Ah, 2020, the year of dance music’s great existential dilemma: what good is music made for the club at a time when the club doors are locked indefinitely?
Some of us turned to our headphones, enjoying alone what we used to enjoy among a crowd of thousands. Some of us connected virtually via live streams, while others took a more lo-fi, at-home approach with, as Kylie Minogue put it, a “kitchen disco.”
Regardless of how we consumed dance music in 2020, the fact remains – while live events simply didn’t happen, the music that fuels them just kept coming. And during a singular time in history when many of us had a lot more free time, listening to albums in their entirety helped both pass the hours and increase the energy of a difficult 365.
Here are the top 10 dance music albums of this year.
10.Quana Style, Quana-style
Vocal house albums are a commitment artists rarely make anymore, and albums as great as this are virtually unheard of. For her self-titled debut album, two-spirited Cree artist Quanah Style teams up with fellow Canadian and Wet Trax label chief producer Boy Pussy to create an unparalleled collection of dancefloor-reviving club tunes. At times reminiscent of the lyrical ribaldness of Traci Lords and at others of the assumed greatness of Deborah Cox, Quanah Style’s musical fearlessness makes this LP essential. — ZEL MCCARTHY
9. Kylie Minogue, Disco
Disco isn’t the first time Kylie Minogue has paid homage to the disco era. But whereas the last time, in the 2000s Light years, the goddess of pop played the pinup girl in a whirlwind of camp and cheek, a more sophisticated starlight singer emerges here on tracks like “Miss a Thing,” “Real Groove” and “Supernova.” References to Chic, Moroder and of course, Queen Donna Summer abound, but above all shines the indelible presence of an artist who can express the sadness of disco’s shadows with as much divination as his strobe joy, often in a single phrase. — ZM
8. Downtown, We all move together
Three decades is a lifetime between album releases, and indeed, dance music has had many incarnations since 1992, the year Inner City released their last LP. But the trio, founded and led by genre pioneer Kevin Saunderson, don’t miss a literal or metaphorical beat on We all move together, a frenzy of exultant house and techno by Saunderson, his son Dantiez and singer Steffanie Christi’an. From the dance music history lesson of the album’s title track to the swirling gospel house of “Living in a Dream”, the album doesn’t necessarily evolve the genre so much as it demonstrates the form. to his favorite. “It’s an uplifting, positive album, and I think the world needs it, to be honest,” Saunderson said. Billboard in July. “It’s a blessing that the album has reached this stage [dark] time.” – KATIE BATH
7. CloZée, neon jungle
Classically trained guitarist turned producer, CloZee has become a force in bass music, and her second album of 2020 neon jungle proves that the French artist is the type to excel. The opening track, “Mirage”, sets the stage with a heavy wobbling, but it’s the loaded vocal “Winter Is Coming” that will free the ears and keep listeners toasty warm after the last ecstatic drop. “I hope this will also help people who are still stuck at home and need a little escape,” born producer Chloe Herry said. Billboard of his goals for the album. “I want to offer my fans and listeners an escape to a place where they feel safe, confident and loved.” —MEGAN VENZIN
6. Caribou, Suddenly
Arrival on February 28, Suddenly was one of the last albums to be released before the world turned upside down. Should we choose to see the glass half full, consider it an act of divine intervention that we were able to listen to the special details of Dan Snaith’s fifth studio album while stuck inside, with enough time to fully absorb the Canadian producer’s veil falsetto and easy swings through swathes of IDM, jazz, R&B, rock and disco. “I’m not living in the world I imagined for myself and my family,” Snaith said. Billboard of the tumultuous five years that informed the LP. “My perspective had to change.” He couldn’t have known that this feeling would apply to the whole world immediately after the release of the album, or that Suddenly would so effectively soothe our collective perspective shift. — VALERIE LEE
5. Roisin Murphy, Machine Roisin
Machine Roisin, the fifth studio album by the Irish singer and producer, arrived like a balm in October. “I feel like my story is still untold, but I’ll make my own happy ending,” Murphy purrs over the eight-minute opener “Simulation,” a disco tour de force that tells you exactly what this album is about. The 10 songs on Machine Roisin challenge the pop song format (only “unable” clocks in under four minutes), with Murphy taking the time to really bask in his creations. The production swings expertly between the slow, intimate breath of “Something More” and the crisp, urgent “We Got Together,” but the real glue here is Murphy’s charisma. Disco queens really don’t get any cooler. — JACK TREGONING
4. Chami, Year zero
There are certain truths we expect from Tchami. The French producer still sports a priest’s collar, and as the creator of future house, he still delivers full-scale bangers ready to rock the main stages. Maybe that’s why Tchami’s first album, Year zero, is so heavenly – it’s low-key, progressive and utterly unpredictable. While tracks like “Praise” (featuring American rapper Gunna) have familiar sensibilities, it’s the effervescent “Shine On” and nu-disco-leaning “Buenos Aries” that stand out the most. When it comes to 2020 collaborations, few are more exciting than the minimal groove “All on Me,” on which Zhu shares credit. And while longtime fans will appreciate the comeback performances of singers like Stacey Barthe on “Rebirth,” it’s clear that Year zero marks uncharted territory for the saint. — MEGAN VENZIN
3. Dua Lipa & The Blessed Virgin, Future Nostalgia Club
“I was really shocked by the lack of limits I was given,” said the Blessed Virgin. Billboard on Future Nostalgia Clubhis “megamix” of Dua Lipa’s 2020 hit, nostalgia for the future. Given the stems of the original tracks and told to do with them whatever she wanted, the Kentucky-born, London-based producer enlisted a collection of scene stars like Yaeji, Paul Woolford, Mark Ronson and Moodymann for remixes. , in which The Blessed Madonna also sprinkled features from pop royalty including Madonna, Stevie Knicks, Missy Elliott and more. From Horse Meat Disco’s percussion-heavy take on “Love Again” to The Blessed Madonna’s ecstatic edit of “Love Is Religion,” a club-ready revamp of one of the year’s best albums was at hand. both a shrewd marketing maneuver and a joyous bridge between the Top 40 and the dancefloor. —K. Bath
2. Disclosure, Energy
When the Lawrence brothers entered the studio to record their third studio album, they came up with a plan: to make as many songs as possible and whittle them down to the best of the best. What makes a song “the best?” According to the U,K. duet, it’s the pleasure we have in doing it, the ease with which the melody and the words pass. There’s a magical spark to these moments, and that ineffable energy is truly at the heart of this 11-track groove fest. Disclosure hit hard for a year without clubs, dropping lightning on the dance floor with star-studded features from Kelis to Common, Channel Tres, slowthai, Kehlani, Syd and more. Melting atmospheres and styles from around the world, Energy is a true instant classic – and the Grammys agree, nominating the LP for Best Dance/Electronic Album. —KAT BEIN
1.Jessie Ware, What is your pleasure?
“It’s Studio 54 again,” said a radio host Billboard when he describes the current moment of indebted 70s and 80s nostalgia pop. Despite the closure of clubs and festivals, disco-pop singers kept people dancing. Dua Lipa offered fresh vitality, Róisín Murphy raw freshness, Kylie Minogue seasoned optimism. What about Jessie Ware? Jessie Ware brought the drama, honey!
For starters, the title track from Ware’s fourth studio album winks, nods, and asks: What is your pleasure? A homecoming for his club, the London-based artist says Complex that she “went into the studio to make a record that made people want to dance, flirt and have sex”. Indeed, from the first stretched strings of opener “Spotlight” – whose video could be an advertisement for clothes you can’t afford – the album is glamorous and sultry, understated yet daring, a dream sequence. cinematic rendered in blush and burgundy.
Ware features rad and cheeky antics on the dance floor (“Soul Control,” “Read My Lips”) designed for rush hour under the disco ball, but some of them WYP?The best tracks on (“In Your Eyes,” “Adore You,” “Remember Where You Are”) are also the slowest and most vulnerable, away from the bright lights but still driven by rhythmic passion. Although these songs about love, lust and the effect of a simple touch took on a different context at a time when we were discouraged from even caressing our own faces, the new version of a classic style served as warm comfort during a lonely year. . — KRISTAL RODGRIGUEZ