Top 10 Best Hit Songs of 2020
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
Hi guys, welcome back to The Social Tune! And now, the list I've been looking forward to making most of all, the Top 10 Best Hit Songs of 2020!
2020 was a great year for music. Every genre had serious standouts, from pop to country to hip hop, several artists released quality albums that impacted the charts in a big way, some expected and some less so, and the top 10 was simultaneously both very stagnant and very busy, with some songs staying there for months on end, while others would be on for a week or 2 at most. Point is, it was a nice mix, and while there was a lot of shady bullshit going on BTS... as in behind the scenes, the music itself was pretty awesome, with only a handful of songs I actively never want to listen to again, and plenty that I expect to continually revisit.
Now, taking a step back, maybe the year wasn't all that great after all... It is possible that in a normal time, this year would be seen as a bit too backwards-looking and arguably not as willing to experiment or try new things as much as the very best hits of 2019. Which yes, may be a bit controversial, but if you think about it, this was a year of escapism, in which everything sucked and so we all turned to the comforting sound of the past, which multiple artists were more than happy to accommodate. All I'm saying is, while right at this moment, the past year feels like a great one for pop music, I'm curious to see how it ages compared to the rest of the decade... particularly when you consider how much better it had the potential to be. The 2020s are only just getting started, and it'll be interesting to see how well this year fairs in the context of the next 9.
Now even with my scepitcles on, let's be fair, I have never been one to bash retro-leaning songs when they're done well. Some of my favourite hits from the past decade have been from artists trying their hand at new jack swing, disco, funk, and soul, and I'm not going to sit here and tell you that my tastes have changed all that drastically. So right now, let me shove wider context to one side! I'm excited to get started, so let's not waste any more time! These are the Top 10 Best Hit Songs of 2020!
So to start off on a controversial note, you ever have one of those songs you hear, you really enjoy it... and then you go online and see everyone else losing their fucking minds over it?
everything i wanted by Billie Eilish
Yeah, the first time I heard everything i wanted, that's exactly what happened. Riding high off of her success in 2019, Billie released this new single that ended up getting tacked on to one of the deluxe versions of her last album. It was a low-key, piano-driven ballad with electronic elements where Billie contemplated her fame and how it's weighed on her pretty heavily. That's pretty standard for an artist in her position, after all, DaBaby did it on Intro just a few months before her. And let me make something perfectly clear: the song is great and in a worse year, it would certainly be several spots higher! It's beautiful, it's haunting, and it tackles a very heavy topic masterfully. You see, Billie takes things a step further with the framing, as she describes a dream she had one night that would change her life moving forwards. In the dream, she kills herself in front of a crowd of people, her audience and fans, none of whom step in to stop her... Jesus Christ! They just stand there, unwilling to help, as she's almost comically surprised that they don't seem to care as much as she expected. And when she wakes up, she tells her brother, and the song switches perspectives, as Finneas reassures her that, if she could see herself the way he and everybody else does, she would never question how much they care about her or even how underserving they are of her thoughts and worries. He also does the big brother thing of promising nobody will hurt her for as long as he's there looking after her, it's genuinely very sweet and deeply personal... but for as much as I respect all of that, I rarely find myself wanting to listen to it.
I've spent the past few months questioning why this song doesn't quite click with me as emotionally as some of Billie's previous hits, despite all the pieces being in place for it to be her very best song. On the second verse, she even highlights the fact that after that dream, everything's different for her, but that she's scared to tell her audience because she now has so many more people relying on her; that's both deeply sad and very mature for her age. Well... therein lies the problem for me. See, like it or not, Billie Eilish is 18, and while her other best songs reflect how mature she is for her age, they never lose sight of the emotional teenage side of her personality. Just look at the way her voice becomes so yearning on i love you, or the cracks of emotion on when the party's over, or the vulnerability behind her delivery on ocean eyes. Meanwhile everything i wanted feels extremely calculated in its composition, its lyrics and even its atmosphere. Watching her perform this live, I'm just left feeling kind of cold, it's just too busy-sounding and not slow enough to cultivate the atmosphere I think it's going for. Because they prioritised making it accessible over making it too emotional or personal.
When I think of other songs in this vein, the immediate comparison in my mind is Liability by Lorde, a song that stripped everything back for a slow piano ballad that was filled with emotion and sadness; it was simple, but you felt every single second of it! To me, everything i wanted is technically perfect, but the execution is fumbled. It needed to be slower, maybe with less going on in the production... but then again, who am I to tell an artist how best to express their own emotional turmoil? I'm just saying that to me, for the very first time, this feels like Finneas got in the way of Billie; hard to be overly personal when you're singing from 2 perspectives, you get me?
And yet, despite all that, I can't deny the quality of the song, nor that, once in a while, it does manage to connect with me. I know I've spent most of this segment going on about the song's flaws, but every other music critic is sure to only highlight the good parts, for good reason. It's certainly a big step in the right direction for Billie as a songwriter, and based on her subsequent singles like My Future and Therefore I Am, I just can't wait to hear that next album!
Well, with that song out of the way so early, I'm sure many of you have already clicked away or gone down to the comments to verbally harass me, which you are within your rights to do ... so fuck it, DJ Mustard!
Ballin' by Mustard (Ft. Roddy Ricch)
It has been fascinating watching the trajectory of the-Mustard-formerly-known-as-DJ this past couple of years. When he decided to come back with the same bargain bin production on Freaky Friday in 2018, I found him extremely easy to dismiss, as did many others when it came to talking about that song, and it appears he took notice of our indifference. So, he bought himself out of all his contracts, dropped the "DJ", and subsequently became 10 times better! And while Pure Water was a promising step in the right direction, THIS was... just, FUCK YES!
The production in SO smooth, incorporating the trap elements with the touches of liquid guitar in an utterly seamless mix! This is a summer song that dropped back in October of last year, and yet it still took off and grabbed all of our collective attention, it's that fucking good! Of course, the main reason for this is the hook, which is incredibly catchy! It's nothing that exceptional, a song about coming from nothing and now being in a position of balling. It's mere luxury rap... but Roddy Ricch just sounds so damn happy and grateful that it's wildly infectious! I've been aware of him since 2019's XXL Freshman Cypher, and while I never could have predicted how hard he would take off in 2020, I'm honestly very happy he did, because he's a really fun rapper with a lot of diverse flows and a ton of energy.
He handles both the hook and the chorus, his bars are on point, and the production compliments him perfectly! He's also surprisingly descriptive of the people who supported him and those he's now able to dismiss after they abandoned him back when he had nothing, as well as the many over-the-top ways he can now celebrate his success! The song just comes together perfectly, and became an anthem for me from the very first time I heard it! It's one of the happiest and most uplifting hits of the entire year, a come-up story most of us can aspire to, and a song that puts me on top of the world every time I hear it! Awesome track!
So remember how I got super angry on my last list over a certain remix that I called utterly worthless and derivative, propping up 2 people I wish would just fade into obscurity? ... Well, there was one other reason I hated that remix so much: the original is perfect!
Say So by Doja Cat
I heard the controversy surrounding this song long before I heard the song itself. The fact that it was produced by Dr. Luke, from the girl behind Mooo!, the cow song, and that it was shamelessly retro-leaning in a way many critics could easily dismiss and forget about. In other words, I was fully-primed to hate this the first time I sat down to listen to it... and then I couldn't stop listening. You see, the saving grace of this song, and the reason it works for me at all, is Doja Cat herself. I was initially concerned that Dr. Luke's presence would loom over this too much, but her presence utterly dominates his, and drives him completely out of my mind whenever I hear it! Again, it's easier to separate the art from the artist when the art is actually good, and this song sounds gorgeous regardless of my feelings surrounding the atrocious lizard man who produced it. Doja's voice has a beautiful, almost dream-like quality on the hook that's so damn soothing, and she has a metric TON of personality that comes through on the verses. Seriously, the quirkiness she demonstrates on that second verse in particular is the sexiest part of the whole song for me, and it brings the song from feeling potentially artificial to feeling actually intimate and alluring. Yes, it may seem weird to some people who just see it as bizarre, but if you know, you know. Now admittedly, if you do any research on Doja Cat herself... there's some unfortunate stuff there too. And no, I don't mean the fact that she apparently promised to flash her tits to her fans just to get this song to number 1, then revealed she was lying after it did. I could criticise her for that, but in my opinion she's totally within her rights there. No, I'm talking more about the accusations surrounding her entertaining white supremacists in sex chatrooms and multiple other problematic comments on black people... which does admittedly slightly rob her of that initial attraction for me! You know... just a tad! But even despite that, Say So is a song so good that I can love it despite all that. It's a great song, even if I am tentative to actually give any of the artists too many props for it.
You know how I said I didn't fully connect to everything i wanted emotionally? Well, Billie wasn't the only artist to show some major ambition in 2020... only this one came from pretty much the last person I ever expected to make one of these lists:
The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby
I'm just shocked... I mean, don't get me wrong, there are artists I hate more who were active in 2020, both 6ix9ine and Chris Brown had songs in the top 10 during 2020! But before this year, I just viewed Lil Baby as a novelty at best, and a talentless hack at worst! His first hit was Yes Indeed with Drake for fuck's sake, and does ANYONE remember that song?! But this year, I was slowly feeling a tad more optimistic about him, even causally enjoying a song like We Paid. But even with that, I was not prepared for this! You see, on March 13 of this year, police broke into Breonna Taylor's apartment and shot her, unprovoked and without announcing themselves before entering. Then on May 25, a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd in cold blood, kneeling on his neck and choking him for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. This sparked off one of the biggest widespread protests in the long history of American protests, mainly lead by the Black Lives Matter organisation, who demanded justice for the dead by holding the officers involved responsible and demanding widespread reforms. To date, these protests haven't fully subsided, because the problem is still very prevalent. Some reparations and reforms have been made, but until we stop seeing stories like this in the news, the work isn't done. And to be clear, stopping the killing is only the beginning, there's still a long way to go before protests like these are no longer necessary. This wasn't the first time the people were made to protest against the murder of black and brown people at the hands of law enforcement, but I think the reason these deaths felt so momentous was because of the timing. We were in the middle of a pandemic, the entire world was on hold... and then this happened, showing us that corona isn't the only global issue that we still have to deal with. Racism is a scourge, and it needs to be eradicated, starting with our broken systems. Here are links where you can donate if you're able to: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019 (Black Lives Matter) and https://act.naacpldf.org/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=15780&_ga=2.163417210.738780536.1591041087-655866077.1591041087 (NAACP). Now, with all that being said, the last person I expected or even wanted to hear from on this was Lil Baby. I expected to hear something from Kendrick or J. Cole, maybe even DaBaby if he were pushed. Of course, you had Run The Jewels who had just dropped their latest album, but they didn't quite have enough buzz to cross over. Instead, we got The Bigger Picture... and it completely blew me away! For one, I never, in a million years, expected Lil Baby to rap like this! He's fast, he's engaged, and you can actually understand what he's saying. Which yes, does matter on a song that has a message as relevant as this one! But what struck me most of all were his words and the weight he placed behind them! He touches on the injustice and racism that has been going on for years, the engrained systemic nature which affects regular people who are just trying to live their lives and the fact that he currently has to take ridiculous measures every day just to make him and his loved ones feel safe! Admittedly, he's faced some criticism for taking a very middle-ground stance, but I appreciate that he commits to it and backs it up! And Hell, he still flat-out says that the way that things currently are is fucked, and that it's not getting better! And it's all pretty damn vivid, descriptive and detailed; he has 3 verses on this song and he takes full advantage of it! He recognises that they're all fed up by this, but he knows the power he and his community have together, which he encourages them to make use of in order to make meaningful change without becoming just as bad as the monsters they're fighting. He even owns the fact that he's never said all this before, usually rapping about money and dope, but that this has spurred him to speak up and encourage his young audience to do the same, even though it's admittedly scary and paints a target on your back. It's a call to action that I never expected to hear from someone like Lil Baby, and I have to say, I respect the Hell out of him for doing it! Now again, the middle ground may not be what many people want to take right now, and there's music for that as well that we will be discussing on later lists, but in terms of radio hits, especially coming from such an unexpected source, this just caught me completely off guard. It's earnest, it's genuine, it's full of some real truth and hurt; we all needed this in 2020. Well done Lil Baby... man, that feels weird.
So that was extremely heavy... which may make this next pick feel even more ridiculous. But this is my list of my favourite hits of the year, and I do prefer this. And for the record, I would like to state that this is on here completely unironically, I genuinely adore it. Because it's fucking hilarious!
WAP by Cardi B (Ft. Megan Thee Stallion)
I am not here to discuss whether this song is empowering; if it is to you, great, happy for you, but I genuinely don't know if that was the original intention. The only reason I can see why the song became such an anthem to female power, more so than any City Girls anthem, is because of the backlash from jackasses like Ben Shapiro getting so offended by it! Because anyone who tries to tell you this song was ever meant to be "sexy" is an idiot. See, as I've said multiple times in the past, there's a big difference between a sexy song and a sexual one. This song stirred up a ton of controversy when it dropped for how explicit it was; I mean seriously, the foundation of the beat is just "there's some whores in this house" on loop! The song is peppered with ridiculously over-the-top and cartoonish sound effects! And they repeat the phrase "wet-ass pussy" 15 times! And I can't lie, it's all catchy as Hell! And once you get over the first time you hear the song, I think there's actually a lot to really love about it.
For one, both Cardi and Meg The Stallion are forces of personality and they complement each other beautifully! Of course, it's no secret that Megan outraps Cardi in terms of their flows, but I also have to give Cardi credit for some of the imagery, which is certainly very colourful and vivid. They command your attention so completely that you could be forgiven for not fully taking in everything they're saying the first time round... particularly if you saw the music video. You see, the song is all about excess, getting steadily more ridiculous and over-the-top with the sex metaphors and all the ways the 2 ladies want to get satisfied. And again, it's not trying, for one second, to actually be sexy, in the production or the lyrics! Sure, I could understand if someone got turned on by this and more power to you, but personally, I just find the whole thing incredibly entertaining!
It's just so unabashedly open and colourfully descriptive with its raunchiness that it always makes me laugh, which is clearly the intention. It's meant to be fun, it's meant to be enjoyable, and it flies in the face of conservative, pearl-clutching idiots who would take any of this seriously. And in the spirit of that, here are my top 10 lines from WAP by Cardi and Megan:
10. I can make ya bust before I ever meet ya
9. Bring a bucket and a mop
8. Swipe your nose like a credit card
7. Switch my wig, make him feel like he cheating
6. Pay my tuition just to kiss me on this wet as pussy
5. Wet ass pussy, make that pull-out game weak
4. Park that big mac truck right in this little garage 3. Macaroni in a pot 2. Never lost a fight, but I'm looking for a beating *bell* And number 1!!! Cardi's entire second verse, all of which is absolute gold!
It just seems like these 2 ladies had so much fun making this! Unlike similarly controversial songs like this in the past like Anaconda, I actually expect this one to stick around in the history books, and I could not be happier about that. I said on my last list that If the World Was Ending was the hit song that I got the most fun out of this year, and that was incorrect. This song is phenomenal, and I will hear no argument to the contrary!
Well, you all knew this was coming:
Blinding Lights by The Weeknd
It honestly took me longer to come round on this song than most. At first, all I could hear was Take On Me by a-ha with a subtle dash of Maniac by Michael Sembello, comfortably two of the best songs of all time. And Heck, it's not like After Hours wasn't abundant with great songs, what made this particular one so special? And I still think that's all fair, it's not like Blinding Lights is anywhere close to The Weeknd's most ambitious song... but then I realised it doesn't need to try all that hard. See, what this song has an abundance of is momentum! The energy, the tension in that backing beat that drives the verses while all the synths sweep across the mix, it makes the song feel gigantic, and Abel rises to the challenge that mix poses, responding in kind with one killer vocal performance! The Weeknd's always been a great singer, but sheer, elated awe is a look he rarely tries out, instead choosing to wallow in his own demons and misery. Which is often very compelling, but it can be a bit of a mixed bag. And yes, this does admittedly make Blinding Lights a very safe song, especially compared to the much more complex structure of Starboy or the careening energy of False Alarm. And with the Take On Me riff, how could this NOT have become a massive hit for the guy? But over time, I realised that playing it safe doesn't necessarily make the song any worse. Because more than almost any song he's ever made, The Weeknd has rarely sounded so at home and comfortable. The last time I heard him sound so in his pocket was on I Feel It Coming, and as much as I still genuinely love that song, this completely steamrolls that one! Blinding Lights is one of those songs that's so easy to love that at a certain point, I just got tired of resisting its epicness. Probably not even in my top 5 from the guy, but even so, once I let it in, I never wanted it to leave. This song is titanic, and fully deserving of being the biggest song of the entire year!
So yeah, Blinding Lights may be unapologetically backwards-looking, but it's still awesome! Now, as for the future of pop music, I think we can all agree on the one artist who ruled the year from only slightly below the top:
Break My Heart by Dua Lipa
I've been aware of Dua Lipa for a long time now, and she still managed to be completely unrecognisable to me in 2020. Her sophomore album Future Nostalgia was such a huge improvement over her debut, and while I had really enjoyed some of her older hits, her new ones were close to pop perfection, pushing the sound of pop music into a territory that felt familiar, but with enough fresh new elements to feel like more than just a throwback. And while Don't Start Now was the anthemic dancefloor jam that really shouldn't have existed in a year where everyone was locked up indoors, Break My Heart was another beast entirely! I mean... that bass fucking SLAPS!
This is the kind of song that seems to get better with each listen. The incredible build-up before the chorus, the way the strings subtly add a ton of beauty and texture to the mix, the way the vocals sync up with the bass guitar on the hook. And of course, Dua Lipa herself, who sings with a ton of personality! She seems to know the power of tone and modulation better than most pop stars of her ilk, dropping down into a softer delivery one moment and then going for all-out belting the next, which gives the song a great sense of momentum that's just damn pleasant to listen to! But hey, the song sounds absolutely phenomenal, biiiig fucking deal! It's nothing if the lyrics don't back it up!
Well, in that regard, she plays the woman who's always been the one to end her relationships, willing to make mistakes and own her indecisiveness in order to learn what she likes in a partner. I like how candidly she acknowledges that this is just the way she operates, and I have to respect her for that. But of course, this all changes when she meets the one guy who changed her life, the one person to make her fall completely and utterly for him. She finds herself wondering if he thinks of her when she's not around, and despite the fact that she's still self-assured enough to imagine he does feel the same way about her because 2 can play at that game, she also acknowledges that he's at the centre of her attention and can get whatever he wants from her whenever he wants.
It's powerful, yet vulnerable, and that dynamic grabbed me from the very first moment I heard it! Dua Lipa is a talent we do not deserve and who I only expect to get better with time. Heck, I'd argue this wasn't even her best song from Future Nostalgia... but more on that in another list.
I said on my last list that TikTok was mostly a positive force in 2020. It gave a lot of people a bit of a safe space to lose themselves in and all it asked in return was all their personal information; pretty standard trade nowadays. Now, personally, I'm not on TikTok, but I'm also irrationally afraid of all social media apart from Twitter, which is a complete cesspool. I guess it's because Tweets often feel like the first drafts of people's innermost thoughts and emotions, there's a little less obvious bullshit. Now, maybe that last part isn't remotely true, but my point is that this TikTok song sounds like a first draft and maybe that's why I connected to it so immediately.
death bed (coffee for your head) by POWFU (Ft. beabadoobee)
Look, I know that me putting a song this seemingly amateurish so high on my list, especially above the last few, may seem crazy... and maybe it is. All I know is that, from the moment I heard this song, it's practically all I wanted to listen to all year. This is easily my most played song of 2020, and it's not because of some deeper resonance, it's almost entirely based off of face value. Unlike past controversial picks, I'm not about to waste any energy trying to change your mind about this song, what you see is what you get, and it's either for you or it isn't. The best way I can put it is that I find this song adorable. It's sweet, it's wholesome, and dark as all Hell. As the title would suggest, this is sung from the point of view of a dying young teenager or preteen, talking to his girlfriend on his death bed. And let me be clear, their age is essential to this song working. Not only does it add a layer of tragedy that this kid is dying so young, but on the verses, he reminisces about the time they've spent together, doing incredibly cutesy shit they did during their brief time as a couple. When adults do this, they've lived mostly full lives, and so when they sing about all the things they could have done, it's sad, but not nearly as sad as when a kid sings it. Because you know that even beyond the relationship (because to them, that's what it was), there's a ton of other things he missed out on too, a ton of firsts! The way he starts his first verse by simply saying "I don't wanna fall asleep, I don't wanna pass away" just breaks my heart. That's the other part that works: some have called this song amateurish, and it absolutely is. But I'd argue a) he's a kid, and b) which is an argument I've heard less, he's a DYING kid! Do you really expect a small, scared child to get incredibly deep and lyrical on his verses? Hell, even POWFU's flat delivery works for me; rather than overemoting and forcing you to feel something, he just lets to words speak for themselves, which adds even more weight to beabadobee's mournful chorus. And speaking of which, this is the best hook on a top 40 hit this year. What can I say? I like coffee. Even the way he says he probably deserves it or simply says he's sad that he'll never see her husband and children, it's so fucking genuine and wholesome in a way only young love can be. The older you get, the more complicated your emotions get, and the simplicity of this song is just endlessly endearing to me, in the same way Katy Perry's Teenage Dream is. And yes, I'm aware that Powfu probably didn't intend any of this, and I certainly don't think lightning will ever strike twice with him, but for this one song, he got it. And the couple of moments he joins in with beabadoobie's singing, almost like he's singing along to his own final lullaby... yeah, this is the only hit song of the year that got me to well up. And that is damn impressive!
Look, I love Ballin', it's an amazing song! But if I'm being honest... I don't particularly like mustard.
The Box by Roddy Ricch
It's been somewhat of a trend on my lists to bash forgettable trap music. Well, over the past couple of years, I will say that the genre does seem to be getting more ambitious, from the production to the rappers' flows. You see, my main issue with a lot of trap between 2014 and 2018 is that it tends to be very forgettable, hopping on trends to make a quick buck rather than choosing to create a timeless song. However, in more recent years, genuine stars have emerged from this scene, to become some of the most successful musicians working today! There's a reason that Lil Baby has 5 year-end entries all on his own after all; like it or not, he has some style and personality. And then on the next level up, you have Roddy Ricch with this surprise smash! I'm not sure anybody expected The Box to be as big as it was. After the album dropped, I saw many people predicting that it would fade away within a week or 2. Instead, it stuck around to be the biggest rap song of the entire year., topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks... why is that?! After all, this was apparently recorded in about 15 minutes at the end of a very lengthy recording session, and is mostly based around a squeaky "ee-oo" sound that Roddy did himself at the very last minute! Well, little did he know, that moment of inspiration would be life-changing, because without it, I doubt this song would be anywhere close to as big as it got, or be as good for that matter! It got the song a ton of attention (aka memes), which I would argue became initially responsible for its massive TikTok presence. It's also the first of many hooks that this song grabs you with! I've probably listened to this song over a hundred times this year, and I'm still finding a new flow or inflection that I missed before. Seriously, there are so many quirks, changes of pace and voices that Roddy briefly slips into that it kind of blows my mind! All year, I was waiting to get sick of this, but whenever I got tired of one part, another part would grab me instead, and by the time I got tired of that, I'd come around on the last one, and there was another new one too! And that's just the verses, the chorus is so good that I forget that the first half isn't actually the main hook! And when the main one DOES hit, with those elongated syllables followed by the quick delivery of each next line, it's ear-wormy as all Hell! And Roddy sells every second of it with an eccentric energy that is insanely infectious. I've rarely heard a rapper use autotune so randomly or sporadically on a song before and have it sound so good! Now, the one place I could see people criticising this song would be the lyrics and the content... but honestly no, I love those too! Not only are there too many memorable lines to count (once again helped by the adlibs and Roddy's delivery), but I have to give him props for all the different meanings he comes up with for the box. I mean one of them could be pussy, sure, but the others are a clip and a jail cell, which yes, does make this another song in 2020 about balling, all while yelling fuck the 12 and the SWAT, aka the police, which paired with the shots at George Zimmerman, did certainly give this song even more cathartic staying power as the year continued. Plus, with all the lines about taking chances, and refusing to let people affix a label to him, you could argue the box he's really escaping is the one people would want to put him in to hem in his uniqueness and creativity, basically everything this song is fighting against! Even aside from the lyrics or the ad-libs, this production is fucking awesome, with those tense, cinematic strings at the back of the mix, those banging 808s and the "ee-oo" that started it all! There were many songs this year that felt like they were comfortably reaching backwards, or settling into existing trends. The Box is a defiant and awesome trendsetter, refusing to sell its soooooooul, and I fully expect it to become a staple within hip-hop history moving forwards, it's that unique and that special! Fantastic job Roddy Ricch, I hope you continue to stick around and keep the charts this interesting for a good while yet!
For now, honourable mentions, let's go go GO!
Don't Start Now by Dua Lipa This would have made the list if the drop were a bit stronger. Also, it may just be one of the worst songs off that latest album... think about that!
Dance Monkey by Tones and I
I've been enjoying this for a well over a year now, y'all in the US were late on this. I get that some people find it annoying, but I just don't; I'd even say I find the vocals refreshing and the message kinda sly and subversive. Catchy and fun as Hell!
Does To Me by Luke Combs (Ft. Eric Church)
We did it guys, we landed Eric Church his first hit in years! And it's on a damn great and mature country song with Luke Combs, who had a banner year in his own right. Speaking of:
Lovin' On You by Luke Combs
Of all the songs Luke Combs dropped this year, this is probably the simplest... but I fucking adore the instrumentation and the cadence of the verses so goddamn much; terrific song! Didn't expect it to make the year-end list, but so glad it's here!
Mood by 24kGoldn (Ft. iann dior) This spot was originally going to go to Blueberry Faygo, but then Mood came in out of nowhere and completely stole my attention. This appears to be one of the only fully-organic hits of the year, a song we all decided deserved to be a hit because it's so fun! And it is! Also iann dior sounds pretty similar to a younger Swae Lee and I can't unhear it. The Bones by Maren Morris Well, it took her a couple of pop collabs, but I'm more than happy to welcome Maren Morris back to the country scene! And with one of her hooks to date, I'm not surprised that this utterly ruled country radio all year. No, I don't care that houses don't have bones! You Should Be Sad by Halsey Is Halsey growing on me...? I'm worried. Either way, this is one of the most vicious kiss-offs to an asshole ex that I have heard in a good long while, only made better by how genuinely emotional she comes across here. It's Without Me done right, and I'm just glad she got there in the end. Also those guitars fucking CRUSH! ROCKSTAR by DaBaby (Ft. Roddy Ricch)
I saw a lot of apathy towards this song... not too sure why, this is clearly one of the catchiest rap songs of the year, with solid performances all round. Great song. Bite me.
hot girl bummer by blackbear
Yes, really. This hits the same asshole sweet spot for me as I Don't Fuck With You. Plus it's better-produced than it has any right to be. And it came dangerously close to beating out Billie Eilish by the way.
P*$$y Fairy (OTW) by Jhené Aiko
Another song that came dangerously close to making this list! This woman is one of the most talented artists working in R&B for the past decade, and I'm so happy her Billboard history now extends beyond "eating the booty like groceries", thank God!
Die From A Broken Heart by Maddie & Tae
I wish it were a little harder to happily hum along to this break-up song. That said, I have no other complaints for this, the writing and production are great and Maddie & Tae fucking sell it!
Blueberry Faygo by Lil Mosey Fuck it, I can have both! This was THE Summer song of 2020 and the perfect happy escapism that I needed this year! Also this is yet another guy I was introduced to through the 2019 XXL Freshman Cypher, MAN did they get it right last year!
All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
Technically, far as I can see, this is the first time this song has ever made a Billboard year-end list! And by my rules, that counts! Happy holidays everyone!
What? That was way more than 10? Well, I guess it all balances out then. Ok, let's get on with it!
I've said it before, but songs that I initially don't care for, but which subsequently grow on me, those are the ones I really tend to connect to long-term. Now, imagine if you had an artist who was admittedly really good, great even, but based on their output in a relatively new career, you didn't quite buy into the hype like everyone else had. Say you listened to their sophomore album, and while again, you saw some promise, you still felt a key ingredient was missing. And then one of the songs off that album took off, and after listening to it about a few more times, it suddenly all clicked... and now you're convinced this is what it all should have been from the very beginning.
Adore You by Harry Styles
Me putting this song on this list shouldn't surprise anyone. What should surprise you is how high it is on MY list. I've said for years now that I'm Team Niall all the way, and that I felt that Harry had a ton of potential that has yet to be fully realised. And for the record, I stand by all of that! Niall's sophomore album was a damn sight better than Harry's, and outside of this song, the rest of Fine Line has yet to grow on me in the same way. But Adore You was the first glimpse I got of true genius from Harry... yes, really.
I'll admit, I'm not exactly sure why this is the song to finally work so well for me coming from Harry. Sign of the Times is much more ambitious, but it still leaves me cold. Watermelon Sugar is more lyrically colourful, but just feels kinda clunky to me as a whole. Heck, the last hit song named Adore You came from Miley Cyrus, and might just be one of the most boring songs I've ever heard! But while this song just went in one ear and out the other the first few times I heard it... now I can't stop listening to it. There was a day where this is the only song I listened to on loop for a whole day -I was in a mood- and I never got tired of it.
Well, I think what works so well about this song is how unerringly committed it is to its central theme. It's a song about how he adores you completely and unequivocally. And he means it! He'll walk through fire just for the chance to adore you, do it like it's the only thing he'll ever do, while expecting nothing at all in return. You don't have to say you love him back, nor that you're his, you don't owe him a single thing, he just wants to adore you. And the crazy thing is, in a year and time where something like this should be easily dismissed as a "simp anthem", or for some ugly subtext or caveat to surface in the lyrics, this one has none, it's pure as snow! In my mind, it's what Bruno Mars tried to do on Grenade nearly a decade ago: a grand declaration of love that almost seems unattainable in how huge it feels. The problem with that song was the guilt-tripping, and the fact that the lyrics were only colourful in a way that made it easy to mock.
Meanwhile, Adore You's verses are filled with imagery that may go over your head the first few listens, stuff that may sound like simple romantic platitudes at first, but is actually trying harder than your average love song. Seriously, to me, a "strawberry lipstick state of mind" is just as iconic and timeless a line as "a loaded gun complex", and it still manages to stay true to the central message. Which again, is just pure, unabashed love! And while a song like this can often feel charming in a goofy way, Harry's performance is so sincere on it that all you can do is blush bashfully whenever you hear it! It's so goddamn romantic, without being corny, a balance that few songs can manage these days, and the fact that he sells it so well is a testament to what an incredible performer he is!
This song is fantastic! Every time I hear it, I discover a new part I like best, whether it be the watery bass that immediately opens up the song, or the backing vocals that echo the end of some of Harry's sentences, or the beautiful multitracking on the chorus, or the guitars that feel breezy without detracting from the weight of the song, or the oscillating drums that come in on the second verse, or the simple yet gorgeous bridge with that guitar solo, or even just the atmospheric way it starts out... I simply adore all of it! It's the best thing Harry Styles has done to date, the best hit song of 2020, and finally made me take him completely seriously as one of the best pop stars working today. All you have to do is transfer that energy to a full project Harry, I'm rooting for ya.
Well, thank you guys for watching, leave a like and a comment if you enjoyed! We've still got 2 more lists to go through, so feel free to subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter @TheSocialTune so you don't miss a thing. Hope you all enjoyed, and until the next time, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off.