In the absence of live music this year, there was renewed focus on that old standby, the recorded album. It turns out that the album is an ideal format for the era of coronavirus quarantine — a longform project you can lose yourself in.
Some of this year’s most acclaimed albums, including Taylor Swift’s “Folklore,” were direct products of these circumstances, with music that was made in isolation. Others, like Fiona Apple’s “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” and Run the Jewels’s “RTJ4,” tackled themes that made particular sense in these confused times.
On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about the year’s best albums, which also include work from Sufjan Stevens, Sam Hunt, Lianne La Havas, Phoebe Bridgers, Charli XCX, Justin Bieber and many more.
Jon Pareles, The New York Times’s chief pop music critic
Lindsay Zoladz, who writes about music for The New York Times and others