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2020 in music: Five albums you may have missed

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I had the opportunity to review a handful of albums for EBS this year and enjoyed every second of it. With the year coming to a close, I realized just how much music I fell in love with that I did not yet have the chance to write about. Here are five albums you might have missed if you usually stick to a single genre, in no particular order, that you should give a try over the holiday season.

1. Fleet Foxes – “Shore”

I missed the initial release of “Shore” and only found out about this fourth studio album from Fleet Foxes when I wanted to give their debut another listen. Their previous outing was met with mixed reception, but “Shore” is a

return to what made so many people fall in love when Fleet Foxes first arrived on the scene. Their brand of folk feels like a perfect match for a pandemic whether you are listening with your morning cup of coffee or sitting in your bed wondering when this will all be over.

2. My Morning Jacket – “Waterfall II”

This follow-up album is another record that feels right at home during a pandemic. The ten-song collection is made up of unreleased tracks from their previous work, “Waterfall,” that was released in 2015. They are good enough to merit the question: “Why were these ones cut?” A

conspiratorial take would be that My Morning Jacket knew that a pandemic was going to hit in the next few years. That is how perfectly “Waterfall II” seems to speak to the current situation. These songs simultaneously feel like they are speaking to the uncertainty most of us feel and the knowledge that thing have to get better at some point. 

3. Lewis Del Mar – “August”

The second outing from this duo from Queens is a more popular album than the prior two, but it still was not heard by nearly enough people. “August” puts the duo’s inability to stick with a formula on full display. While the best genre categorization for “August” is experimental

indie, it somehow feels like that designation is too narrow. This is an album that should be listened to actively and in full the first time through. Each song has a certain aspect or instrument in the background and noticing those small, unique intricacies is a joy.

4. RÜFÜS DU SOL – “Live from Joshua Tree”

This live album hit me with a gut punch of nostalgia for in-person events when I listened to it. Even if dance music is not your cup of tea, I implore you to give this album a shot. The ambience that this trio creates with their live performance and ethereal vocals might just change your mind.

5.   Carly Rae Jepsen – “Dedicated”

Yes, this is the same Carly Rae Jepsen who broke onto the scene with “Call me Maybe” all those years ago. I wrote her off for the past ten years until a friend mentioned they were a fan. As it turns out, she has been making consistently good music since and my informal

surveys concluded only about half of the people knew that. “Dedicated” is not a masterpiece, but it is an incredibly diverse album with a song for most moods—whether it be dancing in your apartment because no one can see you, wondering if they are going to call you back, or anything in between.

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