Top 50 Tracks of 2020 (50-41)

50. Dua Lipa “Break My Heart”

Sometimes you just need a solid pop song to get you through the day. With a chorus of “I should’ve stayed at home, cause I was doing better alone,” the lyrics seem particularly fitting to the time. Together with the disco inspired riffs and nostalgic sound, Dua Lipa recalls a time when things were ok. – Jacob Holke

49. Smokescreens “Pick the Cats Eyes Out”

As an admitted cat lover myself, the fact that I “picked” a song with such grotesque and bizarre lyrics should signal their genuine worth as a band. While I still struggle to reconcile what the lyrics are suggesting, I can’t help but fall in love with the rich melodies of this L.A. via New Zealand in spirit jangle pop outfit. Featuring production and album art by noted Clean member pioneer David Kilgour, Smokescreens channel a renewed Dunedin Sound for the 21st Century. – Greg Scranton

48. Princess Thailand “First Time”

Princess Thailand’s sound walks that wonderfully dark and dissonant line between no wave and post-punk genres. On “First Time”, the song that kickstarts the French sextet’s second studio album, And We Shine, what starts as a low-key affair with minimalist drums and a wavy bassline quickly builds tension until the song explodes with grinding guitars and the singer shouting, “I want the first time! I want it!” Is Princess Thailand mysterious? Most definitely. Is that part of their charm? Most definitely. – Andy Mascola

47. Moses Sumney “Virile”

Moses Sumney grapples with masculinity on his colorful and detailed “Virile.” Spinning above an ever-complex bed of intricate instrumentals, Moses’s voice is versatile and gorgeous as he sings “I realize none of this matters–cause I will return to dust and matter” in examination of social pressures to perform gender. The song’s lyrics are just one of the many thought-proving components of “Virile,” with Moses’s modern take on psychedelic soul just as compelling. – Hunter W.

46. Dead Sara “Hands Up”

Released well into 2020, “Hands Up” from Dead Sara is an energetic song from start to finish. With a clear chorus and breakdown, this song is still catchy despite its edge. Hopefully “Hands Up” is only a preview of what is to come from Dead Sara’s next project. – Jacob Holke

45. BLACKPINK featuring Selena Gomez “Ice Cream”

Blackpink became the highest charting female K-pop artists with “Ice Cream,” debuting at #13. Featuring Selena Gomez and with a co-writing credit from Ariana Grande, the track bridges the gap between bubblegum pop and trap. Co-writer, Bekuh BOOM said that she wrote music to specifically show off the girl’s ranges and the raps are written to mirror school yard chants. It creates a sound that is familiar but extremely fun. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

44. Fiona Apple “Heavy Balloon”

Picking standout tracks from an album as good as Fiona Apple’s 2020 release is difficult. Nonetheless, “Heavy Balloon” is a prime example of the excellence found on Fetch the Bolt Cutters. Intense percussion is the backbone of this addictive song in which Fiona’s textured voice shouts through the chorus with a passionate sense of emotional expansion. Fiona has truly never been better. – Hunter W.

43. Tara Clerkin Trio “In the Room”

Perhaps the most uniquely crafted compositions of the current zeitgeist, Tara Clark Trio bend notes and lush orchestration atop vocal melodies reminiscent of 90’s European Too Pure label avant-garde harmonies and instrumentation. As original as a band can be in 2020, this ensemble mixes horns, synths, instrumentation, and vocals in a fashion that recalls heyday Stereolab meets Pram. Not to be overlooked as a major player in this new decade of sound production. – Greg Scranton

42. Hollow Ship “Take Off”

When you first witness the retro production all over the rhythm section’s intro on the psych rock stylings of “Take Off”, the lead-off track on Swedish band Hollow Ship’s excellent Future Remains LP, you will know immediately you’re in for something special. The five-plus-minute number doesn’t disappoint as it dips into funk and proggy moments, taking advantage of some incredible musicianship. The reverb-soaked, dreamy lyrics aren’t easily deciphered, but when the instrumentation is this good, does it really matter? – Andy Mascola

41. En Attendant Ana “Words”

Although “Words”, the advance lead-off single from En Attendant Ana’s album Juillet, came out over a year ago, the beloved track was easily remembered throughout the year by all who heard and chose to embrace it. And rightfully so, with a melody reminiscent of a Scottish folk song played at half speed, and back-to-back unconventional trumpet and synth solos marking the halfway point, “Words” was a standout moment amongst quirky, upbeat European indie pop in 2020. – Andy Mascola


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