We might have waved goodbye to office life and not seen each other for the majority of the year, but that isn’t enough to stop us disagreeing on the greatest music of 2020.

All’s fair in love and content. So here are personal highlights and reflections on the year in music from Team Crack Magazine. Each person’s picks are decorated with their favourite image from our pages this year.

Catch up with the rest of our 2020 roundups by checking out our Albums of the YearTracks of the Year, Mixes of the Year and Music Videos of the Year lists.

Jake Applebee


Top 10 Albums

1. KeiyaA – Forever, Ya Girl
2. Eartheater – Pheonix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin
3. Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now
4. Fontaines D.C – A Hero’s Death
5. Brent Faiyaz – Fuck The World
6. Xyla – Ways
7. Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
8. Westerman – Your Hero Is Not Dead
9. Nicolas Jaar – Cenizas
10. DJ Python – Mas Amable

Thank you to all Crack Magazine Supporters

Charlotte Jackson

Stock and Postal Coordinator

Top 10 Tracks

1. Against All Logic, Estado Unido, FKA twigs – Alucinao
2. Gabriel Gifford, Harvey Causon – Dust Rises
3. SAULT – Son Shine
4. Khruangbin, Leon Bridges – C-Side
5. Burna Boy – JA ARA E
6. Anderson .Paak – Lockdown
7. Murlo – Primal
8. Yazmin Lacey – I’ll Never Stop Loving You
9. Arca, ROSALÍA – KLK
10. Billie Eilish – my future

My soundtrack to…

Winding my waist in the kitchen to an unfazed audience (my cat Bobby), shedding skins, graduating university, dreaming of the club.

When The Lion King: The Gift dropped last year I listened religiously and explained to anyone who would listen that it was a masterpiece. So naturally, the release of its visual feast and counterpart Black Is King was my antidote to 2020. The power, the excellence… frisson.

Rachel Grace Almeida

Deputy Editor

Top 10 Albums

1. Duval Timothy – Help
2. King Krule – Man Alive!
3. Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia
4. J Hus – Big Conspiracy
5. Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG
6. E.M.M.A. – Indigo Dream
7. Amaarae – The Angel You Don’t Know
8. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
9. DJ Python – Mas Amable
10. Sparkle Division – To Feel Embraced

I’m a planner.

I thrive when I organise; when there’s a mess to clean up or stability to achieve. Like most people, I had a lot of plans at the start of this year. Improve my yoga, write a cover story, help plan my brother’s wedding. Then, just as the world went into lockdown, I found out I was pregnant. Besides the health anxieties that come with the news, I also had a control freak’s existential crisis – how was I going to control the uncontrollable? During this time, I found myself playing King Krule’s Underclass religiously. Something about its murky guitars and his gravelly, unintelligible voice comforted me as I mentally prepared myself for childbirth (note: you can’t). Planning, much like labour, is like trying to catch water with open hands. But like the song’s free-flowing flourishes, I finally learned to relinquish my grip and surrender, to embrace the unknown despite how paralysing it all feels. Now I’m a mother, it’s the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned.

Michelle Helena Janssen

Art Direction

Top 10 Albums

1. J Hus – Big Conspiracy
2. Brent Faiyaz – Fuck the World
3. Flo Milli – Ho, why is you here
4. Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo
5. Wizkid – Made in Lagos
6. Obongjayar – Which Way is Forward?
7. Goya Gumbani – Truth Be Sold
8. Shygirl – Alias
9. Lord Apex – Supply & Demand
10. Dutchavelli – Dutch From the Fifth

The best moment of the year:

Getting Crack Magazine to Lagos.

Vivian Yeung

Digital Editor

Top 10 Albums

1. DJ Python – Mas Amable
2. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
3. Lady Gaga – Chromatica
4. E.M.M.A. – Indigo Dream
5. Tristan Arp – Suggested Forms
6. Taylor Swift – folklore
7. Anunaku & DJ Plead – 032
8. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
9. Duval Timothy – Help
10. Pa Salieu – Send Them to Coventry

When life goes awry, I turn to pop music.

Its glossy contours, its brightness, anchor me to the present. I also play songs on repeat, wearing them in until by the time it’s the end of the year, I’ve exhausted the hooks, the melodies – and I’m sure my neighbours are exhausted, too.

I keep seeing memes about how this year has been one collective pause, that we’ve gone straight from March to December. It’s true, it’s felt like everything has been placed on hold with no clear end to the pandemic in sight. But when looking back at our Top Albums list, it also feels like this year has been several years in itself. Eternal Atake came out in 2020? No way.

2020 certainly hasn’t always been about stillness, but trying to find it in the chaos too. I remember the greyness of February, and listening to Suggested Forms as news of the virus steadily crept closer to the UK. My last night out was seeing Eris Drew at Venue MOT, followed by a 5am Uber ride to Ilian Tape at FOLD. Discovering the endorphin rush of running, whilst listening to Chromatica, in lockdown 1.0. Songs of protest at marches. Staying by the beach in the summer, and playing Indigo Dream on an overcast day. Mas Amable soundtracked the times I got dressed up to go sit in the park. Many moments have been bookmarked by songs and albums this year, and there’s more I’ve overplayed. It’s all been folded into this Great Pause.

Ben Brook

Head of Video Production

Top 10 Albums

1. Jadu Heart – Hyper Romance
2. Headie One & Fred Again – GANG
3. Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo
4. IDLES – Ultra Mono
5. Shygirl – Alias
6. Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now
7. Jeshi – Bad Taste
8. Skepta, Chip & Young Adz – Insomnia
9. Soccer Mommy – color theory
10. 070 Shake – Modus Vivendi

Shout out to Mike Vinti.

Late after work in the office, playing me 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues before its release. Also, shooting my first music video with a tiny team under lockdown restrictions in June was a moment. Thanks gang.

Oscar Henson

Advertising and Partnerships Manager

Top 10 Albums

1. Bullion – We Had A Good Time
2. Adrianne Lenker – Songs
3. Piezo – Perdu
4. DJ Python – Mas Amable
5. Giggs – Now or Never
6. CS + Kreme – Snoopy
7. DJ Plead – Relentless Trills
8. Lomelda – Hannah
9. Jabu – Sweet Company
10. K-Lone – Cape Cira

Whilst cycling back from Hackney Marshes…

… at night during summer (when we were let outside to see friends), we were one thousand pints deep and blasting Skream’s In For the Kill remix from the Minirig. Who needs clubs anyway?

Luke Sutton


Top 10 Tracks

1. Christine and the Queens ft Caroline Polachek – La vita nuova
2. Curtis Waters – Stunnin’
3. Dua Lipa – Cool
4. 070 Shake – Nice to Have
5. Yves Tumor – Kerosene!
6. Oklou – Level 5
7. Charli XCX – party4u
8. Cold Beat – Crimes
9. Banoffee – Permission
10. Anz – Gary Mission

Jasmine Kent-Smith

Staff Writer

Top 10 Tracks

1. Dark0 – Oxygenesis
2. Pa Salieu – Betty
3. Zebra Katz – LICK IT N SPLIT
4. India Jordan – For You
5. Namasenda – I Could Die
6. Severin Glance – Caveat
7. Jorja Smith – Come Over (feat. Popcaan)
8. Pop Smoke – Hello (feat. A Boogie wit da Hoodie)
9. E.M.M.A. – Gold
10. Anz – Loos in Twos (NRG)

Without going full-blown Kylie Jenner on you all, it really has been a year of realising stuff.

I’ll spare you anything too deep but, like many, my life seemed to shift in seismic ways from right beneath my feet in 2020 while I watched on with the kind of bewilderment a young child might experience if they witnessed their parents – and not an old guy dressed in red – putting their presents under the Christmas tree.

Music helped though. Massively, in fact. It’s good like that, isn’t it? Always there if you need a tight hug in track form or a security blanket fashioned into an album or an artist. Though, it’s been an odd one, as while I’ve loved diving into new music and hearing the outcomes of quarantine-induced creativity for work and for pleasure, I’ve primarily been cocooning myself up in the comfort and familiarity of old tunes. Sad and sentimental songs or cathartic cuts that for one reason or another I hold that bit dearer and can genuinely listen to on loop for endless periods of time without ever growing sick of them. I guess I always knew how fond of such material I was, but it took a pandemic for me to fully realise it.

Thomas Frost


Top 10 Albums

1. Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind
2. Against All Logic – 2017-2019
3. Dream Syndicate – The Universe Inside
4. Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song
5. Pa Salieu – Send Them To Coventry
6. The Sound Of Love International 003 – Shanti Celeste
7. DJ Python – Mas Amable
8. Krust – The Edge of Everything
9. Duma – Duma
10. Porridge Radio – Every Bad

Louise Brailey


Top 10 Albums

1. E.M.M.A. – Indigo Dream
2. CS + Kreme – Snoopy
3. Duval Timothy – Help
4. J Hus – Big Conspiracy
5. Metal Preyers – Metal Preyers
6. Duma – Duma
7. = Sault – Untitled (Rise)
7. = Sault – Untitled (Black Is)
8. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
9. Sparkle Division – To Feel Embraced

Navdeep Heer

Digital Marketing and Subscriptions Manager

Top 10 Tracks

1. Brent Faiyaz – Dead Man Walking
2. Brent Faiyaz – Fuck the World
3. Internet Money – Lemonade ft. Gunna, Don Toliver & Nav
4. Don Toliver – After Party
5. Tame Impala – Breathe Deeper
6. Future and Drake – Life is Good
7. Roddy Rich – The Box
8. Joy Crookes – Anyone But Me
9. Princess Nokia – I Like Him
10. Love Regenerator and Steve Lacy – Live Without Your Love

Keziah Wenham-Kenyon

Content Assistant

Top 10 Tracks

1. J Hus – Triumph
2. Sault – Miracles
3. Knxwledge – do you
4. Jorja Smith – Rose Rouge
5. NSG – Ourself
6. Eerf Evil, Srigala – Young Brother
7. Juls – Blessed featuring Miraa May and Donaeo
8. Loski – Blinded ft. Mike Skinner
9. DC – Tears, Sweat, Blood
10. Pa Salieu – B***K

Jerry Dobson

Video Production

Top 10 Albums

1. 070 Shake – Modus Vivendi
2. Roza Terenzi – Modern Bliss
3. Pa Salieu – Send Them to Coventry
4. Rudolf C & Shedbug – Honey Mushrooms
5. Mac Miller – Circles
6. Forest Drive West – Parallel Space
7. Otik – Wetlands
8. AG Club – Halfway Off the Porch
9. Anz – Loos in Twos (NRG)
10. Skee Mask – Iss006

Duncan Harrison

Head of Content

Top 10 Albums

1. KeiyaA – Forever, Ya Girl
2. J Hus – Big Conspiracy
3. Taylor Swift – folklore
4. Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour
5. Lyra Pramuk – Fountain
6. Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
7. Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
8. Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
9. Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
10. Justin Bieber– Changes

I was lucky enough to watch Gwenno perform a live score to Mark Jenkin’s magnificent film Bait at BFI Southbank a million years ago in January. I’d never seen a film like it, a grainy 16mm portrait of British class wars. It’s really stuck with me and the wash of Gwenno’s score was a big part of that. If by some miracle she’s reading this, please release it! Also the Justin Bieber album was seriously not that bad at all.