Our final dip into the world of music takes place today as part of The Female First Awards 2020, as we celebrate five of our favourite album releases of the past 12 months. It’s been a confusing period, so good music has been more important than ever before for a lot of people.
With all of that said, here are our nominees and the winner of Album of the Year…
Taylor Swift - Folklore
Always impressing with her album releases, Taylor Swift took things to the next level with the release of eighth studio record, Folklore. Critics went wild for the LP, lashing it with universal acclaim for blending a number of genres such as indie folk, alternative rock and electro-folk.
Folklore made its debut atop the Billboard 200 chart, making it Swift's seventh number-one record in the United States and the overall best-selling album of the year.
A documentary on the making of the album with a performance of its songs was released earlier this year exclusively to Disney+ subscribers, alongside a live version of the record. A ninth studio album called Evermore, thought to be a sister project, has also already been announced!
Lady Gaga - Chromatica
Never failing to surprise with the direction she takes, Lady Gaga dropped a record packed full of songs that would blast all others out of the water at the Eurovision Song Contest. They were campy, packed full of energy and perhaps most importantly, each held a stunning message that was especially poignant in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Featuring collaborations with the likes of Ariana Grande and Elton John, Gaga ticked a lot of boxes for her fans who were hoping she would return to slick pop music, following the stripped-back former album Joanne, and the star’s award-winning performance as the lead in A Star Is Born.
Chromatica debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, marking Gaga's sixth consecutive number one LP in the United States. It would also go on to top the charts in countries including the United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and Canada.
Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters
When an artist dips their toes into experimental waters, they're taking a big risk. It's one that paid off in spade-loads for American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, marking her first release since The Idler Wheel... in 2012, with Fetch The Bolt Cutters.
The album was recorded over a period of five to six years, mainly at Apple's home in Venice Beach, with non-musical objects used to aid percussion alongside conventional instruments such as pianos and drums. It sounds wild, but when you realise that there’s a core message of freeing yourself from oppression, it hits different.
Released timely during the coronavirus pandemic, critics raved about how the message was more poignant than it would have been if released at another time. It debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200, also reaching the top 15 in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
If you haven’t yet checked it out, give it a listen. You won’t regret it.
Charli XCX - How I’m Feeling Now
English singer-songwriter Charli XCX made her return this year with fourth studio album How I'm Feeling Now, fusing your regular pop expectations with experimental electronic production on the record, which went on to make its way to the shortlist for the 2020 Mercury Prize.
An intimacy and levelled-up passion for her craft is present throughout the collection of tracks, which are unpredictable from start to finish, and undoubtedly ahead of their time, despite sometimes being reminiscent of the europop scene of years gone by.
One thing that many may be shocked to hear is that the album was put together in just six weeks, inspired by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. How she was able to create such excellence in such a short amount of time and whilst being restricted from recording in the usual places is unbelievable!
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Dua Lipa made her return with sophomore album Future Nostalgia, enlisting a bunch of incredible writers and producers such as Jeff Bhasker, Ian Kirkpatrick and Stuart Price to create a pop disco record unlike any other.
The LP debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, just 550 units behind the record that took first place. In its second week however, it climbed up a spot and took the crown, topping the chart for three more non-consecutive weeks. It also debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200, showing a major improvement in its performance when compared to her first album, which peaked at 27.
With tracks such as Don't Start Now, Physical and Levitating, what’s not to love?
And the winner is…
It’s kept us dancing through the pandemic, smiling when the Club Future Nostalgia remix album dropped and entertained from the very first day it was released. We can’t imagine a more worthy winner!