20 Songs From 2020 You Should Listen To

Music is not about one emotion – it is happiness and sadness and rage and fear. We consciously choose to play music that compliments the way we want to feel. Even if it is just momentary, music lets us take control of our emotions. 

In a year dominated by isolation, loss and immense change, music was one of the few means that allowed us to escape from reality. I curated a playlist of 20 songs – of various genres – that helped me power through this historical year; operating under one rule: the songs had to be released during 2020. 

  1. Guilty Conscience 

070 Shake 

Guilty Conscience – Single

Released 01/09/20

Alternative/Indie

Infidelity is a pretty tough subject to talk about but the old school 80’s pop sound on this track was a vibe.  

  1. Beautiful Stranger 

Marcus King

El Dorado – Album 

Released 01/17/20

Combination of Blues, Rock and Country

There is something unbelievably refreshing in meeting someone for the first time. And there is nothing more beautiful than loving someone who once didn’t even know your name. In the words of the soulful vocalist himself, “Beautiful Stranger is a story about longing– searching for love. We tried to paint a picture of a dim-lit bar, lost souls finding one another before last call.”

  1. Everybody 

Mac Miller 

Circles – Album 

Released 01/17/20

Hip-Hop/Rap 

In this song, Miller clutches on the concepts of life, death and making the most out of our human experience. Long Live Mac Miller.

  1. Girl 

Myke Towers

Easy Money Baby – Album

Released 01/23/20

Urbano Latino

A Spanish rendition of 50 Cent’s “21 Questions.” The song of the summer in my opinion.

  1. Rehab (Winter in Paris)

Brent Faiyaz 

Fuck The World – EP

Released 02/07/20

R&B/Soul

Imagine a cold hearted future track sung with an angelic voice. Brent Faiyaz did an excellent job of making the “give and take” of a relationship seem beautiful without forgetting just how ugly it can get. He was her drug the same way she was his, and they both couldn’t stop their addiction.

  1. Kyoto

Phoebe Bridgers

Punisher – Album 

Released 02/26/20

Rock/Alternative

This track is about forgiveness and letting go. “‘Kyoto’ is kind of like that sequel feeling, where I’m mad at my dad,” Bridgers said, “but then, kind of realizing that I’m also kind of over it. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself, and I totally feel like that. It sucks to walk around angry all the time.”

  1. René

Residente 

René – Single

Released 02/27/20 

Urbano Latino

In this song, Residente revisits his roots in Puerto Rico and reflects on his childhood, mental health, the music/entertainment industry, politics and relationships. I recommend watching the music video, it was very intimate and nostalgic. 

  1. Safaera 

Bad Bunny, Ñengo Flow, Jowell & Randy

YHLQMDLG – Album 

Released 02/29/20

Reggaeton

Bad Bunny released three incredible albums in 2020 and perhaps had the biggest year out of all the artists mentioned in this list.  In my opinion, Safaera was the best song on YHLQMDLG. It is the perfect turn up song. What makes it so incredible is that it had a perfect mix of new and old school reggaeton. There were over 10 years worth of references, eight beat changes and five different rap flows. AMAZING.

  1. Too Late 

The Weeknd

After Hours – Album

Released 03/20/20

R&B/Soul

A heartbreak that is too difficult to shake. In this song, The Weeknd acknowledges his wrongdoings, and is heard apologizing to his former lover for their unfortunate ending. 

  1. Euphoria 

Don Toliver (feat. Travis Scott & Kaash Paige)

Heaven or Hell – Album 

Released 03/21/20

Hip-Hop/Rap

If you are in the mood for melodic hip-hop, this is the song for you. The song lives up to its name –  it will definitely take you on a euphoric trip. 

  1. Up the River

Future 

High off life – Album 

Released 05/15/20

Hip-Hop/Rap

A heartfelt reflection. Although Future has amassed success and financial prosperity, he is still struggling with his inner demons. This track is definitely underrated and personally it is one of my favorites. He was speaking from his heart and you could feel his pain.

  1. Smithereens

Rasharn Powell & AB001  

Smithereens – Single 

Released 05/21/20

R&B/Soul

A song about heartbreak with an R&B, funk and soulful sound that sets the uplifting mood perfectly. 

  1. Something to Rap About 

Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist (feat. Tyler, The Creator)

Alfredo – Album

Released 05/29/20

Hip-Hop/Rap

A full circle moment. This track makes light of Gibbs’ experience being a drug dealer and how it ultimately led him to have something to rap about and amass success. 

  1. Starting Over

Chris Stapleton 

Starting over – Album

Released 08/28/20

Country

This song is refreshing and motivating. It’s about taking chances, new beginnings and starting over. 

  1. Hit Different 

SZA (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)

Hit Different – Single 

Released 09/04/20

R&B/Soul

Loving someone you can’t have can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions. With her sweet melodies and angelic vocals, SZA tells us all about her no-strings attached situationship. 

  1. Rich N***a Shit 

21 Savage & Metro Boomin (feat. Young Thug)

Savage Mode II – Album

Released 10/02/20

Hip-Hop/Rap

This track is all about living a lavish lifestyle. Knowing the hard work these artists have put into turning this lifestyle into reality makes this track that much more special. It’s inspiring to say the least.  

SN: This album was definitely at the top on my favorites list. In addition to Young Thug, it featured Drake, Yung Nudy and to my surprise, Morgan Freeman.  

  1. Lost One 

Jazmin Sullivan 

Lost One – Single 

Released 10/28/20

R&B/Soul

The worst type of heartbreak is losing one of the good ones. With it comes immense regret – wishing you would have done things differently, and selfishly hoping the “lost one” won’t move on. 

  1. Back in Blood 

Pooh Shiesty (feat. Lil Durk)

Back in Blood – Single 

Released 11/05/20

Hip-Hop/Rap

“Back in Blood”, set to appear on Pooh Shiesty’s upcoming mixtape, “Shiesty Season,” is a grimy, menacing banger. Though Lil Durk is known for his melodic, bluesy singsong approach, he raps aggressively and with authority. Shiesty Season will be released tomorrow, make sure to check it out. 

  1. Infrunami

Steve Lacy 

The Lo-Fis – Album 

Released 12/04/20

R&B/Soul

With luring harmonies and a slow tempo, Lacy sings a somber love song begging for his former lover to come back.  

  1. Good Days 

SZA 

Good Days – Single 

Released 12/25/20

R&B/Soul

“Good Days” was originally teased towards the end of the music video for “Hit Different,” and when I heard it, I instantly fell in love. This song is about moving past the negativity and looking toward a better future. Her voice is magic, and in combination with its lifting message, this song is chef’s kiss.  

In a year that a lot of us were restricted to many things, music was a constant we could rely to escape. Music is universal – there is a song for anytime, anywhere, and anyone. These  songs brought me happiness and hope, and sometimes allowed me to dwell on my emotions and reflect. If you want to listen to this playlist click this link – it also includes songs from 2020 that did not make it on the list. 

 

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