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My Top 111 Songs Of 2020

30 December 2020


2020 has been challenging, eye-opening and self-reflec- actually there's no way of sugar coating it - this year has been an absolute shitshow. Thankfully we can always rely on a good bop to be there for us when it feels like the rest of the world isn't, and this year the music industry looked right into Miss Rona's crusty infected eyes and said 'not on my watch, hun.' 

In what has been the best year for music in a long time, we've seen a whole lot of retro realness, k-pop epicness, comeback cuteness and I can honestly say I've loved every minute. So much so, I've written an unnecessarily long commentary below...


Dua Lipa found herself at the forefront of the nostalgic wave this year, following the release of her huge disco smash lead single 'Don't Start Now' with the highly addictive 'Physical,' INXS sampled 'Break My Heart', underrated fan-favourite 'Hallucinate' and Morrisons Christmas Hit 'Levitating' (with or without DaBaby that's your call). 

A whole heap of artists have also jumped on the bandwagon celebrated the 80s in their own way, sitting themselves comfortably somewhere between a stylish nod, to a cringefest parody. The Weeknd took the 80s synth and ran with it for 'Blinding Lights' and the unfortunately overlooked 'In Your Eyes', whilst David Guetta and Sia teamed up to out-80s old Abel with the vigorous head-bopper 'Let's Love.'

Little Mix opened their latest era with the colourfully meta 'Break Up Song' which saw the girls tackle another strand of the pop genre and put their signature LM stamp on the current 80s trend, whilst fellow group 5 Seconds of Summer took on an edgier throwback sound with the infectious 'Wildflower' both complete with a slightly chaotic, pandemic, we-definitely-filmed-this-at-home style video.

Jessie Ware took us back to the coolest clubs with her latest album, asking us simply... 'What's Your Pleasure?' A bit of a kick in the teeth to those of us who can't remember because we've been stuck inside for months, but also a great segue into how Jessie's releases this year have truly been a pleasure. From 'Spotlight' to 'Save A Kiss' to the title track, Jessie has provided us with some much needed serves.

    Also taking us back to the club was Lady Gaga, who teamed up with Ariana Grande for the monster hit 'Rain On Me,' a song I've heard on the radio multiple times a day, every day, yet never seem to grow old of, whilst Miley Cyrus' comeback 'Midnight Sky' is starting to fall victim to the dreaded overplay, which may have resulted in it placing a little lower than expected. A huge singalong chorus teamed with cool, effortless verses and a strikingly colourful video has definitely cemented its place as one of the best songs of the year, though.


As well as the 80s, Disco also continued to influence numerous huge hits this year. 

A mere few months after releasing her 58th greatest hits album, word on the street was Kylie was making a disco album. Fans across the world rejoiced as we hung up our cowboy boots and grabbed our glitterballs (gross) for what was a cute, celebration of one of the most iconic eras of music. Lead single 'Say Something' was both a grower and a shower that slowly became more and more addictive and the jarring transitions between sections started to make more and more sense, whilst follow-up 'Magic' was more of an instant grab that has slowly lost it's shine (but is still more than welcome to pop up on shuffle if it wants.) 

Other tracks that found a use of sampling Disco include Victoria Monet, who released a couple of great disco-influenced tracks, 'Experience' with Khalid, and the honestly outstanding 'Jaguar' which closes with an incredible piece of instrumentation that has you, at minimum, foot tapping.


With the mainstream success of BTS and BlackPink leading countless attempts by their peers to try and also break the western world, I've found myself dipping my toes back into the K-Pop pool, and my love for K-Pop has been very much reignited.

The undeniably catchy 'Dynamite' cemented what has been a growing love for the BTS boys, along with the powerful 'On', and beautiful 'Black Swan' leading me to dive even deeper into their back catalogue, and watch more live performances/compilations than I would ever care to admit to. BlackPink have also given us some real 'Girl Power; with comeback How You Like That? (spoiler: a lot) and the incredible 'Lovesick Girls' (we won't talk about Ice Cream, sorry Selena, I know you meant well.). 

What may have been the final spark to relight the fire is SHINee member Lee Taemin, a man whose time at the centre of a huge group, and a solo career that just screams 'artist' had got me very excited for new material. His sultry yet dancy yet eerie comeback 'Criminal' has had me hooked since it was released 4 months ago. The 50 shades-esque  Kylie sample, the 80s undertones and what is a stunning visual full of choreo, symbolism and of course, looks (the pop girls could never honestly) has landed it right in my top 3 songs of the whole year. Another of Taemin's singles, the epic 'IDEA' has also catapulted straight into my fave songs of the year, complete with a bass drop that punches you right in the gut, and a middle eight to die for, and choreo that leaves you feeling exhausted just watching it. 

We also need to show some love to the girl groups, who have also continued to deliver the bops this year. Everglow served us with both the epic 'DUN DUN' which is a strong contender for the best drop of the year, and the infectious 'LA DI DA' which instantly slaps you in the face with it's 80s synthline and provides us with our mantra for 2021 - 'got no time for haters' - we really don't. Aespa also delivered the goods with gritty debut track 'Black Mamba' whilst Secret Number's 'Got That Boom' gave us a colourful chorus and is a nice touch of cute, light heartedness against it's counterparts in my faves list.


Whilst you thought K-Pop was guilty of milking the term 'Comeback' - Steps threw their hat into the ring again with what was essentially another comeback for the quintet, only a couple of years after their last release. Whilst title track 'What The Future Holds' was a cute lead single, follow up 'Something In Your Eyes' shines bright with its even camper than Abba style, huge chorus and key change at the end.

What felt like 400 days after they performed a teaser of comeback single 'React' on the X Factor, the Pussycat Dolls finally released the full version complete with a slick, choreo-filled music video that incorporated all the of the usual PCD shenanigans - maximum Scherzy, minimum other member solo shots, a whole bunch of risque dancing, and the iconic Kimberley leg split to finish.

'Hayley Williams of Paramore' as her fans know here took a step away from Paramore to give us her own solo album - not quite a comeback, but after a few years since Paramore's last release, it was a very much welcome addition to the year. 'Simmer' and 'Cinnamon' were both such a change in direction they left us craving more, whilst tracks like 'Dead Horse' were a nice nod to the more jaunty Paramore style of recent.


As the UK prepares to leave the EU, I've found myself sinking deeper and deeper into the wonderful world of European female solo artists, most of whom have served us with some real douze points hits (I've also come across some absolute nil points efforts but we'll leave them to salter away with the ghosts of UK Eurovision yesteryear.)

Zara Larrson continues to lead the pack, and follows up my fave song of last year, 'All The Time,' with the seductive 'Love Me Land' which joins the ever growing list of underrated Zara songs. The track that fell most victim to this last year, 'Wow', was given a new lease of life thanks to a Netflix film I forget the name of, and in an attempt to give the track the boost it definitely deserved, they decided to throw Sabrina Carpenter into the mix. Am I using the Sabrina feature as a way to include the track in this year's list too? Of course I am.

Joining Zara and representing Sweden this year is Clara Mae, whose debut album spawned a string of cute bops including title track 'Drunk On Emotions' and sickly sweet 'Unmiss You'. 'Release Me' hitmaker and fellow Swede Agnes took on a more dramatic, camp turn with the fantastic 'Fingers Crossed' that you can't help but sing along to.

It's Norway however that comes up trumps as Charlotte Qvale, Julie Bergan, Dagny, Astrid S and Moyka all find themselves in my year-end list with straight-up bops, whilst Kim Petras gives Germany a look-in with the bubblegum anthem 'Malibu.'

Speaking of Eurovision, one entry from this year's attempt comes from Daoi Freyr, whose viral hit 'Think About Things' was bonkers enough to get me interested, and catchy enough to keep me hooked.


A song that takes shots at the rich and greedy? I'm in. A tongue-in-cheek video that only conveys this message further? Yeah baby. An iconic look to top it all of it? Rina Sawayama had us covered with 'XS.' 

Yungblud teamed up with Bring Me The Horizon for the very full-on 'Obey', an honest portrayal of modern day life, whilst also offering solo effort 'Weird', a track offering support to those suffering or questioning the state of the world in 2020, and just simply says... 'I know.'

A much welcome return from Marina nee and the Diamonds who initially worried me with what is a very questionable logo choice for this era, with a song that is maybe slightly misplaced in the 'angsty' section 'Man's World,' sees Marina call out the misogyny and blatant sexism that still exists in the world, and how men are basically fucking up the planet.

Ellie Goulding went a bit angsty too with Blackbear featured 'Worry About Me,' a nice little middle finger to an ex, whilst Tkay Maidza offers a song embodiment of ':)' for 'You Sad.'


Whilst this year has really been about the bangers, I've also left some room for the unsung heroes of the year - the laidback, including a song that has been stuck in the back of my head since I first heard it, no quips, no noshes - just a very beautiful song - Arlissa's 'Healing.'

I've also enjoyed losing myself to the highly relatable 'Wallflower' by mxmtoon, and 'Look Up' by Joy Oladokun, a track that leaves you somewhat hopeful... considering.

Whilst above is just a screenshot of some of the greats of this year, the seeing (or hearing in this case) is believing. See the list of my fave 111 songs below (best at the bottom):

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