Rave, slam dance, chew over, cry, hollow and argue your manner through the 50 best songs of 2020, the tracks that mapped the moments that kept us going .
Andrew Trendell, News Editor
Reading: The 50 best songs of 2020
Words: Alex Flood, Andrew Trendell, El Hunt, Ella Kemp, Gary Ryan, Georgia Evans, Hannah Mylrea, Jenessa Williams, Jordan Bassett, Kyann-Sian Williams, Nick Reilly, Rhian Daly, Sam Moore, Sophie Williams, Thomas Smith and Will Richards
50. Foo Fighters – ‘Shame Shame’
The pandemic may have wholly decimated Foo Fighters ’ plans for their 25th anniversary, but ‘ Shame Shame ’ proved that the rock giants ’ future looks identical excite indeed. The first traverse from what Dave Grohl describes as a “ fucking wyrd ” one-tenth album, it saw the Foos trade stadium-slaying riffs for intricate drum beats, funk-laden melodies and a rare touch of subtlety. It was a brilliant first look at their adjacent move, which seems to be a leave call on .
Best bit: That beginning soporific pre-chorus of “ I ’ ll be the one, be the moon, be the sun, be the rain in your song, go and put that phonograph record on ” – it ’ s some of Grohl ’ s finest lyrics matched by Taylor Hawkins ’ best cram. NR
49. Rico Nasty – ‘iPhone’
Known for her sugary trap vogue that shifts from bubbling minimal beats to the heavy-hitting 808s, Rico Nasty showed the world her latest development when she unleashed the hyper-pop monster ‘ iPhone ’ – and international relations and security network ’ thymine it amazing ? Disjointed and driven by gargling basslines and shrill synths, ‘ iPhone ’ was a audacious affirmation of her individualism, ferociously setting her apart from the current rap setting. A much-needed and revitalising shot in the branch, ‘ iPhone ’ went the excess mile to prove precisely how versatile Rico is .
Best bit: That here and now when Rico ’ s hacker overture to cantabile and rapping beginning clicks, and leaves you hooklike. K-SW
48. Pa Salieu – ‘Frontline’
“ They don ’ thymine know about the block life, ” Coventry knocker Pa Salieu insisted throughout the hard-hitting ‘ Frontline ’, a searingly potent court to his venue. here, danger is courted and eluded, drugs sold and consumed. Though proud of his COV home, Pa took a convinced leap of religion in himself to deliver every detail over a pulsation Afrobeat tune without once shying away. He turned to his city with well-defined, huge ambition and scored a viral exuberate in render .
Best bit: The canyon-sized bassdrop that opens up and takes over midway through. SW
47. Jayda G – ‘Both Of Us’
This is the first – but surely not the last – sung on this tilt that looked destined to be a summer rave anthem before this year ’ randomness festival temper was so cruelly scuppered. It inactive bangs, though, building on the party spirit conjured in the producer and DJ ’ second 2019 debut ‘ Significant Changes ’ and embracing some arrant house vibes .
Best bit: The almost-a cappella dislocation that launches into a turbo-charged finale – a final jig before the lights come on. TS
46. Jessie Ware – ‘Soul Control’
Jessie Ware ’ s ’ 80s-laced fourthly album ‘ What ’ s Your pleasure ? ‘ was pure escape, and never more so than on the total belter ‘ Soul Control ’. Sultry, infectious, and fuelled by glittering synths and breathless vocals, this took us correct back to those dreamy nights of brumous clubs, writing bodies, and pure disco euphoria. Remember those ?
Best bit: That glitzy strutting bassline – a enchantress predict to the dancefloor. HM
45. Bob Vylan – ‘We Live Here’
Released months before the tragic killing of George Floyd and the beckon of global protests for racial equality that it inspired, ‘ We Live here ’ from London punk rocker duet Bob Vylan was a rallying statement of how deep-rooted racism is when so tightly bound to territorial ideas of what it means to be ‘ british ’. Vylan screaming back memories of racial abuse on the streets outside his base over a fiery hood anthem made for a admonisher that the competitiveness for change goes far beyond a hashtag .
Best bit: Vylan planting his iris in his home plate turf as he spits : “ Neighbours called me n***** / Told me to go back to my own state / Said since we arrived this place has got so surly / But this is my fuck country / And it ’ s never been fucking lovely. ” AT
44. Davido – ‘FEM’
Davido ’ s bravado is space on ‘ FEM ’, the braggadocious Afropop muffin that exuded such independence and rebellion that it became an impromptu protest hymn for the # ENDSARS drift in Nigeria. It cut uncoiled to the chase of what 2020 was about for so many. “ Fem ” means “ shut up ”, and whether that ’ s to your haters or a corrupt patrol regimen, Davido made the perfect soundtrack to stick your middle finger up to the bullshitters of this populace .
Best bit: When Davido breaks it down after the first refrain with the flourish in the backdrop. You can feel crowd of people uniting in sugared rebellion. K-SW
43. Perfume Genius – ‘On The Floor’
Mike Hadreas ’ music has long been fixed on transcending the imitations of his body, but 2020 ’ s ‘ Set My Heart On Fire ’ immediately tapped into a ground kind of animalism alternatively. ‘ On The Floor ’ was one of the album ’ s most natural centrepieces, bursting with bounce, boundless energy. “ How long ’ til my body is safe ? ” Perfume Genius asked, adding “ how long ’ til this heart isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate mine ? ” before last insisting : “ I merely want him in my arms. ”
Best bit: The close moments – winding down from pulsing ’ 80s odd-pop to twinkling melancholy – feel like the lights flooding on at the end of a night out. EH
42. Don Toliver – ‘No Photos’
There ’ mho just something that Houston ’ s Don Toliver does to you every time you hear his asymmetrical, Auto-Tuned croon. After going viral on TikTok with bangers like ‘ No Idea ’ and ‘ Best You Had ’, Toliver dropped ‘ Heaven Or Hell ’ – the sultry R & B and rap crossing over album of the class. ‘ No Photos ’ was the hard tune, oozing with sensuality from those attention-getting opening “ uh ” mho and “ ooo ” mho before giving way to a perfect blend of rap ’ second bravado and R & B ’ south ineffable feels .
Best bit: Every meter he goes, “ Ugh ! ” – when Don does it, it sounds like poetry. K-SW
41. Girl In Red – ‘Rue’
Named after the Euphoria character of the lapp name, the first base preview of Girl In Red ’ s upcoming debut album was a pristine, profoundly affectional man. An unanswered love, a painstakingly dependable meditation on mental health – it made for absolutely devastating thrust from the NME 100 alumni. With a apparitional synth hook shot that circles in and out of this offended catharsis and distress grow by the second, the norwegian pop hero sounded as if her center was breaking in real time .
Best bit: When a final supplication of “ I ’ ll make it work ” is repeated until the words turn numb. SW
40. BTS – ‘Dynamite’
Released to spread some convinced energy during the pandemic, ‘ Dynamite ’ explosion through 2020 ’ s bare climate by offering an instant serotonin hit of boldface, bright fun. Whether it was RM ’ mho assurances that he ’ five hundred “ got the medicate so you should keep your eyes on the ball ” or its laughably attention-getting chorus, this disco-pop belter provided the perfect recipe for blasting away the blues, each play serving up the same mood-flipping power as the beginning clock you heard it .
Best bit: The jazz band of the stomping pulse and Jungkook ’ s yellowish brown cries ushering in a crescendo that somehow ups the already skyscraping euphoria to even greater heights. RD
39. India Jordan – ‘For You’
The Doncaster-born, London-based DJ and producer ’ s majestic second solo EP ‘ For You ’ provided a much-needed five-star smash of disco-meets-house vacate this year. Its thumping title cut helped keep spirits up over the summer, and it ’ s heartwarming message to their past self – who grew astir move and isolated in a small town – to keep going in the face of adversity resonates to all .
Best bit: When the outwit kicks back into life at the four-minute score. What ’ s the word – euphoric ? Yeah, that. SM
38. Bad Boy Chiller Crew – ‘450 – 2020 Mix’
A product of the north ’ second long-established love affair with bassline, ‘ 450… ’ was the apparent strait of a nostalgic night out in Bradford : where happiness looks like a piss-about with your mates, a few Inbetweeners-esque fibs about how many girls you actually pulled, and a Maccies breakfast on your room back home. Inherently lovable in its youthful exuberance, this was the track that put Bad Boy Chiller Crew on the map .
Best bit: Like ’ em or abhor ’ em, it ’ s impossible to deny the catchiness of Bad Boy Chiller Crew ’ second bouncing chipmunk beat here. Git up ! JW
37. Disclosure – ‘Watch Your Step’ (feat. Kelis)
Constructed for packed-out clubs and festival tents, the Brighton couple ’ mho first album in five years couldn ’ t have come at a less-fitting time. Stuffed with massive bangers like this R & B-flavoured noughties throwback – featuring toss off prima donna Kelis – ‘ ENERGY ’ was alternatively employed as a soundtrack to socially-distanced raves during lockdown ( aka Friday nox beers in the battlefront room ). even, ‘ Watch Your Step ’ slaps all the like. dance like cipher ’ s watch, because they aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate !
Best bit: Kelis ’ multi-tracked vocal during the beginning chorus – super-slick garage to take you back to Top Of The Pops in its prime. AF
36. Pop Smoke – ‘Shake The Room’
Starting off 2020 mighty, the great Carnasie drill star topology Pop Smoke delivered us dateless floorfillers on his second mixtape ‘ Meet The Woo 2 ’ before his prematurely death a week belated. Mixing singular and danceable UK drill production with Smoke ’ s bellowing vocals, ‘ Shake The Room ’ had a new generation of fans pay tribute and shake their fists just like Pop to this groovy adieu from a endowment gone besides soon .
Best bit: The fact that Pop Smoke managed to get Migos ’ Quavo on a drill chase – and he actually sounds good ! K-SW
35. Charli XCX – ‘Claws’
Produced by 100 gecs ’ Dylan Brady, ‘ Claws ’ was an enticing single that teased Charli ’ s lockdown album ‘ How I ’ molarity Feeling now ’. Centred around that oh-so-sweet chorus of “ I like everything about you ”, this was a sentimental ode to being in quarantine with the one you love. candied vocals came paired with playful lines like “ slip and slide up my thighs / Juicy just like clementines ” – cementing Charli as a chief of brash dad bangers for a new age .
Best bit: The stuttering one-line chorus is sugary, dessert and straight to the point. GE
34. Dominic Fike – ‘Chicken Tenders’
It ’ randomness been a boastfully year for Dominic Fike, with the floridian wunderkind releasing his much-anticipated introduction album ‘ What Could possibly Go Wrong ’ binding in July. The read was first introduced a month earlier with its cruddy earworm of a lead single ‘ Chicken Tenders ’, which provided a tasty, finger-licking and R & B-leaning sample of Fike ’ south vaunted dexterity when it comes to pop songwriting .
Best bit: Dem drums – powering everything advancing whenever it threatens to stop. SM
33. Hayley Williams – ‘Simmer’
last delivering on the solo project that her fans had craved and feared in adequate measure, the stakes were high for Paramore ’ s Hayley Williams – but she more than delivered with ‘ Simmer ’. Layering earthy Radiohead -style percussion with a newly bluesy vocal take, Williams set the tone for ‘ Petals For Armor ’ – a commemorate broad of self-exploration, challenge and personal growth. A fresh start never sounded so estimable .
Best bit: The diaphanous relish of the way she sings “ fucker ”. Hell hath no ferocity like Hayley Williams scorned. JW
32. Working Men’s Club – ‘John Cooper Clarke’
This taut punk-funk existential crisis from the Todmorden newcomers – all hypnotic synth bleeps, twitchy guitars and perfectly controlled build-ups and breakdowns – even received the seal of approval from the Bard of Salford from whom it took its name. Basically, it sounded like 5am in a throb warehouse rave that tempts you to half-think : “ Sod granny knot ! I ’ thousand heading to an illegal lockdown party. ”
Best bit: Frontman Sydney Minsky-Sargeant ’ s brooding battle-cry of “ we dance and we smile…We bouncy and we die. ” GR
31. Blossoms – ‘If You Think This Is Real Life’
The real rejoice in Blossoms ’ one-third album ‘ Foolish Loving Spaces ’, which saw the set embracing their inner crop up stars, was witnessing the isthmus not give a single sleep together about what people thought about their transformation. “ We might be uncool, but then are ABBA and everyone loves them, ” frontman Tom Ogden told NME rear in March – and the album ’ s joyous opener embodied that carefree, poptastic spirit .
Best bit: Its bombastic chorus, which lands roughly halfway between the subject song of a ’ 70s television receiver plot show and Black Lace ’ s ‘ Agadoo ’. Glorious. TS
30. Megan Thee Stallion – ‘Savage Remix’ (feat. Beyoncé)
When Beyoncé took Megan Thee Stallion ’ s ‘ Savage ’ and stapled on a 16-bar rap ( alongside a fresh verse from Megan ), it catapulted the song to legendary status. Released to raise funds for COVID-19 efforts in Houston, ‘ Savage Remix ’ became a viral sense for its quotable lyrics, many of which were embellished with internet references. As Beyoncé dropped bars like “ hips TikTok when I dance / On that Demon Time, she might start a OnlyFans ” she absolutely matched Megan ’ s signature audacity .
Best bit: Queen Bey rapping about TikTok, Demon Time and OnlyFans – could it be any more 2020 ? GE
29. Fiona Apple – ‘Heavy Balloon’
At times clattering and at others soothing, this brawny gutpunch cover with the mire of depression, likening living with it to trying to play with the sung ’ sulfur titular heavy balloons. Fiona Apple wasn ’ t letting herself be beaten by it, though, offering a defiant, bright intent through green-fingered metaphors of growth and fresh life : “ I spread it like strawberries / I climb like peas and beans. ”
Best bit: The beginning time Apple ’ south voice switches from calm and soft to an pressing, determined rasp. RD
28. Gorillaz – ‘Aries’ (feat. Georgia and Peter Hook)
Episode three of Gorillaz ’ s leading ‘ Song Machine ’ series saw the cartoon band team up with dance-powerhouses Georgia and Peter Hook for what basically sounded like the best track the latter ’ second former band New Order have released in ages. Driven by Hooky ’ second touch wandering freshwater bass, the elegiac ‘ Aries ’ came on like Damon Albarn ’ s love-letter to the Manchester group – properly down to the nervy drum machine, plangent vocals and gnomic lyrics, hit the necessity mournful/euphoric odoriferous position .
Best bit: obviously it ’ randomness Hooky ’ s identifiable twanging bass, taking you right back to New Order ’ s halcyon Hacienda flower. GR
27. Róisín Murphy – ‘Murphy’s Law’
When asked about the Dua Lipa / Jessie Ware disco revival by NME, undisputed dancefloor picture Róisín Murphy replied : “ I ’ thousand back to snatch their wigs ! ” This slinky cut from her ( brilliant ) album ‘ Róisín Machine ’ proved she wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate wrong. dateless and transcendent, it sounded like a lost classical that Andy Warhol might have danced to under Studio 54 ’ south moon and spoon .
Best bit: Her spoken-word opening – “ I feel my history ’ s placid untold, but I ’ ll make my own happy ending ” – which feels like Murphy draped imperiously over a chaise longue ready to dispense some hard-won truths. GR
26. Sports Team – ‘Here’s The Thing’
Sports team are at their best when they set cutting, sardonic lyrics over joyous, moshpit-ready indie, and ‘ here ’ s The Thing ’ has it all. The track saw the dance band taking swipes at consumerism, patriotism and a unharmed lot more with adequate wild energy to in full hammer their message home. “ Everything in life sentence is average and that ’ s the rules, ” they wink. Get righteous with a huge smile on your face .
Best bit: That breakdown into a final verse of saturated chaos – we can smell the sweat from hera. WR
25. Kelly Lee Owens – ‘Corner Of My Sky’
If this song was any more welsh it would be charging through daffodils humming Shirley Bassey showtunes. As it is, John Cale ’ s softly spoken song – delivered over seven minutes of Rhuddlan-born Kelly Lee Owens ’ soothing techno-pop – was already adequate to evoke images of exuberant, green valley and damp country walks. Add to that a bonkers video recording in which Michael Sheen battles a supernatural toaster and you ’ ve got a warped fix that was as unique and brainy as the country it came from .
Best bit: When the suffocating synth refrain is replaced by soaring, John Williams-esque strings – like a ray of sun breaking through rain clouds. AF
24. Kanye West – ‘Wash Us In The Blood’ (feat. Travis Scott)
Released amid the renewed energy behind the Black Lives Matter motion, it ’ s little storm that Kanye ’ s contribution to the lawsuit should be vital, energetic, artistic and, with its electrifying ‘ Yeezus ’ -era sound and lacerating biblical imagination, quite devastating. “ Holy Spirit come down, ” he implores, “ we need you nowadays, ” offsetting the divine with the obscenity and the craze keeping us bogged down here on planet earth. With Dr. Dre on production and a curtly, sharp feature from Travis Scott ( “ 30 states calm execute / Thou shalt not kill ” ), this arsonist one marked a passkey back at his best .
Best bit: For all the track ’ south righteousness, it was joyful to hear Kanye ’ s sense of temper intact when he claimed that record labels, afraid of his frankness, are “ tryna sign a steady Ye ”. JB
23. HAIM – ‘Steps’
Coloured with frustration, ‘ The Steps ’ found HAIM fighting to make a relationship solve. Tough material, but they managed to make it sound like unmissable fun, exorcising any negative feelings through swooning guitar licks, a tick that urged you to get up and bounce, and purgative cries of “ you don ’ t understand me ! ”
Best bit: Every time the sisters assert : “ Every day I wake up and make money for myself / And though we partake a seam you know I don ’ t need your help. ” Right on. RD
22. The 1975 – ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’
As quintessentially 1975 as it ’ s possible to get, ‘ …Too Shy ’ was a fan favorite at shows even before it was committed to tape. For thoroughly reason, besides : it was an ’ 80s-tastic banger that manages to tick off a new-age soundbath presentation ( courtesy of FKA Twigs ), Top Gun guitars and a classical dose of Matty Healy ’ s millennial self-loathing all within the first two minutes .
Best bit: That sax solo – wholly irresistible, and core to the bands ’ ex post facto appeal. JW
21. Miley Cyrus – ‘Midnight Sky’
Throw those horns up ! With ’ 80s-indebted synths, a ash-blonde Debbie Harry mullet and brassy metallic graphics, Miley Cyrus ’ 2020 rejoinder marked the point the pop tabby morphed into the rockstar she ’ d always threatened to become. complete with a knowing wink to her post-divorce tabloid speculation ( “ See my lips on her mouth, everybody ’ s talking now, pamper, ” she grins ), this was the kind of firecracker rocker that Cyrus always seemed prim to make .
Best bit: The gravelling pre-chorus lament is up there with the best vocal performances of Cyrus ’ career. EH
20. Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande – ‘Rain On Me’
On Gaga and Grande ’ s pulsing collaboration, it didn ’ t rain – it poured. One of the greatest things about popular music is the room that it takes pain and trauma and elevates them into something elated and bring around, and ‘ Rain On Me ’ was the casebook performance of that. “ I ’ five hundred rather be dry, but at least I ’ megabyte animated, ” the pair belted out in the refrain, finding hope and resilience in the dark of places .
Best bit: That mangled-vocal hook – it ’ s merely mechanically unmistakable and iconic. EH
19. Beabadoobee – ‘Worth It’
ever teetered between the thrill of an illegitimate fling and the erode feel that you ’ re colossally fucking up ? Beabadoobee has. “ I wan na see you again / Don ’ thyroxine know what I ’ megabyte say, ” she admitted on ‘ Worth It ’ s elephantine sugar rush of a choir, inviting you into the tug-of-war between the angel and hellion on either of her shoulders. The battle of not giving in to temptation and self-destruction never sounded so good .
Best bit: That fizzing riff that catapults you into the heart of ’ 90s alt-rock, but hush feels gloriously fresh. RD
18. Billie Eilish – ‘Therefore I Am’
The beat might have sounded faineant – in a consider way – but Billie Eilish ’ mho lyrics have never been more slice, her chorus more bruise than on ‘ Therefore I Am ’. The standalone single felt aligned with some of her heavier material melodically and had enough of bite in her existential musings about fake friends, intrusive tabloids and haters at big. This was Billie at her most effortlessly intimidating. Bring on album two .
Best bit: “ I ’ m blue, I don ’ triiodothyronine think I caught your name, ” she coyly said nearing the end, toying with her haters. Billie has never needed your blessing, and she surely doesn ’ thymine now. EK
17. Tame Impala – ‘One More Year’
Released pre-pandemic, it ’ randomness possibly fitting that Tame Impala ’ s one-fourth album ‘ The Slow Rush ’ meticulously examined our relationship with time and the nostalgia that comes with cover periods of reflection. “ Do you remember we were standing here a year ago ? ” Kevin Parker asked, adding that “ if there was trouble in the earth, we didn ’ t know “. A serendipitous reminder that we didn ’ t know how good we had it in the before-times .
Best bit: honestly ? How this birdcall is sol eerily prescient : “ We ’ re on a rollercoaster stick on its loop-de-loop / ‘ Cause what we did one day on a caprice has slowly become all we do. ” All Kev is missing is a line about Zoom mishaps and baking banana bread, and it ’ d be the accidental lockdown hymn for this rotten year. TS
16. Little Simz – ‘Might Bang, Might Not’
Written with the kind of ‘ sleep together it ’ conviction that entirely comes from having all of your plans thrown out of the window, ‘ Might Bang, Might not ’ became an unlikely corona-era hymn by making practice of Simz ’ s rapid-fire brain and charisma to absolutely capture the pent-up energy of being stick indoors. She might have only intended it “ for the nowadays ”, but this kind of energy is constantly .
Best bit: “ I ’ megabyte fuckboy tolerant ” – put this farce on t-shirts and you ’ vitamin d make a kill. JW
15. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Parasite Eve’
You ’ d be forgiven for thinking that the title of ‘ Parasite Eve ’ was a spot besides on the nose for 2020, but as frontman Oli Sykes told NME, the track was actually written final year about another heavy superbug. still, as he screamed, “ When we forget the infection, will we remember the lesson ? ” Sykes and band gave us one of the most apposite wake-up calls conceivable, and one of their heaviest efforts in years .
Best bit: When Sykes grumble, “ When all the king ’ s sources and all the king ’ sulfur friends don ’ t know their arses from their pathogens ”. sound familiar ? NR
14. The Killers – ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’
On sixth album ‘ Imploding The Mirage ‘, The Killers fired up the classic cars once more and came screeching full-throttle out of the Nevada defect. Fuelled by the Americana emotional state of Springsteen and a War On Drugs -esque widescreen sci-fi sound, opener ‘ My Own Soul ’ s Warning ’ was an explosion of fireworks at the starting line .
Best bit: Brandon ’ s cry of “ I just WANTED TO GET BACK TO WHERE YOU AAAARE “. It ’ south just begging to ignite a stadium when live shows render. NR
13. Fontaines D.C. – ‘A Hero’s Death’
Any doubts over how Fontaines D.C. would follow up their stun debut ‘ Dogrel ’ were immediately destroyed with comeback single ‘ A Hero ’ s Death ’, the claim racetrack of album two. As Grian Chatten bellowed his existential manifesto for a better life over stirring rock ’ n ’ bankroll here, the Dubliners proved were far from a one-album wonder – but an substantive band for these times .
Best bit: The song ’ s final cut riposte : “ That was the year of the sneer, immediately the real matter ’ randomness here. ” WR
12. Doja Cat – ‘Boss Bitch’
Penned for the soundtrack of DC Comics ’ Birds Of Prey, ‘ Boss Bitch ’ was a grim argument of intent from LA singer/rapper Doja Cat. “ I ’ m the whole curse patty and the cerise on crown, ” Doja quipped. “ Shook up the bottle, made a good daughter pop. ” Those pogoing synths, meanwhile, spoke to a particularly bouncing era of early ’ 00s dance music, reincarnating the dim pulse spirit of David Guetta and The Egg ’ s mash-up ‘ Love Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate Let Me Go ( Walking Away ) ’ and adding some hallmark Doja Cat grit. Bow down to the emboss .
Best bit: The appreciative lyrical nods to Doja ’ s pat contemporaries Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion – classy. EH
11. Christine and the Queens – ‘People, I’ve Been Sad’
“ It ’ s true that people, I ’ ve been missing out for direction besides retentive, ” Christine and the Queens ( aka Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier ) spill the beans on the sorrowful so far majestic February single from her ‘ La vita nuova ’ EP. A birdcall about the thick well of gloominess that pulls you away from those closest to you, its meaning would inescapably become universal in a year like the one we ’ ve merely endured. however, ‘ People, I ’ ve Been Sad ’ besides stood improbable on its own as an ode to Christine ’ s stunning emotional baron .
Best bit: When grieve is trumped by community in its choir : “ If you fall apart, then I ’ meter falling behind you ” – fair the bracing. WR
10. The Strokes – ‘Bad Decisions’
undoubtedly indebted to both Modern English and Billy Idol, ‘ Bad Decisions ’ still sounded quintessentially like The Strokes – like they ’ re last letting themselves have fun and be romantic again. Enjoy the tumbling drums, the cheerful optimism of that looping riff and julian Casablancas ’ crystal-clear flirtations with whoever he ’ south making badly decisions for. The second it was released, ‘ Bad Decisions ’ was destined to join the ranks of ‘ Reptilia ’ -level bangers : a simpleton singalong with a solid flick, welcoming back the good times for a band who ’ ve been through sol much discord. God knows we ’ ve needed a joke .
Best bit: The beginning few seconds here that shine the brightest – that riff is like the first sip of your favorite tipple on the first day of summer. EK
9. Phoebe Bridgers – ‘I Know The End’
There ’ s a good rationality ‘ I Know The end ’ closed Phoebe Bridgers ’ exultant irregular album ‘ Punisher ’. It was an epic poem cacophony ; musing on the apocalypse while boasting the singer ’ randomness delicate, composure and brooding side before blossoming into the biggest thing she ’ south ever done. “ Either manner / I ’ ll find a new place to be from, ” Bridgers sang, waving adieu to her haunted house. Exciting and overpowering, it was a instruction to those who thought Phoebe Bridgers was good another deplorable daughter with a guitar about just how much fire lies within .
Best bit: The last hour, as horns and drums collide with Bridgers enlisted closest friends and collaborators screaming until their throats hurt. Mega. EK
8. Taylor Swift – ‘The Last Great American Dynasty’
Swift had wanted to write a birdcall about Rebekah Harkness, the American socialite who used to own the singer ’ s firm in Rhode Island, for years. But it wasn ’ thyroxine until The National ’ s Aaron Dessner ( who collaborated with Swift across her eighth album ‘ Folklore ’ ) sent Swift the original implemental for ‘ The last great american Dynasty ’ that she ultimately felt the time was right. here, Swift engaged consummate storytelling techniques over Dessner ’ second glitchy, cantering production, vividly spinning the narrative of Harkness ’ life while drawing parallels between the sexist criticism both women have received ( such as being called “ huffy ” and “ shameless ” ). It ’ s an astonishing sung : matchless that fuses witty lyricality with megawatt hooks, and a reminder that Taylor Swift is an artist who should never be underestimated .
Best bit: The fat storytelling : western fence lizard brings Harkness ’ floor to life sentence through concise, pithy couplets like “ And in a feud with her neighbor / She stole his dog and dyed it key linden green “. HM
7. Rina Sawayama – ‘XS’
The thrill of Rina Sawayama ’ s ‘ XS ’ wasn ’ metric ton barely its roaring maximalism, which paired raucous nu-metal influences with glossy R & B pop, but how profoundly audacious it was. With a transfixing vocal that tensed and shifted throughout, the dizzying conduct single of the rising ace ’ randomness debut LP ‘ SAWAYAMA ’ threw fleet, blunt punches at capitalist ignorance and culture, promptly making her a star topology the populace over ( who could forget that Jimmy Fallon performance ? ) lavish and hideous, as a match of song to message, it was perfect. ultimately ‘ XS ’ will be remembered as a truthful, long-deserved discovery moment for the pop picture of the future .
Best bit: The most ear-twisting moment of ’ em all, when staggering riffs square off against that eerie, trembling violin line. SW
6. Run The Jewels – ‘JU$T’ (feat. Pharrell Williams and Zack de la Rocha)
RTJ roared back into life in 2020, packing a potent, politically charged punch with their deservedly acclaimed ‘ RTJ4 ’ album. arguably the pick of the bunch on the record is ‘ JU $ T ’, which saw Killer Mike and El-P linking up once again with Rage Against The Machine ’ s legendary shouter-in-chief Zack de la Rocha ( “ the unofficial one-third member of Run The Jewels, ” El-P declared recently ) and inviting Pharrell along for the ride – not a regretful line-up, veracious ? Recorded at Rick Rubin ’ s Shangri-La studios, ‘ JU $ T ’ ’ s searing review of capitalism, crime and social injustice in the US over El-P ’ randomness bounce and Neptunes -nodding beat made for a classic RTJ typography. abrasion that : a classical RTJ anthem, and the one the world needed .
Best bit: Pharrell yelling “ SHIIIIIT ” like he ’ s doing his best impression of Clay Davis from The Wire before dropping the already immortal “ look at all these slave masters posing on yo ’ dollar ” line. SM
5. Romy – ‘Lifetime’
The twenty have constantly been known for monochromatic moodiness and minimalist indie-noir, but on ‘ Lifetime ’, we got to know the real Romy Madley Croft : dancefloor destroyer. A burst of near-ridiculous Eurodance camp-pop abandon, it was wholly at odds with any preconceptions of Croft you might have had and the alone confines of lockdown it was written in. If we were allowed to be in clubs or losing our bullshit in festival fields at dawn, this would have been this class ’ s consolidative banger, following the linage of Daft Punk ’ s ‘ Get Lucky ’, Lorde ’ s ‘ Green Light ’ and even Robyn ’ s ‘ Dancing On My Own ’. We will dance in concert again, and this will be our song .
Best bit: The MDMAzing freshness that hugs you when she sings “ If this world comes to an end, I wan sodium be there with you ” before the first dismiss. AT
4. Arlo Parks – ‘Black Dog’
The most crushing songs are rarely the ones that scream about their arrival. Gliding quietly onto radio A-lists bet on in May, Arlo Parks ’ ‘ Black Dog ’ initially presented itself as understate lo-fi, before her bent for dishing out relatable wisdom rose to the surface. Gentle flourishes of guitar framed Parks ’ struggle to keep an ailing supporter above water : “ Sometimes it seems like you won ’ metric ton survive this / And, honestly, it ’ sulfur terrifying. ” In a year where isolation and doubt have affected us all, ‘ Black Dog ’ was the kind of sung to spark all kinds of life-saving conversations or, at the very least, lend a hand of comfort to those who know all besides well what it ’ s like to have darkness nipping at your heels .
Best bit: The drive guitar that gently coaxes you through the song and serves as a stoic complement to Parks ’ reassuring voice. JW
3. IDLES – ‘Grounds’
“ Do you hear that big h ? ” roared IDLES frontman Joe Talbot here. No, he hasn ’ thymine taken Rishi Sunak ’ south advice and retrained as a weatherman. This was the Bristol band ’ mho barbed letter to the doubters, detractors and backbiters ; a future-punk stamper that saw them team a lissome, scything flick and crunching electronics with stinging putdowns ( “ not a single thing has ever been mended / By you standing there and saying you ’ re transgress ” ). It ’ second looking shouty with a casual of moshpits .
Best bit: When Bad Seed Warren Ellis yells “ Hey ! ” at precisely the correctly moment, his merely contribution to the song. It ’ s not what you ’ ve got, it ’ s what you do with it. JB
2. Dua Lipa – ‘Physical’
Cometh the hour, cometh the Dua. The second single from her musical composition ‘ Future Nostalgia ’ saw Dua come out all-legwarmers-blazin ’ with this adrenalised ‘ 80s-hued firecracker, which tipped a wink to Olivia Newton-John ’ s hearty murder of the same appoint. Although it dropped in January, it heroically kept dopamine levels raised during Lockdown 1, whether soundtracking an escapist kitchen-disco or home HIIT exercise ( an option camp neon aerobics-inspired television underscores the aesthetic ). Inspired by Flashdance, it was an brutal riot of spoken-word pre-choruses and euphoric goldplate hooks that hit like a baloney of industrial-strength poppers. “ We created something phenomenal, don ’ t you agree ? ” she asked. We sure do .
Best bit: When it goes full ’ 80s wind-machine during the “ detention on, merely a little compressed ! ” bridge. GR
1. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion – ‘WAP’
The most talk about song of 2020 is besides our Number One. Could there be any other ?
A sparse, juddering beatnik, an disingenuously deploy sample of Frank Ski ’ south 1992 Baltimore club basic ‘ Whores In This House ’ and the double talents of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion – there very were no add frills to be found on ‘ WAP ’. With two of the most trailblazing names in rap at its helm, ‘ WAP ’ didn ’ t want bells and whistles. In place of maximalism, Cardi and Meg stood ferociously imaginative in penning their flyblown loveletter to wet buttocks kitty, and the eminently quotable one-liners *ahem* come thick and fast.
crucially, the two sport artists were absolutely matched partners in filth, one-upping each other with elated preciseness. “ Put this cunt correct in your boldness, swipe your nose like a credit calling card, ” demanded Cardi, single-handed making a case for both mouth-spitting and the immediate death of contactless payments during a highly contagious pandemic. then Meg rose to the affair. “ In the food chain, I ’ m the one that eat ya / If he ate my american samoa, he ’ s a bottomfeeder, ” she smirked, before promising to spell her own name as she “ ride the dick ” .
even the censored, radio-friendly “ wet and effusive ” version of ‘ WAP ’ was unfathomably dirty – a major accomplishment – and, best of all, the birdcall has succeeded in pissing off the kind of prudes who wither with disgust every clock a woman dares to centre her own sexual desire. Dangerously horny in a manner that speaks immediately to the casual arouse bans of the lockdown age, ‘ WAP ’ was the titan racetrack that drenched the stallion year. Bring a bucket and a wipe up .
Best bit: Though it ’ mho hard to pick precisely one searing lineage, the absolute exuberance of Cardi ’ s “ want you to park that Big Mack Truck right in this little garage ” surely takes the trophy. EH