2020 in Review

2020 was a year like no other. The coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the world in early 2020, new released from some of music’s biggest artists were hard to come by, and acts stopped meeting in recording studios and stalled concert tours.

Then, civil rights took the forefront across the United States over the summer, with hip-hop artists like Run The Jewels releasing songs and albums that reflected the political climate in the country ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

While some artists took time off, other acts created more intimate sounding releases. Taylor Swift moved on from her most commercial-sounding effort and turned to a stripped-down, indie-folk sound across two releases with Aaron Dessner, capitalizing off the growing female singer-songwriter movement lead by the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. Charli XCX moved away from radio-styled pop and delivered an upbeat but intimate bedroom recording that touched on the feelings of isolation and grappling with change most were going through during the year. And 2000s indie acts like The Strokes and The Microphones returned with records that felt personal, mature and were right at home for fans. The lack of touring and the prominence of gathering virtually did allow some newer acts to really shine through a swell.

That’s not to say there weren’t huge hits on repeat across the airways. Pop music still thrived, and music from the likes of Dua Lipa, The Weeknd and Drake was everywhere. And you can’t talk about 2020 without mentioning “WAP” taking over the summer.

Songs of the year

2020 Albums

how i’m feeling nowCharli XCX★★★★84PopElectropopHyperpop
RTJ4Run The Jewels★★★★83Hip-Hop
The Microphones in 2020The Microphones★★★★80RockSinger-SongwriterIndie Folk
Future NostalgiaDua Lipa★★★★79PopDance-PopDisco
LULUConway the Machine★★★★77Hip-Hop
PunisherPhoebe Bridgers★★★★77RockSinger-SongwriterBedroom Pop
folkloreTaylor Swift★★★★77PopIndie PopChamber Pop
SawayamaRina Sawayama★★★★76PopDance-Pop
OhmsDeftones★★★★75RockAlterntive RockAlternative Metal
Rough and Roudy WaysBob Dylan★★★½74RockFolk
AlfredoFreddie Gibbs★★★½74Hip-Hop
The Slow RushTame Impala★★★½73RockPsychadelic RockSynthpop
Live ForeverBartees Strange★★★½73RockAlterntive RockAlternative R&B
What’s Your Pleasure?Jessie Ware★★★½72PopDance-PopDisco
RudebwoyCJ Fly★★★½72Hip-Hop
Heaven To a Tortured MindYves Tumor★★★½72RockArt RockNeo-Soul
Black PumasBlack Pumas★★★½70Rock
Purple Moonlight PagesR.A.P. Ferreira★★★½70Hip-Hop
Burden of ProofBenny The Butcher★★★½70Hip-Hop
A Hero’s DeathFontaines DC★★★½69RockPost Punk
EvermoreTaylor Swift★★★½68PopIndie PopChamber Pop
KiCk iArca★★★½68ElectronicArt PopExperimental
Sixteen OceansFour Tet★★★½67ElectronicAmbientIndietronica
color theorySoccer Mommy★★★½67RockIndie PopBedroom Pop
Freeze, MeltCut Copy★★★½66ElectronicIndie PopSynthpop
Shoot For The Stars Aim For The MoonPop Smoke★★★½66Hip-Hop
Saint CloudWaxahatchee★★★½66RockIndie PopIndie Folk
Man Alive!King Krule★★★½65RockJazz RockPost Punk
Set My Heart On Fire ImmediatelyPerfume Genius★★★½65RockArt Pop
Savage Mode II21 Savage★★★64Hip-Hop
Women In Music Pt. IIIHAIM★★★64PopIndie Pop
I Feel AliveTOPS★★★63RockIndie Pop
While The World Was BurningSAINt JHN★★★62Hip-Hop
The Main ThingReal Estate★★★60RockIndie PopJangle Pop
ShoreFleet Foxes★★★60RockIndie PopIndie Folk
PositionsAriana Grande★★★60Pop
Everything Else Has Gone WrongBombay Bicycle Club★★★59Rock
Ultra MonoIDLES★★★58RockPunk RockPost Punk
The Night ChancersBaxter Dury★★★56Electronic
Pail OlympicsCrack Cloud★★★56RockAlternative Rock
Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1Sturgill Simpson★★★56CountryBluegrass
UNLOCKEDDenzel Curry, Kenny Beats★★★55Hip-Hop
ChilomboJhene Aiko★★★55Hip-HopR&B
songsAdrianne Lenker★★½53Rock
Eternal Atake: LUV vs. The World 2Lil Uzi Very★★½53Hip-Hop
So Help Me God!2 Chainz★★½52Hip-Hop
3.15.20Childish Gambino★★½52Hip-Hop
Fine LineHarry Styles★★½51PopPop Rock
Have we met?Destroyer★★½50RockArt PopSynthpop
WombPurity Ring★★½50Electronic
Free LoveSylvan Esso★★½46PopIndie Pop
Miss AnthropoceneGrimes★★½46ElectronicArt PopSynthpop
Dark Lane Demo TapeDrake★★½46Hip-Hop
CeremonyPhantogram★★½45PopAlternative RockElectronic Rock
Fall To PiecesTricky★★½45Hip-HopAlternative Hip-HopTrip-Hop
Song MachineGorillaz★★43Hip-HopAlternative Rock
Serpentine PrisonMatt Berninger★★40RockSinger-Songwriter
Making a Door Less OpenCar Seat Headrest★½34RockAlternative RockIndie Rock

50 Best Songs

  1. Be a Rebel – New Order
  2. The Adults Are Talking – The Strokes
  3. Spotlight – Jessie Ware
  4. Good Days – SZA
  5. Gospel For A New Century – Yves Tumor
  6. Something to Rap About – Freddie Gibbs, The Alchemist, Tyler, The Creator
  7. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd
  8. What You Know Bout Love – Pop Smoke
  9. Lifetime – Romy
  10. Shoot Sideways – Conway the Machine, The Alchemist
  11. anthems – Charli XCX
  13. walking in the snow – Run The Jewels
  14. XS – Rina Sawayama
  15. Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers
  16. forever – Charli XCX
  17. Levitating – Dua Lipa
  18. 327 – Westside Gunn, Joey Bada$$, Tyler, the Creator, Billie Essco
  19. Delete Forever – Grimes
  20. No – Fontaines D.C.
  21. I Know The End – Phoebe Bridgers
  22. CUT EM IN – Anderson .Paak, Rick Ross
  24. Kerosene! – Yves Tumor
  25. JU$T – Run The Jewels, Pharrell, Zach De La Rocha
  26. Yes Man – Hook, Nedarb
  27. Laugh Now, Cry Later – Drake, Lil Durk
  28. Secret – 21 Savage, Summer Walker
  29. exile – Taylor Swift, Bon Iver
  30. party 4 u – Charli XCX
  31. Rich Nigga Shit – 21 Savage, Metro Boomin, Young Thug
  32. OCT 33 – Black Pumas
  33. Savage Remix – Megan Thee Stallion, Beyonce
  34. Hallucinate – Dua Lipa
  35. Identical – Phoenix
  36. Lost In Yesterday – Tame Impala
  37. Strange Times – Gorillaz, Robert Smith
  38. Machote – Arca
  39. ENERGY – Disclosure
  40. A Reason to Celebrate – bdrmm
  41. Play Ground Legend – Tha God Fahim, Mach-Hommy
  42. 24k – Tkay Maidza
  43. 119 july – Kahlil Blu
  44. Hardest To Love – The Weeknd
  45. Scottie Beam – Freddie Gibbs, The Alchemist, Rick Ross
  46. Hate the B!tch – Jackboy
  47. IDORU – Grimes
  48. Shameika – Fiona Apple
  49. Ohms – Deftones
  50. Tentaciones – Cruz Cafune, Abhir Hathi

Genre Highlights




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