Top 100 Songs Of 2020 (20-1)
From Selena Gomez’s ‘Vulnerable’ to Tame Impala’s ‘Breathe Deeper’ and more
20. Jax Jones, Martin Solveig, RAYE, Europa – “Tequila”
The song I wish everyone knew, would sing along to and we all collectively would have gotten sick of as well by now but lest that didn’t happen. By the time this track released, we were all dancing in our homes and the “1 Shot, 2 Shot, 3 Shot, 4 Shot” became a game of 1. Still, in a kind world, this song will find a place on every DJ’s set post pandemic. A welcome surprise is the music video that is as fun and cheesy as the song!
19. Kaskade, Dani Poppitt – “Love Like That”
An emotional dance track thanks to Poppitt’s standout vocals place this Kaskade track a rank above many others in this genre. “Love Like That” works well because of said depth of the lyrics and those looping piano chords that just make the song haunting yet you feel at home.
18. The Weeknd – “In Your Eyes”
We’ll be debating for years ahead why The Weeknd was snubbed from the Grammys. Personally speaking, while “Blinding Lights” is incredible, it’s actually “In Your Eyes” that showcased everything about The Weeknd and this era in the right way. The 80’s never sounded so current or hip and you’ve got to hand it to the dude for making Kenny G look cool!
17. Roisin Murphy – “Murphy’s Law”
Before Gaga there was Roisin Murphy. After Jessie Ware and Dua Lipa, there is still Roisin Murphy. The woman manages to make a splash no matter when and Murphy’s Law is a slice of disco heaven. She’s never been weirder or cooler and in many ways, it feels like everyone else has finally caught up and joined her rather than the other way around!
16. Duke Dumont, Say Lou Lou – “Nightcrawler”
Duke Dumont rarely goes wrong and this track featuring Say Lou Lou is dark, driven and nearly perfect. “Nightcrawler” is the kind of song you want to listen to on repeat in your car, late at night and for many socially distancing, they did just that.
15. Selena Gomez – “Vulnerable”
We forget that the year started with Gomez releasing one helluva album after hitting #1 for the first time on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Lose You To Love Me”. The album was deeply personal, exceptionally well produced and there were more songs that could be hits than her label or even the audience knew what to do with. “Vulnerable” stood out the most for me. It’s the perfect blend of pop Gomez has been known to create now as her sound yet like the song’s title, we actually can feel her being that. A loss to radio that this was never released as a single.
14. Tame Impala – “Breathe Deeper”
It seems like every year I have a track by Tame Impala and it always ends up in the upper half of my yearly chart. This year is no different. “Breathe Deeper” was essential Impala listening but for me, the song took me back to 1998 and Lenny Kravitz’s “Thinking Of You”, his best song. The “Telemona” actually sounds exactly like the “Tell Me Mama” from Kravitz’s tribute to his mother. Perhaps inadvertent nostalgia made the song shine brighter for me and I ain’t complaining.
13. Jessie Ware – “What’s Your Pleasure?”
My favorite album of the year is hands down “What’s Your Pleasure?” by Jessie Ware. I wore the album out. While there were so many tracks I could have included, the title track is for sure the best of the lot. The song is seductive, sensual and sexual all at the same time and Ware’s vocals are fine silk. Yet another artist who should be a household name but that’s okay, her music speaks for itself.
12. Kylie Minogue – “Real Groove”
Kylie, even when she missteps, still manages to find a gem. This time, we lucked out and got a stellar album in “DISCO” but this Daft-Punky disco shimmer “Real Groove” is the highlight from a wonderful set. Given to any other younger artist, this would hit #1. Kylie is forever cool, I just wish ageism didn’t prevail to the levels it does on radio. This banger deserves to put her back on top.
11. Kelly Rowland – “Crazy”
Oh Kelly. The underrated Destiny’s Child singer has more hits and misses than almost anyone I can think of. Her duds are just pure duds and then when she hits it out of the park, well, touchdown. “Crazy” is everything a classic Beyonce record used to be except, (and I know I’m going to get hated for this), Rowland can SANG. Rowland here is Donna Summer. Please someone just make Summer’s biopic and let Rowland do her own singing. I mean, no biopic would make me happier to see (especially because I had the good fortune of meeting and interviewing Summer, one of the nicest legends I ever met!).
10. Kesha, Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson, Wrabel – “Resentment”
So technically this song came out in December 2019. I had already compiled my end of year list. Usually I’d omit this song simply because of that but truth be told, I burned this record so hard this year that it wouldn’t have been fair to not include it in my list (and the number of repeats would defend that decision). Lyrically for me the best lyrics of any song on this chart, this is pain, love and forgiveness in a pop song. The fact that Kesha got Sturgill Simpson and Brian Wilson to sing along just is the icing to this absolutely heartbreaking cake.
9. James Vickery, Sinead Harnett, SG Lewis – “Pressure Part 2”
So the difference between Part 1 and Part 2 is the inclusion of Sinead Harnett. Something about her vocals added to the already lovely song just elevated the song to a level that it now ranks in the Top 10 of my annual list. True, I’ve been a big fan of Harnett for some time now but the way their voices work together, the drama the song gives because of that makes it for me, the highest rated male/female duet of the year. This SG Lewis number yet again shows he’s a master collaborator.
8. Tensnake, Nazzereene – “Latching Onto You”
I’ve been a big Tensnake fan for years and I’m not sure how quickly I latched onto “Latching Onto You” but boy I did. The song is the type you can add to any playlist including any aged demographic, and it would still fit nicely. I really hope the song gets released as a single because the groove and Nazzareene’s vocals just hit the right spot.
7. Chloe X Halle – “Do It”
Sensual yet sincere. Chloe X Halle had a great year and “Do It” brought them a whole new audience. These ladies are doing no wrong, creating music that doesn’t fit a particular style but more a vibe and we’re loving it. It’s nice to hear and groove to some soul.
6. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Summer Love”
Can this woman do anything wrong? I mean seriously. Even her B-sides are better than most pop artist’s singles. This is simply the perfect “summer” song. How this didn’t blow up is anyone’s guess. Having said that, I’m happy to see the love for Jepsen grow year by year and her artistry and quirkiness within the rather fickle world of pop transform her slowly into an icon.
5. Chris Malinchak – “When The World Stops Turning”
“When The World Stops Turning” isn’t a new Malinchak song. The original version dates back to 2016 but who would have thought the single, redone in 2020 would feel like the perfect song during a global crisis. Apt lyrics, soothing vocals and a familiar style that lended itself on my Spotify repeat list the most, more than any other song this year. Another brilliantly underrated artist who makes music that also moves you on the inside.
4. Elderbrook – “Numb”
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know Elderbrook had the versatility he showcased on his debut album “Why Do We Shake In The Cold?”. Make no mistake, the Grammy-nominated hit from last year “Cola” with Camelphat was no fluke. The album is full of instant classics but nothing resonated stronger for me than “Numb”. Day or night, this song, takes you to the zone, and there’s nothing numbing about it.
3. RAYE – “Natalie Don’t”
“I Will Survive”, “Jolene” and “Unbreak My Heart” are all anthems that have managed to stand the test of time. Will “Natalie Don’t” join them? Likely not. But, that doesn’t mean RAYE hasn’t created the best hybrid of those three songs we never thought we needed. The irresistible music video only helped matters. Still waiting for RAYE to break out and become the huge global star the music already shows she is.
2. Dua Lipa – “Hallucinate”
I’ve yet to see another young female artist work as hard as Dua Lipa over the past few years. While her entire “Future Nostalgia” set got many dancing through these tumultuous times, “Hallucinate” is the one song that I hope lives beyond the current pandemic. A song that begged to be in a club or arena, this is Lipa at her best and dare I say the closest she’s gotten to taking the Madonna mantle away from the Material Girl herself.
1. Satin Jackets, Metaxas – “I’m With It”
Tim Bernhardt AKA Satin Jackets and singer/songwriter Metaxas came together for this brilliant track that exudes brightness and positivity. Released in March just around the time of the global lockdowns, “I’m With It” felt like a breath of fresh air when we all just sat behind our closed doors. A song that deserved to be a global hit, for me, 2020 would feel incomplete without this track having me gotten through many tough times.
Listen to the playlist on Spotify.
Listen to the playlist on YouTube.