Top 100 Songs Of 2020 (60-41)
From Lady Gaga’s ‘Enigma’ to The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ and more
60. The 1975 – “Me & You Together Song”
Dream pop at its best, “Me & You Together Song” is classic 1975 and that’s an impressive attribute to give the band as they’ve managed over the span of less than a decade to create a sound and style unique to them. The song could have perfectly fit on a Modern Rock radio station in 1994 but we’re lucky to have them shoegazing in 2020 for us.
59. Celeste – “Stop This Flame”
British singer songwriter Celeste came out blasting early in 2020 with “Stop This Flame”, the kind of one-off record we were used to hearing back in the 1990’s. That novelty carries off exceedingly well here between her poignant vocals and the tight production which makes us want to move but also feel. They just don’t make as many euphoric-filled songs anymore and the world could use more of them!
58. Kylie Minogue – “Say Something”
I loved seeing the challenges that artists faced in 2020 when it came to finding new ways to keep being just that, artists. Kylie Minogue, for the first time in her long career recorded her vocals at home and it seems to have worked. While the singer has always been aided by spectacular producers and frankly, vocal effects, here Minogue sounds more, um, live? And it works well because the music and her vocals for a change don’t clash as much and in the case of “Say Something”, it helps to highlight the meaningful lyrics which captured for so many of us how we were feeling during the pandemic.
57. Disciples, Lee Foss, Anabel Englund – “Only The Gods”
Disciples are the Gods of the chunky bassline at this point and it seems to always serve them right. This time they are joined by Lee Foss and Anabel Englund on “Only The Gods”, a smooth as ever house track that haunts, swirls and takes you from crying on the dancefloor to the bathroom and back. Perfect for 2020.
56. Miley Cyrus – “Midnight Sky”
Even before the “Edge Of Seventeen” interpolation appears in “Midnight Sky”, we can almost see Stevie Nicks standing there right next to Miley Cyrus. The single was everything we expect from Cyrus, regardless of which avatar she’s put front and center in that moment. A great melody, slick production and catchy as anything she’s ever recorded, there’s good reason the song pushed her back to the top of the charts.
55. Selena Gomez, 6LACK – “Crowded Room”
As sexy or perhaps even sexier than “Good For You” and “Hands To Myself” combined, “Crowded Room” is Selena Gomez at her best. Is she the best vocalist? Well, she’s never claimed she is. But like Madonna and Britney before her, her songs resonate because her vocals are still able to capture the emotional mood of the song and oh yeah, she constantly keeps creating some of the catchiest songs in pop music.
54. Owen Pallett – “Transformer”
Indie music can be a mixed bag these days between self-indulgent and well, far too many talents honing their skills in their home studios without any idea who they are making the music for besides the people already in their circles. So whenever I come across a singer-songwriter who truly embraces the alternative side of indie music and lyrically offers some heavy lifting with some cleverness, I’m sold. “Transformer” doesn’t change the formula but it does strengthen the power of that said formula.
53. Priya Ragu – “Good Love 2.0”
I’ve gotten a lot of shit for years that I rarely include any Indian artist in my countdowns. Here’s the thing. I love Indian music – everything from ghazals to Bollywood to even bhajans. But for me, this chart caters towards pop music that has a global audience. In the most recent years, there has been some headway and I’m genuinely excited to include Tamil-Swiss artist Priya Ragu. “Good Love 2.0” is a revelation – it’s part R&B/hip-hop and part well, just listen to the second half of the song and you’ll know! It’s better than anything most Indian artists have put out on the global market and I strongly believe it’s because Ragu here isn’t trying to show off her “alternative” side, this is just who she is. The openness with not forcing who she is to conform to what she should be is what makes the song such a joy. I’m really looking forward to seeing how her career develops from here!
52. Washed Out – “Too Late”
Washed Out’s name has been synonymous with chill for me for more than a decade plus now. Yet still he keeps churning out blissful compositions that immediately are capable of taking all the stress away and making you feel like everything is going to be okay. For a sun chaser like myself, knowing that the inspiration for “Too Late” and its music video stemmed from a single sunset only boost my love and adoration for the song.
51. Naomi Lareine – “Stars Glow”
A sophisticated summer soul jam by Naomi Lareine feels like you would have heard it on the latest season of “Insecure”. Of course it doesn’t need a soundtrack to resonate as this modern R&B track does wonder simply with Lareine’s sultry vocals and the empowering lyrics. I love that the energy here isn’t pure sex, it’s more joy. Pure soul always shined thanks to understanding that sometimes the less that’s said, the more erotic it actually it is!
50. Brent Faiyaz – “Let Me Know”
I miss the days of good ol’ R&B. Rarely are we getting records that pay humble tribute to the mastery that once existed for the genre. But while older artists are chasing trends, it’s been a breath of fresh air to see artists like Faiyaz come to the forefront and succeed at the experiment of bringing soul back into the equation. “Let Me Know” is the perfect example of a song that works in today’s climate but also is rare enough that it brings out nostalgia we’ve been longing for.
49. Empress Of – “Give Me Another Chance”
A mantra inside a pop song. “Give Me Another Chance” is a fantastic pop record that dares to change the structure and feel of the song every few lines. Empress Of breaks ground here and the results are stellar. The song should have been a massive hit – just imagine if Britney Spears released this? Anyways, I really do hope folks give Empress Of more than another chance. She’s here to stay!
48. Bob Moses, ZHU – “Desire”
Bob Moses can do no wrong for me year after year. In my head, they are the next generation of Depeche Mode and I stick by that. Here accompanied by ZHU we have “Desire” – a dark, beautifully moody track that works so well because the atmosphere created both vocally and lyrically are perfectly matched by the production. Another single that deserved to be a bigger hit!
47. Alesso, Charlotte Lawrence – “THE END”
Toxic romantic entanglements never sounded so effervescent as it does on Alesso’s “THE END”. Here, Charlotte Lawrence provides the raw vocals necessary to turn this dance production into a far more hypnotizing single. The lyrics are particularly strong for a song you’d not expect to carry weight but it does. That’s always been the brilliance of Alesso and his collaborations with different singer/songwriters. He manages to fine-tune his style to the mood of the artists. Here it’s a great match.
46. Joesef – “The Sun Is Up Forever”
Indie-pop darling Joesef’s “The Sun Is Up Forever” is just beautiful. It helps that I’m a sun fanatic and any song that so justly uses the metaphor to describe relationships works for me. Joesef’s vocals are dreamy in all the right ways and the chorus just crescendos exactly how we see the sun transform in front of our eyes to a “different shade”.
45. Loick Essien, Mr Eazi, Wretch 32, Aida Lae – “Whatever You Like”
A great R&B/hip-hop track blending British MCs and African beats with an Afro-Latin twist. “Whatever You Like” is basic in many ways but it works. An instantly catchy hook and group of talents brought together to make it smooth and have a good time.
44. Lady Gaga – “Enigma”
I don’t want all the Little Monsters getting angry with me but I personally don’t get the continued unsubstantiated love for Gaga across genres and award shows. Her album was just about okay but yes undeniably Gaga. When the likes of Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware and even icons like Kylie Minogue are running circles around her in the world of dance-pop, I actually found the album rather dull and unmemorable except this track, “Enigma”. It was the standout track for me because it included all the good parts of Gaga we love from the early 2010’s but it also has a euphoric quality often lacking from her productions which feel now dated and gimmicky.
43. The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”
Brilliantly 80’s. Supremely Catchy. The Grammys were plain just wrong to ignore the signifance of this track that literally has spent the entire year in Billboard’s Top 10. It’s one thing if The Weeknd was a novelty act but the fact that an established artist could create such an impactful cross-genre blockbuster that folks are literally still not sick of listening to is a tremendous feet. This is one 3 songs that actually released in 2019 and ranked in my charts last year (but all three failed to make my then Top 50). Because of the majority of its impact being this year, I’ve opted to include them.
42. SG Lewis, Lucky Daye – “Feed The Fire”
This could have come out in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, 10’s or now and it’s still going to make dance, sing along and put a smile on your face. SG Lewis has had the midas touch as of late and “Feed The Fire” is just one of four appearances on the chart this year (which is made possible because he’s credited as a guest on two and as the lead artist on two!)
41. Halsey – “Still Learning”
Halsey carries this strange juxtaposition. She’s a talent, can sing and her songs are memorable. Much like Pink, she sells records, is well respected but strangely continues to remain underrated despite all the success. “Still Learning” is a great song and Halsey delivers but I’m almost bizarrely sure that if any other artist recorded this track, it would be ranked higher because in many ways, we’ve grown to depend on Halsey as a mainstay. We shouldn’t. She’s a great talent and it’s unfortunate the Grammys have yet to even value her existence in the industry.