I'll be unveiling #101-#250 as 20-second snippets (totalling about 50 minutes) and then #51-#100 as longer snippets before the top 50 will be played in full! I'll be revealing the lower half of my top 500 in the meantime in this thread
For a look into what might be in the top section of my list, my mid-year list can be found here and in my first thread: https://pastebin.com/2jCNfvfk Last edited:
Like last year I have a list of songs from the previous year that I enjoyed listening to in 2020. The list is very much without any defining qualifiers of inclusion because some of these songs have vastly different degrees of relevance to 2020 to others
0171 - 1000 Words 0171 - SMTHN RL 220 KID & GRACEY - Don't Need Love 24kGoldn - CITY OF ANGELS Annie Hamilton - Kitchen Arlo Parks - Paperbacks Ava Max - Salt DIIV - Like Before You Were Born DIIV - Taker Doja Cat - Streets Doja Cat feat. Gucci Mane - Like That Foals - Sunday Hope D - Swim KAYTRANADA feat. Durand Bernarr - Freefall Nilüfer Yanya - Paradise Nyxen - Insomnia Poppy - Fill the Crown Post Malone - Saint-Tropez Sam Fender - Hypersonic Missiles SASSY 009 - Maybe in the Summer SebastiAn & Gallant - Run for Me The 1975 - People Tove Lo - Mistaken Tove Lo feat. MC Zaac - Are U Gonna Tell Her? TR/ST - Iris Zoe A'dore - Galaxy
This list is less consequential than last year's since I already love most of these originals and featured all but two 2017 songs in my last two years of EOY lists but nonetheless, these are some of my favourite 2020-released remixes/alternate versions:
Allie X & Della Casa - Downtown (2020) Angel Olsen - New Love Cassette [Mark Ronson Remix] Angel Olsen - (Summer) Song (essentially an acoustic version of "Summer") Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now [KAYTRANADA Remix] Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia [Joe Goddard Remix] Georgia feat. Yung Baby Tate - Feel It Robyn - Honey [Avalon Emerson's Deep Current Reroll] ROSALÍA - A Palé [Gesaffelstein Remix] Tinashe & THEY. - Hopscotch Tinashe & ZHU feat. Ms Banks - Die a Little Bit
2020 remixes I really liked will be littered throughout the list as always!
As a change from only revealing my favourite songs of the year in my long mid-year and yearly lists, I've wanted to do so in a slightly different way for a while, having long accepted that weekly charts just don't work for me with every occasional impulse that I have to attempt to revive mine (as much as I do wish I had an extensive chart history that spans more than one year ). I began saving all the current music I liked on Spotify in late 2016 and this has been my method of keeping up with everything since. Provided I don't accidentally un-save a song and remove it from its original place in date order (I feel like most Spotify updates make it increasingly easier to do this ), it makes it really useful to decide what ends up in my end of year lists. So I've decided to isolate the 2021 songs I've saved in each month of the year and rank the songs after the end of the month, which should be a nice touchstone for when I do make an EOY list. I like the idea of having everything grouped amongst songs I've saved at the same time rather than by release date, though it might expose how late I am to some things further down the line In a way it's like what a chart might look like from me without any songs returning for a second week.
To start I have 65 songs that were released in January 2021 that I happened to save, which is more than expected and is indeed more than the 46 2020 songs I saved last January (and the 50 in January 2019, 38 in January 2018 and... 14 in January 2017 :p). I've shuffled the order of the top 7 songs since the end of the month so I'd call it a strong start to the year!
Commentary is less daunting without looking down the barrel of 100 or so songs so here goes... my first #1 belongs to Julien Baker's "Hardline". I liked boygenius' song "Bite the Hand" quickly (which I always seem to hear when I'm in IKEA lol) but I was surprised to find "Hardline" to be so instant after unfairly thinking the rest of her solo music would sound as kind of... stoic as "Appointments" (not necessarily a bad thing but it took me a while to get into it). This song sounds as precarious as its lyrics - there's something about those heavy organ chords at the start that make it so easy to just sink into its doom. It reminds me of "Breathe Me" in the release that comes with the instrumental chorus. Last year I really warmed to Baby Queen's debut "Internet Religion", which I'm sure Spotify would sort alongside "Mad at Disney" or something but instead reminds me more of "Give Yourself a Try" [s]without Matty Healy's generally insufferable persona[/s] in how she dresses some scathing and depressing commentary in such a warm and fuzzy song. Her EP was quite solid ("Buzzkill" and "Pretty Girl Lie" were highlights), but her first single of this year "Raw Thoughts" is perhaps the most worthy follow-up to "Internet Religion", aptly matching its breathless energy and impressive lyricism. I've keenly anticipated a full album from HUGE DANNY L Harle for a long time - his work across his two amazing EPs, one-off singles, production for other artists and remixes have made him one of my absolute favourite producers. Last year's "Dreaming" hinted at something harder and reminiscent of happy hardcore compared to the sugary-sounding singles he'd released before. "On a Mountain", one of the first tastes from the album, lands somewhere in the middle. Unexpectedly the vocalist is not co-writer (and "1UL" vocalist) Eyelar but Georgia Twinn, who delivered my second favourite song titled "I Don't Mind" last year (cue money/pole emojis). London Grammar's 2017 album had enough really lovely songs on it to make me hold them in a higher regard than I'd previously thought and the singles from their new album have also been pleasantly interesting and quite distinct from each other. "Lose Your Head" has become my favourite so far, I really like the build-up of textures which makes the chorus sound almost chant-like. A more recent grower in Odette's "Amends" is #5. It's her first in a while to resonate with me so strongly and I think it's down to the interesting twists in the melody and especially the chorus, which feels like it grows in intensity each time. The saxophone makes things all the more lush. I've been a fan of Bicep's music from the second I heard "Glue", which is probably the perfect introduction to their sound. Their music is so sparse and repetitive that it could sound simple to some, but I love the indulgence in how the songs develop and their new album Isles certainly delivers on that front. Even after three of its best tracks were released last year, there are still highlights to be found in its new songs; my two favourites are album closer "Hawk" and "X" featuring Clara La San (of their previous collaboration "Saku" which was #79 in my EOY). I think "Mariners Apartment Complex" marked a really important shift in Lana Del Rey's music because everything from her since has sounded so good. Even when I didn't find myself as intensely in love with NFR! as a whole as a lot of others did ("Venice Bitch" set too high a bar obviously) I think Jack Antonoff has more than proven himself to be a great collaborator especially in Lana's case. I'm quite looking forward to Chemtrails Over the Country Club (COCC if you will) if the title track is anything to go by. She has a knack for memorable choruses and "Chemtrails"' hook is really catchy and becomes more charming over its runtime. Aly & AJ are demanding that we "Listen!!!" ahead of their new album When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go When The Fire Goes Out. "Listen!!!" is one of my favourite offerings from their solid recent string of releases and it sounds closer to their 2017 EP in sound (very pleasing to me as "I Know" from their EP is my favourite single of theirs). I liked the previous two songs she's released since her 2019 mixtape but it feels like Slayyyter is properly back with "Troubled Paradise". It's more straight-forwardly conventional than maybe ever before for her but she's certainly not alienating me with a chorus as huge as this one. Broods have returned alongside Bad Sounds in the very good sounds of "Move Into Me". I don't have much to say about it other than that it took me a while to place that the twinkly piano reminds me of Flight Facilities' "Two Bodies" and that Georgia Nott is one of my favourite voices (and people) and a worthy addition to anything. And that somehow "Hospitalized" is two years old.
Elsewhere: my favourite offering from Maggie Lindemann's recent pivot into pop rock (which is unexpectedly an Alex Lahey and Gordi cowrite), Mall Grab and Ross From Friends with quite long songs that I couldn't tell you how they sounded from the title but are very good, a fantastic new remix of one of my favourite songs from Perfume Genius' last album, Blanck Mass in unusually short form thanks to the single edit of new song "Starstuff" and ELIO's Charger (which already sounded like "Gone" before Charli XCX made a new version of the song) among other songs...
Danny L Harle
On a Mountain
Lose Your Head
Bicep feat. machìna
Lana Del Rey
Chemtrails Over the Country Club
Aly & AJ
Bad Sounds feat. Broods
Move Into Me
Ben Böhmer & Tinlicker feat. Felix Raphael
Crash and Burn
Bicep feat. Clara La San
FKA twigs, Headie One & Fred again..
Don't Judge Me
In the Machine
Ashnikko feat. Kelis
Deal with It
Jazmine Sullivan feat. Anderson .Paak
dvsn feat. Miguel
Virgil Abloh feat. serpentwithfeet
Your Body Changes Everything [Boy Harsher Remix]
SUFFER AND SWALLOW
Starstuff [Single Edit]
right where you left me
Poolside & DRAMA
I Feel High
Good While It Lasted
Ross From Friends
Run The Jewels feat. Pharrell Williams & Zack De La Rocha
This month Danny L Harle ranks two spots higher than he did in January with the immense "Interlocked" at #1 - his highest of six songs from Harlecore making the list this month. "Interlocked" was co-produced by "DJ Mayhem" (Hudson Mohawke) and has L Devine on vocals, as well as a writing credit from Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches (now that's a collaboration I'd like to hear, if only for harley's sake). Danny also claims #5 this month with "Do You Remember", which is appropriately titled considering how much it sounds at once like five different early 2000s songs that would have been uploaded on SteveAATW's YouTube channel. KSHMR is a name I've known in passing for years without hearing much of his music other than Tiesto and his 2015 banger "Secrets"... or so I thought, because I recently discovered that he was one half of the Cataracs and the only member in the final two years of their activity (meaning that he is solely responsible for producing eternal Selena banger "Slow Down"). Ahead of his 2021 debut album I came across the lead single "The World We Left Behind" featuring his frequent collaborator KARRA and I've unexpectedly kept coming back to it. I don't know what to say about it other than that it's a total rush of euphoria. The Best Band on Earth Wolf Alice are back. If anything can be learned from "Yuk Foo" and Visions of a Life, it's that their new album could sound nothing like the lead single and, to be honest, "The Last Man on Earth" being largely piano-led is perhaps even more of a disorienting return. I think there is something in the arrangement that admittedly holds me back from being wholeheartedly won over (as far as their own songs go I feel like "Silk" is a distant cousin which to me has the edge over this in how much more substantial it is in hooks from the start) but that feels unfair to get hung up on when Ellie's lyricism and presence is as strong as ever and when the second half of the song sounds as huge as it does. I also really like that the lyrics can read as this sardonic criticism of individualism while the song sounds so universal. Like Danny, Julien Baker is in my top 10 for a second time: "Favor" is another very good cut from Julien's very good album, this time with her boygenius bandmates involved. I called "Troubled Paradise" the most conventional that Slayyyter has sounded but "Clouds" is similarly quite straightforward if even more subdued - worlds away from anything like "Alone", "BFF" and "Candy" which I first encountered her through but nonetheless a direction I can get behind. Franky Wah had two songs in my 2019 EOY ("Time After Time" and "Hide") and he's kept up the good work and general resemblance to CamelPhat with Anjunabeats release "Should Have Seen It Coming" featuring AETHO. Not even a year after her first solo album, Hayley Williams has released another album and it's quite good, perhaps without the same variation in sounds as the first (it's very acoustic). The single (or the song put on 'the playlists') "My Limb" is something of an outlier and is naturally my favourite song on it, it reminds me more of "Over Yet" on the last album with the fast chorus. I first came across Norwegian Sámi band ISÁK in 2018 via Popjustice's New Music Friday playlist featuring their song "In Comparison" and have liked their music since, including their previous collaboration with Alan Walker in 2018 on the song "Lonely" (which Steve Aoki did a new version of in 2019 which has just about double the streams of the original). Their new collaboration "Sorry" is really impressive and less characteristic of his usual style (honestly, "The World We Left Behind" sounds more like him), I was surprised to see it released as a commercial single. I'm yet to know for sure if Allie X is officially releasing her older songs as a project or anything but I do know for sure that her 'new' single "GLAM!" was intended for her debut CollXtion I and it certainly sounds like it. Her music is so reliably solid across the board that there's at least one song I really love on all four of her projects but after getting less out of last year's Cape God than I expected, particularly after "Fresh Laundry", it's nice to hear a 'return' to the full-throttle synthpop of songs like "Prime" and "Sanctuary" from CollXtion I.
Elsewhere, Madison Beer delivers a very impressive debut, perhaps unexpectedly to anyone who hadn't heard the pre-release songs or to those who only judged her by whatever her conspirators on TikTok have incriminated her for ("Blue" and "Effortlessly" are my favourites of the new tracks); Gorgon City & DRAMA reunite after last year's brilliant "Nobody" with "You've Done Enough" which I was happy to see quickly make the UK chart (and more recently/importantly the ACI ~); Katy B's first high-profile release since 2016 (!!!) in a vocal mix of Mercury Prize-nominated jazz drummer/composer Moses Boyd's "2 Far Gone" (a really good fit for her). Dua Lipa's "That Kind of Woman" is #28 after the anachronistic Jacques Lu Cont remix placed one spot higher in my 2020 EOY.
I've capped the list at 100 songs because I saved slightly more than that in February, and I think I'll cap each list at a round number when they exceed 100 songs from now on. I'm also going to aim to keep the posting of the monthly lists within the next month so watch this space