Artists may have canceled their tours, but that didn’t stop them from delivering top-notch music to help us get through this socially-distanced year. Musicians such as Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, and Bruce Springsteen came through in big ways for their fans. Despite the damage 2020 did to the music industry, these artists were determined to turn this year around.
Their ability to deliver first-rate material didn’t go unnoticed by fans nor critics. Stapleton, Isbell, and Springsteen’s work earned them a well-deserved spot on “Billboard’s Best Albums of 2020.”
Chris Stapleton: Starting Over
The country music wordsmith we all know and love, Chris Stapleton, gave us some of his best work on his 14-track album, Starting Over. Songs like “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice” and “Watch You Burn” showcased Stapleton’s versatility as an artist. His nuance showed critics that not only can he hit country music out of the park, he also has a blues and rock-n-roll soul in his singing.
Jason Isbell & The 400-Unit: Reunions
Alt-country singer Jason Isbell also made moves this year. Besides cracking us up on Twitter, the singer proved he’s got the skills on his seventh album, Reunions. Ballads such as “Only Children” and “Dreamsicle” prove the singer-songwriter’s poetic lyricism is way beyond his years. He’s also not afraid to use his platform to speak out on injustice. His lyrics in “Be Afraid” showcase the singer’s frustration that many felt during 2020. “If your words add up to nothing, then you’re making a choice.” Isbell’s ability to unapologetically be himself is evident in Reunions.
Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You
In Letter to You, Bruce Springsteen takes a moment to reminisce on his whirlwind of a career. In “Last Man Standing,” Springsteen is reflective about his time with his teenage rock group, The Castiles. Calling back to the melody of “Talking about my Baby,” Springsteen seems as if he longs for a simpler time the 1970s provided in “Janey Needs a Shooter.” The 71-year-old also brilliantly uses the album to confront a universal idea: getting older. “Ghosts” combats this head-on: he may be getting older, but he fully intends to keep rocking as long as time will allow.