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Chad Whitehead's Favorite Albums of 2020


Chad Whitehead, host of About What You’d Expect, breaks down his favorite albums of 2020.

What else is there to say about 2020 that we don’t already know? 2020 has dislodged most of us from our routines, our jobs, our entertainment choices, and well, everything. This year was brutal for artists, many of whom are now on food stamps and unemployment like so many other Americans. Despite the hardships, artists and art moved forward.

Here are some great artists who released solid albums in 2020 that are worth checking out. I’m not a big fan of ranking something as personal and subjective as art so these are not in any particular order. If that is hard for you to deal with, let’s just say Lous and the Yakuza’s Gore was my favorite album of 2020.

Run The Jewels - RTJ4

Never has an album in my lifetime so captured the moment we’re living in. RTJ moved up their release date (or surprised us again, depending on who you ask) to early June as a fresh wave of protests filled the streets of America. As Civil Rights, politics and American history collided, RTJ4 instantly became the soundtrack to the summer. Per usual, Killer Mike and El-P pull no punches and have a lot to say. Here’s their music video for “Ooh LA LA” featuring Greg Nice and DJ Premier:


Lous and the Yakuza - Gore

Congaliese-Belgian Marie-Pierra Kakoma performs as Lous and the Yakuza and lock in here because she’s going to take us places. Lous and the Yakuza are about to take over. Get in now so you can brag about it later. Here’s “Dilemme”:


Khruangbin - Mordechai

If you know, you know and I don’t have to sell it. If you haven’t heard Houston’s Khruangbin yet, get on that. It’s soulful, psychedelic, world beat and remains super approachable and damn fun to listen to. This is a band’s band, making music that all of us can get with. Here’s the music video for “Time (You and I):”


Low Cut Connie - Private Lives

Who puts out a double album during a pandemic? Who puts out a double album? Low Cut Connie, that’s who. As with previous Low Cut Connie releases, Private Lives is heavy with stories from the real America, set to fiery, Philly rock and roll. Gonzo frontman Adam Weiner does what he wants and he’s real good at it. Here’s the new music video for “Private Lives:”


Perfume Genius - Set My Heart on Fire Immediately

It feels redundant at this point to draw attention to Perfume Genius, Michael Alden Hadreas as Perfume Genius seems to be a household name. Set My Heart on Fire Immediately is sexy, poignant and much like RTJ4, captures this moment of struggle, sadness, confusion and resolution we are in. Here’s the video for “On The Floor:”


Husbands - After the Gold Rush Party

Released in January 2020, the internet loved After the Gold Rush Party by OKC’s Husbands. Give it a listen and you’ll understand why: Husbands are the perfect genre-bender between jangly, garage rock (think: Japandroids and Cloud Nothings) and tightly written, melodic indie rock. Here’s a live version of Mexico, recorded during lockdown:


Duckwrth - SuperGood

My wife and I stumbled into a Duckwrth showcase at SXSW in 2018 and he’s been our favorite performer since then. His newest release, SuperGood is Duckwrth at his best: sharp raps, melodic vocals, super stylish and ready to grab more success after being included in the Spiderman: Enter the Spiderverse soundtrack. Here’s a live stream featuring “Quick” and “Coming Closer” from SuperGood:


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