The 100 Best Songs of 2020

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it seemed like the concept of “favorite songs” went out the window in 2020. Maybe it’s because I usually listen to albums at home and playlists on the move, so there wasn’t much time to really process my “favorites” of the year outside of an album context. I just felt like I had less ground to work with compared to normal. Despite this, I had no trouble accumulating 100 favorite songs on the year and selecting 10 of those to be the “top favorites.”

You’ll find 90 songs in alphabetical order immediately below and my Top 10 ranked songs of 2020 after that. Thought I had some nice variation on here and some artists you may have missed going through 2020. Hopefully some artists with big 2021s to come? Cheers to that. I also featured the first remix in this list in who knows how many years, probably the first since 2012. It’s just too good.

LISTEN ALONG WITH THE BEST OF 2020 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

  • ADRIANNE LENKER – “heavy focus”
  • ADVERTISEMENT – “She Was Dead”
  • ALUNA – “Envious (Kiddy Smile Remix)”
  • ANA ROXANNE – “Suite Pour L’invisible”
  • ANDRAS – “Saga of Sweetheart”
  • ANDY SHAUF – “Try Again”
  • ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF – “Persefone”
  • ARMAND HAMMER – “Pommelhorse (feat. Curly Castro)”
  • AVERY LEIGH’s NIGHT PALACE – “Into the Wake, Mystified”
  • BADGE ÉPOQUE ENSEMBLE – “Unity (It’s Up To You) (feat. James Baley)”
    ~~
  • BETTER PERSON – “Hearts On Fire”
  • BIBIO – “Oakmoss”
  • BLUE HAWAII – “No Drama”
  • BRAIDS – “Young Buck”
  • BREAKING – “Tremmmur”
  • BUMPER – “Red Brick”
  • BUSCABULLA – “NTE”
  • CHOIR BOY – “Complainer”
  • CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS – “People, I’ve been sad”
  • CINDY LEE – “Speaking From Above”
    ~~
  • CMON – “Mindboggling”
  • COLD BEAT – “Paper”
  • DEHD – “Loner”
  • DESTROYER – “It Just Doesn’t Happen”
  • DISCLOSURE – “Ecstasy”
  • DOMENIQUE DUMONT – “People On Sunday”
  • DUMA – “Lionsblood”
  • EARL SWEATSHIRT – “Whole World (feat. Maxo)”
  • EARTHEATER – “Volcano”
  • ELYSIA CRAMPTON – “Grove (feat. Embaci)”
    ~~
  • EMPRESS OF – “Bit Of Rain”
  • FATEN KANAAN – “The North Wind”
  • FONTAINES D.C. – “Love Is The Main Thing”
  • FRANCES QUINLAN – “Your Reply”
  • FREDDIE GIBBS – “Scottie Beam (feat. Rick Ross)”
  • GEORGIA – “24 Hours”
  • GIL SCOTT-HERON & MAKAYA MCCRAVEN – “I’ll Take Care Of You”
  • HOLY HIVE – “Embers To Ash”
  • INDIA JORDAN – “For You”
  • JESSE KIVEL – “Northside”
    ~~
  • JESSY LANZA – “Badly”
  • JOEL ROSS – “Home”
  • JOHN CARROLL KIRBY – “Blueberry Beads”
  • KAHIL EL’ZABAR – “Sketches Of An Afro Blue”
  • KALBELLS – “Cool and Bendable”
  • KAMAAL WILLIAMS – “Mr Wu”
  • KATE NV – “Marafon 15”
  • KEIYAA – “Nu World Burdens”
  • KLLO – “Still Here”
  • LAND OF TALK – “Love In 2 Stages”
    ~~
  • LAURA MARLING – “Held Down”
  • LIANNE LA HAVAS – “Weird Fishes”
  • LIDO PIMIENTA – “Nada (feat. Li Samuet)”
  • LUIS PESTANA – “Asa Machina”
  • LYRA PRAMUK – “Mirror”
  • MADELINE KENNEY – “Jenny”
  • MAMALARKY – “Hero”
  • MARIE DAVIDSON & L’ŒIL NU – “Back To Rock”
  • MARY LATTIMORE – “Til A Mermaid Drags You Under”
  • MAYBEL – “Bliss In Solitude”
    ~~
  • MERCE LEMON – “Chili Packet”
  • NAILAH HUNTER – “White Flower, Dark Hill”
  • NANA ADJOA – “National Song”
  • NATION OF LANGUAGE – “The Wall & I”
  • NICK HAKIM – “QADIR”
  • NICOLAS JAAR – “Garden”
  • NUBYA GARCIA – “Pace”
  • POTTERY – “Texas Drums Pt I & II”
  • PRESERVATION – “Correspondence (feat. Your Old Droog & Mach-Hommy)”
  • RICO NASTY – “IPHONE”
    ~~
  • RINA SAWAYAMA – “Love Me 4 Me”
  • RÓISÍN MURPHY – “Jealousy”
  • ROMY – “Lifetime”
  • SALEM – “Sears Tower”
  • SAULT – “Wildfires”
  • SEA OLEENA – “Lost Song”
  • SHABASON, KRGOVICH & HARRIS – “Friday Afternoon”
  • SOCCER MOMMY – “circle the drain”
  • STILL HOUSE PLANTS – “Crreeaase”
  • TENGGER – “Water”
    ~~
  • THANYA IYER – “Please Don’t Hold Me Hostage For Who I Am, Who I Was”
  • THEY HATE CHANGE – “Stunt Cams”
  • TOOTARD – “Kiss”
  • ULTRAÍSTA – “Anybody”
  • U.S. GIRLS – “4 American Dollars”
  • WAXAHATCHEE – “Can’t Do Much”
  • THE WEATHER STATION – “Robber”
  • WESTERMAN – “Confirmation”
  • WINTER – “Wherever You Are”
  • YUMI ZOUMA – “Cool For A Second”

TOP 10 FAVORITE SONGS OF 2020::

10. YVES TUMOR – “Kerosene!”

Hard for me to pick one singular favorite from this Yves Tumor record, but this one brings the drama, has a great guest vocal and gets stuck in my head like no other. Rippin’ guitar work too. This song was also the turning point for me like, “ok, this is the sound Tumor is going for on this one. Got it. Awesome.”

9. TOPS – “Colder & Closer”

Feels like the soundtrack to the dreamy confrontation scene in an 80s b-movie. Steamy, neon-lit preparation montage preceding a streetlight-lit duel in the middle of the city. Ultimate fantasy escapism.

8. CHARLI XCX – “anthems”

I mean, if you went out most nights pre-pandemic like I did, you’ll likely connect with this track. It helps that it goes hard as hell. Can’t wait to hear it out in the wild with people around me. I can’t wait to hug my friends again.

7. THUNDERCAT – “Dragonball Durag”

This gets a lot of bonus points from its amazing video and single art (by Zack Fox), but I think it’s a great song on its own too. Plenty of funny one-liners amongst some silky smooth Thundercat bass. Cheesy in the best ways. I’ll take all the joy I can handle.

6. CUT WORMS – “Sold My Soul”

Something about this track was like a drug to me when it first came out. Guess I gotta start listening to more country. Send me country recommendations that sound like this song. The chorus is pretty unbeatable.

5. FACS – “Version”

If you want a good old fashioned post punk deconstruction, this should be your jam. Caustic, deteriorating guitar, drums and vocals. The drums keep a pretty low profile until a bit past the halfway mark, then they start kicking stuff over. Then some insane fills are thrown in. Then it’s like, ok this is a drum track now. It’s a wave of slow-moving magma engulfing a manmade structure, disintegrating it with fireworks at the end.

4. PERFUME GENIUS – “On The Floor”

Like the song says, I was on the floor after I heard this for the first time. Wacky chugging synth beat is infectious, plus that really bendy guitar is amazing. Every time I thought the track wouldn’t go bigger or subvert expectations, it would prove me wrong. Just a monster track. To me, a victory for “indie rock” or whatever you wanna call it.

3. JESSIE WARE – “Spotlight”

So many goosebump-inducing moments on here. From the “tell me when I’ll get more than a dream of you” refrain and its corresponding the string section (ok basically the last third of the track is pure bliss), when the deep keyboard bass line comes in near the beginning, the start of the first chorus… it’s bliss. This song is bliss.

2. CHLOE X HALLE – “Do It”

Show me a better pop song from 2020, I dare you!! I could maybe listen to this song for an hour straight. “Forgive Me” is not far behind this one, but I could only include one song per artist. I think when I heard it for the first time I got lightheaded. It’s unreal catchy and just so much fun, aka the only things I ask for in a pop song.

1. JAYDA G – “Both Of Us”

In terms of pure joy songs from this year have given me, this is easily at the top. It’s so simple and so infectious. Just once I’d like to feel like how the piano on this track sounds. It partially inspired me to start running (which I’ve kept up!) and has been a burst of energy out in the wild whenever it comes up on shuffle. In the home, though, it makes me feel like the sun is shining, the world is balanced, and the world is mellow. 

About Very Warm

Usually cool dude stuff.
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