Remember when movie rental joints would have staff picks? Dave, the weekend guy, would always have the best movies on his shelf, right?

Well, here's my attempt to be like Dave. Here are my albums of the dumpster fire of a year, 2020. Interestingly they share a connection.

First, I'm well aware this could be my own bias. I am a huge fan of The Struts and honestly, they could perform the entirety of the "O's" from a phonebook from 1997 and I'd listen and love it. My favorite album of 2020? Strange Days from The Struts.

Brittany Rose

What went into Strange Days was truly incredible as it was truly a product of the pandemic. They got tested, got together with producer Jon Levine, stayed on lockdown together, and within 10 days made the album. For 10 days the guys were living, sleeping and breathing the album...and each other around the clock.

Summer of 2019 I won a contest to hang out with the band briefly before a show at Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire. I remember asking them about the possibility of new music and guitarist Adam said maybe just an EP but they wouldn't be turning out a new album in the next year. Boy, was he wrong.

Brittany Rose and The Struts, Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom Summer 2019

This album sounds different from their previous albums in that, it has a rawness to it, and is in a way freer, like the guys could do their own thing and run with it. No rules. Just passion. This album features a cover of a Kiss tune, living guitar legend Tom Morello, Robbie Williams, Def Leppard's Phil Collen and Joe Elliott, and Albert Hammond Jr of The Strokes.

As they describe it, the album was like capturing lightning in a bottle for the times. Strange Days, indeed.

My other favorite album came as a surprise to me. Kelsy Karter's Missing Person.

I was familiar with New Zealand's Kelsy Karter for two reasons.

First, she pulled a stunt a couple years ago getting a tattoo of Harry Styles' face on her face! I remember the story breaking and being horrified only to realize later it was fake! But it was a genius move and worked to get a ton of attention for her song Harry.

Then I met her during the aforementioned Struts show in Hampton Beach as she's dating Adam, guitarist for The Struts. At that time Karter hadn't released a full-length album so aside from the Harry stunt I wasn't super familiar with what this powerhouse was capable of.

Leading up to the release of Missing Person, Karter released a handful of singles that I enjoyed but it wasn't until I heard the songs in the context of the full Missing Person album that I really appreciated them.

With a bubbly rock and roll, go with the flow, fun attitude, this is one of those go-to road trip albums. Nothing needs to be skipped and it hits on so many moods from laughing to crying and giving the middle finger. Roadtrip, or an extra long shower album. I may or may not have done a full-blown performance of Goodness Gracious into my shampoo bottle several times.

Do yourself a favor and don't sleep on this debut album.

2020 has been difficult enough. It's truly a gift to have these two albums that are, as a whole, not only fun but inspiring and unique.

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