The year 2020 has, so far, been a tumultuous one on a global level; in Nashville, specifically, the devastating effects of an early March tornado directly preceded the COVID-19 pandemic. As artists canceled or postponed concerts and other events, some -- including the Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson and Margo Price -- also chose to delay the release of their albums.

Even though the year hasn't gone as planned for anyone, many artists from all corners of the format have put out incredible albums in 2020. Some delved deep into songwriting, raising the bar on lyricism and soul-searching introspection. Others broadened their musical range, or put out gorgeous, record-setting debut projects. One other act provided much-needed comic relief with an elaborately crafted take on '90s country so hilarious and excellently rendered that it transcends the word "spoof."

In fact, there have been so many memorable albums released during the first half of this year that it's almost impossible to narrow it down to just five. Carly Pearce wowed fans with her triumphant, self-titled sophomore album, a project that finds the rising star settling into her voice with a greater confidence than ever before. The Secret Sisters, meanwhile, documented a challenging personal chapter on their excellent fourth record, Saturn Return. And Sam Hunt delivered his (very) long-awaited second chapter, living up to the hype of his previous hits with the delicate ballad "2016" and the ultra-catchy oddball banger "Hard to Forget."

Ultimately, though, there were five projects that stood out above the rest. Read on as The Boot counts down our favorite full-length releases of 2020 so far:

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