2020 was a year full of pop albums by our favorite artists, even though the pandemic made it hard to promote music, most of the artists still weren’t scared of releasing a new body of work. Since we couldn’t go to any live shows I think new music really helped us survive the quarantine day at home. So, before the new releases take off in 2021 let’s look back to the top 20 pop albums of 2020. Yes, I picked my favorites and used a mathematical selection procedure to put them in order. Trust me and you might discover new artists or even find your favorite albums in my list as well.
20. Tom Gregory – Heaven in a World so Cold
The young and talented English singer and songwriter Tom Gregory released his debut album Heaven in a World so Cold on the 18th of September. The album includes all eight released singles since 2017 and the 2020 mega-hit single Never Let Me Down ft. Vize and his newest single Rather Be You. One of my favorites is the non-single track Let It Be History. Tom’s solo career is really taking off in the German-speaking European countries, the radio stations here love him. That was also the reason why I had no other choice but to discover his music last year. However, he is incredibly talented, and I enjoyed listening to his songs. I’m sure his next album will bring even more success.
19. Lady Gaga – Chromatica
2020 was the year of Lady Gaga. She released her long-awaited 6th studio album Chromatica on Mai 29. Since I’m not the biggest Lady Gaga fan I wasn’t obsessed with her new record, I also think it’s not her best pop album so far. But this album still managed to save 2020 for a lot of people, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community and yes Rain On Me ft. Ariana Grande was probably the dance anthem of the year. The album also presents her other singles Stupid Love, 911 and Sour Candy ft. BLACKPINK. I’m still not impressed by these single choices. My favorites are Alice, Fun Tonight, and 1000 Doves. However, Lady Gaga didn’t disappoint her fans with the mixture of nostalgic dance-pop and futuristic electro-pop sound on Chromatica.
18. Tom Shawcroft – Sunflower Boy (Deluxe)
The young and talented British singer, songwriter and producer Tom Shawcroft released his 2nd studio album called Sunflower Boy on June 12. You probably haven’t heard his name yet, but his self-produced record is one of the most underrated albums of 2020. The lyrics and the productions are extremely pleasingly well done. The way he produced some electro-pop bangers is unbelievable. You can check out my album review right here! The lead single figure out has reached almost 16K streams on Spotify. Besides the five singles, my favorites are Alone Again and Patience and the hit single Upset on the Deluxe edition. Please check him out and give him the streams he deserves.
17. Taylor Swift – evermore (deluxe version)
Wow, and yes, she surprised us twice last year. I can’t believe that she has released two albums in a year. To be honest, besides the lead single willow her 9th studio album evermore felt like the B-Sides of folklore at first. However, while I studied for my finals in December this album kept me alive and gave me the power to survive this stressful time. The more I listened the more I fell in love with evermore. It grew on me more slowly than folklore but I’m glad I still managed to love this record. My favorites besides the lead single are tolerate it, no body, no crime ft. HAIM, dorothea, long story short, marjorie and closure. Taylor Swift made all her fans to indie-pop and indie-folk admirers last year, that’s for sure. Surprisingly, her vocals are perfectly made for this genre.
16. Rhys Lewis – Things I Chose To Remember
The British singer and songwriter Rhys Lewis is incredibly talented, he manages to melt your heart with his angel-like vocals. I first saw him live on stage as a support act for Julia Michaels tour in 2019 since then I’m in love with his heavenly vocals. He released his debut album Things I Chose To Remember last summer on July 10. The body of work is mostly a collection of the previously released singles including the hits Better Than Today, End Like This and Hold On To Happiness to name a few. I count to my personal favorites also the tracks Good People and No Right To Love You. It’s an album you have to catch up with if you didn’t listen to it already last year. Don’t sleep on him, please!
15. Nico Santos – Nico Santos (Special Edition)
The German singer-songwriter Nico Santos released his self-titled 2nd studio album last year in Mai. With this body of work, he made me from a listener to a fan that’s for sure. On this record, he proofs his songwriting skills once again. The album includes the hit single Better ft. Lena, Play With Fire and Like I Love You, Nothing to Lose. He also collaborated with many other artists on this project among the others: Alle Farben, Kelvin Jones, Alvaro Soler, and ILIRA. To my favorites, I also count the tracks: 7 Days, Easy and Who’s Gonna Love me Now. Nico Santos is a German artist you definitely should have heard of, even though you’re not from Europe.
14. blackbear – everything means nothing
I can’t tell you how much I love this man, I first discovered him in 2017 with his smash hit do re mi since then I’ve become a fan of the American singer and songwriter. The last two years have definitely been his years. Blackbear has released his 5th studio album last year in August. The record is full of bops and I can’t get enough of them. Including the multi-platinum track hot girl bummer, me & ur ghost and queen of broken hearts. I also enjoyed the emotional promotional singles: I feel bad, I feel 2 much, I felt that and his collab with Lauv – if I were you. Besides all these singles I also had sobbing in cabo on repeat. I also want to name him the collaborator of the year since there were more than 10 songs released with him as the featured artist.
13. Katy Perry – Smile
When did we all stop loving and supporting Katy Perry? Well, I never did. Her sixth studio album Smile, released on August 28, saved the late summer and the fall season of 2020 for me. Smile was the therapist I never had and empowered me so much, especially the tracks: Cry About It Later, Teary Eyes and the newest single Not the End of the World. The album also presents her hit singles Never Really Over, Daisies, Harleys in Hawaii and the title-track Smile. You can watch my album reaction video on my YouTube channel right here! Let’s be honest, Smile isn’t a bad album the way the media showcased it. It’s a solid pop album and it was nice to hear new music by Katy Perry.
12. Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts
In 2020 Miley Cyrus has finally introduced the rock star in her to the entire world and we can’t get enough of her. First, she ruled our hearts with the disco-pop anthem Midnight Sky and then released her 7th studio album Plastic Hearts in late November. With this project, Miley proofed to us that she can literally sing any genre she wants to and that she will always sound amazing. On her new record, she collaborated with rock legends like Billy Idol, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. To my favorites I count of course the title-track, WTF Do I Know, Night Crawling, Never Be Me, Hate Me and Prisoner ft. Dua Lipa. You can watch my album reaction on YouTube right here! If you haven’t heard the album yet, you’re missing a cultural rest.
11. Ava Max – Heaven & Hell
It’s 2021 and we can’t name the pop genre without mentioning the American singer and songwriter Ava Max. She is ruling the pop charts and pop-radio since 2018. Last year in September she has finally released her long-awaited debut album Heaven & Hell. You don’t have to be a fan to listen to her music because if you’re into pop music you’re listening to her anyway. The record includes all of her solo singles released since her debut and breakthrough Sweet but Psycho. My personal favorites are Kings & Queens, Torn, So Am I, the summer track Who’s Laughing Now and her newest single My Head & My Heart.
10. Machine Gun Kelly – Tickets To My Downfall (SOLD OUT Deluxe)
If you know me then you know that I’m a big fan of the American rapper, singer and songwriter Machine Gun Kelly. I love him and enjoy his music since the Bloom era. He released his fifth studio album Tickets To My Downfall last year in September. For this record, he went for the genre pop-punk and not only the fans enjoy his new music I also guess the entire planet, since the album also stayed at #1 for two weeks straight on the Billboard 200 Album charts. This album has so many good tracks but if I had to choose only four tracks, then they would be: drunk face, kiss kiss, all I know ft. Trippie Redd and my ex’s best friend ft. blackbear of course.
9. Shawn Mendes – Wonder (Deluxe)
The Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes gave me the best birthday gift ever. He released his 4th studio album Wonder on my 24th birthday on December 4. Of course, I reacted to the entire album on my birthday, you can watch it right here! The album Wonder is less radio pop than his previous albums but therefore it’s Shawn’s most authentic and artistic body of work. Besides the masterpiece Wonder I had these songs on repeat: Higher, Teach Me How To Love, Dream and the second single off the album Monster ft. Justin Bieber. It might suck a little bit since he’s mostly singing about Camila Cabello on this record, but I actually didn’t expect it any other way. On this album, you can listen to the ‘happily in love’ Shawn Mendes for the first time after Senorita.
8. 5 Seconds of Summer – CALM
It’s kind of sad how the entire world forgot that this album still exists as soon as the pandemic took over. Therefore, I volunteer to give this album the recognition it deserves. The Australian pop-rock band 5SOS released their 4th studio album CALM in late March 2020. For me, it’s their best album so far and you can check out my album review right here! The record includes the hit singles Easier, Teeth and my favorite Old Me. Besides the singles the other tracks just don’t disappoint, especially Luke Hemmings’ vocals are another level on this album. My other favorites are Red Desert, Not In The Same Way, Lover Of Mine and Thin White Lies. Once again this album is their masterpiece so far.
7. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
2020 was definitely her year. Dua Lipa released her 2nd studio album Future Nostalgia in March 2020 and sweetened our lockdown days immediately. In my case, I really had to get used to the 80s disco-pop sound. Therefore, I actually fell in love with this record later on. However, Future Nostalgia is full of internationally certificated bops like Don’t Start Now, Physical and Break My Heart. To my favorites, I also count Cool, Love Again, Boys Will Be Boys and the added single Fever ft. Angèle. Let’s see how many Grammys she will take home, nevertheless, the record was an international success.
6. Taylor Swift – folklore (deluxe version)
Never ever have I fought that Taylor Swift would release an indie- & folk-pop body of work as her 8th studio album. Surprisingly, she released folklore late summer and made all Swifties mentally unstable for weeks, but she also saved the fall season at the same time. Folklore is such a diverse album, therefore your favorite tracks really depend on your mood of the day. So, my favorites were changing every day in the beginning. But here are the ones I can’t get enough of cardigan (was on repeat for months), exile ft. Bon Iver (masterpiece), seven, august (saved august 2020) and mad woman. Taylor Swift is one of the best songwriters of our time, she is a hardworking artist and unstoppable.
5. Lauv – how I’m feeling
You all are unthankful and guilty of not streaming this album. Lauv released his debut album how I’m feeling on March 6 and somehow probably due to the pandemic’s start no one actually cared about it. Lauv has put 21 songs in this body of work and released 10 of them as singles previously. Maybe that was the reason why most of you already had enough of him. However, it’s a solid pop album in which Lauv got again personal singing about mental health, ex-girlfriends. He also collaborated with big names like Anne-Marie, Troye Sivan, BTS, Alessia Cara, Lany and Sofia Reyes. It’s a diverse pop album with pop-ballads and some dance tracks, might include a few skips but come on there are 21 tracks and not even one interlude. Give him the recognition he deserves. Lauv keep slaying the game!
4. Little Mix – Confetti (Expanded Edition)
2020 and the girl-band is back stronger than ever. They released their 6th studio album Confetti in November. You can use the entire album as a party playlist it will make you dance and have fun for sure. After a bad era with LM5, Confetti took them back up to the same level as Glory Days. You can watch my full album reaction video here! My favorite tracks are Sweet Melody (was on repeat for weeks), Holiday, Confetti, A Mess and If You Want My Love. Even though they slayed 2020 with some incredible girl power, unfortunately, they also announced that after 10 years they will continue their journey without Jesy, to be honest, she was my favorite member. I wish all the girls the best for their future.
3. Halsey – Manic
I’m a big Halsey fan since her debut. 2020 could have been her year but her world tour got canceled and somehow the album promo just stopped. However, her 3rd studio album Manic came out a year ago on January 17. It’s her most personal album so far and I love it. Besides the hit singles like Without Me (7 x Platinum in the US, crazy), Graveyard, You should be sad (underrated BOP!) and Be Kind ft. Marshmello, my favorites are the personal tracks: 3am, Still Learning, 929 and for the first time ever an interlude Alanis’ Interlude ft. Alanis Morissette. As an interlude hater, I can say that this track deserved not to be an interlude and even could have been a single. All in all, Halsey didn’t disappoint with Manic, you can check out my album review here!
2. Selena Gomez – Rare (Deluxe)
Selena Gomez released her long-awaited 3rd solo studio album in January last year, at a time when we all thought 2020 is still going to be a great year. I wasn’t expecting it but surprisingly I fell in love with a Selena Gomez album for the first time and I must say that it’s the pop album of the year with the best productions. So many tracks made it to my Spotify Top 100 list. I was really listening to this album all the time, definitely until summer. Since there wasn’t much promotion during the pandemic besides the afterward added tracks, the world has forgotten about Rare really fast. The record would have probably resonated better if it were released in 2017/18 as it was supposed to be. Selena also rather focused herself on Rare Beauty and her Cooking show instead of releasing other singles. However, I mostly enjoyed listening to the tracks: People You Know, Vulnerable, Crowded Room ft. 6LACK and Dance Again. I didn’t know how much I needed this album as a pop music lover. You can read my album review here!
1. Sam Smith – Love Goes
Loved Goes the 3rd studio album by Sam Smith, released at the end of October last year, is definitely my album of the year. First, it’s the best vocal album of 2020 for me, it’s an emotional journey and still a diverse album including 9 single releases and collaborations with artists like Demi Lovato, Calvin Harris, Normani, Labrinth and Burna Boy. This album is Sam’s most personal album so far, they have told the stories they wanted to tell for such a long time. The record also represents the total embracement of their queerness. Sam Smith deserved better for this body of work or let me say the world didn’t deserve this masterpiece. You can watch my album reaction video here!