Sometimes listening to an album is a daunting feat. If you’re like me, you have to be in the right headspace to listen to new music. For 70% of the day, my brain is empty and anything I hear goes in one ear and right out the other, and then suddenly it’s time to go to bed and I’ve accomplished nothing.
On that note, here are some of the best songs of the year (but by all means, this is not a comprehensive list). Hopefully it’s easier to listen to these rather than entire albums. They aren’t in any particular order because I’m tired, but all are worth a listen.
1. “Weedman”- Channel Tres
This is a really fun track released by producer and rapper Channel Tres and is literally just about needing some weed. After the shitstorm of this year, it’s a sentiment we can all relate too and was my fourth most listened to song of the year.
2. “XS”- Rina Sawayama
“XS” is one of the most fun songs off one of the best albums (“Sawayama”) this year. Sawayama gives a powerful vocal performance against gritty electric guitar instrumentals. This track is one of the most unique songs of the year from a cruelly under appreciated talent.
3. “Mecca”- Spillage Village
“Mecca” is one of the standout tracks featured on “Spilligion.” This song is full of depth and well-crafted verses from EARTHGANG and JID, accompanied by a beautiful chorus emphatic on the need for love.
4. “Woodlawn”- Aminé
This song is off his album “Limbo” and Aminé boasts of his success in an endearing way, making sure to let listeners know that he needs to put aside enough money for his mom’s rent. This track pays homage to his Portland roots and, despite his success, Aminé remains grounded on this album and track.
5. “Stamina”- Junglepussy
“Stamina” is one of my favorite songs of the year from Junglepussy’s album “JP4.” It is backed by unique violin instrumentals with one of the more creative flows I’ve heard this year. This entire album is worth a listen to, but I would start here.
6. “A Comma”- serpentwithfeet
This track is stunningly produced and accompanied by ethereal vocals from singer Josiah Wise aka “serpentwithfeet.” The song is a part of his “Apparition EP” that has just three tracks on it, yet Wise somehow proves again he is immensely talented both in vocals and lyrics.
7. “Gospel for a New Century”- Yves Tumor
On this experimental-psych rock track from Tumor’s “Heaven to a Tortured Mind,” their vocals shine amidst the synth brass instrumentals, making for a beautifully eccentric track. Yves wrote all the songs on this album, only adding to its impressiveness.
8. “4 American Dollars”- US Girls
This disco-esque track from Heavy Light features writer and singer Meghan Remy’s funky vocals criticizing the money hungry culture of American capitalism. She does so in a biting way that makes this track a fun but still meaningful listen.
9. “12.38”- Childish Gambino ft. Young Thug
Gambino subtly dropped his album “3.15.20” which came as a pleasant surprise when shit hit the fan in March. He keeps some of the funk from “Awaken, My Love” but turns back to rap on this track, combining the two for a witty song with one of my favorite Young Thug. Gambino is always effortlessly innovative and this album only further proves that.
10. “Under the Table”- Fiona Apple
This track featured on “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” is deserving of every accolade. Apple is a phenomenal lyricist and this track is no exception. Her account of not wanting to be at a dinner party somehow turned into one of the most striking songs of the year.
11. “Scared to Live”- The Weeknd
This track is from The Weeknd’s Grammy snubbed album “After Hours” and features a sampling from “Your Song” by Elton John. It somehow works as a glimmery synth track that The Weeknd makes his own as he is able to portray intense emotion through this song, making it a worthwhile listen.
12. “Captain Hook”- Megan Thee Stallion
2020 has been the year of Megan Thee Stallion (as it should be) and this song is one of the reasons why. Megan is so witty with this track off her album “Suga” and, as per usual, it’s a fun song to sing while you’re pretending you’re about to go out with the girls when in actuality you’re still just stuck at home.
13. “Graceland Too”- Phoebe Bridgers
While this year has been full of dancing to Megan the Stallion songs, it has also been spent crying to Phoebe Bridgers. She is an expert lyricist, which is evident in the entirety of her album “Punisher.” The story she tells in this track is a moving and relatable one.
14. “Candy”- Rico Nasty
The opening track on “Nightmare Vacation” is a powerful Rico Nasty realizing the breadth of her success and her rightfully unapologetic flows about finally being on top.
15. “Golden G String”- Miley Cyrus
This track from Cyrus’s recent album “Plastic Hearts,” features her at her most reflective self on the album. It’s a refreshing performance by Cyrus who has long since proved to be a talented vocalist.
16. “OK”- Wallows
“OK” is one of my favorite indie pop songs of the year and is super catchy, as it made its way on my Spotify top tracks. While a vast genre, Wallows stands out from a lot of other artists for their cohesiveness in their projects. “OK” is accompanied by a stellar music video showing the sheer creativity this band has.
17. “All My Girls Like to Fight”- Hope Tala
Hope Tala is a criminally underrated artist and what stands out on this track is her lyrics. She creates amazing imagery with a gently stoic voice. Her entire EP, “Girl Eats Sun,” shows why she’s an artist to keep track of in the new year.
18. “Good News”- Mac Miller
This track is the lead single from Mac Miller’s posthumous album “Circles.” It features a deeply introspective Miller, making it painful to listen to at times, since he’s not here anymore. With beautiful lyrics and stellar production from Jon Brion, this is a piece of Miller that lets listeners feel like he’s still with us.
19. “Be My Husband”- ANOHNI
ANOHNI’s cover of Nina Simone’s classic is a riveting one. She has such a graceful and soulful voice and is able to truly own this song in a unique take on Simone’s masterpiece.
20. “Lilacs”- Waxahatchee
Waxahatchee’s album “St. Cloud” is one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2020 and this track is indicative of why. She masterfully crafts her lyrics in this folky song and relates to listeners about struggling with depression.
21. “In the Party”- Flo Milli
This track is full of Flo Milli’s bravado and impressive flows as a standout off of her album “Ho, why is you here?” released by the 20-year old Alabama rapper. She’s definitely an artist who we’ll see more of in 2021.
22. “Vampire”- Dominic Fike
Fike’s album “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” was an underrated album this year. This track deals with Fike’s perception of celebrity and the hollow feelings that accompany interacting amongst them. With more mature lyrics, Fike displays his growth as an artist on this project.
23. “WAP”- Cardi B ft Megan Thee Stallion
As if I’m gonna leave this song out? Any song that makes Ben Shapiro and conservatives so unreasonably uncomfortable is one that deserves to be on this list. Plus, Cardi and Megan give some of the most creative verses of 2020.
24. “Overwhelmed”- Chloe x Halle
This short track from their album “Ungodly Hour” features their angelic voices and harmony over just a piano instrumental. In just one minute, they manage to create a celestial track that showcases their raw talent.
25. “nhs”- slowthai
This single from slowthai’s upcoming album set for February, features a softer side of the UK rapper. He still delivers the personable lyrics that let listeners feel like they really get to know him as an artist.
“Meet Me at Our Spot”- THE ANXIETY, WILLOW & Tyler Cole
“Black Dog”- Arlo Parks
“holy calamafuck”- Run The Jewels
“better the first time”- ROLE MODEL
“Peppers and Onions”- Tierra Whack
Check out this playlist HERE and let me know which track is your favorite!