Best of 2020: Top 10 Songs

Despite the world falling apart around us this year, 2020 was a great time for music. It has been a year of firsts, with more songs than ever debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the unprecedented pandemic leading to album delays and endless tour cancellations. This list collates ten of the songs which defined the year the most for me and helped me through the pandemi lovato for one reason or another.

Disclaimer: this list is my opinion and of course not fact. I am not a music expert nor am I trying to analyse the songs in what I write about them. Any tracks listed were released from January 1st to December 31st of 2020. There will be no artist represented twice in the list unless they released more than one album, even though several released numerous songs that could have made the list.

10. SHADOW BY KESHA

High Road was in many ways a sloppy album, but that’s not to say it isn’t underrated and contains some of the best songs of Kesha’s career. Shadow is one of several standout tracks on the record and carries the same tone as the album’s predecessor, Rainbow (2017), in its sound and empowering message. The track puts Kesha’s vocals at the forefront and showcases her ongoing ability to write meaningful music, despite the overall fun-loving nature of the album.

9. NOT FRIENDLY BY FLO MILI

I’d never heard of Flo Mili before this year, but Ho, why is you here ? makes me eager to hear more. Although I enjoyed several songs from the rapper’s debut mixtape, Not Friendly is the one I find myself regularly returning to. Mili’s delivery on the track is bold and confident and delivered a breath of fresh air when it was released during the summer.

8. SUPERNOVA BY KYLIE MINOGUE

It’s criminal that clubs were closed when Kylie Minogue released DISCO, her fifteenth studio album, at the end of this year. The album delivered bop after bop and was made to be enjoyed during a messy night out at Heaven. Supernova has consistently remained my favourite track from the album, mainly because it makes me want to sing along more and more with each listen. The song is a reminder that Minogue is a pop force that is here to stay and can drop an effortless hit at any moment.

7. XS BY RINA SAWAYAMA

XS was the only song I managed to connect with from its parent album, Sawayama, and that’s with good reason. Not only is it catchy AF, it offers a fresh sound from one of the UK’s most up-and-coming pop stars. It gets bonus points for being accompanied by one of 2020’s best music videos, which shows that you don’t need an insane budget and endless special effects to deliver something outstanding.

6. 21st Century BY LA ROUX

La Roux finally dropped her third studio album earlier this year, and most of the tracks could have made it onto this list. 21st Century is the opening track of Supervision and it serves its purpose well as it leaves you wanting to listen on. It shows an artistic departure for La Roux, as the lyrics reflect on the singer’s past, present and future on top of her signature sound and style.

5. ‘TIS THE DAMN SEASON BY TAYLOR SWIFT

I’ve never been one to enjoy Christmas music (yes, that includes All I Want for Christmas is You, favourite of locals everywhere), but ’tis the damn season was my instant favourite when Taylor Swift dropped her second surprise album of the year. The lyrics set it apart from other holiday songs as it transcends the basic template which artists seem to follow at this time of year, by instead telling the story of someone returning to their hometown during the festive period and discussing the things that come with that temporary return. This song earned a spot on this list due to it being released at the perfect time and standing out from other songs of its kind. Why was this not the lead single of evermore, Ms. Swift?!

4. PHYSICAL BY DUA LIPA

If you managed to go to a club in early 2020 before the world ended, there’s no doubt that you bopped to Physical. The song does what every good pop song should do – it’s simple, catchy and easy to listen to. You know what’s not cool though? Due Lipa acting like the pandemic doesn’t exist as she travels the world and ignores social distancing – Dora the Pandemic Ignorer can miss me with any future releases.

3. ANGELS LIKE YOU BY MILEY CYRUS

Miley Cyrus finally dropped her highly anticipated seventh studio album this year and it gave us Slide Away 2.0 in the form of Angels Like You. The song sees Cyrus take ownership of her own flaws as she looks back on what went wrong in a former relationship of hers and the lyrics will be relatable to a lot of people. This was the standout track of Plastic Hearts after my first listen of the album and it’s safe to say that hasn’t changed since as the song came close to being my top pick of 2020. However, Angels Like You does lose points for how Cyrus delivers her vocals on the track, as at times it sounds like she’s screeching which ruins the overall vibe of the song for me.

2. LIVING WITH A STRANGER BY PALOMA FAITH

I’m not proud to admit that I haven’t paid much attention to Paloma Faith’s music since her debut album in 2009, especially because her latest release is so good. Infinite Things, Faith’s fifth studio album, was released in November of this year and served up several contenders for the best song of 2020 (notable mentions go to Gold and Monster). Living with a Stranger hits differently to the rest of the record for reasons I can’t quite put into words, but its relatable lyrics and catchy sound made it something I couldn’t stop listening to as the worst year ever came to a close.

1. MY TEARS RICOCHET BY TAYLOR SWIFT

Taylor Swift followed suit with 2020’s unprecedented firsts by surprise releasing not one, but two studio albums. The first of the two, folklore, saw my tears ricochet take the infamous track five spot and is arguably the darkest song of Swift’s career. The track sees Swift use a metaphorical funeral to discuss karma and appears to be about the ongoing feud about the acquisition of her master recordings with former record label, Big Machine Records. The song is a standout on what was easily the best album of the year and this, combined with its intelligent and relatable lyrics, made it the obvious choice as the best song of 2020.


See how this ranking compared to 2019


Best of 2020: Top 10 Songs


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