It’s been a long year, full of twists and turns and unexpected events that turned the music industry on its back and left it for dead. But we’re stronger than that, and through the year plenty of parties have taken the bad and turned it to good, with live streams prospering and somehow more music than ever still coming through.
This year, we had high hopes for a number of releases that were sadly pushed back due to COVID-19, including albums from Zedd, Porter Robinson, and ZHU. Still, plenty more still saw the light of day and it’s today that we celebrate our favorite ten among them.
Celebrated for their mastery of genre, presentation of new sounds, compelling sound design, intricate storytelling, and more, these are Your EDM’s Top 10 Albums of 2020.
Your EDM’s Top 10 Albums of 2020
10. Mija – Desert Trash
Much of the album exists in a quiet room, as if Mija is just singing to herself. “I wrote this album with the intention of stripping down all the excess and focusing on what truly matters to me,” she says, “self-expression, realness, and the story.” As she stepped outside her comfort zone, it became a catalyst for her as an artist to grow and evolve.
9. Steve Aoki – Neon Future IV
Neon Future IV contains a who’s who of featured artists, including Icona Pop, Desiigner, Torey Lanez, Zooey Deschanel, Monsta X, Backstreet Boys, Mike Shinoda, will.i.am, Matthew Koma, Alan Walker, Travis Barker, Sting, Felix Jaehn, and more. And, despite being 27 tracks and just over an hour and a half long, incredibly, it never feels like it’s dragging or getting stale. Every single song brings something new to the table, whether it’s a brighter, more pop/singer songwriter feel or something with a heavy electro house vibe.
8. Joyryde – Brave
Within split seconds, JOYRYDE is able to seamlessly shift gears, from full throttle four on the floor to intricate theatrics to downright devastating bass attacks. While songs like “IM GONE,” “MADDEN,” “SELECTA 19” and more serve as familiar ear pleasers, “ON FIRE,” “MILK” featuring Fze, “4AM,” and more continue to engage from fresh, new perspectives. From the gritty, grime-laced sounds of “SLAY” featuring NoLay to the diverse, synth-forward spectrum heard in “BROOKLYN,” there’s never a dull moment with BRAVE.
7. Koven – Butterfly Effect
The rest of the album evokes similar feelings, whether it’s the slower rhythm of title track “Butterfly Effect” or the anthemic “All for Nothing” or the ballad “Speaking Through Smoke Detectors” or the heavy bass “Shut My Mouth.” As you might surmise, the album goes through a variety of sounds and influences that keeps the listening experience fresh and exciting, and the aforementioned tracks barely make up the first half of the project.
6. Two Fingers – Fight! Fight! Fight!
Enlisting Ivy Lab, G Jones, and Little Snake on the project, their influences are clearly heard throughout the pounding drums and acid-tinged synths and chord progressions. Beyond just the songwriting, the album is mastered beautifully, opening up so much space in the mix to ensure that each and every sound is given a chance to shine and absolutely slap. Of course, this type of production isn’t anything new to Two Fingers, either.
5. Tchami – Year Zero
The album embraces a spiritual theme throughout, laced with heavenly rhythms, uplifting melodies, and ethereal vocal performances from a number of collaborators — all blanketed by an unspoken cohesive nature that allows you to surrender to the music.
4. MUZZ – The Promised Land
That being said, while The Promised Land no doubt has a lot of influence from the legendary drum & bass band, this is without a doubt uniquely MUZZ and it’s worth the wait. Over the course of 11 tracks with features from MVE, Cammie Robinson, Bloodhounds, PAV4N & Miss Trouble, Danyka Nadeau, and Koven, the album’s core theme stays consistent and beautifully constructed among various different genres. But it always comes back to drum & bass in the end…
3. Baauer – Planet’s Mad
The highly anticipated release is a deep exploratory journey, fueled by worldly sounds and rhythms that ring true to the Baauer project at its core. With its unruly and unpredictable nature, PLANET’S MAD, keeps us guessing at every turn and seeking for meaning beneath all the madness.
2. Apashe – Renaissance
Following an incredible series of singles including “Distance” and “Uebok,” the latter being one of the most fun tracks I’ve heard ever, the album presents a cohesive and complete vision that is unparalleled. Utilizing a stellar cast of featured artists from Slumberjack to Tech N9ne, Wifisfuneral, Wasiu, & Russian hip hop artist Instasamka, as well as a Prague-based 69-piece orchestra that played Renaissance in its entirety to bring the composition to the next level, Apashe proves he’s one of the most forward-thinking producers of our time.
1. The Prototypes – Ten Thousand Feet & Rising
Ten Thousand Feet & Rising isn’t just the #1 drum & bass album of the year, it might be one of the finest electronic albums in a long time. With plenty of elements calling back to the classics of drum & bass and the intention to always push it forward working hand in hand, The Prototypes have created a timeless album in an era of short, streamable singles and it won’t soon be forgotten.