Thursday, December 31, 2020

Top 50 Songs of 2020


Disclaimer: I am not a professional and while I do hope to hear every song at time of release, there are some older tracks in here as always. This is more like a list of the 50 songs I fell in love with this year. I try not to overdo it with too many songs by the same artists, but everything I loved is in the Spotify playlist regardless of how many times it's the same artist. I hope you enjoy and find something you love. 

The retrospective pieces are coming, of that there is no doubt. In these pieces I suspect even a comment like "Best of 2020" will be met with the usual off-hand qualifiers, as if there is an obligation to remind everyone around us that we know it was a Bad Year. Music, always the extension of feeling and emotion, has a part to play in 2020 as well. Music, which reminds us of good times and bad; places we love, miss, hate; the lows of loneliness and separation; the highs of togetherness and achievement. Rarely are they not accompanied by music. Like most of you, I assume, I have pressed through 2020 not with a singular feeling. I have no one adjective I can use. I have felt the sting of missing loved ones in my life, the empathy for those who have the ultimate price, the anger everyone has felt towards each other, the loss of my diversions and hobbies, and the cloud that hangs over the absence of harmony. I have felt the warmth of watching my son grow from the comfort of my work from home office, I have experienced one the best and most fulfilling work years of my life, and I have stayed healthy. 

And music? Music has been there too. Music can lift and it can help you wallow. I spent time considering what the Song of the Year and Album of the Year should be, treating my selection with far more importance than it really holds. I've read other pieces by better writers than I drawing parallels between their top choices and the year it gets to win. I could absolutely pick a song for sorrow, loneliness, escapism, anything really ("Chinese Satellite", song #3, fits that bill in ways). I pick this for another reason. Wading through the wreckage, Fleet Foxes offered hope. Hope like a sunrise kickstarting a new day. In fact, when Robin Pecknold released the album, he described his desired effect for this to be "a life preserver in this ocean of bad news". On Can I Believe You, as with the rest of the year's best album, there is a sense of moving forward in the face of doubt, getting better, anticipating what is next. "Now I'm learning the ropes/Never got this close." On Sunblind, which has been at the tip of my tongue for month, Pecknold finds himself enjoying his favorite music with his "dear friends", the same whom he aches for on a Sunday night in Maestranza. Darkness is not absent here, but it's also not permanent. 

Top 50 Songs of 2020

1. Fleet Foxes – “Can I Believe You”
2. James Blake – “Are You Even Real?”
3. Phoebe Bridgers – “Chinese Satellite”
4. Sufjan Stevens – “The Ascension”
5. The 1975 – “If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)”
6. Pearl Jam – “Seven O'Clock”
7. The Weeknd ft. Kenny G – “In Your Eyes - Remix”
8. Tame Impala – “Lost in Yesterday”
9. The Killers – “Caution”
10. Ray LaMontagne – “We'll Make it Through”

11. The Airborne Toxic Event - "All These Engagements"
12. Bootstraps - "Falling"
13. Caribou - "New Jade"
14. Vampire Weekend - "Harmony Hall"
15. Soccer Mommy - "Climbing Up the Walls"
16. Fleet Foxes - "Sunblind"
17. The 1975 - "Me & You Together Song"
18. Tame Impala - "Breathe Deeper"
19. Sufjan Stevens - "Tell Me You Love Me"

20. Miley Cyrus - "Midnight Sky"
21. The Strokes - "Eternal Summer"
22. Novo Amor - "If We're Being Honest"
23. Pearl Jam - "Retrograde"
24. Noah Gundersen & Soft Sleep - "Home"
25. Surfer Blood - "Summer Trope"
26. Grimes - "Delete Forever"
27. Christine and the Queens - "People, I've been sad"
28. Oneohtrix Point Never - "Long Road Home"
29. Niall Horan - "Arms of a Stranger"

30. Harry Styles - "Adore You"
31. Hot Mulligan - "*Equip Sunglasses*"
32. Taylor Swift ft. Bon Iver - "Exile"
33. Perfume Genius - "Whole Life"
34. The Shins - "The Great Divide"
35. Taylor Swift - "August"
36. The Naked and Famous - "Everybody Knows"
37. flora cash - "I Wasted You"
38. SAINt JHN & Imanbek - "Roses - Imanbek Remix"
39. Acceptance - "Son of the City"

40. Foster the People - "Lamb's Wool"
41. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - "Slow Burn"
42. Phoebe Bridgers - "Graceland Too"
43. Ruen Brothers - "Break the Rules"
44. Bush - "Send in the Clowns"
45. Kid Cudi - "Solo Dolo, Pt. III"
46. Purity Ring - "stardew"
47. Great Grandpa - "Mono no Aware"
48. First Aid Kit - "Come Give Me Love"
49. The Killers - "My Own Soul's Warning"
50. William Fitzsimmons - "Light Years"

Top Five Albums of 2020
1. Fleet Foxes - "Shore"
2. Phoebe Bridgers - "Punisher"
3. Pearl Jam - "Retrograde"
4. Tame Impala - "Slow Rush"
5. Sufjan Stevens - "The Ascension"