed Girls” are filled with a rambunctious energy, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the band’s undisputed magnum opus, cementing Queen’s place among the greats.

7. No. 6 Collaborations Project, Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s gone from strength to strength throughout his career. Starting out as a humble singer-songwriter from the North, “No. 6 Collaborations Project” was a huge flex for Sheeran. Collaborations with industry giants like Stormzy, Bruno Mars and Eminem show just how far his career has taken him. The album loses some of the personal flavour of his previous work. “Collaborations” sounds much more like a typical top 20 track list than what you might expect from an Ed Sheeran album. While the trade-off might not be to everybody’s taste, it’s still a great time from start to finish, which almost everybody can enjoy.

6. Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, Pop Smoke

Pop Smoke’s debut and only studio album promises a great career that never was. Released posthumously after his murder in early 2020, 50 Cent jumped in as executive producer for “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”. A glossy, big-budget affair, the album is laden with features from artists like Quavo, DaBaby, Future, and even 50 Cent himself. A glossy, big budget affair, the album speaks volumes of the rapper’s unique voice and persona, which shine through among the features. Simultaneously a wonderful debut and a true send off for the young artist, “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon” has cemented Pop Smoke’s legacy.

5. Heavy is the Head, Stormzy

Top 12 Albums of 2020 Stormzy

“Heavy is the Head” received critical acclaim on its release in late 2019, and for good reason. The second studio album from grime and hip-hop artist Stormzy transcends genres, never content to stay in one place for too long. He’s quickly become the outspoken voice of a generation, jumping straight into heavy political topics in and out of his music. There’s a reason he’s become so ubiquitous; Stormzy wouldn’t be nearly as much of a figurehead if he pulled any punches. “Vossi Bop” tells you all you need to know about Stormzy’s influence. A dark, minimalist hip-hop piece quickly rose to be a number 1 single. Not many artists have that kind of presence!

4. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s debut studio album constantly reminds its listeners of her age. From the introduction, audibly removing her braces, to Eilish herself giggling between tracks, the debut album emphasises Eilish’s position as a creative teenage girl. Despite this, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” isn’t defined by this playfulness. Instead, it’s peppered with more serious themes, highlighting heartbreak, drug addiction and mental health issues throughout. It’s a stunning debut from the young artist and is a shining example of why Billie Eilish became one of the coolest musicians in recent years.

3. Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa

A true retro-pop revival, Dua Lipa’s second studio album resolved to bring back and breathe new life into the dancefloor hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s, to great success. “Future Nostalgia” released to widespread critical acclaim, with critics praising the upbeat pop attitude Dua Lipa maintains throughout. This album couldn’t have released at a better time. In a year filled with so much doom and gloom, maybe an album that was just pure, upbeat, unadulterated pop fun was exactly what we needed to dance through the darkness.

2. Fine Line, Harry Styles

X-Factor icon Harry Styles moves further away from his boyband routes in his second solo album. “Fine Line” is joyful, combining modern pop sensibilities with slick ‘70s influences. Styles wraps the whole record in his own style, creating a sound far more personal (and dare we say more appealing?) than his debut solo effort. “Watermelon Sugar” is a highlight, really encapsulating the unique British pop sound in a lush summer anthem. It’s another brilliant British album which brought some light to a year which sorely needed it!

1. Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, Lewis Capaldi

Top 12 Albums of 2020 Lewis Capaldi

Many things changed in 2020, but there’s one thing that definitely didn’t; the nation was still in love with Lewis Capaldi. The best-selling album two years in a row, “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent” won the hearts of British listeners in 2019 with the heartbreaker “Someone You Loved”. Playing to his strengths, the album comprises of piano-laden ballads which you’d think go against his silly, brash public persona. This is the same man who went on stage at Glastonbury to the sound of Noel Gallagher making fun of him, after all! But behind his brash appearance is a wonderful, emotional singer-songwriter.

What a year 2020 was for music! We’ve had debut records from new talent and greatest hits from old favourites sitting side by side in this monster list. Are you a budding musician shooting for the stars to one day be a chart topper? You might want to think about taking out insurance for your musical equipment! At The Insurance Emporium, our Music Insurance includes Standard Benefits like Theft, Loss or Accidental Damage of your musical instrument. Dance on down to The Insurance Emporium to see if we have the right policy for you!

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