The Best 25 Songs of 2020
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
2020 may have been a not-so-great year for everyone (understatement of the year), but no doubt there has been some incredible music release pre- and mid-quarantine.
This year saw a rise in dance-pop with 80's vibes (thanks Miley and Dua!), and female rap domination. Last year's freshmen class featuring Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion, Jack Harlow, and Doja Cat, were this year's chart-toppers, solidifying their position in the music industry. As we do every year, we named the 25 best singles of 2020 across all genres. See the full list below:
25. "Holy" - Justin Bieber ft. Chance the Rapper
Justin Bieber gave us all what we have been waiting for with "Holy," a mixed up. Known for his pop-love hits, Bieber and Chance the Rapper delivered with this sweet, softer track. Listen here.
24. "Kings & Queens" - Ava Max
Bursting onto the scene with her 2019 hit, "Sweet but Psycho," Ava Max returned with a dance-worthy pop track as a part of her debut album Heaven & Hell. She will definitely be one to watch over the next few years! Listen here.
23. "Watermelon Sugar" - Harry Styles
The unofficial song of summer 2020, Styles' catchy hit comes from his chart-topping sophomore album; a more pop sound than his debut. This song had everyone dancing all summer long. Listen here.
22. "Intentions" - Justin Bieber ft. Quavo
The second single off his R&B album Changes, it has been one of the most popular songs of the year with it's stuck-in-your-head beat and Bieber's vocals. Definitely one of the best on this underrated album! Listen here.
21. "Godzilla" - Eminem ft. Juice WRLD
Eminem shot up to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 with this hit featuring the now-deceased artist Juice WRLD. This rap song lit up the streaming charts in the time after Juice's death and is a favorite by many fans. It also has the catchiest chorus on this Eminem album. Listen here.
20. "Say So (Remix)" - Doja Cat ft. Nicki Minaj
After catching popularity on TikTok, this song rose on the charts and enticed Doja to add Nicki Minaj in on the remix. This song hit #1 on Billboard Hot 100, giving both artists their first #1 hit on the chart. No doubt this song was one that defined this year! Listen here.
19. "Break My Heart" - Dua Lipa
The third single off Dua Lipa's album of pop perfection, this song peaked at only #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, but was definitely playing in everyone's ears since its release. This dance-pop track had elements of 80's, funk, disco and more; pairing perfectly with the album's title (Future Nostalgia). She even co-wrote the song along with Ali Tamposi, Stefan Johnson, Jordan K. Johnson, and Andrew Watt. Listen here.
18. "Let Down" - Paris Jackson
Paris Jackson's debut single squeezes in our top 20 at #18 (yes, Michael Jackson's daughter). Although she is the King of Pop's daughter, her music is all her own. This haunting, dark pop ballad is everything we needed this year and might even get our vote for the most underrated song of the year. Listen here.
17. "Rain on Me" - Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande
The collab we didn't know we needed, but we certainly wanted! "Rain On Me" was the perfect peppy, pop hit for everyone to jam out to. The pair released this happy-go-lucky song in the midst of the pandemic, when everyone needed it most! Listen here.
16. "I Hope" - Gabby Barrett
American Idol finalist, Gabby Barrett, released her smash hit "I Hope" in 2020, which was her first post-Idol release. The song rose to the charts fast, relatable to many. Barrett could not have done any better on her first single and we cannot wait to watch her top more charts in the future! Listen here.
15. "Joan of Arc on the Dance Floor" - Aly & AJ
Part of their return to music since 2017, this is the perfect melodic electro-pop to showcase their grown-up sound. The beat, the melody, the lyrics - it's music at it's best. Listen here.
14. "ROCKSTAR" - DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch
Tik-Tockers Unite! "ROCKSTAR" by DaBaby feat Roddy Ricch influenced social media stars to DANCE! There was numerous dances made to this hit, making quarantine a bit more fun for all. Plus, this song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Listen Here
13. "The Bones" - Maren Morris
In our eyes, this was a 2020 anthem. Maren Morris broke the charts with this country-crossover hit! She topped the charts week after week beating out artists like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. This song, both vocally and lyrically, speaks for itself; talent at its finest. Listen here.
12. "What's Poppin'" - Jack Harlow
The sleeper hit of the year. Although not a huge hit when first released, this music video went viral on Twitter, with users wondering who this great young rapper was. Thus, the song blew up and fast! After that, Lil Wayne, DaBaby, and Tory Lanez that also topped the charts. Things are looking bright for this freshman class rapper. Listen here.
11. "Positions" - Ariana Grande
An unexpected drop from Ariana Grande, it has both catchy pop and R&B elements that make this a likable song for almost anyone. Although it is definitely not her most popular song, it hit #1 on the Hot 100 and kept music fans entertained. Listen here.
10. "Adore You" - Harry Styles
One of the biggest songs this year, Styles brought it with this 70's inspired pop track. This song fits perfectly with his whole style (no pun intended) and it just all makes sense to make the perfect concoction. Listen here.
9. "Midnight Sky" - Miley Cyrus
A new sound for Miley, she is helping lead the trend of 80's dance-pop's return to popularity along with Dua Lipa (whom she also collaborated with for their song "Prisoner"). This was the perfect lead single for her comeback after her album SHE IS COMING failed to hit the popularity she had hoped. However, this is the perfect lane for Miley that invited her back onto the top of the charts and into mainstream pop. Listen here.
8. "Cardigan" - Taylor Swift
"Surprise!" said Taylor Swift when she dropped this single and accompanying album. Fans absolutely fell in love with her new vibe and even opened up Swift to a new audience. This song was the talk of Twitter for weeks, as she even sent fans and celebrity friends cardigans as a promo. Listen here (hand-knit cardigan not included).
7. "Dynamite" - BTS
The first US #1 from the K-Pop group BTS, and the first #1 from any K-Pop group, "Dynamite" exploded throughout the world (pun-intended!). One of the songs of the summer, it was full of energy and infectious beats - something we all needed in 2020. Listen here.
6. "Blinding Lights" - The Weeknd
Possibly the biggest Grammys snub of the year, The Weeknd hopped back into his pop sound with this album and single, but with a more electro/dance-focused production. With this song topping the Billboard charts for weeks, it's no doubt he was the most successful male artist this year. Listen here.
5. "Bluebird" - Miranda Lambert
Technically released in December of 2019, this single was the light and tranquil song we all needed during a tough year. Lambert explains, "When we got in the room to write it, it felt really magical, because, I don't know -- something about a bluebird is hopeful, even through blue times. When I sing this song, I feel a little flutter. I feel every single word of what it means." We couldn't agree more! Listen here.
4. "Savage (Remix)" - Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyonce
Okay, let's be honest, everything is better when Beyonce hops on the track. "Savage" was a chart topper from its original release, but when Beyonce decided to hop on the remix- it exploded! Houston's Queen Bey and Megan ran TikTok all year with this song. Listen here.
3. "WAP" - Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion took the social media world by storm with this song! Thousands of TikToks later, this song was a part of many challenges and dances, including playing the explicit lyrics for your parents and recording their reactions. Not only is it a great song from female rappers, but it caused a lot of controversy, which was the best publicity driver they could have asked for, as this was towards the top of the charts for weeks. It provided the fun and dirty dancing we all enjoyed during quarantine. Not to mention the celeb-filled music video! Listen here.
2. "Do It" - Chloe x Halle
Chloe and Halle have been flying under the mainstream radar for years. Signed to Beyonce's management, Parkwood Entertainment, Chloe x Halle have finally burst through the clutter into the mainstream with their modern R&B album Ungodly Hour. Not only is this an incredible song with it's catchy R&B rhythm and flawless vocals, but they were known to give some of the best and most creative 'quarantined' performances of the year - one of which was done on a tennis court! With Queen Bey behind them, did you expect anything less? Listen here.
1. "Don't Start Now" - Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa brought back real pop elements to music in 2020 with this 80's-inspired dance-pop track. This lively, upbeat dance number brings nothing but good vibes, which is everything we needed this year and more. If you haven't danced to this in your room during quarantine, you missed out! Listen to the song of the year here.
Do you agree with our picks? Let us know at @KBPopCulture on social media.