Legit Bosses: The 125 Best Songs of 2020 (pt.1 #125-#81)

‘Member 2020? Do you really?? I’m not 100% sure 2020 as a year actually took place in any official capacity. I accept that days were marked off and months were filed as ‘complete’ in admin, but it was all just a box ticking exercise to make sure that all the paperwork lined up and we weren’t caught out were the concept of the year twenty twenty be questioned in any future audit. Sure, it happened, just look at that tick of the Excel spreadsheet. Can we move on? Please?

“Fuck it, check off 2021 as well, I’ve got a feeling that’s already a goner…”

While its existence is obviously a hotly debated issue, what’s undeniable is that we saw a shovel load of amazing songs in 2020. Thirteen more than in 2019, in fact, which means that, despite everything, 2020 was actually 14.56% a better year than 2019…? I know, it didn’t seem that way, but the maths doesn’t lie. In every previous year’s Legit Bosses countdown, I was fully confident what was going to finish top before I started writing it. In 2020, however, there were so many massively different but equally stonking songs that I had no idea where it was going to to land when I ranked them last night, the one that ended up on top really surprised me, and- fuck it- I may well change my mind again whie I write this. It’s my fucking list, piss off.

Some of you might remember me previously explaining that the Legit Bosses will be published a little later in the year because I had a big immigration law exam on the 25th February to study for. Well, despite studying like an appropriately legit boss myself, a week before the exam I was rushed to the hospital with ulcerative colitis, which was serious enough for me to be kept in the hospital for eight days, miss the exam and have to reschedule for May. I could have finished this dumb fucking list before New Year Day. Ah well, not to worry, just know that, no matter how fiendishly provocative and titillatingly obtuse my writing predictably, I resent everything about having to write this list and in all honesty despise you for reading it. More after the jump!!

#125 The Men: Cool Water

Mercy‘ was a massively disappointing album. After the swamp rock Bad Seeds Gothic fever dream of ‘Drift‘ had suggested that The men were about to enter an extremely worthwhile stage of their career, perhaps blossoming into something really special, ‘Mercy’ instead confirmed that, no thank you, we’d much rather retreat back into stodgy garage rock, thanks all the same. The album begins with a hesitant promise of far better though, with Cool Water’s unashamed retrograde not able to take away from its overwhelming beauty

#124 Janelle Monae: Mr President

George W Bush! That’s the president she’s addressing on this 2008 song! Was that really only 13 years ago?? I’m pretty sure that’s some pre-history shit and nobody was alive back then. Or at least, if you were one of the swathes of Muslims across the globe falsely accused of terrorism on beyond spurious charges, you’re not likely to bebalive back then. Too soon?

Oh, and while I’m here- George W Bush was an absolutely horrendous president who was largely responsible for setting off an illegal ideological war that still continues to this day and is the root cause of most of the planet’s ills. Let’s not treat him like some respectable elder statesman because he’s not as rude to Will.I.Am on Twitter as Donald Trump. Trump fucked up America, perhaps in the long term as well as the short, but George W Bush fucked up the world. Know your enemies.

#123 Princess Nokia: I Like Him

Much as I enjoyed the two albums released last year by the assumed daughter of the monarch ruler of the independent state of Nokia, I feel like- the undoubtedly brilliant- I Like Him points to my main barrier to aggressively squeezing the songs into my bloodstream like I have previous career highs such as ‘A Girl Cried Red‘. The production values are up, Sovereign Nokia looks and sounds amazing, the lyrical concern are often that little bit more… basic… than before… It’s an obvious grasp at wider acceptance, and hey, she deserves it, I just worry that it’s leading to a sad dampening of the thrilling edges of an artist whose last record cover was her flipping the bird in a Slipknot hoodie.

Yeah, I know, I said that she was the Princess of a state called ‘Nokia’, which really doesn’t make sense. It’s her name, I know, it was a cheap joke and I promise I’ll do better. Princess Diana wasn’t married into the royal lineage of the sovereign state of ‘Diana’, was she? Although, funnily enough, during her 1985 state visit to the USA she did actually visit the town of Diana in Lewis County, New York. Jennie Bond reported to the Telegraph that the Princess thought the place was “A bit fucking pointless”. True story.

#122 Psalm One x Optics: What I Get for Being Brilliant

Get ready for a lot of Psalm One on this countdown, with the Chicago rapper releasing two fantastic albums with the reformed Big $ilky and keeping a steady schedule of banging standalones. What I Get for Being Brilliant is a fabulously cocky and frequently hilarious eyeroll of a track. Produced by Optics, but I couldn’t find him or her on Twitter, so let’s just accept that they don’t exist.

#121 Lady Gaga: 1000 Doves (Piano Demo)

God damnit! I put so much effort into carefully cultivating this careful image of a cooler than thou music arsehole who sneers at conventions and rolls his dreamy eyes [EDITORIALISING – PLEASE REMOVE] at the pathetic interests of the dreaded unwashed general public, but then I hear a booming ballad like 1000 Doves– particularly the lone piano version- and I just melt like the most pathetic simp. Hey, 1000 Doves, do you have an OnlyFans? I’d be really interested in signig up. Fuck it, I’ll sign up 1000 times. One for each dove.

#120 The Guilty Pleasures: Alice

Yeah, yeah, the song’s brilliantly bonkers, but the important thing here is that the band is called ‘The Guilty Pleasures’! Like, dudes, it’s 2021, surely that name has already been taken by now?!

Turns out, yeah, a fucking lot of bands have that name, meaning it’s impossible to find the actual Guilty Pleasures that I’m referring to. I just don’t get these people, do they just not care about Twitter mentions??

#119 Rhiannon Giddens: Don’t Call Me Names

Boooooooooooooooooooooo-yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! As part of Our Native Daughters Giddens was partially responsible or one of 2019’s most notable and most dang banging albums, but just in case anybody was under the impression that she was chiefly some sort of musical archivist wholly concerned with respectfully cataloguing historically notable musical genres, she blasts forth with a deliciously angry feminist soul stomper.

#118 Soccer Mommy: Stain

It’s quite hard to put your finger on what exactly it is that Sophia Allison has. What exactly is the spark that marks her out? Why has this acoustic singer songwriter gained so much attention? She isn’t breaking any ground musically, she’s yet to chance upon any real crossover hit, you’d be hard pressed to decide which song to play someone to introduce them to some poor bastard at a party who you’ve managed to trap in the corner near the CD collection. It is, absolutely conclusively, not the name.

Stain is an example of what Ms Allison has managed to carve out for herself, it stands alone as a justification for the attention and as proof of her unique talent. She may be an acoustic guitar botherer utilising the standard singer-songwriter tropes, but having grown up in the early 00s her influences aren’t the usual suspects of four bearded blokes singing songs about committing statutory rape in a diner in Tennessee. Allison instead gets her lyrical inspiration from alt-rock and even nu-metal, and the lyrics to Stain could be in a sodding Linkin Park song:

But you pulled me close

And went through me like a ghost

And I hate the things

That you trapped inside my throat

How you made me feel

With your words, like chloroform

And I hate the taste

That it puts into my mouth

Now I’m always stained

Like the sheets at my parents house

Yeah, I’m awfully stained

And it’s never coming out

Yeah, I’m always stained

It’s a match that’s been burned down

I personally wonder how much leverage Ms Mommy can get out of the basic acoustic rock that she still trades in, and I hope that album three shows a little more ambition musically, but for now, it’s fine, call of your private detectives, believe the hype. Just about…

#117 Drab City: Troubled Girl

Drab City have got it. And they’d get it, knowarramsayin’? The band has the presence, the look, the attitude, the freaking everything!

Well, almost everything, they don’t quite have the songs yet. Their debut album didn’t contain near enough highlights to equal the undeniable amazingness of the band. But, who gives a shit? Songs are easy, they’ll come eventually, and the gorgeously woozy Troubled Girl is proof of what the band are capable of.

#116 Backxwash: Black Magic

Blimey…

I love Backxwash. I love her because I think there should always be a place in this world for a Zambian born Canadian native transgender black metal rapper who is willing to narrate the horrors of life as a black person in the 2020s west and isn’t afraid to make sure the music suits the message. Black Magic is actually a relatively serene example of her modus operandi but, yeah, you’ll still need a sit down afterwards. What, you think this shit should be easy??

I also love her because she puts an ‘X’ in ‘backwash’. So easy to find on Twitter…

#115 Stormzy: Wiley Flow

Hey, you know what? Good for Stormzy. Congrats for all your success, you’ve… earned it…? You’ve earned it as much as anyone’s earned it. Well done on the Glastonbury headline, quite an achievement. Apparently, you’re worth twenty million pounds, which is not to be sniffed at. We’re both British, so we understand that the fact that you have money makes you incomparably superior to me, and I am more than ready to bow my head and do your bidding as you avoid taxes and engage in corrupt business dealings to keep yourself and your close group of friends richer than me. That’s cool, I get it, big respect.

The thing is though…he’s not that good, is he? He’s an extremely accomplished MC and has an admirable presence, but his songs are far too often dull lists of his achievements over a basic garage/grime beat. Is it garage/grime?? I feel like they were genres about 20 years ago, and I imagine this kind of music has a far more up to date name now like ‘scuttuz’ or ‘grimmlakin’. I’m not very cool.

Wiley Flow, however, seems to justify the hype for a good three minutes, with Stormzy stripping down his sound which is too often swamped with bells birthing out whistles, and cuts a great rhyme about… Well, yeah, about how much better he is than everyone else and how much he’s achieved. But it works here, honest!

Is it actually aimed at Wiley? I like Wiley…

#114 Bon Iver: Blood Bank (Live Ericsson Globe, Stockholm SE, Oct 31 2018)

Iver the Engine injects some much appreciated gall bladders/大胆子 into a live performance included on the rereleased EP.

#113 Manic Street Preachers: Wrote for Luck

Listen, keep it to yourselves, but there’s going to be quite a few Manic Street Preachers songs on this list. I’m sorry, I can’t help it, they just happened to have rereleased an unfairly maligned classic with a shitload of the greatest songs the Manics ever released (when Manics fans voted for the band’s greatest track, ‘GATS’ accounted for 25% of the top 20) and so therefore some of the greatest rock songs ever released, period. What, I’m supposed to just ignore that??

Wrote for Luck though… yeah, it’s like 74% here because it’s a curio, and the very idea of one of the most literate, thoughtful and- yes- frequently pretentious bands covering a banging tune by The Happy Mondays that literally contains the line “I don’t read/I just guess” is just too delicious to ignore.

#112 Dua Lipa: Boys Will Be Boys

The final song of Lipa’s rightfully lauded ‘Future Nostalgia‘ is on the surface simply a undoubtedly rousing proto-feminist anthem in the vein of one of those Cyndi Lauper songs called things like Chickbeat or Boob Big To Fail or A Muzzle for Melastomus, the Cynical Baiter of, and Foul-mouthed Barker Against Eve’s Sex. Or An Apologetical Answer to that Irreligious and Illiterate Pamphlet Made by Jo. Sw. And By Him Entitled, “The Arraignment of Women”. Dua Lipa isn’t interested in empty celebrations of ‘girl power’ or ‘vulva aptitude’, Boys Will Be Boys is actually an angry and exasperated lament of the lengths women are forced to adapt their very existence simply to suit the behaviours of men:

It’s second nature to walk home before the sun goes down

And put your keys between your knuckles when there’s boys around

Isn’t it funny how we laugh it off to hide our fear?

When there’s nothing funny here

It’s a starkly conscious and political track wrapped inside the trojan horse of power pop. More of this, please.

#111 Boy Romeo: Ease Into Me

‘Boy Romeo’ is another name you’d swear would have been taken by now, isn’t it? Well, Chicago’s Boy Romeo has it tied down, and due to lack of other evidence I have to assume it’s his birth name. Another essential alumni of Z Tapes records, which you’re probably sick of me going on about now, and Ease Into Me is about as close to a perfect pop earworm as you’re likely to hear. Only… is this a filthy song…? Is this one of those naughty sex songs that my mum has always warned me about…? “I’m bending down tonight/Ease into me”? He’s talking about a willy, isn’t he??

#110 Amanda Palmer & Rhiannon Giddens: It’s a Fire

Is Rhiannon Giddens the first artist to feature twice so far? Maybe, who knows? There is literally no possible way of me checking. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of supergroup I can get behind, as the geniuses behind 2019’s 29th and 14th best albums combine in an absolutely gorgeous symphonic epic. Also, wins points for incorporating face masks into the artwork, which is a trick far too many artists missed. ‘Breathe on, sister/Breathe on’? A little close to the bone?

#109 Halsey: Clementine

OK, we may have a problem here- Clementine is an absolutely astonishing piece of work, and the fact that it’s as low at number 109 suggests that I’ve badly fudged the numbers here, or there were an unbelievable amount of great songs last year if no less than one hundred and eight are better than this slice of wonky pop genius. I mean, I hope it’s the latter, and I know there were a scandalously high amount of killer songs released in 2020. I worry that the fact that I’ve taken a dislike to Halsey as a person may have slightly coloured my response to her (largely marvellous) album, and lead me to slightly disregard high points like Clementine. We’ll find out soon enough- if numer 108 is inferior to Clementine, then the whole list is going to have to be invalidated, ideally with gasoline…

#108 Teyana Taylor: We Got Love ft. Ms. Lauryn Hill

Mmmmmmmmmmmyeah, just about…

I do worry about Taylor being left to her own devices. When she was working with Kanye West, they produced the wonderfully succinct ‘K.T.S.E‘, an album which was roughly 78 seconds long but despite the brevity still produced two of the best songs of 2018. Left dangerously unsupervised though, Teyana produced the bloated and meandering ‘The Album‘, which is 364 songs long, clocks in at one week, three days, seven hours and forty two minutes in run time. It begins with the real recording of Teyana giving birth on her bathroom floor, and obviously out of respect then never offers anything anywhere near as exciting for the remainder of the album’s 14’862 minutes.

Until the last song. Which is brilliant. And, erm, also a semi-cover of one of the highlights from Kanye West’s unreleased album ‘Yandhi‘. I’m not saying anything…

#107 Frankie Valet: Wilt

Boom. We’ll be visiting with The Valets again, as ‘Waterfowl‘ contains numerous slices of joyously jagged punky pop, of which the gorgeous Wilt is just one example.

#106 Psalm One: Cult of Ye

More Kanye! Mr West has now elevated to such an omnipresent circle of celebrity that he can not release a single piece of music in 2020 and sill get as much mentions of this countdown as any other artist. Well, only as much as Psalm One, whose second entry on this list is a cool and measured suggestion that we might be better off questioning who we idolise. And that, yes, sometimes cancelling is the best action. How many pro-cancellation pop songs did we get in 2020? Honestly, not that many…

I’m not sure I buy into the equivocation of Kanye West- who said a lot of dumb things- with R Kelly – who is awaiting trial on 18 charges of child sexual exploitation, child pornography production, kidnapping, forced labour, racketeering, and obstruction of justice– and [CENSORED] who did [LOTS OF CENSORED THINGS], but then she spits the line “Freak of the week is a sponsorship/Fuck me in the ass let the condom slip” and I really don’t care anymore.

#105 Age (The Age): What Decade Is This?

Jesus, tell me about it…

#104 C.O.W. 牛: Cringe Lords

Wow, I’m really laying into Triple H today…

Hey, whatever happened to good, solid dance music? I know I droned on about this in my ‘review’ of C.O.W. 牛‘s album, but I wannit I wannit I wannit!! There seems to be a sad decline of dance music’s middle class, between the mindless Balearic beats asking you to take a fucking selfie, and the Pitchfork appraised 12 minute mood pieces composed entirely using the refrigerated souls of dead pigeons by an Eastern European with a name you can neither pronounce, spell, or even look at. At least C.O.W. 牛 are trying their best, with Cringe Lords being what I’d comfortably describe as a ‘middle class dance banger’.

See that sign, ‘牛’? It’s pronounced ‘niu’. It means ‘cow’. Yeah, I can speak a bit of Chinese, wanna have sex with me?

#103 Banoffee: Fuckwit

Shit, that’s it! That’s the reason I could never let myself tumble arse over nipple into infatuation with Halsey- in 2020, Banoffee released her debut album, sold roughly 0.043% the amount Halsey’s ‘Manic’ did, garnered roughly 0.0000708% of the attention, and actually the Autralian does everything that Halsey does just that little bit better. So it’s just good old fashioned bitterness that’s acting as a barrier to me enjoying Halsey! Phew, thought I was being weird.

Fuckwit acts as a good case in point- compare it to Clementine, Halsey’s 109 entry. It’s a similar pitch, similar key, similar lyrical concerns of loss and alienation and of trying to rise above shitty situations… Fuckwit is just better though, isn’t it…?

#102 Corporation Pop: Seven Miles South

I might have remarked how few songs in 2020 were willing to sing the praises of cancel culture, but even rarer still perhaps are sardonic (yet still oddly affectionate) paeans to Stockport, one of Greater Manchester’s most mid ranking satellite towns, “The right side of the Pennines/But the right side of the Mersey….Welcome to Stockport/Spiritual home of universally low self esteem”. Also, “I can’t come out tonight/Because my brother’s got my coat” might actually be 2020’s most relatable line.

#101 Wicket: I Don’t Know, Burn Stuff

Do songs get on this list by virtue of their title alone?

No, of course not, and I’m offended that you would question my integrity so, this banger by Wicket would almost land in the top 10 even if it was called Not My President , Hilary Clinto Sucks Blood on Paedo Island.

I’m just saying, if I did rank them that way, it’d definitely be high…

#100 Charli XCX: detonate

Into the top 100! Seriously, this fucking list has taken me four days so far, start taking bets on whether it’ll be finished before COVID-19. Talking of Coronavirus, because I am above everything else a musical journalist and my Mum says that I need to mention contemporary things that are going on more less people assume I’m a bot, are we all agreed that Charli XCX’s ‘how i’m feeling now’ is the official companion piece to 2020’s lockdown? If historians in the far off fucture, after climate change has ravaged the Earth and the few survivors manage to survive by exchanging kidney stones as currency in exchange for lumps of decaying moss to suckle on for substance- as far in the future at maybe 2023 – then if they wanted to have a snapshot of how skittish and dangerously understimulated people were in 2020, and yet encounter an example of what amazing things the most enterprising humans managed to create under such oppressive conditions, then songs like detonate are all they’d really need.

They’d have to find, like, a CD player or some shit though, wouldn’t they? Christ, dude, the future sucks!!

#99 Koreatown Oddity: Ginkabiloba

Mmmmmmm, hmmmmm, mmmmmm-mm-mmmm, mmmm… This tracks both slaps and fucks, I have no idea what a ‘ginkabiloba’ is, but please hook it straight into my veins.

#98 Louis Holding: Party Dysmorphia

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey! How about this?? This has to be some kind of record? Or at least something that I will ask our overworked, child trafficked Indonesian admin workers to carve a section into the stone tablet, that takes up so much space in their cramped basement office, and officially mark it down as a ‘Notable Necessary Evil Event’. Louis Holdng’s outstanding Party Dysmorphia– which if there were any justice would really be considered one of this generation’s greatest laments to the empty despair and disappointments of so many social gatherings- was ranked 92 back in 2018 when it first appeared on his original debut album. Now, with added production finesse and an even more appropriately lonely echo that places it even closer to the Smiths’ How Soon Is Now, it’s improved immeasrably and takes a place on the year’s best songs once again! Finishes lower though, because as we’ve discussed 2020 was actually a really amazing year and shits all over 2018. I mean, what happened in 2018?? We spent the entire 12 months debating the size of Pete Davidson’s penis! The year was a total fucking write-off!!

#97 Hallelujah the Hills: It Still Floors Me

“Did I clean the house? Yeah, I mean, not spotless, CLEAN clean, like, but clean enough…”

I still haven’t decided whether I like Hallelujah the Hills, for all the reasons I lyrically and some would say intensely erotically pointed out in my review, but bah gahd, when they hit it they absolutely bonk it out of the fucking park with their twelve foot long penis. It Still Floors Me is one of their most inarguable home runs, one of the most gorgeous songs you’re likely to hear, and the fact it barely scrapes the top 100 is yet more proof of quite how much astonishing music there was in 2020.

“Sometimes I did/Drugs that I found on the floor”. You know how I said Corporation Pop had the year’smost relatable lyric? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

#96 Marissa Nadler: Nothing Else Matters

Hey, it’s El Nadderano* doing another pone of her achingly beautiful covers of an early 90s rock classic. Just shut up and take my anus.

(*Don’t you ever, ever call her that)

#95 Bryce Kepner: Callin My Name

Listen, a lot of 2020’s best songs will take your mind and emotions on quasi traumatic rides through psycho-emotional hells that your very being will likely never recover from, exposing you to sounds and experiences that you never previously imagined possible, before you’ve even considered the legality of what you’re being subjected to. However, other songs are just freaking lovely, and the opening track from the Arizona native’s ‘Certain Memories‘ was one of 2020’s loveliest.

#94 Sharon van Etten (feat. Norah Jones): Seventeen

Holy lax eligibility criteria, Batman! It’s happened again! Move over Louis Holding (#98), as here comes Sharon van Etten also rerecording a previous Legit Boss and manging a new entry in a later year. The original Seventeen though- as we all should freaking know by now and I am well informed is already being taught in virtual schools instead of less contemporaneously relevant subjects such as foreign languages, geography or science- is an absolute stone cold modern classic already, and finished as high as 19 in last year’s Legit Bosses. Enlisting the world’s second most famous Norah doesn’t improve the song, per se, but it’s a completely different and welcome take on it. And, by God, it’s just good to hear it again, isn’t it?

#93 Frankie Valet: Try Not To Think

More amazingness from Frankie Valet, because they’re a rock band that amazingness so freely gushes from so many open pores.

#92 Glass Animals feat. Denzel Curry: Tokyo Drifting

Listen, everyone, I know– the lyrics are as nonsensical and borderline obnoxious as the rest of the album, and there are whiffs of the hyper stylised kitchen sink being humped while substance crouches over in the corner sad an neglected, but even under the stodgy circumstances the band can still produce mainline bangers like Tokyo Drifting, with a Denzel Curry verse better than roughly 65% of ‘Zuu’.

Shame it’s named after the worst Fast and Furious movie, ammi right?? Or is it the best? Don’t pretend you have any idea.

#91 And So I Watch You From Afar: Radaghast

Oh my fucking God this freaking song is everything I’ve ever wanted to be!! Not even top ninety! Perhaps ASIWYFA’s artistic highpoint thus far, a tiny toe stepped out of the thrash metal tumble dryer that the band often inhabit in order to wet their extremities in euphoric post-punk. I’d change my religion for less!And my religion is Latvian Latter Day Satanists, which is a fucker to leave!

What’s a ‘radaghast’? I’ll be honest, my research has been largely left wanting. There’s a Radagast in Lord of the Rings, but my former band are far too cool for that nerdy shit, yeah? There’s also a Chilean power metal band named ‘Radaghast‘, who got their name from… erm… the JR Tolkein character. “This band’s name is just a variation on the correct way to spell the name.”. Bullshit! I want better than that! Also, the band Radaghast really need to to pull their fingers out, they’ve been active since 1997 but have only ever released an EP in 2001 and an album in 2004. None of that wizard shit, let’s just say that the bass guitarist from ASIWYFA went to school with a kid called ‘Radaghast’, who once vomited in morning assembly so explosively that that morning’s milk squirted out of his nose a good eight foot and unforgettably interrupted the vicar’s morning sermon. It’s one of the bassist’s most cherished memories. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Fucking Lord of the fucking Rings. Gimme a fucking break…

#90 Algiers: We Can’t Be Found

Yeah, I know, I already used that picture in my album review, but I’m just really chuffed with how perfect it is.

Wasn’t that an amazing moment?? When Sting debuted in AEW?? Proper chills up your spine shit, yeah?? Yeah?? Ammi right???

Jesus, why do I even bother trying to communicate with such philistines?

#89 Dua Saleh: body cast

OK, tone shift, are you ready? Strapped in? Good: screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech

Dua Saleh is one of the most inventive, interesting, intriguing and goshdarnit potentially important artists currently working. I can’t think of many artists that I have higher hopes for, as I truly believe that her full length debut, whanever that emerges, really has the potential to crossover and be something really quite important.

body cast is just a heart stopping example of Saleh’s uncommon talent, released at the height of the international George Floyd disgust in June 2020, it’s unabashed, bare and bracingly brutal:

Lately I’ve had plaster on my mind

County ain’t on shit they got bodies on the line

Lately I’ve been analyzing time

Y’all been dodging cameras like they bullets over crime

Lately all my rations turn to wine

Throwing back them bottles ’til our traumas all align

Lately I’ve been coughing up the rhymes

Throwing middle fingers like they hopping number 9

It’s even more telling that the song was originally written in response to two black men, Jamar Clark and Philando Castile, being shot by police back in 2015 and 2016, five years before near identical events would move the issueto the front of the world stage. The single cover needs no explanation.

#88 Charli XCX: claws

Charli XCX released the tenth best record of 2020, which we’ve already agreed is the most historically important record of our age. claws is the album highlight and an absolute hyperpop gem. This is the last we’ll hear of Ms XCX, and there are eighty seven better songs. What a year.

#87 Big $ilky: BTW

Psalm One gets her hat-trick, this time with her partner (in every sense)  Angel Davanport, as they resurrect a previously defunct rap combo to create some of the greatest hip-hop going in 2020. Spoiler alert, there will be more, so I’m being careful not to spurt all my admiration juice early doors. BTW is amazing, but you’ll soon learn that’s barely worth commenting on hen it comes to Big $ilky.

#86 Holy Golden: Strength

This absolutely perfect psych pop epic has freaking two hundred and forty nine views on YouTube. Can you all sort that out? Thanks.

#85 Meta Girl: Anam Cara

When the wonderful ‘the woods‘ album was released, I ran a typically hard hitting and incisive interview with the artist, Aqua Girl. We talked about how she had retconned the cover of her debut album since its release, and I wondered if that was even allowed. Turns out, she had only just begun fucking with me, and by the time I was awarding her the 21st best album of 2020, she’d changed her whole fucking name to ‘Meta Girl’!

Fuck it though, when that chorus kicks in on Elora Driver’s artistic highpoint up to this point, you really couldn’t give a shiny shite. Call yourself what you want, just keep it coming.

The way she sings “I feel complete… neyow…” That’s all I ever want.

#84 Princess Nokia: Gross

Brilliant, brilliant song, but can you see what I mean about there being something missing from the whole Princess Nokia persona?? Like, do you really believe that she’s grosser than those hoes (and that it shows)?

#83 Big $ilky: Hurricane Jane

OK, this is just getting ridiculous now, Psalm One just got her hat-trick on 2020’s list, and now the opening track from ‘Big $ilky Vol. 2‘ nets her a fourth entry, which… There isn’t even a word for! Is this her quadrilogy…?

Big $ilky Vol. 1‘ was released back in those heady days of April 2020, and was a perfect, silky smooth accompaniment to dancing around your kitchen making banana bread as you patiently waited for this short term lockdown to pass so you could enjoy those Wimbledon tickets you’d bulk bought. ‘Vol.2’, however, came out in July, when shit had well and truly had time to- in the esteemed words of Jonathan Swift- get proper balls to the wall fucked up. The album pitches its tone perfectly, and is a justifiably incensed assessment of the state of the nation/world. Is opening track is as ‘light’ as it gets, still fitting the tone but further proof that Big $ilky always have a banger in them.

#82 Frankie Valet: Engulfed

Frankie Valet are so good, you guys!! The wonderfully crazed Engulfed completes the ‘Waterfowl’ hat-trick, and is the last we’ll hear of them.

#81 Future: Trapped in the Sun

I

Fucking

Love

Future.

Don’t ask me to explain it. Seriously, I kind of already did. I’m a fat old ginger white bloke with serious intestinal issues. Future…. is not that… Like, not any of those things. I mean, I haven’t spoken to his doctor, but I think I can assume, no? Still he frequently makes magic, he won this whole thing in 2017, and he may well win it again in the future. Ha! Future! Like his name be! Awesome…

Yeah, this is going to have to be at least three parts, see all you weirdos soon

I guess I can give you the links to the Spotify and YouTube playlists now…? See what happens there…

x

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