Best Of 2020: Top Singles In Order Of Preference Through March 31st
Lilacs – Waxahatchee – a most gloriously tuneful indie folk stroke of love and difficulties, she sounds both scratchy and sweet and jumps up an octave on the chorus
Murder Most Foul – Bob Dylan – a dirge for the loss of Camelot retracted into a cultural moment
Time – Childish Gambino – the album is spotty in places but the Ariana Grande duet isn’t, a clear eyed vision of how time feels.
Cut Me – Moses Sumney – Sublimely sung chill soul with an artful hip hop package and an intense lyric that swerves in and out around the horns
Be Afraid – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Passive resistant to the coarsening of American political culture and a call to come together in a song as great as “If We Were Vampires”
ringtone (Remix) [feat. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito] – 100 gecs, Charli XCX, Rico Nasty – The sine qua non of queer pop crossover
I Think You’re Great – Alex the Astronaut – The Australian singer songwriter has written the lick of the year here, a tasty acoustic underpinning which is among the best pep talks since Marina’s “I Am Not A Robot”. She is a terrific songwriter and her disposition completely pleasant.
Scared To Live – The Weeknd – The Weeknd’s genius pop ballad, with a very useful Elton John sample that is a study in how to use an expensive song
la – Kelsea Ballerini – As a non-believer, I might be wrong. This is the best song of its sort since “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” (not the remix, the original), and Le;sea takes it exactly right with a gorgeous bridge.
Sweet – Porridge Radio – the sort of song that changes a semi-underground rock band from Brighton in England into overnight sensations
Slow Down – Acoustic – Skip Marley, H.E.R. – I’ve two songs with H.E.R. on here, on this one she joins no less a figure than Bob Marley’s grandson on a lovely lover’s rock track
Normalization Blues – AJJ – The best song about the Trump times since “Fuck DT” if not “The Mess We Made,” it is nearly exactly accurate and with a chugging acoustic guitar and a blues meld, it is a huge song. The golden age of dickery, indeed.
Intentions (feat. Quavo) – Justin Bieber, Quavo – Of Justin had maintained this level of song construction it would have been a huge creative triumph, the man’s voice is like soft syrup and puts heart where it isn’t appropriate and more so where it is.
The Man – Live From Paris – Taylor Swift – Taylor made a HUGE blunder with Lover, she introduced it with two crappy songs. It was dismissable before it hit the streaming services. Listening to this live version, “The Man” comes together as one of her great songs.
Forgiveness – Mandy Moore – all the action here has already happened off the tracks, in a divorce that became a referendum. But Mandy’s final response is devastating: “Will I forgive you? You don’t get to know…”
Gary Lives in the Twilight Zone – Gary Wilson – The cult artists cult artist, obtuse, strange, a little otherworldly and bizarre and yet completely brilliant dance pop, and here is one of Gary’s very best.
Stupid Love – Lady Gaga – completely brilliant, back to the future, artpop as dancepop. A complete triumph.
For The First Time – Best Coast – Bethany is always trying to change herself, album for album she tears up yesterday for today. The first single of the fine new album is an absolute slice of greatness about the joys of breaking up.
Keep Up – RaeLynn – hillbilly as red as her neck
Sometimes – H.E.R. – speaking of sometimes, sometimes a performer is simply on fire, think Taylor Swift between Red and 1989, and consider Gabriella in that place right now: that “Slide” remix featuring A Boogie Wit A Hoodie earlier in January was so good and if anything “Sometimes” is better. A piano ballad that is a towering emotional rush without being inflated, neo-r&b, yes, maybe too mainstream for a Solange like chillness, but H.E.R. songs are so strong, here as well.
Out The Slums – Remix – Drakeo the Ruler, Danny Brown, 03 Greedo – Drakeo is new to me, but the West Coast rapper should break big and Danny Brown… what can you say about one of the all time greats? See Danny live, that’s what you can say.
Tuesday I’ll Be Gone (feat. Blake Shelton) – John Anderson, Blake Shelton – The first Anderson single was just terrible but in one fell swoop, both John and Blake return to form.
Hard To Forget – Sam Hunt – There stands the song…
1-800-Nu-Checks – Azealia Banks – pussy power