• The Oolong Drunk

Top 15 Albums of 2020 to Drink Tea To!

Hello hello!

To follow last year’s tradition, today, I’ll be announcing the top 15 best albums of 2020 to drink tea to!


With tea, I’ve taken a heavy interest in meditation with music. With meditation and music, I’ve always had a passion to try and find the best music pairings with different albums when having a gong-fu session. And with this list, I’ll provide the name of the album, and the teas that go best when pairing! In the following, you’ll see an album, a description of the album, and a primary and secondary teas to drink to with these albums!


However, to optimize your experience, I strongly suggest you follow the following rules (although not mandatory, it’s highly suggested you follow them).


Also, while doing a poll on social media, I said I’d give a shout-out to anyone who guessed any of the albums in the top 10! Only three people guessed correctly. Congrats to teabloom122 of Instagram for guessing album #3, as well as tea_is_intricate_melodys and steepmastersprink for guessing album #2!


Lets move on to the rules!


Rule 1:

Listen to these albums in their entirety. These albums are a journey, and just like a tea session, you cant jump in the middle and start on the seventh infusion (or 7th album track).

Rule 2:

While listening to these albums in their entirety, don’t skip any of the tracks. To add, especially add, listen to these albums in their intended order and not on shuffle. Let the artist take you on the intended journey.

Rule 3:

Do not listen to any sample of the songs on the albums, or preview any of the tracks beforehand. Even if you’ve heard a few songs from an album before, don’t make any assumptions on the album as a whole and listen to it anyways.


Most singles are taken out of context when an album is released, and when played with an album, can give it a whole new meaning.

Rule 4:

It’s very important that you take a deep breath, close your eyes, and try to physically place yourself in both the music and tea. If possible, were headphones to immerse yourself further into the music and tea….

Now that we’ve covered a few (non-mandatory but highly suggested) rules, let’s get moving!

15.


(Photo: Hugo Comte/Warner Records UK)

Artist: Dua Lipa

Album: Future Nostalgia

Tea Pairing: Fresh Sheng

Secondary Tea Pairing: Green Oolongs

About this Album:

Future Nostalgia’s album roll-out was just like 2020: A collective hot mess. While a series of unfortunate events forced Due Lipa to release this album sooner than plan, and caused her to scrap most of her promotion for the album, she created a groovy retro-synth dance-pop album that’s not only fun, but will have you head-bop along your tea session. While modernized main-stream pop isn’t everyone’s forte (especially me, considering it’s not my favorite genera), this album makes an exception. It shows us it’s okay to groove along with our tea session, and dance along with life with whatever shit-show we’ve been handed.

14.



(Photo: Republic Records)

Artist: Taylor Swift

Album: Evermore

Tea Pairing: Fresh Sheng Puer

Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea

About this Album:

Evermore is Taylor Swift’s second surprise-album drop in 2020, and yet again, switched music genres to tell another story. Starting with country, and evolving to pop, and now alternative/pop-folk, Taylor’s ‘Evermore’ is back-to-back hit after hit, shows her maturity in music and lyricism, and creates an expansive and cohesive world that coats you like a warm cardigan. Not only is this album relaxing, it’s quippy with dozens of one-liners that makes you stop in your tracks and question just like I did, “Is this really Taylor Swift?”

If you listen to this album an open mind, this might make you change your mind on Taylor Swift too…

13.



(Photo: Anti Records)


Artist: Fleet Foxes

Album: Shore

Tea Pairing: Aged Sheng

Secondary Tea Pairing: Shou Puer

About this Album:

Fleet Foxes is the forefront of modernized alternative folk, and has never disappointed in their previous works. However, in their 2020 album ‘Shore’, they take us down a meditative path that’s not only relaxing, but emotional as well. While bringing the Seattle music scene into your home, this album was perfect to help you meditate, and is one of the most cohesive albums released in it’s genera. While this kind of alternative music isn’t for everyone, I truly believe that with the right session, you’ll be able to relax and explore the world that Fleet Foxes pulls you into with grace, and warmth.


12.



(Photo: 4AD Records)


Artist: Grimes

Album: Miss Anthropocene

Tea Pairing: Green Tea

Secondary Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer

About this Album:

Grimes surprised everyone with her atmospheric pre-covid album, Miss Anthropocene. While Grimes has been up and coming in the world of electro-pop, Grimes created an aesthetically heavy and cohesive electronic-pop album that not only makes your heart race, but also pulls at your heart-strings at the same time. This album is not only great to listen to with tea, it’s great for pulling you into a futuristic robotic world, and takes you across the galaxy with a new appreciation for electo-pop….

11.



(Photo: Foster the People)


Artist: Foster the People

Album: In The Darkest of Nights, Let The Birds Sing

Tea Pairing: Green Oolong

Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea

About this Album:

In Foster the People’s first EP after their departure from their label, they surprised us with a 6-track album that’s not only a love-story that came about in the middle of chaos, it also includes the band’s best-ever vocally-sang song (Under The Moon) and best produced-song (Lamb’s Wool) in their entire discography. In fact, I’d argue that Lamb’s Wool is one of the best produced songs in all of 2020 across all genres, and will make you believe you’re living in a simplistic time where the best fun you can have is hitting rocks with sticks, and walking across a rail-road track while waring a leather jacket.

Top Ten:

10.



(Photo: RCA Records)


Artist: Miley Cyrus

Album: Plastic Hearts

Tea Pairing: Fresh Sheng

Secondary Tea Pairing: Black Tea

About this Album:

Before I go further, let me remind you to keep an open mind. Miley Cyrus scrapped her plans to release three thematically connected EP’s, and came out with a pop-rock album instead. While I’ve always questioned the seriousness and validity of Miley, this Fifteen-track album left my jaw wide-open after the second-track. Miley takes us down her career 180º shift into an emotional and expansive playing field that won’t only leave you feeling like a bad-bitch, but also makes you re-think pop-rock as a whole.


While Miley highlights her best vocally-sang tracks to date, she also gets Billy Idol and Joan Jett to appear with her, to help drive home her 80’s rocker-chick esthetic. Towards the end, we visit a remix of Edge of Seventeen (which includes brand-new vocals from the queen Stevie Nicks), she covers Heart of Glass and Zombie. When the album ends on Zombie, you’ll be left jaw-dropped with a new appreciation for Miley as well.

9.



(Photo: Neil Krug/Island Records Australia)


Artist: Tame Impala

Album: The Slow Rush

Tea Pairing: Puer

Secondary Tea Pairing: Roasted Oolong

About this Album:

Tame Impala’s new psychedelic indie-alternative rock album immediately takes you down a meditative trance, this album is an amazing album to get tea-drunk to. The Slow Rush was not only highly anticipated with it’s pre-covid release, it goes down the path of exhaustion that band forefront’s Kevin Parker has with love and fame.


While oddly and correctly captivating the fatigue we were all about to have with 2020, this album’s production will make you feel valid in feeling tired with every day life. While life imitated art with this album, this album will not only take you down the mind of the Australian-born artist, it will also make you feel like someone understands how weak and tired we all feel, and in turn, make you feel stronger.

8.



(Photo: Columbia Records)


Artist: The Chicks

Album: Gaslighter

Tea Pairing: Green Oolong

Secondary Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer

About this Album:

The Chicks surprised the world by coming out of their 14 Year hiatus, and re-introduced one thing and one thing only to the world: Fuck you, we’re back. Take it or leave it.


While Country is on the bottom of the list as far as my favorite genre’s go, The Chicks came back with a powerful gut-punch that will take you into their process with their recovery with the Bush controversy, and lead-singer Natalie Maines’s divorce. While this is the most raw-album released in 2020, this album will also take you by surprise with how heavy and hauntingly dark this album goes, and will leave you at an emotional loss. While I unexpectedly cried twice while listening to this cut-throat album, I truly believe you’ll also be shedding a tear and leave you pleasantly surprised that The Chicks could ever be on this level….

7.




(Photo: Jewel Runners LLC)

Artist: Run The Jewels

Album: RTJ4

Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer

Secondary Tea Pairing: Hong

About this Album:

Run The Jewels exploded onto the music scene this year with their most emotionally-driven yet. While being theatrically and intelligently rapped in the same style as Hamilton, we’re all taken down a revolutionary road that harshly and abruptly opens our eyes to the ugly truths and injustices that Black America still faces today. While being taken down an emotional rollercoaster, this album also provides some of the most tactful and intelligent production out of any rap album since Kanye West’s Graduation.

While listening to this album, I almost turned it off due to how angry it made me. However, despite being angry, this is a world-changing albums that everyone should be listening to. After listening to this album it’ll make you question your own privilege and upbringing, and leave you just as frustrated as half of America. After this eye-opening crass experience, you’ll too feel ashamed to touch another US dollar bill again, which holds the portrait of a slave-master….

6.


(Photo: Warner Records UK Limited/Asylum Records UK)


Artist: Charli XCX

Album: how i’m feeling now

Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer

Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea

About this Album:

British-born artist Charli XCX was hit just as hard as any of us during the cover lockdowns. In fact, she took it upon herself to get her frustration and anxiety out on an album, which had a skin-tight deadline. Not only did she create this entire album by herself with limited home-studio equipment in just 39 days, she also live-streamed most of the production and took feedback from her fans. Her fans not only got to write this album with her, they also got to create her music videos for this album and help choose single covers as well.


Not only is this one of the year’s biggest achievements in all of Music, she perfectly captured the anxiety and urgency we all felt at the beginning of civid-lockdowns in 2020. While this albums ends on an alarming and eye-opening note, Charli left herself open and vulnerable to the rest of the world. No other album has been made like this, and an album made in this way may never see the light of day ever again. With this special album, Charli continues to revolutionize and throw PC Electro-Pop, and the music industry, into the future.



Top 5:



5.


(Photo: Anti Records)


Artist: Lido Pimienta

Album: Miss Columbia

Tea Pairing: Puer

Secondary Tea Pairing: Rock Oolongs

About this Album:

This Canadian/Latin artist’s sophomore album hits a punch with her 2020 Latin album. This album not only opens up to the warm and captivating vocal ability of Lido, it also takes you down an emotional journey that expands Latin America, and deep into her heritage.


While listening to this captivating and universe-engulfing realm, you look up to realize that you’re dead-center in a tribe’s drum circle, before circling back to a cathartic and angelic ending that begs you wanting more. The emotions she visually paints in this album is enough to break down the language barrier, and although you might not know what’s she’s singing, her journey and emotional rawness is riveting enough to engulf your heart and leave you speechless, and wanting more…

4.



(Photo: Dead Oceans Records)

Artist: Phoebe Bridgers

Album: Punisher

Tea Pairing: Sheng Puer

Secondary Tea Pairing: White Tea

About this Album:

Phoebe Bridges’s second album, Punisher, came out of absolutely fucking nowhere. Phoebe Bridgers became an artist that threw herself on the music industry’s radar by releasing this song-writing masterpiece. Not only does Phoebe beautifully reflect the sadness and pain we’ve all felt this year, she does it in such a cohesive way that somehow wraps you in a warm blanket.


She ends this album while screaming into the microphone as the song’s production builds-up, and perfectly captures the world-ending feeling we all got felt the US Presidential Election. While the final note is her screaming that transforms into a whisper-screaming into the mic, she reminds us that despite how big all of our emotions and anxieties are, we all have an inner child within us that’s looking for peace that may never come to us.

3.



(Photo: Epic Records)


Artist: Fiona Apple

Album: Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Tea Pairing: Aged Sheng

Secondary Tea Pairing: Black Tea

About this Album:

The Chicks weren’t the only artists to come back after a long hiatus. Fiona Apple returned to save 2020 after an 8-year break. Thank God (Lana) that Fiona Apple came back, and came back with this masterpiece. Fiona Apple recorded this masterpiece in her California home, and whimsically and artfully sang about being stuck in our four-walls during the lockdowns.


While listening to this album, Fiona grabs our attention and walks us down this artistic path — making us feel more sane after going insane at home. This album is not only perfect for tea time, it’s perfect for meditation as well. This album is like having a much-needed hug and conversation with a long-lost best friend, and not only does Fiona Apple make us feel comforted in a much-needed therapy session, but also leaves us with hope that she’ll return to hold our hand during a troubling time once again….

2.



(Photo: PMR/Virgin EMI Records/Universal Music)


Artist: Jessie Ware

Album: What’s Your Pleasure?

Tea Pairing: White Tea

Secondary Tea Pairing: Puer

About this Album:

Jessie Ware is no stranger to the British and European music industry. However, Jessie Ware dropped her modernized-take on disco with her low-fi groovy-synth dance album, and crossed over into the US and Global music market. Jessie Ware’s take on modernized disco not only revived the genre, she add a massive breath of fresh air into the music industry with this album as well. Jessie Ware’s modernized disco album is not triumphs Kylie Minogue’s take on disco, but Jessie Ware’s album is one of the best albums made across the entire music industry in 2020.


This album is one of them most sensual and sexy albums made in the past few years, and unexpectedly takes you down a rollercoaster of emotions as well. While listening to this album with tea-time, you’ll not only feel hot yourself, you’ll find yourself head-bopping to this meditative and seductive pop masterpiece while wearing your birthday suit at the tea-table. Thanks to Jessie Ware, we can all close our eyes, have an incredible tea session, and tell covid to fuck-off so we can all feel attractive not only on the inside, but on the outside as well….



1.



(Photo: Haim Productions Inc/Columbia Records)


Artist: HAIM

Album: Women of Music Pt. 3

Tea Pairing: Any

Secondary Tea Pairing: Any

About this Album:

It’s always been widely known that the HAIM sisters had a masterpiece up their sleeve, and yet, they made every critic fall over with their magnum-opus, Women of Music pt. 3. In the sister-trio’s third album, they didn’t only create the best album made this year, this album also landed them the Grammy nomination of Album of the Year.


This album is as if Fleetwood Mac re-joined in 2020 as three California hipster-sisters, preforming an album on a local bar’s patio under the summer moon-light. Not only is this album freeing and relaxing, it’s arrangement and production is also playful clever as well. While 2020 has been hard for all of us, the HAIM sisters remind us that music can make you forget the current time-line, and take you down this musical path. This album not only has the best production out of any album in 2020, it’s also the prime example of how live-instruments can still be used in new and clever ways, and re-defines how we think about music today. When this album is over, you’ll be left waning even more...

Have you heard of any of the albums mentioned? Do you agree with any of the decisions? Continue the discussion over on instagram HERE.


Talk to you soon!

— The Oolong Drunk

“Blissfully Tea Drunk”

DISCLAMER: I do not claim ownership over any of the album covers used in this article, and only used them with the intent of celebrating them. This is also protected under the 'fair-use' act, and more information can be found here... https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

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