It’s safe to say 2020 is a year that we’re unlikely to forget any time soon. We all had to get through it in our own way, and music played a big role in my survival.

I picked five of my favorite albums that you might’ve missed in all that happened. Here’s hoping for a better year ahead.

 

Brian Fallon – Local Honey

For my money, New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem was one of the best rock groups of the first decade (and change) of this century. The group specialized in a hybrid of Bruce Springsteen’s love-drunk nostalgia and Social Distortion-esque punk rock. When the group went on hiatus, lead singer and songwriter Brian Fallon started releasing solo records at a steady clip, and “Local Honey” might be his best release yet.

Clearly influenced by Dylan and roots-rock artists like Lucinda Williams, the album finds Fallon playing with acoustic and steel guitars and using his subtle pen to dig deeper than ever before. On “When You’re Ready,” he explores the pain and joy of fatherhood and “Hard Feelings” is a stunning ballad that chronicles the challenges of heartbreak and moving on. The album’s quiet is one of the loudest things Fallon has ever made.

 

Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated Side B

Taylor Swift dominated the pop music conversation by releasing two of the least “pop” records of the year. But those looking for something to get them dancing at the club (a word that here
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