Top 100 Songs Of 2020 (40-21)
From Cardi B’s ‘WAP’ to Mac Miller’s ‘Good News’ and more
40. Cannons – “Fire For You”
A very late entry from last year for once actually managed to breakthrough this year and I’m thrilled about it. Goes to show you the power of putting a great song at the perfect spot in a show and you can have yourselves a big hit. Cannon’s “Fire For You” is a great song that found new legs thanks its inclusion in the Netflix series “Never Have I Ever”.
39. Rina Sawayama – “XS”
Japanese-British singer songwriter Rina Sawayama has been making waves thanks to her avant-garde ways and some very clever production. “XS” is the perfect hybrid of Sawayama’s style and some clever lyrics highlighting the age of excess consumerism. How this song and its fantastic music video didn’t become bigger hits is truly a mystery. Here’s hoping she becomes the huge star she deserves to be.
38. VanJess – “Slow Down”
The sisters of VanJess truly slow down things with the classic R&B tune that takes me back to the mid 90’s when this kind of slow jam ruled the charts. It is aided by the brilliant sample of “Darkest Light” by Lafayette Afro Rock Band but of course is the USP of the equally brilliant 90’s dance classic “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect. “Slow Down” is the kind of song we used to wait to come on to get it on.
37. Taylor Swift – “Cardigan”
Hands down, “Folklore” is the best or at least one of the best albums to come out of the pandemic and “Cardigan” is one of Swift’s strongest singles in years. Here Swift is vulnerable but also without makeup. That makes “Cardigan” standout from a solid roster of tracks on the album. This is a song that doesn’t need the album to shine. It sounded as good late at night as it did sliding into Top 40 radio and there are very few artists that are capable of that feet.
36. Grimes – “Delete Forever”
Canadian DIY queen Claire Boucher AKA Grimes is a force to reckon with. Her album “Miss Anthropocene” is brilliant and “Delete Forever” is hands down the best of the lot. Grief has never sound so personal yet personable. Addiction is always a goldmine for songwriters and here Grimes shines. BTW, she’s playing the banjo and violin herself on the track too!
35. Karen Harding, Digital Farm Animals – “Undo My Heart”
Every year I’m allowed to include a rather average song that somehow manages to hook me in and this year that award goes to “Undo My Heart”. Is it original? No. Is there anything that I can highlight specifically? Probably not. But Harding’s vocals which carry a level of sadness and heartbreak are the winner here. Pain never made you want to dance so bad!
34. The 1975 – “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”
The British pop rock rarely fail to deliver timeless hits. It’s no surprise “If You’re Too Shy” ended up becoming their biggest hit to date. The song, featuring background vocals from FKA Twigs feels like a lost Duran Duran record and who doesn’t want to hear that! And in COVID times, why not a nod to virtual sex!
33. Dua Lipa – “Physical”
It’s been a year of bringing back cheesy classics and suddenly making them cool again. Lipa did this with reviving her ode to Olivia Netown-John’s classic of the same name. “Physical” was funky, hip and the perfect dance-pop track from the woman who seems incapable of a misstep these days. On an album full of amazing tracks, “Physical” perfectly fit the album but also as a stand alone. The video is also one of the best of the year.
32. Jessie Ware – “Save A Kiss”
This was tough. The one artist if I was being totally fair who would have featured more than 2 songs on the chart is Ware. Her album “What’s Your Pleasure?” was just about as perfect as they come. “Save A Kiss” is a standout track reminiscent of Robyn’s “Honey” and that’s a good thing. The upbeat anthem took on a whole new meaning during the pandemic and the COVID music video Ware served defined the dancing on my own for the year.
31. deadmau5, The Neptunes – “Pomegranate”
Talk about a collaboration we never thought we needed and then now are left wondering, what took them so long? This slice of funk electro disco-pop ditty led by Pharell’s cool as ever vocals create the ideal summer jam. “Pomegranate” is high in fun and for sure a great source of anti-oxidants.
30. The Strokes – “Eternal Summer”
What exactly does summer mean in “Eternal Summer”? The Strokes came back with an instant classic. While there’s been much discussion about the lyrics, it seems as though climate change was on the band’s mind. A great track that is what we expect from them but with an added depth thanks to a meaningful story.
29. Niall Horan – “Still”
The least showy former One Directioner has mostly stayed safe with his pleasant music. But “Still” was a revelation. Mature yet sincere and the kind of ballad we’ve been used to in decades past. Horan’s vocals shine here and the song manages to avoid the lovesong cliché due to its underplayed instrumentation. Another should have been hit!
28. Cards, Sita – “All Over Me”
The start of the year treated us with another a great pairing of Cards and Sita with “All Over Me”. Close your eyes and it perfectly fits into whatever soundtrack you wish for the visuals you’re seeing. Cards continues to be a talent to watch out for…how his music needs to find a home in some hip Netflix series!
27. Lime Cordiale – “On Our Own”
The Aussie band have been making a dent on the charts as well as with critics for some time now and their second album “14 Steps To A Better You” felt perfectly timed for the current ongoing crisis, no better highlighted than in the title track. “On Our Own” feels as though it was written for these times and carries a poignancy that has defined the long days we’ve all felt of social isolation.
26. SG Lewis – “Chemicals”
When you get Chad Hugo from N.E.R.D. to provide the lead synth line on your track, you know you’ve got a jam on hand. British singer-songwriter SG Lewis has had his hand on some amazing tracks (one you’ll see higher up) and “Chemicals” is no less. The now LA based artist has been working with everyone from Dua Lipa to Khalid. A name we’re going to be hearing a lot about in the near future.
25. Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
I’m not sure how you can’t include cultural impact when discussing the greatness of a song. “WAP” is female empowerment, showcases female comradery, has ridiculously tantalizing lyrics, a crazy music video and oh, it’s also got a really catchy hook. While many found the song vulgar or just unnecessary, it actually has been a long time coming. From Adina Howard to Khia to Cupcakke, women, especially in hip-hop have had to keep limits and their reach was limited. Happy to see that Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion not only created an instant classic but broke a ceiling along the way too.
24. Lennon Stella – “Save Us”
Okay, I’m a sucker for an interpolation randomly coming into a song and for me, “Save Us” is a great song but becomes truly memorable thanks to the inclusion of Donna Lewis’s “I Love You Always Forever”, a late 90’s staple that was first beloved and then belittled for no fault of the singer or the song. Its use in “Save Us” is perfect and with it, Stella creates the ideal modern ballad.
23. Mac Miller – “Good News”
Posthomous singles are always hit or miss but “Good News” is everything right. Miller is one of the few young artists who passed away way before his time but his music continues to show how talented he really was. This wasn’t a quick buck release, this is genuine, much like he was.
22. Shallou, Ashe – “Good Together”
A great duet. Somber, sullen and a bit sexy too, “Good Together” works because Shallou and Ashe do just that, they sound good together. The song works to create an atmospheric duet that haunts you much further than even past a listen.
21. Christine and the Queens – “People, I’ve been sad”
Anthem of the pandemic? Perhaps. But whether Christine and the Queens are your cup of tea, the song is surely a standout. Folks resonated with the mood, the vibe and most of all the lyrics, understandably so. The French singer has the single to thank for becoming a worldwide name, looking forward to even greater heights.