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Best Of 2020: Songs In Alphabetical Order Through September 30th


ringtone (Remix) [feat. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito] – 100 gecs, Charli XCX, Rico Nasty – state of the art

Mood (feat. Iann Dior) – 24kGoldn, iann dior – two teenage boys manufacture a killer pop confection

Cinderella Story – A Boogie Wit da Hoodie -chill r&b sounding with stronger beats by one of the best

Normalization Blues – AJJ – folkie protest perfection

I Think You’re Great – Alex the Astronaut – the guitar lick is solid silver

Waving, Smiling – Angel Olsen – acoustic rework of one of her better songs

To Be Young (feat. Doja Cat) – Anne-Marie, Doja Cat – perfect electronic dance track with the not cancelled yet Doja Cat featured well

No Llores Mujer – Anuel AA, Travis Barker – flawless cover of “No Woman, No Cry” -the trace of autotune is like salt on fries

Ya Lo Superé – Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes Del Rancho – Northern Mexico folk plus mariachi band isn’t an acquired taste, you are born with it

1-800-Nu-Checks – Azealia Banks – sure she’s the definition of bad news, the sort of woman who will commit adultery and then rat the guy out for no reason whatsoever, but there is no one better at rapping to beats

Si Veo a Tu Mamá – Bad Bunny – the one where he samples Antônio Carlos Jobim

Party With the Kids Who Wanna Party With You – Bad Moves -post punk guitar two chord rocker with a smart piece of advise

FNY – Barkley – sadgirl indie electronica about a lost love

WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille, Graham Coxon – the electronic rock band are a bummer, except here where Graham gives em the muscle they are missing

Promises – Beach Bunny – punk pop SoCal style

Worth It – beabadoobee – the Filipino UK singer gets out of the bedroom, with a fuller, better sound

For The First Time – Best Coast – Beth moves on

Hippy Elite – Billy Nomates – “I wanna save the whales too, but it’s a fucking Wednesday afternoon…”

MAMACITA – Black Eyed Peas, Ozuna, J. Rey Soul – excellent Latin Urbano with a great new singer and a purely addictive chorus

Happy Anywhere (feat. Gwen Stefani) – Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani – Blake at his country pop zenith, wifey joins in on the chorus.

Crossing the Rubicon – Bob Dylan – a great metaphor for death where Dylan prays to cross, kisses the girls, and leaves us

Murder Most Foul – Bob Dylan – a dirge for the loss of Camelot retracted into a cultural moment

BROWN SKINNED GIRL – Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, Beyonce, Wizkid – The best song on the album, with Blue Ivy adding a charming chorus at the end, and the Worldbeat chattering in the background. The only time Bey nails it.

Deep In Love – Bonny Light Horseman, Eric D. Johnson, Josh Kaufman, Anaïs Mitchell – folkie supergroup, get this gorgeous love song right

Bigger Boat (feat. Randy Newman) – Brandy Clark, Randy Newman – a charming piece of agitprop

Buried Alive – Buju Banton – a gorgeous and melodic reggae tune,  the sort Bob Marley made look easy

Good Time Girl – Buju Banton – his inspired re-write of “Blue Moon”

Murda She Wrote – Buju Banton – Banton dancehall

Turn To Hate – Bully – It is better than Orville Peck’s original

Every Tradition – Bully – Bully are to indie rock what Big Thief is to indie folk, the top of the heap, the best, on another great song

WAP (feat. Megan Thee Stallion) – Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion – a great song about female sexuality and the self evident truth tat for a man making love to a woman, nothing comes close to a soaking wet pussy…

Bounce – Cazzu – the state of the Latin Trap art via Argentina

Channel Orange In Your Living Room – Charlie Burgh – best album choice to remember a new romance by

Time – Childish Gambino – The Ariana Grande duet of sustained strength and steel and scariness

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton – terrific country ballad with an acoustic lick and opne of Chris’ best vocals, he gets there without straining a lung

Atheist – Christian Lee Hutson – sounds like a Belle And Sebastian back in the day, a really, really good one with a great hook: “I don’t remember growing older but I’m slowing down”.

Sulfur Surrounding – Code Orange – in a different world this would break the screamos pop

Shoot Sideways – Conway the Machine, The Alchemist, ScHoolboy Q -this is what is great about OG -nursery rhymes and murder

Meine Lux – Corey Taylor – The Slipknot guy with a no sleep till 2021, kicku up the dust classic rock and holla drummed out rave up

Heart Attack – Courteeners – kings of the tempo quick hard kick

The Father, My Son, And The Holy Ghost – Craig Morgan – my feeling about religion is entirely utilitarian: if it makes you happy and helps you heal,  and you aren’t hurt people, deal me in. Morgan, mourning his son who died at the age of nineteen, is using love and music and God to heal himself on one of the great testaments to faith.

I Love Me (feat. Travis Barker) – Emo Version – Demi Lovato, Travis Barker – when Demi gets it right (remember “Cool For The Summer”?), she eschews the emotionalism of contemporary Selena Gomez for a pop strength that is always gorgeous, and Travis adds backbone

Wayne – Des Rocs – full on, no nonsense perfect rocker

Freak – Doja Cat – Wasn’t she cancelled for using the n word? Apparently, nobody told Paul Anka who let her use “Put Your Head On My Shoulder”

Toosie Slide – Drake – the single best moment of the entire pandemic

Out The Slums – Remix – Drakeo the Ruler, Danny Brown, 03 Greedo – not just serious stuff but, hey, it’s Danny so it’s also fun

BUSSIT (with Ari Lennox) – Dreamville, Ari Lennox – Ari in strong voice

cat scratch – Dua Saleh  – an indelible track rocking in stilettos

Godzilla (feat. Juice WRLD) – Eminem, Juice WRLD –  Juice is strong on the chorus

Stick That In Your Country Song – Eric Church – exactly where country stars need to find themselves

Berlin – Fenne Lily – That’s Lucy Dacus singing back up on the singer songwriter’s lovely and deeply depressing song as she bums out alone in Berlin

Come Give Me Love – First Aid Kit – in which the Swedish harmony duo cover a Swedish fave from way back when… the original was originally produced by an ABBA guy

My Attitude – Flo Milli – a straight up and casually brilliant rap track plus major hook

Scuse Me – Flo Milli – teenage badassness, the entire album is just a blast

Life Is Good (feat. Drake) – Future, Drake – better together

Moonlight – Future Islands – nocturnal, dreamscape , beatific, and straight up pretty

Body Rock – Future Punx – where a party punk ethos meets Trance

Your Reply – Frances Quinlan – so good I went back and listened to Hop Along

Gary Lives in the Twilight Zone – Gary Wilson – why don’t you call him on his new telephone?

You should be sad – Halsey – the glad i never ever had a baby with you is devastating

Final Bow – H.C. McEntire – Country blues Americana with a perfect guitar solo and and a powerful voice, KD Lang was a bigger influence than I noticed (especially her early stuff)

Only You Freestyle – Headie One, Drake – Headie is a grime rapper via London, Drake starts the song with one of his best verses of the year and Headie keeps his head and matches him

Something Relative – Honey Harper – beautiful voice singing beautiful country style Americana

Eight – Haux, Rosie Carney – sad boy ache like the rain outside as you sob alone watching it

Like a Woman Should – Hayley Mary – good song, incredibly great singing

Slide (Remix) (feat. Pop Smoke, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie & Chris Brown) – H.E.R., A Boogie Wit da Hood a who’s who of pop on a what’s what

I Can’t Breathe – H.E.R. – in which she calls out white liberals

Do To Me – H.E.R. – adds r&b chill to dance hall to great effect

Slide (Remix) (feat. Pop Smoke, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie & Chris Brown) – H.E.R. – absolute state of the art, neo-r&b as chill as powerful as possible

Sometimes – H.E.R. – one of her best songs to date

Time Is Hardcore (feat. Kae Tempest & Anita Blay) – High Contrast, Kae Tempest, Anita Blay – Top UK drums n bass guy with Kae rapping and Anita singing

Falling Asleep At The Wheel – Holly Humberstone – In my youth I fell for girls like Holly, bad news babes who broke my heart, and they could have written this for me

Falling For You with Justin Bieber – Jaden, Justin Bieber – a jazzy confection by Willow’s brother and some pop star with a funny punchline: “If you don’t call me I’ll jump off the roof…

Be Afraid – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – agitprop points the finger at his peers

Letting You Go – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – I hated the album and loved two songs, especially this song for his toddler Mercy Isbell. Plus?  “being your daddy comes natural, roses just know how to grow”

Sweet & Sour (feat. Lauv & Tyga) – Jawsh 685, Lauv, Tyga – crossover dance meets the bedroom meets a sex fiend

Verde – J Balvin, Sky Rompiendo – this is pop 2020, trap beat to ecstatic pop electronica

Flower – Jehnny Beth of Savages were lo fi they’d be this

P*$$Y Fairy (OTW) – Jhené Aiko – hot and chill sex song

Tuesday I’ll Be Gone (feat. Blake Shelton) – John Anderson, Blake Shelton – a legend, a great, and the lick of a lifetime

Pulled Out Of The Market – J.S. Ondara – The Kenyan singer songwriter has a gift for folk Americana, if he had a better voice he would be a new John Prine

In The Basement – Juiceboxxx – sounds like sadcore but this guy has been around forever

Intentions (feat. Quavo) – Justin Bieber, Quavo – maybe he only has one but it is a great one (on the new album I mean)

Be Like That – feat. Swae Lee & Khalid – Kane Brown, Swae Lee, Khalid – Mulatto Kane is at home anywhere in pop, with help from a top rapper and a top singer, in am instantly memorable stretch

Wash Us In The Blood – Kanye West, Travis Scott – Musically it is a clip beat and a yelp, emotionally Kanye ties Christianity to #BLM, which makes Kanye a man who finds salvation of all through salvation of one

Wishful Thinking – Katie Pruitt – low key Americana folk bummer

la – Kelsea Ballerini –  then she took a pill in Ibiza

Back of a Cab – King Princess – the brooding add on for the deluxe album is a brooding piece of missynched weird soulfulness

Rain On Me (with Ariana Grande) – Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande – It deserved to be bigger, a disco charmer

Stupid Love – Lady Gaga – This is what Gaga does best, a pure disco concoction filled with character and zass

Set Me Free – Lecrae, YK Osiris – The apex of Christian rap not named Kanye heralded by a Mary Mary sample

Digging in the Desert – Lié – get up and use them

City on My Back – Lil Tjay, Jay Critch – a tribute to NYC and Tyah is gread and melodic and Jay Critch rules

I’m Sorry – Lil Uzi Vert – The real follow up to “The Way Life Goes”

Lost Girl – Music from the Netflix Original Film – Lucinda Williams – Americana marble mouth for nine minutes of wow

When the Way Gets Dark – Lucinda Williams  -the album is garage rock Americana, and this is a dark ballad Americana with her best vocal in years.

Forgiveness – Mandy Moore – The one where Mandy gets to the finishing end of Ryan

Hallucinogenics (feat. Lana Del Rey) – Matt Maeson, Lana Del Rey – indie Americana with Bruce Springsteen favorite making a featured appearance

Working For The Weekend (feat. bbno$) – MAX, bbno$ – catchy bossa nova

Growing Up (feat. Mark Hoppus) – McFly, Mark Hoppus – where Blink-182 meet the Byrds in the UK

Heaven Down Here – Mickey Guyton – low key country Americana, beautifully sung

MIB – Myke Towers – Latin trap with an excellent rap

Cut Me – Moses Sumney – stunning, bass picked and then there is this: “Might not be healthy for me but seemingly I need
what cuts me

Me in 20 Years – Moses Sumney – art pop

Oh Canada – Nadia Reid – folk beat from a woman who sounds like she is Canadian

Elevator (127F) – NCT 127 – and not only that, they beat Coronavirus to a standstill

Mercy’s Shore – NEEDTOBREATHE – It was CCM, now secular anthem rock, but they can’t keep God out

Song 33 – Noname – she the new vanguard

God’s Own Children – Obongjayar – African dance pop

Turn Off The TV – Old 97’s – a country pop gem

Blue Moon – Onyx Collective, Ian Isiah – The New York jazz guys with a delicate and lovely cover

A New Muse – Owen – The American Football guy with a killer folk Americana track

What Makes Me Think About You – Nicolas Godin – Airtight electronic pop move

Everything’s Right – Phish – their best song is 7 minutes of goo and 6 minutes of jam

Garden Song – Phoebe Bridgers – sweet, aching nostalgia

End Of My Rope – Pokey LaFarge – he couldn’t sustain it over an album but over a song this is 50s rockabilly pop classicism of a high order

Concrete – Poppy – Bury her six feet deep

Sweet – Porridge Radio – the face of errant sadcore as post-punk prog wakemare

7 Seconds – Porridge Radio – in which the English post-punks reach part two of their career, where they remain the same only better at constructing hard kick songs

death bed (coffee for your head) – Powfu, beabadoobee – possibly the best song of the year, way up there bedroom song featuring beabadoobee’s delicately immaculate hook and Powfu imagining the person he loves crying over their memory

Cosmic Day – 2020 Remaster – Prince – in the battle of the box sets, Prince will beat the Stones senseless, and “Cosmic Day,” a triumphant Prince on helium with a sublime guitar lick, runs circles round “Scarlet”

Keep Up – RaeLynn – the shade of her lipstick matches her neck

Didn’t I – Regina Bonelli – in which the Queen of the blues adds 60s style soul on a cover of a one hit wonder

You Ain’t Big – Rufus Wainwright – I was certain this was a Great American Songbook number I had missed, it is an original and it is as great as nearly anything Poses, with the great Charlie Haden’s daughter Petra singing back-up, it is as though Rufus woke up and remembered how to do ths

JU$T (feat. Pharrell Williams & Zack de la Rocha) – Run The Jewels, Zack De La Rocha, Pharrell William – Bumper sticker of theyear: “Look at all those slave owners posing on your dollar bill”

Cocoon – Sam Huber – neo r&b as art rock

Hard To Forget – Sam Hunt – There stands the song

Pretty Bitch Freestyle – Saweetie – badass as you wanna be, free flowing freestyle

Rare – Selena Gomez – it isn’t Ariane on romance, but it is still great

Psychic – serpenwithfeet – perhaps the terrific soul experimenters greatest song, absolutely his most beautiful, a glorious beyond beauty ballad

Space And Time – S.G. Goodman – country, torch song beauty, the song is as good as any, the voice not quite as good, as KD Lang

Which Side Are You On? – S.G. Goodman – a 1930s Union song given an a capella beauty

Impact (feat. Robyn & Channel Tres) – SG Lewis, Robyn, Channel Tres – when you’re featuring Robyn, you absolutely know you’re getting it right

Slow Down – Acoustic – Skip Marley, H.E.R. – Bob’s Grandson and H.E.R.’s third song on this list

Mal – Slow Mass – melodic hardcore meets punk

Left On Read – So Icy Girlz, Enchanting, K Shiday – Gucci Mane apostles enjoying a truly icey summer with this killer track

Oh, To Be A Rainbow! – Soko – lesbian torch song

PsalmSing (with Mereba) – Spillage Village, Mereba – the J. Cole superstars join together for a feel good Gospel moment of deliverance

Juliefuckingette – Stephen Malkmus – somehow or other, Malkmus returns to a sound not from even as late as Wowie Zowie but all the way to Crooked Rain – I don’t know how he did but he sure did do it

Hit Different – SZA, The Neptunes, Pharrell Williams, Ty Dolla $ign – ZA makes Pharrell more relevant than ever on her dancey first song of the year

Only The Young – Featured in Miss Americana – Taylor Swift – Yeah, Taylor gets political but you’ll stay for the terrific hook

The Man – Live From Paris – Taylor Swift – killer track but really, women are completely paranoid when it comes to male power. I mean, really? Taylor IS THE MAN

cardigan – cabin in candlelight version – Taylor Swift – stripped to its piano only? Even better…

the 1 – Taylor Swift – In her defense she has none

Phenom – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – like they had a meet and greet with Charli XCX

Iron Fist – Tha God Fahim – if Wu were from the South…

Pig Feet (feat. Kamasi Washington, G Perico & Daylyt) – Terrace Martin, Denzel Curry, Kamasi Washington – a howl of indignation and terror, Curry steals it

Victory – The Avett Brothers – A beautiful slice of Americana folk

I’m Not Getting Excited – The Beths – they call it Kiwi pop punk, a revved up, highly tuneful, rocker about how even ending in an urn doesn’t freak her out.

Trash Glam Baby – The Boomtown Rats – their first song knocking on forty years and it’s still like clockwork

Scared To Live – The Weeknd – best use of a major Elton John sample EVER

Trapped…In the Mess We Made – Tomás Doncker & The True Groove All-Stars – I used the hook of this (“get your mind right”) for years

Ere Mela Mela – Live in Central Park – Tomás Doncker & The Global Soul Ensemble, Mahmoud Ahmed, Sela – sublime Global soul, one of the great moments of my going to concerts lifespan was hearing it that night

Good Thing That You Call – Toots & The Maytals – great horns push this reggae as r&b song, Toots sounds gritty and exciting on his first album in ten years

Dressing America – TORRES – she goes Americana-y

Bikini Porn – Tove Lo – Hot stuff EDM nursery rhyme, the video is killer -co-produced by Finneas

Lonely Trip – Trey Anastasio – a beautiful song, three minutes of folk Americana  and perhaps his single best song

Rager teenager! – Troye Sivan – here is a song all of us can empathize with as Troye looks back at his teenage years with a deep yearning on a fine ballad

Ego Death (feat. Kanye West, FKA twigs & Skrillex) – Ty Dolla $ign, FKA twigs, Skrillex, Kanye West – as great as Ty can get, a stunning piece of a slap down that can be rare in the world of hip hop, the chorus is killer and Skrillex on his game with the beats

NO MORE TEARDROPS feat. Malik Yusef & Wyatt Waddell – VIC MENSA, Malik Yusef, Wyatt Waddell – Vic’s best #BLM song by far, a singalong against oppression

Lilacs – Waxahatchee – A brilliant metaphor fuels a sad and sweet and smart indie folk rock in love that seems slipping and needs holding, just a sense of how life fades

Pop Like This (feat. Yo Gotti) – YBN Nahmir, Yo Gotti – the glueingist hook of the year

True Love – Yemi Alade – Nigerian pop superstar with a one world beat and a spirit of positive vibes

Hold Up Hold Up Hold Up – Young Dolph – state of the Dolph as one of his great pop strokes

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