Wednesday 23 December 2020

2020 in Review: Top 10 Songs

One of the many downsides of spending the better part of 2020 in the middle of a pandemic is missing out on music festivals and concerts. The good news though was that there was no shortage of new music being released all through the year. Some artists in fact spent their time in lockdown composing new music, and many still held virtual performances for their fans. All that is to say that coming up with my Top 10 songs of 2020 wasn't any easier this year than previous years. So on that note, here are my favorite songs for 2020.

10. Master KG - Jerusalema

The South African DJ that gave us Skeleton Move two years ago was back again with his follow up hit, Jerusalema. And the song proved even more popular than that other one, after it went viral and spawned the dance routine that came to be known as the Jerusalema Challenge. It's simple melody and catchy beat did lend the song to just such a challenge, and it would go on to receive multiple remixes, one of which includes our very own Burna Boy.

9. Juice WRLD & Marshmello - Come & Go

Juice Wrld lives on through the legacy of his music, and that was very much evident this year following the release of his first posthumous album, Legends Never Die. The album was packed with multiple collaborations, but the one that seemed to resonate with me the most was Come & Go. The song featured production work from electronic musician, Marshmello, and it served as a best of both worlds as it marries the late emo rapper's signature style with the other's skill for crafting earworm melodies.


Poppy continued her descent into heavier music territory with the release of her third studio album, I Disagree. And no other track on the cut perfectly captured the rawness of the American singer's appeal like the song, Bloodmoney. The song would go on to earn her a nomination at the forthcoming 63rd Grammy Awards, in the Best Metal Performance category, making her the first ever female artist to earn one.

7. Halsey - Graveyard

It almost feels like a lifetime since Halsey released her third studio album, Manic. All the way back in January to be precise. This was before lockdowns became a thing, so I guess that is understandable. But in all the time since the album's release, one of its songs has remained a staple on my playlist. That song is of course Graveyard, a song that was produced by Jon Bellion and speaks of the almost blissful pull of lovers intertwined in what is effectively a destructive relationship.

6. Justin Bieber & benny blanco - Lonely

The Biebs sings about his experiences with superstardom at an early age in Lonely, his latest collaboration with producer-turned-artist, Benny Blanco. I confess that the song had sounded like a throwaway ballad the first time I heard it. But upon subsequent listens, you really start to feel some of the emotion the singer expresses. Also, Jacob Trembley plays a younger, Baby-era Justin Bieber in the music video, and you've got to love anything with Jacob Trembley in it.

5. Bring Me the Horizon - Teardrops

Following the release of their self-proclaimed pop album, amo, and its more experimental follow-up, Music to listen to, Bring Me the Horizon had long-time fans wondering what direction their music would be taking next. And it was with open arms that we'd welcomed Post Human: Survival Horror, the first part of their Post Human series. The album found the British rockers at their heaviest in years, with the single, Teardrops, serving as an effective middle ground for old and newer fans alike.

4. Lady Gaga - Rain on Me (ft. Ariana Grande)

Lady Gaga was yet another artist that returned to her musical roots this past year, with the release of her sixth album, Chromatica. Easily her best album in years (and quite possibly my favorite one for 2020), the record is reminiscent of the danceable beats of her The Fame era of music. On "Rain on Me," she joins forces with fellow pop singer, Ariana Grande, and they'll both be contending for the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance award at the Grammys next year.

3. Taylor Swift - Cardigan

Taylor Swift has been very prolific this past year, releasing not one, but two albums, the aptly titled folklore and evermore. Both albums were released with very little fanfare, but still managed to smash all manner of records on their way to becoming the best-selling albums of the year. The first album contains the song Cardigan, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 100, before going on to earn her a nomination for both Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at next year's Grammy Awards.

2. The Weeknd - In Your Eyes

One of the most glaring omissions in the nominations for next year's Grammy Awards is The Weeknd, who had put out what is quite possibly his strongest album this past year. In it, he continued to showcase his love for the music of the 80s, and nowhere was that love more evident than on the track, In Your Eyes, a song that features one of the best saxophone solos I've heard in a long while. That love also extended to his music videos for the album, which together served as an actual short film made in the style of an 80s-era slasher movie.

1. Disclosure - Douha (Mali Mali)

Disclosure once again teams up with Malian singer, Fatoumata Diawara, for the larger-than-life dance track, Douha (Mali Mali). The song is coming fresh off the heels of their previous collaboration on Ultimatum, which had earned the pair a nomination for Best Dance Recording at last year's Grammys. And this time around, the singer sings of her love for her home country, Mali, over one of the catchiest Disclosure productions we've been blessed with in a good while.

There's something undeniably refreshing about the song's fusion of deep house and traditional African music, with Fatoumata's vocals perfectly complimenting the slick production. It also doesn't hurt that the video for the song is beautifully shot with some truly stunning drone photography. It is all those elements that come together to make Douha (Mali Mali) my ultimate feel-good song and music video of 2020.


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