Updated: 14 hours ago
Hi guys, welcome back to The Social Tune. And today we're going to go back to our old yearly tradition of counting down the top 10 Almost Hit Songs of the previous year.
So I try and do this every year but this will probably be the last time I base it on the Billboard charts. Which, I know, is probably going to piss off some of you, but hey, times change and so must I. And 2020 is certainly an interesting one to go out on, primarily because I've talked about it so extensively on previous lists. A lot of amazing songs either became genuine hits or were so good that I ended up highlighting them at the end of the year anyway in my Top 50 Songs of 2020. Seriously, when I put the first draft of this list together, 7 of my top 50 songs of last year had charted on one point or another in 2020 and had a fairly good chance of becoming hits!
This puts me in a bit of a conundrum for this list because, sure, I'd be able to shuffle around a couple of songs, but I've already highlighted most of them at length before. So you know what, I'm going to change things up a bit this year: I'm going to exclude any songs that already made my top 50 songs of 2020. That way, I'll be able to highlight a whole new batch of songs, most of which I haven't really discussed before, which will make for a far more engaging read for you guys. And hey, if you desperately want to find out which songs could have potentially made this list without this rule, just go to my Top 50 Songs of 2020, it's a good list.
Anyway, moving on: 2020 was a great year! Seriously, I wasn't exactly left wanting when it came to hit songs, I was very happy at the end of last year. But then again, there's always room for improvement, and 2020 was no exception. There were definitely several potential hits that would have absolutely knocked most of my actual top 10 out of the park. And thus, even with all the caveats in place, there was still a boatload of quality to pick from and highlight here. Thus my 10 picks fell out very easily and the honourable mentions were plentiful as well.
So let's not waste any more time; let's dive into the Top 10 Almost Hit Songs of 2020!
2020 was the year where this artist likely reached his peak. I've complained about him many times in the past, especially with his godawful hit and album back in 2017, and even I couldn't deny what an improvement this was for him across the board. And considering that just 2 years before, many had deemed his career to be absolutely decimated, this reinvention was a very unexpected, but very welcome change of pace.
forget me too by Machine Gun Kelly (Ft. Halsey)
I know that this is a lot lower than some of you would probably like. After all, of the songs on Tickets to my Downfall, this might just be the most beloved. The fiery duet with Halsey where they just tear into each other with reckless abandon, said by many to be one of the best performances by either of them. And hey, this is MY formula, I love it when men and women sing opposite each other, so why isn't this my favourite on the album?
Well, it comes down to some issues I have with the album's production as a whole. I do like many of the songs on Tickets my Downfall, but the guitars and drums often stray into a cheap-sounding, mid-2000s blur of noise that prioritises percussion over melody. Which can lead to moments of cacophony that certainly are catchy, but miss some of the refinement of the true classics of the pop-punk genre. This has always been an issue with Travis Barker in my opinion, but it's become especially egregious in these past couple of years. I will give everyone credit for this though: the 2 singers have a ton of chemistry to make up for it, especially from Halsey with her fantastic throaty scream. This is probably one of the best performances she's ever given, hands down, and speaking as someone who's never liked her music, it's damn impressive! But at the end of the day, I do have other songs on that album which I prefer, it's just that simple.
That being said, the song is still great. It's about 2 former lovers who meet up after a long time of not seeing each other. and despite the initial fear and panic, end up spending a night of steamy passion together... before he leaves her alone in bed the next morning. And thus the shouting match begins, he unable to forget her but not wanting to risk interacting with her sober, she rightfully pissed at him for just taking off without a word! And so the 2 of them start challenging the other to forget them. It's like they're saying "You want me to forget you like it's that easy? Fine, forget me, see how easy it is!" It's all macho posturing, where you can tell the two of them are definitely hurting quite a bit, but they just sell the drama so fucking well, especially when Halsey's part starts up in response to MGK's verse, it's so deeply scornful and biting.
You can easily see why this song got so much acclaim. The chorus is insane, the interplay is really solid, and the frustration is palpable, with neither being fully sympathetic nor interested in trying to be! Even the people who didn't like Tickets to my Downfall like this song, and THAT says a lot. An excellent duet, and we're only just getting started.
You know, I keep forgetting that Eminem had a genuine hit last year in Godzilla. It's so weird to think that in 2020, he could still find himself making music that appealed to the general public, even if the Juice WRLD feature probably helped a lot. It's a decent song, I guess, but the fact that I keep forgetting it exists probably says more about it than I could. But there was one other song from Music To Be Murdered By that I liked a fair bit more.
Darkness by Eminem
Darkness is textbook dark Eminem, the kind of song that he rarely makes anymore. A concept track where instead of being childish or immature, he buckles down and shows off his prowess as a storyteller. In this case, he sets it up as a very sombre song about being lost to his alcoholism, taking one shot after another in his hotel room as he waits to take the stage. It's pitch-black and depressing, as he tries to find some way to keep on going, to justify his own existence to the world around him. This is material that plenty of artists have touched on before (Nothing New by Taylor Swift & Phoebe Bridgers comes to mind), but as a veteran of the game, it hurts all the more coming from Em, a former giant now feeling so small.
But then the twist comes in, gradually at first, and flips the entire song on its head. Because as it turns out, he's not talking about himself at all. Oh no, he's speaking from the perspective of a mass shooter, specifically the one who I refuse to name who shot up the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. It's a brilliant and incredibly dark parallel that doesn't feel remotely forced, and keeps an eerily consistent and even tone throughout its entire runtime. Of course, I can see why this didn't take off in the same way as Godzilla. After all, this is not the kind of song that gets played on the radio that often, but MAN do I wish we could have given it more of a chance.
When Em's actually on his game, he really is untouchable. And on this, with the sombre atmosphere, the concept, and the fantastic parallels that he draws between his own life and this shooter's, it gives it some great replay value. It's like listening to Stan... only if the impact was considerably muted because of the production. I mean it's low-key, which definitely fits the tone, but I wish that the mix had a bit more colour to it, at least on the chorus. Then again, whenever Eminem does add colour to his choruses, it rarely works out well for him, so never mind.
To me, this was the best song on Music To Be Murdered By and arguably one of the best songs he's made in years. Not quite good enough to make my favourite songs of the entire year or anything - and Angelic Boy by RA The Rugged Man did somewhat eclipse it for me last year - but for the hits, this would have been a nice addition. Just saying.
Okay, let's make this a quick one because nobody's going to agree with it.
Hardest To Love by The Weeknd
Full disclosure, this was probably my second-favourite song on After Hours for most of last year. Yes, Blinding Lights is great, it made my best hits of last year after all, but Hardest To Love just has such a strong atmosphere to it. I really can't get enough of the skittering beat, the gorgeous blend of high hats and synths, or Abel's mournful crooning about just what a difficult person he is to live with. Maybe that's why I connected with it so much. I mean we're all our own harshest critics, and hearing someone so blatantly just say that, yes they are very hard to love and be around, there's something about it that really connects on a personal level for me.
And of course, who better to do this than The Weeknd, who's at the top of his game here. His mournful vocals are beautiful but reserved, not straying into belting territory, with just the right amount of tasteful reverb to enhance the atmosphere. He perfectly conveys the guy who's stunned that this woman keeps coming back to him after all he's done, even though it's probably vaguely toxic and bad for both of them. This is just a beautiful little track, which has a surprisingly good tempo thanks to that hook. Again, the skittering beat would not have been my first instinct to pair with these mournful synths, but he makes it work so effortlessly, it gives the song a great sense of momentum.
A tricky balance to strike and one that just BARELY fell short of my top 50 songs of last year. And while it has faded on me a little bit since then - I might actually put it behind Blinding Lights now - it's still absolutely a favourite of mine. Great song, underrated by far too many!
It seems like forever since this guy's career started, and I can't think of a single time where it wasn't in a state of flux. There's been no point where I've been absolutely 100% behind everything he's doing, which does admittedly sound harsh... but for every terrible song he puts out, he turns around and puts out a gem. And for me, this might just be his best.
Wonder by Shawn Mendes
Wonder is definitely an acquired taste. For one thing, it's not pop-friendly in the slightest, with a large bombastic chorus, a very tense but muted keyboard line underlining the beat, and the kind of dramatic grandiosity that you'd normally expect from a No Shape-era Perfume Genius track! Not that quite reaches THOSE heights of beauty, because the song is also uncomfortably produced. Not that it isn't pretty, but it's definitely less refined, wielding a power that's more primal than it is ethereal. But the roughness that Shawn brings to the table here is actually what I like about this, as he just commits to the song so hard! His howling voice is straining to hit those high notes, even though his belting has never been his strongest suit. And yet, that straightforward earnestness works for a track like this, because this song is just SO pathetic!
Seriously, this is a song about a guy who is completely under the thumb of the person that he's dating. Knowing how hopelessly in love he is with her and feeling like a complete idiot, second-guessing every single decision he makes. And the saddest part is how one-sided it all is, as he wonders what it's like to be loved by her in the same way that he adores her. He's fully aware of it and there is a sick, twisted part of him that is perfectly fine with it. It's basically a genuinely earnest simp anthem, and one that reflects more than a little harshly on his now former relationship with Camila Cabello.
And yet... God, I just appreciate the vulnerability on display here! Not many artists would have the balls to look THIS pathetic on record, but Shawn Mendes just lays it all out there, not even worrying for a second how people are going to perceive it. Even aside from the more obvious moments, like the lines about questioning his own masculinity when he cries, his insecurities about losing the relationship that he's so invested in are on full display! And he managed to turn all that earnest energy into real power sonically. And yeah, it all comes together to make an excellent experience for me. I think the song is amazing. Feel free to disagree.
The fact that we're this early on in the list and already talking about songs that were among some of the best of the year, not just the hits, says a lot about the year 2020 could have been. Don't get me wrong. I love my favourite hits of last year, but honestly, any of these next few songs could have topped my Best list last year. So I suppose I'll start with one that shouldn't surprise any of you.
my future by Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is at her absolute best when she's in this vulnerable position on her songs, using her quivering mid- to upper-range to convey the innocence of a young woman struggling through personal shit, while flexing her lyrical muscles to show off just what a truly phenomenal songwriter she is. Here, she muses on a toxic relationship with someone who kept coming back for more. But this time, she's turning him away, for after being mistreated by other people for so long, she's finally found someone she truly wants to get to know and love: herself.
Now, this is a topic many people have written about before, a power anthem to self-improvement, but since this is Billie Eilish, she takes it a step further. So she infused it with an atmospheric beat that grows and changes as the song progresses, with warm organic elements that hinted towards the sound of Happier Than Ever. That part where the percussion kicks in with the playful guitar is one of the warmest moments on the album, and makes the song grow into a whole different beast. Not to mention the amount of raw passion in Billie's own performance and her well-above-average songwriting, especially for someone her age! In fact, what kind of kills me about the song is the amount of wisdom she seems to have; someone so young really shouldn't be this world-weary, it's kind of heartbreaking.
Back to the story though; she's left someone who took her for granted, instead choosing to invest in her own future, which she's looking forward to for the first time in a long while. Only Billie can make such a genuinely uplifting sentiment still sound so mournfully beautiful. And I like that she realises that people are going to judge her for this decision, calling her lonely or unhappy without having someone to turn to. But as she points out, isn't she someone? Why shouldn't she be able to confide in herself? The song is played with the vulnerability of someone who is nervous and scared, but still steadfast in her decision, knowing that this is what's best for her. And why should anybody else be allowed to dictate that, let alone some guy who didn't appreciate her?!
It's the kind of quiet kiss-off/self-love anthem that I think makes Happier Than Ever such a wildly different, yet wonderful experience from her breakout album. And in my opinion, one of the best songs on one of the best projects of this year.
2020 was a difficult year for me. I mean yeah, it was hard on all of us in terms of dealing with quarantine, the event led to a lot of self-doubt and mental health issues for many of us. But thankfully, the music was excellent last year, which guided me through the worst of it personally. And I don't know where I would have been without this song in particular.
Level of Concern by twenty one pilots
There were plenty of "pandemic hits" that came out last year, but out of all of them, this is the one with the most replay value to me. The one where twenty one pilots decided to simply give in to the sentiment of the times, and thus made a very earnest and insecure love song. Similar vein to Shawn Mendes, except this one's much more topical, and emphasises pop appeal over melodrama. It's one of the only songs from last year that used the word "quarantine" in a way that didn't feel forced or shoehorned in because it's the kind of wording that would have ended up in their music at some point regardless.
It's about 2 lovers living together, where one of them is very unsure about where they are in this relationship. Ah, the dreaded question that haunts every couple. And it doesn't help when she doesn't actually answer the question directly, adding to his neuroses. As you'd expect from Tyler Joseph, he doesn't shy away (ha!) from asking the awkward questions, nor from admitting that his brain is in a fucking panic wondering if she'll be his quarantine, his safe zone, or if this is the way that things are going to end between them.
This was one of the first quarantine hits to get major chart traction, as well as the song that actually pushed Tyler to learn guitar, something that radically changed the sound most people associated with the band. And while some would argue heavily about how well the experiment turned out, I personally think it worked out for the best. Bands need to grow and evolve, and I loved Scaled And Icy this year. And yes, I definitely think this song would have fit on it, I'm still peeved it wasn't on the tracklist!.
I absolutely adore this song to this day, with one of the best hooks in their bountiful catalogue. Definitely a song I still come back to, as well as one of the final cuts from my top 50 songs last year. So what was better?
If you would have asked me a year ago, this song might not be making this list. Or at the very least, it would be nearer the bottom of it. But you know what, in the last few months especially, I just attained a whole new level of appreciation for this song. Not the best off of that fantastic album of his from last year, but still an absolute gem all the same.
No Judgement by Niall Horan
The fact that Heartbreak Weather didn't do better in the US is kind of infuriating, because it did pretty well over here in Ireland. In fact, this particular song was a fairly solid hit here after Nice To Meet Ya. But it never really took off internationally, despite being a decidedly pop-friendly song in terms of its composition, content, hook- I mean come on!!!
For those of you who haven't heard Niall Horan's sophomore album, it is fantastic! Retro-leaning in a way that still feels very much his own, phenomenal hooks abound, great production from start to finish, and surprisingly mature songwriting. All of which made it one of my favourite albums of last year, seriously, listen to it! And No Judgment wasn't an instant favourite, it took its time growing on me, but I think it's a great reflection of all the strengths I just mentioned. A song telling you that you can just be yourself whenever you're around him... which yes, may make some of you flash back to the One Direction days and songs like Little Things or You Don't Know You're Beautiful, fair enough! But Niall is older and more mature here, and the songwriting has grown with him.
It's a little bit sleazy in spots, touching on more mature relationship dynamics, like when he offers her breakfast in the morning or gives her the option to slip out in the middle of the night. After all, they have an understanding, he doesn't need any sort of warning from her. No matter what mischief they get up to, together or apart, he promises not to judge her for it. She can be herself around him and doesn't need to make excuses. And yet, Niall is a smart enough songwriter to include the bridge, where he admits he hopes that they stay exactly the same. Although he does realise that they may move on from each other at some point, he hopes they'll come back together when they're alone again.
Isn't that what we all want in a relationship? The comfort to be ourselves with no strings attached? Sure, it's idealised, but he knows that, and that doesn't mean it's not still deeply appealing. And that's why the song works so well for me, the appeal is damn near universal, especially with the incredibly catchy hook, the guitar interplay, and the songwriting that seems deceptively straightforward but is FULL of fantastic details and shifts in rhythm. And the fact that this wouldn't even make my top 5 from the album says a lot as well. Great song from an amazing album, it deserved far better! I'm judging you pretty harshly right now, US!
Midnight Sky by Miley Cyrus
I was so tempted to put Miley on top of this list again. And I very easily could have! Midnight Sky was very nearly a huge hit last year, cracking the top 20 in the US and even hitting the top 10 in multiple other countries. And yet to my dismay, while it was a hit over here, it didn't quite get enough points to make Billboard's year-end list. You could argue it was too much of a throwback and people weren't really comfortable giving it too much attention, but 2020 was THE year of the 80s throwbacks, so this seems really unfair!
Anyway, of all the songs on Plastic Hearts, this and WTF Do I Know were in a constant battle for my top 50 list. And while the latter may have won out in the end, I cannot express to you how close the two were, it still switches back and forth pretty much weekly. Miley's divorce from Liam Hemsworth is possibly the best thing that could have ever happened to her music. Because with this and Nothing Breaks Like A Heart, she's come out with some of the best music of her career in the last couple of years, going for a sound that flatters her huskier vocals so much better than the weird pop trap stylings she'd been attempting previously.
I just admire her so much on this song, as she throws all caution to the wind in a kiss-off anthem that has one of the best hooks of 2020 as a whole. She doesn't need your approval or your love, she was born to run, to fly, to hit the ground running and soar into that midnight sky, head held high up in the clouds! And the tightness of the verses, the blurry backing vocals, and the glossy flashdance production all come together perfectly.
The entire thing just sounds so vintage, but in a way that she completely owns. It's definitely a throwback, but she just elevates it to new heights with her performance. Her swagger is undeniably genuine and the production perfectly suits her raw, unrefined voice. I fucking love this song, full marks!
So I know a few of you are probably going to look at this and go "Wait, this was a hit song in 2021! Why the hell are you putting on this list?!" ... Fair.
BUT keep in mind that I'm actually doing my year-end lists for 2021 based on the Irish charts, and this song didn't even come close to becoming a hit in Ireland, so I wouldn't get to talk about it otherwise. So yes, I'm absolutely bending the rules here a little, but hey, this song came out last year and I love it and... fuck you, it's my list!
my ex's best friend by Machine Gun Kelly (Ft. blackbear)
Of all the songs on Tickets to my Downfall, this is absolutely my favorite. It came dangerously close to making my favorite songs of last year overall and I was absolutely thrilled to see it take off this year... albeit not in my country. But you know what, I love the song so much that I don't care about that, it's just such a fucking banger!
It's funny to me how this is probably one of the more trap-inspired songs on a pop-punk album, which makes sense considering blackbear's presence here. And yet it ends up working like magic, with the 2 artists at the height of their powers respectively, as they each play 2 very different characters in the same situation. I mean, the title says it all, doesn't it? Machine Gun Kelly is playing a guy who swore he'd never fall in love again, only to fall for the best friend of his ex, the woman who broke his heart. That's a very complicated scenario for obvious reasons, and he spends the song wallowing in his own guilt and debauchery. Whereas blackbear hooks up with HIS ex's best friend and could not give a shit about how she feels about it! After all, she and he broke up for a reason, so why the hell should he owe her anything? Why should she get a say in who he dates next, even if it is someone she knows? Yeah, it's definitely the asshole way of dealing with things, but look, this is the guy who made hot girl bummer. Are we really that surprised that this is his stance?
Plus, I do think there's more nuance to his verse than some people give him credit for. He takes the time to highlight how miserable he was in his last relationship, and actually does apologise for his bad behaviour during it. But that was then, and this is now, he's moved on. Maybe it's the same part of me that appreciates the appeal of hot girl bummer, but he's so steadfast in his decision that I kind of begrudgingly respect him for it. And MGK is just on another level here, performance-wise! Seriously, when that chorus hits after blackbear's final "we don't got nothing to saaaay", it's one of the finest moments in music from last year!
Also, I'd be remiss not to shout out Travis Barker again, because his work on this is phe-no-me-nal! Balancing the organic drums and guitars with the trap high hats, programmed drums and bass is no easy task, and should have resulted in one of the most cluttered songs on the entire album, but instead, the blend of genres is immaculate, and makes each performer shine all the brighter! This shows that, despite my issues with him, the man is still a professional master at his craft, especially with the way he opts to close out the song on the dour trap side to emphasise the choice to revel in their worst urges.
Yeah, this song is definitely a prime example of what rock purists would call "the bastardization of rock music", but you know what, if this is what it takes to get pop punk charting again, especially if they're modernising and evolving the genre in the process, I'm not about to complain. This song is a fucking jam and it came very close to topping this list... but not quite.
However, before we get to that, let's run through a few honourable mentions. shall we?
Lover by Taylor Swift Look, The Archer is probably the best-written song on the album and I do have a real soft spot for Paper Rings, but the title track is definitely the song from Lover that's grown on me the most over time. Also a song I associate with Christmas for some reason, no idea why. Speaking of Christmas:
Into the Unknown by Idina Menzel & AURORA
Okay, technically this isn't a Christmas film, but just go with it! I still haven't seen Frozen 2, but this song is eerily gorgeous, with a soaring presence that more than matches Let It Go, albeit far less pop-friendly. Great job getting AURORA on this too, one of my favourite performances by her!
SUGAR by BROCKHAMPTON
The music nerd in me really wanted to put BROCKHAMPTON on this list, but the realist in me knows that I go back to other songs of theirs way more than this one. I mean this is no Dearly Departed.
Good News by Mac Miller
I don't normally support posthumous singles, and I will admit I have to be in a very specific mood to enjoy this song... but when I am, there's nothing quite like it. Rest in peace, man.
Happiness Over Everything by Jhené Aiko (Ft. Miguel & Future)
Ah, another song I really wanted to put on this list! My other favorite song off of Chilombo -along with Triggered (freestyle) which sadly didn't come close to being a hit - but ultimately Future's part knocked it down a bit, call me a hater all you want. Still a great song though.
Martin & Gina by Polo G
I praised this song on Musical McCool at the beginning of the year and I stand by it. Great track, probably still my favorite thing Polo G has done to date.
One Night Standards by Ashley McBryde
Of course, I had to shout out one of the biggest pseudo-hits in country music last year. Definitely one of the more progressive country songs that I've seen cross over in recent years, even if it's no Never Will. Now THAT would have made the list!
The Climb Back by J. Cole
Oh, there was a part of me that really wanted to put this in the top 10 just for the reactions! But the competition was too fierce, so I'm including it as an honorable mention instead. After all, this is more of a mid-tier song on J. Cole's excellent album The Off-Season, easily my favourite full project by him and one of my personal favorites of this year. But I still think this song is absolutely great, with one of the best hooks and some of the best punchlines that I've heard in rap this year! I mean the "i flip like exclamation point" line alone, come ON!!!
No time To Die by Billie Eilish
This song is haunting, beautiful, gorgeously produced, and definitely would have made the list if I ever felt in the mood to listen to it all the way through. Wash Us In The Blood by Kanye West (Ft. Travis Scott)
Of course. What did you expect?
And now, on to number 1!
... You know, after all that, I can imagine that some people are going to see this as a bit of a letdown. After all, on my actual Best Hits of 2020, the song to top it was Adore You by Harry Styles, sooooo...
Falling by Harry Styles
I'll be honest, just like with No Judgement, this song wouldn't have even made this list a year ago. I was absolutely stuck on the idea that Adore You was the only truly great Harry Styles song, a fluke amid a very spotty career up until that point. However, after that song topped my Best list, I decided that I was going to give Fine Line another chance. So I went back to it, with much better headphones this time around... and now I consider it to be one of the best albums of 2019.
I think the fact that I've been listening to so much of The Beatles in recent years influenced my re-evaluation of Harry Styles' sophomore album quite strongly. While many people have criticised different elements of the production, they're production elements that call back to a lot of older recording techniques which aren't really used anymore. Sure, some people will argue that we don't use them anymore because they weren't that good in the first place, but it lends the album this truly vintage feeling, rather than just being a simple throwback. And on top of all that, it's a breakup album, which is always a good way to weave a narrative together. And this song is the apex of that dramatic arc.
Even before I went back and re-listened to the album, I definitely acknowledged that Falling was a good song, at the very least. Hell, it was one of the only songs that was universally liked and praised by critics outside of Adore You. But the more I listened to this, the more it surpassed that song for me. Falling is the kind of song which seems deceptively simple at first glance, and yet every little element just comes together so perfectly to make it better than the sum of its parts. The piano may seem very straightforward and simple, but it's layered so well, with different atmospheric elements joining the mix to add to the wistful feeling of the track. And it only emphasises Harry's raw performance, whose writing style and singing voice are confessional and incredibly nuanced. And yet unlike Shawn Mendes on Wonder, there's some restraint to this, almost as if he's afraid of being hurt if he lets all his emotions run rampant at once.
The song just feels surprisingly... real. It gets right to your heartstrings and makes you feel every single word, every strain of his voice. Yes, the composition is definitely accessible enough, but as somebody who's been trying to learn the guitar for the past couple of years, it's the kind of cyclical, instantly memorable song that is very difficult to write. People sometimes underestimate how hard it is to make a hit song, and the fact that he made something so personal and emotional THIS catchy is something to be admired. And as for the songwriting... I'm not gonna lie, this is one of the best post-breakup songs I've heard in years, based purely on the lyrics.
From all the little details that he adds in, like the loneliness of an empty bed, to the very damning phrase "no one to blame but the drink in my wandering hands", to begging her to forget every terrible thing he said, to even the double meaning behind not being able to unpack the baggage that she left behind. But I think the part really gets me the most is the hook, because it's not just about how much he misses her. In fact, a lot of it is just pure self-hatred, questioning who he is without her and wondering how he can live with himself if he's someone that he doesn't even recognize or even like anymore. And that bridge where he cries out that he gets the feeling that she'll never see him again, where the guitars softly ring out to match his anguished cry, it's a moment of ethereal beauty that is, once again, not over-emphasized or overly-orchestrated, it just lets the moment speak for itself.
This is definitely a song for the darker moments of your life, where you're just cursing everything you did wrong in the wake of a breakup. And while part of me almost dreads to think what low point prompted him to write a song like this, there's also a part of me that deeply relates to the emotion behind it. Out of all the songs that any of the One Direction boys have put out, this is one of the few that makes me genuinely emotional, every time. It's up there with Niall Horan's Flicker for me, if not even better. Not only one of the best almost hits of last year, but one of the greatest songs of 2019 as well. Man, what a gem.
So yeah, that's my list. I know that some of you are going to be a little disappointed that Harry Styles topped the 2020 lists twice, but in spite of your outrage, I thank you all for reading this far. And I hope you enjoyed my final list before the 2021 year-end ones. Really looking forward to that, so please make sure to subscribe to the blog and/or follow me on Twitter. We've got 2 more editions of Musical McCool to go, I'll see you then. And until the next time. I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off.