Dua Lipa

This year that was like no other ended up making me respond to its music in a way I never had before. The pandemic, along with unprecedented political and social upheaval, made the notion of pleasure both more intense and more open to question.

There was a general feeling among almost everyone I know that we didn't just want to be transported by new music — we needed to be transported: The escapism of art was one of the few things we had control over.

The Spy's Ferris O'Brien combs through hundreds of albums every year. Below are his 10 favorite albums of 2020.

10. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

9. Real Estate - The Main Thing

2020 Was The Year Of Dancing By Ourselves

Dec 8, 2020

In 2020, there were many ways to understand the year in music; this week, we're considering four. Dance music is a communal and carnal act, a collective catharsis charged by pulsing beats and sweating bodies. What cruel irony that 2020 produced such body-rockin' hits as dance floors stood empty. By the same token, a wide spectrum of dance music — pop, reggaeton, house, K-pop, J-pop, disco, hyperpop, R&B — transformed bedrooms into clubs, kitchens into discotheques and backyards into glow-stick raves.

The Best Music Of 2020: NPR Staff Picks

Dec 4, 2020

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. Today we're featuring the good stuff from the private reserves. Below you'll find lists of top 10 albums and songs from the members of NPR Music's staff.

The 100 Best Songs Of 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Welcome to a whopper of a mixtape. If you've been living under the rock 2020 dropped on all of us back in March and spent the last nine months finding comfort in the sounds of your childhood (hell, even 2019), we have some good news for you: As crappy as this year has been for anyone with a shred of empathy, the jams were ample. When the news cycle had us at a loss for words, we found quiet songs to speak for us. When we wanted to smile without looking at our phones, buoyant distractions abounded.

The 50 Best Albums Of 2020

Dec 2, 2020

At certain moments, 2020 felt like a year that might not ever come to an end. Now that it's mostly in our rear view, can a retrospective give a shape to that swarm of weeks and months? Can we make sense of layer upon layer of fear, anger, frustration, confusion, exhilaration and exhaustion that piled up like soil falling over our heads? Sometimes art breaks through. Better to think of the best music of 2020 as an urgent cacophony of distinct voices rather than a chorus with a single melody. Many voices, with many stories to tell.

The Recording Academy announced its 2021 Grammy nominations on Tuesday, with Beyonce, rising pop star Dua Lipa and stoner superstar Post Malone leading a diffuse field.

Beyonce features on two songs in the record of the year category, which essentially rewards the year's best single: the remix of Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" and her own "Black Parade." The latter was also nominated for song of the year, which is awarded to the winner's songwriters.

NPR Music's Top 20 Songs Of March

Mar 31, 2020

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

Music affords an escape, takes us back in time to reflect on the present, mirrors our aches and joys and offers serenity. As relentless news about the coronavirus continues, these songs were gifts during difficult times.

On Sunday night, the 61st Grammy Awards telecast did its best to balance several requirements — making amends to an entire gender, widening its palette of winners and honorees, and doing its best to award those who are affecting the mainstream now, not five years ago. Within the narrow lens of prime-time awards shows, it seemed to make some progress on each count, without drifting too far from its comfort zone.