If 2020 was a movie (and inevitably, it will be) these would be the songs playing faintly as borders closed, economies fell and humans learned to avoid closeness. Songs you will hear in years to come and be unable to shake the taste of homemade banana bread, or the paranoia that you left your camera on in the zoom call.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stalion - WAP
With the usual abundance of red carpets absent from 2020, celebrities were deprived of the opportunity to compete for a place on Twitter’s trending topics. The awards ceremonies that did proceed, lacking audiences, failed to create the pop-culture shockwaves we’ve grown accustomed to. No meat dress or foam finger could distract from the communal sense of impending doom - making awards shows seem more trivial than ever. Thankfully, rap superstars Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion salvaged the pop-culture landscape to give us something worth talking about. Questionable cameos (why was Kylie Jenner there???) and controversial lyricism (we will never see macaroni in the same way) solidifies WAP’s place as the most iconic single of 2020. From Ben Shapiro’s concerning biology lesson to endless TikTok dance routines, WAP ended the conversational drought in the desert that is 2020.
Lady Gaga featuring Ariana Grande - Rain On Me
Sombre meets celebration in the most heartbreaking release of 2020. An anthem composed for a non socially-distanced, intoxicated and past-curfew club night but instead heard in living rooms. Pop icons Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande team up for this camp power ballad, choosing art as an escape in favour of delaying the release to a more convenient promotional period. Though it may be long before we can dance to this at pride, Gaga departs a shred of wisdom in the meantime: at least we’re alive.
Twin Peaks - End Of Everything (Whistle In The Wind)
Known for their patriotism, the Chicago rock band released this EP during an unmatched period of turbulence for their home city; sky-high corona figures, the trauma and struggle of the BLM movement and an imminent election sure to change the course of America’s future. The eerie tone of their first release this decade evokes the dystopian dread that has woven into the fabric of our lives. Twin Peaks encompass the pandemic experience without making listeners cringe, reflecting the inability for artists to avoid politics in the current landscape.
Phoebe Bridgers - I Know The End
The chaos of 2020 personified, Phoebe Bridgers evokes the spookiness she’s become synonymous with in her much anticipated follow up to debut ‘Stranger In The Alps’. The shift in tempo midway through ‘I Know The End’ mirrors the disorder the world was plunged into in March, while also displaying artistic growth for Bridgers.
Stay Homas - In The End
A refreshing glance on the bright-side; Catalonian roommates ‘Stay Homas’ launched their career from their apartment, amid some of the strictest lockdown restrictions in Europe. Infusing Spanish beats with timely commentary, the three-piece harmonised their way through quarantine all the way to 400,000 followers. Though the song itself is slightly reminiscent of an early, fedora-wearing, sepia-toned music video Bruno Mars, with questionable lyrics such as: “I don’t wanna wear pyjamas, I think I’m going bananas,” Stay Homas disregard the severity of 2020 and vent frustrations of the lost year in a catchy way.