As I was deciding on my favorite songs of the year, the thought occurred to me, “Who would know my favorite songs better than Spotify?” So, after pulling up the “Your Top Songs 2020” playlist generated for me by Spotify according to, I think, simply the number of times I played each song, I have extracted my “official” top 10 songs of 2020. This means that I am only counting songs released in 2020. (If you take a look at the playlist, you’ll notice that many of my most played songs came out in previous years.) One more rule: only one song allowed per artist.
11. Billie Eilish – No Time To Die
Top 40 pop music can do a lot worse than Billie Eilish. I think she has a fantastic voice. The breakdown at the end of “Bad Guy” is really, really cool. But I haven’t listened to her much outside of that. This song was clearly an exception. There’s a perfect amount of the 007 twang to cap off an incredible vocal performance.
10. Bleed From Within – Night Crossing
A pattern that’s going to emerge quickly as we go through this list is that I’ve gotten deeply into metal music. Bleed From Within is a good entry point into the genre for fans of hard rock. I guess what I mean by that is the vocals are discernible and it’s melodic. “Night Crossing” has great riffs and strong energy throughout.
9. Rina Sawayama – XS
I am not the first person to observe this, but Rina Sawayama’s “XS” reminds me of the turn-of-the-millenium pop as seen in Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys. The production really makes the track… pop… more than anything.
8. Suicide Silence – Love Me to Death
For me, it’s the scream. That “love me to DEEEAAAATTTTHHH!!!!” is so impressive. I think these vocals are as jawdropping as Billie Eilish’s, but I suppose you could say for a different reason.
7. Tokyo Incidents – 選ばれざる国民
Guys, you have no idea how happy I was to see Tokyo Incidents reunite out of nowhere. I’m sure they thought they would come back just in time to ride the clout of a likely Olympics performance, but COVID had other plans. The keyboard stabs in this song in-between the clapping beat are the energetic oddball fusion rock that we needed in 2020.
6. Machine Girl – Fully in It
Absolutely one of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite albums of the year. Relentless from start to finish. And that finish! It just builds and builds and builds and then fizzes out gracefully. I love it.
5. Bring Me the Horizon – Dear Diary,
This is only number 5? I guess this is what happens when I let the algorithms do the thinking for me. If it were up to me, “Dear Diary” would be my number 1 favorite song of the year. It came out so late in the year; that must be why it is only number 5 on this list. It’s Bring Me the Horizon sounding as heavy as ever, but with punk energy and strangely relatable lyrics about a man going insane because he’s quarantining from a virus (in this case a zombie virus). The bass riff at the breakdown is incredible, and when the full band kicks in… bro.
4. Protest the Hero – The Canary
I had mixed feelings about Protest the Hero’s latest album, Palimpsest, released this year. The vocals have always been either the best or worst parts of any Protest the Hero song. When Rody Walker finds the right mix of scream and non-cringe lyrics, he’s incredible. “The Canary” was definitely a standout track on the album. That being said, I did kind of hate it when I first heard it. Even now, I think the vocals try to do too much… too many words and melodies crammed into not enough space. But there is no denying that the opening guitar riff is addictive.
3. Satyr – Picayune
The standout track from my favorite album of the year. And it’s a debut album, no less. I adore the mix of melodic and harsh vocals over nonstop djent rhythms. So heavy and melodically addictive.
2. Caligula’s Horse – Slow Violence
A heavy chugger. Great riffs throughout with vocal melodies that reach euphoric heights. Like Bleed From Within, I think Caligula’s Horse is a perfect entryway for fans of rock to get a taste of heavier music.
1. Justin Bieber – Yummy
Okay, this one caught me off guard. But Spotify has spoken. J Bieb’s lyrically barren single “Yummy” is apparently my most played track released in 2020. Maybe it’s the filtery, chill chords and hype trap beat or Justin’s soothing vocals, but this track definitely do got that yummy yum. I make no apologies. I never skip this song when it comes up on shuffle. Shallow as it may be, the production is fire and the melody is just plain fun to sing along to.
Here is the full playlist. As you’ll see, my most listened to songs of the year were not necessarily represented well by the above list.