- 16 Dec 20
There’s more good news for the Grammy-nominated Fontaines D.C. as their brilliant second album, A Hero’s Death, lands the coveted Hot Press Album of the Year gong. In a great year for Irish records, meanwhile, Bob Dylan has pipped our folkies to the post, as he snaffles the Folk Album of the Year title with Rough and Rowdy Ways
Fontaines D.C. have claimed the Hot Press Album of the Year title for 2020 with A Hero’s Death.
This is the second year running that the Dublin five-piece have walked away with the honour, their widely acclaimed debut album Dogrel having been hailed as Album of the Year in 2019.
Despite the ravages of Covid-19 and the impact the pandemic has had on live music, it has still proven a powerfully productive 12-months for Irish artists. Three of the Hot Press Top Five albums are Irish, with the brilliant David Keenan claiming the No.4 slot with A Beginner’s Guide To Bravery, followed closely by Pillow Queens, who beat off strong competition from international artists like Taylor Swift and Bob Dylan to bag the No. 5 slot with their initial offering, In Waiting. In all five of the Top 10 albums are by Irish artists, likely the highest in the history of Hot Press – something our archivists are currently scrambling to confirm.
“It really has been a remarkable year for Irish music, despite everything that the world threw at us,” says Hot Press editor Niall Stokes. “For Irish artists to have bagged five of the Top 10 albums is a mighty achievement. What’s equally impressive is the incredible diversity of the music on these five records. They all have in common a kind of Irish soul, for sure. But there’s a hell of a lot of ground covered between the folk metal of The Scratch and the vivacious rap and hip hop of Denise Chaila – with Fontaines D.C., David Keenan and Pillow Queens spanning a very wide middle ground. But there's no doubt that Fontaines D.C. have delivered a thoroughly deserving Album of the Year.”
Other Irish artists who are included in the Top 20 albums include JYellowL with 2020 D|Vision, Bitch Falcon (Staring at Clocks) and the Belfast-based Joshua Burnside (Into The Depths of Hell), adding a Northern Irish dimension.
Internationally, there's a strong showing at No.3 for Phoebe Bridgers with her stunning new album, Punisher. A brilliant 2020 also earned her the Hot Press Female Artist of the Year accolade – and there's an interview with Phoebe in a Christmas Annual that's jam-packed with big names and brilliant contributions on developments during the Year of the Pandemic from the Hot Press team of writers and critics.
Meanwhile, Bob Dylan has walked away with the Folk Album of the Year gong, with his marvellous Rough and Rowdy Ways, which is followed at No.2 by Laura Marling with Song for Our Daughter. Irish artists in the Top 5 Folk Albums of the Year include Sharon Shannon (The Reckoning) – recently celebrated in a Late Late Show special – and The Lost Brothers (After The Fire After The Rain).
As for where heavy-hitters like The Strokes, Taylor Swift, Bob Dylan and Fiona Apple ended up in the overall Hot Press Top 50 Albums of the Year, you’ll just have to check out the Hot Press Annual 2021, which is in the shops now – with Irish Women In Harmony on the cover.