King Von, “Took Her to the O” The Best Songs of 2020 (So Far) At the midway point of 2020, Complex counts down the 50 best songs of the year so far. King Von, “Pressin” The keep-it-simple-stupid chorus (“I don’t want to be somebody / Just wanna be me” — who can’t relate?) The emerging stars have long had their names attached to their collaborators -- and for good reason, they were discovered by Beyoncé -- but their independent talent cannot be ignored. You know what I love about Kamaiyah? Conor Oberst is still a thoughtful, songful, extravagantly detailed troubadour under his own name. Few people expected a Jay Electronica album in 2020. I would purchase a minimum of two mini bears, and possibly up to four, depending on what sort of day I’ve been having whenever I meet the mini bear salesperson. As the multi-hyphenate artist revealed, making the LP was a form of healing for her chronic pain, which explains the bright, uplifting production courtesy of Tchami and BloodPop.
Though Scott and Thugger have better collaborations in their collections (“Pick Up The Phone” remains unfadeable), “Out West” picks up where those tracks left off and solidifies the duo’s chemistry as one of the most automatic hit-making tandems in contemporary hip-hop.–A.W.
There's a certain feeling you want from a Strokes song. And the dancing could come from anywhere if you believe in yourself. Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about this passage, which is not unlike Vince Carter poking 360 dunks in Year 20: Good times, no hard times, uh-oh, it’s that timeWe at war, I check my Chopard for the exact timeBang, bang, brrat time, I’m reppin’ Fab FiveFlag high, red, red, red, bloody vampirePlug was a fucking Arabi, it’s no cap, slimeJudge gave me time, I did that time like nap time. 502 songs. Lyric-focused listeners love a song that both contradicts and reaffirms its title, and Dua Lipa’s “Cool” does just that. But this year is different. Because people, I’ve been sad. — Kat Bein. Drake attempts to fill his time in the Windy City with a part-time love over brooding Sevn Thomas and Cadastre-made production.
The track is haunting, given its timely lyrics, but the reality is this is a rallying cry for these atrocities and the half-hearted responses that follow to stop and prompt a revolution. / Gaslighter, you liar," they're offering up a much-needed anthem of righteous catharsis. Indie savior Sufjan Stevens once told stories entrenched in Americana with records like his breakthrough Illinois (although, we are still waiting on those promised records for 48 more states). Gaga collaborator and major producer BloodPop sprinkles down a dance track that eventually hits like lightning, and their two voices are the claps of thunder. The ethereal track “I Want War (But I Need Peace)” details the tiring back-and-forth of a relationship that’s equal parts toxic and intoxicating. And at least acknowledging that we both know the feeling—as Héloïse Letissier sings again and again in the chorus—is some sort of consolation. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group. Joined by tranquil synthesizers and an organ, the R&B singer pours his heart out to a lover, reassuring them that while their relationship is coming to an end, they made each other stronger because of it ("Like you took these strangers and our two strange lives / and made us new / and took us through it / and woke us up"). The title track from his latest album, Fuck the World, smolders with hazy, echoic vocals as the singer lays out his innermost desires. It's a twangy, alt-country diddy and her trembling voice grows verbose as she wrestles with her own self-doubts and reminds herself how freeing it can be to fall for yourself ("And if my bones are made of delicate sugar / I won't end up anywhere good without you / I need your love too"). On “Maniac” — one of the biggest songs off his debut album, Kid Krow — Gray takes us through the rollercoaster of an on-again/off-again lover who talks shit and insists they’re over it, all while begging to get back together. Speaking to his unfaithful partner in a dark and disdainful tone, The Weeknd addresses her infidelity before concluding the root of their issues rests in the starry-eyed city of Los Angeles, a city they must depart for their relationship to thrive.–W.O.
It's called falling for a reason: opening yourself up to someone else and the fear of what could or could not be can feel like pummelling through space without the security of a safe landing. And we love it. —N.M. Emerging Chicago band Beach Bunny is the former bedroom project of frontwoman Lili Trifilio, and recently they blew up, finding success on TikTok.
—Peters, No song can truly capture the experience of sitting indoors for months on end, trying to draw one’s eyes away from the charts that detail how bad this all really is and the videos that detail how so many refuse to accept it. I would guess that this song—what with its opening keys and Beyoncé dragging her voice through hot coals saying she’ll “turn this motherfucker up 800 degrees” and Megan doing that ad-lib she does except but with the confidence of someone who knows she’s standing in the center of the spotlight now—will be the song that stands in the most stark contrast to this horrible, horrible year. Slinky funk grooves, a soaring fall-in-love chorus, and Harry’s sometimes soft, sometimes rough tenor all make this song sound like it’s always existed. —B.B. Even when DaBaby’s heartbroken, the initial premise for “Find My Way,” he can’t fixate on the gloom before noting “I don’t like to play, be done gave a n**** a halo,” and spending the second verse rhyming about a girl who “swallow me up every mornin’ like a vitamin.” If only all of our heartbreaks only lasted about 45 seconds — but that’s why DaBaby is one of a kind, and why we love him.–A.G. Everyone could use a pick-me-up right now, and no band is better to do it than Minneapolis-based indie pop band Early Eyes. Play on Spotify. Now we all need a towel. Paired with a funky bass, "On the Floor" thrives in the erratic, making it so you can't help but move -- you may as well roll around on the ground with Hadreas. Once you see the video for Yves Tumor’s breakout single, it’s impossible not to hear the song as performed by a horned demon. And, listen, I know none of this has anything to do with anything, but that’s kind of the point here. is supposed to have said; “I Contain Multitudes,” a revolving kaleidoscope of couplets and cliches, plays as a thesis statement for more than just Dylan’s late style.
Backed by a light-hearted visual and eventually finding a home on his 2020 tape Sweet Action, Harlow pedals cleanly through the song’s piano-led production with straightforward musings on life as it was for the Louisville spitter.–W.O.
All of that anguish is the subject of indie pop artist Perfume Genius's latest single, taking the form of a dancey bop. NYC-based indie synth-pop artist Porches (AKA Aaron Maine) makes music that feels like it lives in the feeling of leeting out a heavy sigh and laughing to yourself after a long cry. 3:20 0:30. Put this song on, and remind yourself that the next phase is always just around the corner.—C.W. It’s how we’ve gone from the gut-wrenching solo piano of “Learning” to the introduction of percussion on “Hood,” the maximal queer anthem of “Queen,” and the technicolor cannonball of “Slip.” “Nothing At All” is the next entry into Perfume Genius’ continuous reinvention, a song that is built on tension and nuance, with the artist patiently waiting until the song’s second chorus to unveil a vibrant firework display.–P.C. Every person mourns in their own unique way, but the bereaved clod Psychic Graveyard singer Eric Paul invents for “No” is in a league of his very own. It’s an incredible moment within an incredible song, set up by an entire album. And because of that, you can put any of her songs on (but especially “Project Baby”) and you’re not you anymore; you’re where she wants you to be; and it’s a way better place; really, truly, honestly. All four men on “PTSD” are personally intimate with the emotional toll that the cycle of gun violence and grief takes on a psyche. “I Want War (But I Need Peace)” by Kali Uchis. The world fucking sucks. The two Texas acts do their home state proud on the title track, which has all the warmth of the broad Lone Star expanses.–D.R. Maximalist and jittery, with Shygirl exuding a coolness, repeating "I'm too hot for the night," it's a blitz of everything that a club night should be: flirtatious, flashy, and wild. We need more of them. With all apologies to so many deserving tracks—we still love you, the 1975, Noname, and Run the Jewels—these are the 10 best songs of 2020 so far. The renowned soul artist, singing about trying to smash despite being a gamer covered in cat hair, is somehow able to make corniness sexy. Like all of the best Frank Ocean songs, it's tenderly somber, but his serene voice has an ability to make even sad moments feel full of lightness.
Waxahatchee (AKA Katie Crutchfield) makes indie folk that's so beautifully written and sounds so intimate, it makes you feel like you're sitting with her on her Kansas City porch, engaging in a deep conversation.
Lenae’s exquisite vocals float over the breezy guitar-backed track, while the 21-year-old musician subtly settles into an increasingly mature and more intriguing musical aesthetic. Boyz II Men, Big Freedia, Jordin Sparks, & Naughty by Nature, “House Party” Mac Miller — “Good News” A hazy reflection on the fleeting nature of contentment, the lead single … On the title track and for much of the record, The Weeknd (AKA Abel Tesfaye) is back on his bullshit as a man full of ennui whose only source of relief is partying and women, who he subsequently treats as trash. The song sounds like a fantasy -- because it is, chronicling a relationship of unrequited love with a friend -- but Healy's mindless lulling and the sparkling production lets you live there. You don’t want to get clowned by a dude who even jokes about calling himself a “walking lick.” — Max Bell, Torres Describes Harrowing 48 Hours Trying to Return Home, The Viral Countdown: The Race to React to COVID-19, The Cost of Coronavirus: How Young Guv Ended Up Stranded, who would like his Billy Ray “Old Town Road” money now, whose comments her antagonist/dinner date quoted verbatim in the video, United Earth League of Quarantine Aerobics by Chad Matheny, Ariana Grande Delivers Sultry Yet Forgettable R&B on. Luckily, songs like the new "WHEN I GROW UP" off her mixtape WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 can mentally take you there right now. From hip-hop and pop to indie and R&B, these are the best songs of 2020 so far. Run the Jewels' RTJ4 couldn't be more pertinent to the times. “The Scotts’” dark and brooding circus-melody takes the song beyond the realms of today’s popular sound and puts it in an era we’ve yet to hear.–C.J. The trio crafts incredibly anxious post-punk songs, but where their great, understated debut carried a concerned sense of urgency, that jittery energy has turned into an embrace of vulnerability. The world is bad, but music is good. Good seven-minute songs and not nakedly self-indulgent ones, of course—it’d be great if this could not turn out like when we praised narrative music videos for their artistry and then got a rash of maudlin, half-baked “short films” from musicians.
If they’re going down, they’re taking the ruling class with them.–A.W.
The production bumps, elevating her brash, clever bars. British DJ and producer Joel Corry cements his impressive run of form, landing two entries in the singles list with huge 2020 hits: Top 5 single Lonely … Or something. On the song from IAN SWEET, the LA-by-way-of-Boston group, singer Jilian Medford comes to realize that her body is autonomous and strong, after being led to believe it was something she needed to fight against ("How do I start to feel less like a deadly weapon / After you made me believe / I have the sharpest edges"). Maine's production is liquidized and danceable, but he's constantly singing about navigating melancholy. Giveon gracefully stepped foot into the R&B world with a phenomenal appearance on Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle,” returning a short time later with his debut EP, Take Time.
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