Top 20 Songs of 2020

This year was very eventful for music lovers. I also think it is a great time for casual listeners to be a little more adventurous with their music taste. There has never been a greater time for a laidback pop genre fan to get hooked to the futuristic genre of hyperpop and just banging your head to 100 gecs or asking for your favorite vocalist to scream in your ear or breathe down your neck… What?

There’s a part of me that feels that this year was a little staler than past years. That is obviously not true when I look back at how much great music was released in these 12 months. So why is it that I feel this way?

I have a theory. This year was no doubt a peculiar year. Time passed so slow yet flew by so quickly. That whole struggle of grasping how time flowed made periods where the kind of music you look forward to was not dropped to be tougher to endure through. Even one slow New Music Friday this past year made me tired.

On the other hand, because there was so much more ‘me-time’, there was a lot more exploring older music and instances where I go ‘let’s give it a shot’. That led to a lot of times where I had to go through music fatigue where for a short lapse of time I was literally sick of anything melodic. But it was very fruitful adventuring and traversing the vast music world. Now every time white noise gets played, I just imagine how crazy if it would be in sync with some beat?

I’ll gladly let someone with a nice voice scream in my ear now, as long as it sounds good. You know what they say, you get wiser as you get older.

With venues closed and barred from hosting live performances, this proves to be a trying year for artists both financially and creatively. It was interesting for me to witness how this dynamic has played out through the year: from online concerts, livestreaming, making music out of frustration of being locked up, music sparked from the recent protests… How could I even say that this year was stale?

I’m not doing top albums this year because frankly, not a lot of albums have hit me on the right spot this year especially since last year’s IGOR which really swept me off the floor. I, myself find singles to often be more enticing than full-length projects even though the latter can be so much more compelling than the former.

Before the actual top 20 songs list, here are 10 honorable mentions which are songs I like or love but didn’t manage to compete against my top 20 in terms of catchiness or replayability but are about just as meaningful to me.

  • Song 33 — Noname, Madlib
  • ingydar — Adrianne Lenker
  • WAR — Idles / MODEL VILLAGE — Idles
  • Los Angeles — Haim
  • XS — Rina Sawayama
  • STFU — Rico Nasty / OHFR? — Rico Nasty
  • UNLOCKED — Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats
  • Kawasaki Backflip — Dogleg
  • Kago no Naka ni Tori — Yourness
  • Dragonball Durag — Thundercat / Black Qualls ft. Steve Arrington, Steve Lacy, Donald Glover— Thundercat

I’m technically cheating because there are a lot more than 20 songs in this list but I tried to limit it down to songs from 20 projects instead. In no order, except Graphic Bleeds Out which is my absolute favorite song of the year, here is my list of my favorite songs from 2020!

Hip-hop with beautiful, melancholic & blissful piano keys
  1. Graphic Bleeds Out — Chris Keys, Quelle Chris / Sudden Death — Chris Keys, Quelle Chris / Black Twitter — Chris Keys, Quelle Chris
Somber posthumous rap with beautiful passages

2. Complicated — Mac Miller / Hand Me Downs— Mac Miller

it’s just great lol

3. Pac-Man — Gorillaz ft ScHoolboy Q

colorful psychedelic rock

4. Cellular — King Krule

bass will blow your house off

5. forever — Charli XCX / pink diamond — Charli XCX

art pop, vibrant instrumental

6. Cut Me — Moses Sumney

coke rap with buttery but menacing beats

7. God is Perfect — Freddie Gibbs & The Alfredo / Scottie Beam — Freddie Gibbs & The Alfredo

I like it when it goes BRRRRRRRMMMM

8. Damaged Eyes Squinting into the Beautiful Overhot Sun — Deerhoof

Poetic jazz rap

9. Mythical — R.A.P Ferreira

Alternative, end-of-the-world kind of vibe

10. Savior Complex — Phoebe Bridgers / I Know The End — Phoebe Bridgers

Do you like Beethoven or Mozart? Do you also like Skrillex?

11. Acid — Jockstrap

literally the cover describes it all

12. hand crushed by a mallet remix(feat. Fall Out Boy, Craig Owens, Nicole Dollanganger) — 100 gecs

Horrorcore rap

13. Say the Name — clipping.

An Anderson .Paak feature is just a cheat code at this point.

14. Guard Your Heart (feat. Anderson .Paak, , Earlly Mac & Wale) — Big Sean

Griselda rap

15. One Way Flight (feat. Freddie Gibbs) — Benny the Butcher

R&B, Alternative, throwback to Soundcloud roots

16. Upgrade — Joji / Pretty Boy (feat. Lil Yachty ) — Joji

Art pop

17. Afterglow — Luna Li

Grueling storytelling through rap

18. A B*tch Once Told me (feat. Ahwlee) — The Koreatown Oddity / The World’s Smallest Violin (feat. Jimetta Rose, Corrine Atkinson) — The Koreatown Oddity

Neo-soul, very soulful and a slow burn

19. Bittersweet — Lianne La Havas

Indie rock

20. The Adults are Talking — The Strokes / At the Door — The Strokes / Ode to the Mets — The Strokes

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