We are now a few days into 2021 and at the end of that strange week between Christmas and New Year where no one really knows what’s going on…from tomorrow it’s back to reality and time to leave 2020 behind us, so this feels like the last chance to share my favourite tracks from 2020. My top 5 was a lot harder to put together than I expected, especially my top two, but I have to say there have been some incredible songs released over the past 12 months. Below is my top 5 followed by a list of honourable mentions (you can also check out my favourite albums of 2020 here):
5. Radio Cloud – Ruston Kelly
Along with Silver Torches, Maggie Rogers and a whole host of other artists, I only discovered Ruston Kelly in 2020. As a big fan of Americana, I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to listen to Kelly (the first song I heard was his cover of Blink-182’s Dammit from his covers 2019 EP Dirt Emo Vol. 1). His talent extends to songwriting as well as performing, and his 2020 album Shape & Destroy is really great. Radio Cloud is the stand-out track from the album for me and I’m really glad he and his band (comprising mostly of his family!) have opened with this song in 2020 live sessions.
4. Sidechain – Knuckle Puck
Other than Want Me Around I’ve never found myself listening to a Knuckle Puck track (or album) the way I have with other modern pop-punk bands – Neck Deep, WSTR, State Champs – but when they released 20/20 in September I thought I’d give it a listen and see what it had to offer. I’m so glad I did because Sidechain is an absolute gem of a track and had me pressing repeat for weeks. It’s insanely catchy and 100% my favourite pop-punk song of 2020 (sorry Neck Deep!).
3. Wide Eyed Blind – Saint Raymond
What makes this entry unique is that it isn’t picked from an album. Instead, Wide Eyed Blind is one of four singles released in 2020 by Nottingham-born singer-songwriter Callum Burrows, better known as Saint Raymond. I’ve been really impressed with all four singles – Wide Eyed Blind, Solid Gold, Right Way Round and Love This Way – but there is something about Wide Eyed Blind that really hits the mark. The chorus is catchy and smooth, Raymond sounds comfortable and confident, and the production is slick. Very much looking forward to hearing the album ‘We Forgot We Were Dreaming’ in 2021!
2. Like Lightning – Joshua Lee Turner
Even as I write this there’s a part of me that feels guilty for not putting this first, but in the end it has very narrowly missed out. As mentioned in my recent article about Josh Turner (and Carson McKee), I only started listening to him about a year ago. By the time Josh started releasing tracks from Public Life last summer though (he released a new track every Friday in the run up to the full release), I was already hooked and found myself eagerly waiting for each new track. Thinking back to all those Fridays, the day Like Lightning was released is the one that sticks is my mind. It is a phenomenal track with so many layers, beautiful guitar playing and fantastic vocals.
1. Tiny Indoor Fireworks – Biffy Clyro
Biffy Clyro released their eighth (eighth!) album, A Celebration of Endings, in August, and while I don’t follow Biffy too closely it feels like a return to form and has some sensational tracks. Tiny Indoor Fireworks is one of those tracks that just makes me feel something – which is what music should do! I can’t describe that feeling in one word – somewhere between headbanging, smiling and jumping? – but it’s just so good. The drop after the intro is huge, the chorus is insanely catchy, and overall it’s just an amazing track and my favourite song of 2020!
- Race Car Blues – Slowly Slowly
- Look Up – Joy Oladokun
- Change – Pale Waves
- Criss Cross – The Rolling Stones
- Remember That Night? – Sara Kays
- Animals – Architects
- All I Need – Jake Bugg
- Worth It – Beabadoobee
- I See You – Charlie Simpson
- Our Love – Incubus
- Chasing Kites – Georgie
- Ringin’ In My Head – Black Stone Cherry
- Ticket To Ride – Kawala
- Endless – Pinegrove
Comment below with your favourite tracks of 2020 and hope you all have a great 2021!