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The 50 Best Albums Of 2020

Dec 2, 2020

At certain moments, 2020 felt like a year that might not ever come to an end. Now that it's mostly in our rear view, can a retrospective give a shape to that swarm of weeks and months? Can we make sense of layer upon layer of fear, anger, frustration, confusion, exhilaration and exhaustion that piled up like soil falling over our heads? Sometimes art breaks through. Better to think of the best music of 2020 as an urgent cacophony of distinct voices rather than a chorus with a single melody. Many voices, with many stories to tell.

The 50 Best Albums Of 2020

Dec 2, 2020

At certain moments, 2020 felt like a year that might not ever come to an end. Now that it's mostly in our rear view, can a retrospective give a shape to that swarm of weeks and months? Can we make sense of layer upon layer of fear, anger, frustration, confusion, exhilaration and exhaustion that piled up like soil falling over our heads? Sometimes art breaks through. Better to think of the best music of 2020 as an urgent cacophony of distinct voices rather than a chorus with a single melody. Many voices, with many stories to tell.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

On Nov. 4th, 2020, Drakeo The Ruler was released from prison after a four-year saga beset by institutional corruption and by what Drakeo viewed as a personal vendetta from Los Angeles' District Attorney, Jackie Lacey.

This hour-long special features seasonal songs, old and new, all recorded live over the years on the Mountain Stage. We'll hear performances from Joan Baez, Bruce Cockburn, Odetta, Loudon Wainwright III, Holly Cole, The Roches, Kathy Mattea, Michael Martin Murphey and more.

SET LIST

  • Larry Groce, "Mountain Stage Theme"

Noel Stookey of fol

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SI VEO A TU MAMA")

BAD BUNNY: (Singing in Spanish).

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


Soprano Julia Bullock prefers to be called a "classical singer." It's a rather humble, even vague, appellation for one of today's smartest, most arresting vocalists in any genre.

In his decades-long career, Peter Guralnick has written about some of the biggest icons in American music. He wrote what may be the definitive books on Elvis Presley, as well as biographies of singer Sam Cooke and Sun Records founder Sam Phillips.

His latest work, Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing, is a collection of essays, based on his interviews with many legends of early rock and roll, blues and country. At the center of it is Guralnick himself — because, in some ways, the book is about his own journey in music journalism.

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