Well, it certainly has been an interesting year – both in terms of music and life.
Many of the songs that soundtracked 2020 provided an escape, a refuse among the daily happenings. They provided a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with, and endlessly quotable lines.
So, until the day that we can once again gather with those around us, we will be tuning up these tracks.
Find out which songs made the cut below…
Chloe x Halle – Do It
After winning fans over with their harmonious covers and releasing their debut album in 2018, sisters Chloe x Halle graduated to the big leagues when they released ‘Do It.’ Not only is tis gem dripping with layers of sweet vocal harmonies the sisters are known for, but the remix featuring Doja Cat, Mulatto, and City Girls, helps o raise the temperature even hotter. Appearing on their ‘Ungodly Hour’ album, ‘Do It’ is the sparkling gem atop their R&B crowns.
Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion – WAP
There was a time earlier this year amid the COVID lockdown when leaving the house not only frightened many, but also provided a large amount of danger. However, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion delivered a set of instructions on how to beat the paroles of being in quarantine with ‘WAP.’ The perfect balance of raunchy and escapism, the track is the sound of two of the most powerful women in music put pleasure upfront at a time when bleakness consumed nearly every aspect of life. It’s NSFW to the extreme, but so quotable that everybody and their mother was singing along to it. While Megan may have invented the ‘Hot Girl Summer,’ when paired with Cardi, the two made it a hot girl year.
Lady Gaga – Rain On Me (ft. Ariana Grande
Lady Gaga took many detours on her way to ‘Chromatica’ – her country tinged ‘Joanne’ album and her Oscar-nominated role in ‘A Star Is Born’ – but all of those roads led her back to the dance floor. Serving as the heartbeat of the club, ‘Rain On Me’ is the apex of Pop Lady Gaga as she fires on all cylinders. A group therapy session between Gaga and Ariana Grande set to turn-of-the-millennium Euro-house floor beat, the two prove that the greatest strength is to let it go and to appreciate what is left. And in a year where many of us have been rained on, Gaga and Grande help see that while we may not be dry, at least we are alive.
The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
From the opening moments of this song, The Weeknd creates a soundscape that feels warmly familiar, yet completely fresh and all his own. In the time span of just three short minutes, he checks off a number of Eighties Pop song staples – unanswered phone calls, driving fast just to feel something, lights representing loneliness – but where the real magic of the song lies is in the ability it has to remain in your head for months after a single listen. Simply put, it is The Weeknd at his very best.
Dua Lipa – Physical
While the 80’s dominated most of the sounds for this year, nobody quite mastered it as well as Dua Lipa. This song is her high-octane homage to a vintage sound with a surprisingly fresh update. ‘Physical’ not only provided to perfect dance track for our one person dance parties, but it also proved that Lipa has finally come into her own, to be the Pop powerhouse she was always destined to be.
Taylor Swift – Mirrorball
There’s a whole mythology and ethos surrounding the mystical track 5 on many of Taylor Swift’s albums, but the general concessions is that it is the most emotional song on the album. On any other Swift album, this would have been such a track, the shining Pop centerpiece to her glittering chandelier. This track is “shimmering beautiful” with its tale of hushed conversations, burning discos, and private moments. Intimate and understated, this song could have been ripped straight from one of Swift’s diary pages. She finds herself lost in the moment, and we are forever lost in this song.
Rina Sawayama – Bad Friend
Pop music has always romanticized doomed romances, disastrous exes, and volatile relationships. However, Rina Sawayama adds a more complex layer, giving friends their own breakup ballad on ‘Bad Friend.’ Across the track Sawayama confronts the guilt she feels for slowly fading out of her friend’s life as she reminisces on those sweet moments of intimacy she experienced with them at karaoke sing-alongs and nights in the city. There is a sense of shame as the relationship slowly corrodes away to the passage of time until she is forced to confront her faults against the rapturous backing choir in the climax. What makes this track the standout on her album ‘Sawayama’ is that is best summarizes the project. It demands forgiveness, introspection, but most importantly its power lies in the cleansing of past mistakes. In a year where we had to isolate and confront ourselves, Sawayama has never made it sound so beautiful.
Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky
While still a young 28-years-old, Miley Cyrus has been in the music business for over a decade now and has gone through some drastic reinventions during that time. However, her latest is certainly her best. ‘Midnight Sky’ was built to rock stadiums during the 80’s and it knows it. Paying homage to some of her biggest musical influences Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen, Cyrus makes the vintage sheen all her own.’
Jhene Aiko – Pu$$y Fairy (OTW)
Only Jhene Aiko could make a spiritual lullaby so sensual. Appearing on her acclaimed album, ‘Chilombo,’ Aiko gives the great Soul artists of yesteryear a run for their money. Across the track she assures that while you may be lonely for her, once she gets there, the true sexual healing can finally begin.
Little Mix – Sweet Melody
Front-to-back Little Mix‘s sixth (and final album as a quartet) ‘Confetti’ is an absolute Pop triumph. Produced by one of Pop music’s most underrated producers, MNEK, ‘Sweet Melody’ is Perry, Jesy, Leigh-Anne, and Jade at their absolute best as they deliver a sizzling takedown over some random dude in a band. While the girls are no stranger to breakup anthems, this could very well be their best and how sweet it is.
Do you agree with our picks?