2020 has been a year full of the unexpected. With the whole world in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only way we’ve been able to stay sane and get through this period in our lives is through music.
Luckily artists have been rolling out some of the best pop releases that we’ve heard in the last couple of years. There is a real shift in accepting vulnerability and finding an empowerment in being one with your emotions, which is honestly so exciting.
We’ve just crossed the halfway mark for 2020, so ThomasBleach.com has compiled a list of our favourite tracks so far. Check the countdown out BELOW;
15. Lauv – Modern Loneliness
‘Modern Loneliness’ is honestly the perfect anthem for the new social media fuelled generation. Taken from his impressive debut album ‘How I’m Feeling’, he opens up about his depression and how he constantly feels lonely even though he’s always surrounded by friends on this journey.
The production gradually builds and evolves from a simple piano ballad with finger snaps incorporated in the hook before a groovy guitar riff and pop beat adds to the depths this song explores and explodes a rightfully anthemic production.
It’s a song that you just want to hear a crowd singalong to because it’s such a powerful and honest commentary on modern day society and the anxieties we all face.
14. Doja Cat – Boss Bitch
Doja Cat has quickly become one of the most talked about new acts in the world and it’s all thanks to TikTok. Following the huge success of ‘Say So’, everyone is now discovering what this Californian singer, songwriter and rapper has been doing for the past couple of years.
‘Boss Bitch’ is the only new song to have come from Doja Cat so far this year and it’s all thanks to the Birds Of Prey Soundtrack.
The sassy anthem immediately grabs your attention and will have you obsessing over her infectious chorus that hears her proclaiming; “I’m a bitch, I’m a boss. I’m a bitch and boss and I shine like gloss”. An absolute anthem.
13. E^ST – I Wanna Be Here
‘I Wanna Be Here’ is a very special pop track that encourages you to embrace a sentiment of hope in your darkest moments. It’s something that isn’t easy to do while stuck inside your thoughts but it is something that is very important to do because life is worth living and is worth fighting for.
“I don’t really feel that much right now. I wish I could change that up somehow. I wanna feel like I’m flying. I’ll just keep on trying everything now until I don’t wanna die, and I wanna be here” she sings during the candidly honest chorus.
Contrasting the heavy emotions and the hopeful sentiment with an upbeat and euphoric production, she channels an energy that is reminiscent of Lorde’s ‘Green Light’. With a similar key progression during the chorus, she tackles an unconventional pop structure which is very DIY and exciting to listen to. Then exploding with a big synth breakdown, there is a pure euphoria that exudes every bit of hope you need to keep fighting in your own personal battles.
12. Tkay Maidza – Shook
‘Shook’ may just be Tkay Maidza’s best release yet. It’s a song that immediately grabs your attention from the moment the big band intro slides into her classic hip-hop hook.
The hype track hears her getting a little cheeky and feeling empowered while finding a confidence that she proclaims has got everyone “shook”.
Produced by frequent collaborator Dan Farber, they’ve honed a sound that feels so authentic to her artistry. The beat has a nostalgic feel to it which enhances the euphoric vibe it creates. It also sounds polished and like it belongs on American hip-hop radio, where songs like this deserve to have their own platform.
With more new music on the incoming, I have a feeling she may even have another song in the countdown by the end of the year.
11. Eves Karydas – Complicated
‘Complicated’ is the first taste of what’s to come from Eves Karydas following the release of her debut album ‘summerskin’ in 2018. The playful track explores a self diagnosed inferiority complex which hears her citing a feeling of general inadequacy and seeking validation from people, which is something that we can all relate to falling into the trap of.
Following the lead with the DIY alt-pop palette that her debut album was soaked in, she layers all of these innovative and polished sounds to create something that feels fresh and euphorically engaging.
From the rhythmic beat, to the festival ready hook, and the bell ding that catches you off guard, she smoothly intertwines these ideas and gives you a song that you won’t be able to get out of your head for days. I mean, “When did everything here get so fucking complicated?” is a a giant mood.
10. LPX – New Mood
The aptly titled ‘New Mood’ captures the raw essence of who LPX is as an artist, and will have you wanting to run around in circles in a mosh pit while screaming every word as passionately as she does.
The New York singer-songwriter continues to open up her soul through candid lyrics that detail her inner-monologue, and through ‘New Mood’ she details the process of learning to let go and the emotional release it can have.
With deeply personal lyrics like; “I wish that I could just move forward, instead of being an emotional hoarder” she will encourage you to break free from your overthinking mind and be at one with your emotions and live in that moment.
The song has this raw energy that is lifted by the crunching guitars and smashing drums that builds up the electricity that runs through from start to finish. It’s a captivating listen and a great anthem for this strange year.
9. Navvy – Pieces
Stepping into a Robyn inspired sonic, ‘Pieces’ hears Navvy getting even more experimental with her sound and giving you a moment of euphoric emotional release.
Reflecting on the liberating strength of finding yourself after a breakup, this song embraces that reflective confidence that happens post heartbreak, while still combining raw vulnerability and addressing the heavy emotions that she did feel beforehand.
Opening the song with a brief look at the past she sings about the future she saw with them and as she reaches the chorus she unveils that they broke her heart and left her feeling out of breath, but now she’s got her pieces together again and ready to celebrate.
With pulsating synths creeping through the opening moments of the song, the production bursts with slick pop beats, vocoder and a rhythmically charged structure. It’s a beautiful and liberating moment of euphoric release.
8. Ella Eyre – New Me
From the opening quirks of “Ella ain’t here issa new me”, you will be immediately drawn into the sassy and empowering soundscape that this powerful return for Ella Eyre embraces.
Reflecting on the end of a relationship, she puts a spotlight on that feeling of discovering your inner-confidence and inner-self again which is so euphoric. She’s unapologetically herself and embraces the empowering stance that she is surrounding this song with.
Sonically taking inspiration from Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’ and ‘Mabel’s ‘Don’t Call Me Up’, she turns the sass all the way up and delivers bold rhythmic synths and percussion. Continually adding layers, this song keeps on building to be one hell of A MOMENT.
7. 5 Seconds Of Summer – Wildflower
From a first listen of 5 Seconds Of Summer’s fourth studio album ‘CALM’, it was the song ‘Wildflower’ that had me feeling immediately excited from the potential hit status it could reach.
Opening with a transcendent vocal harmony, they dive into this minimalistic guitar riff with steady hand claps before exploding into a hook full with 80’s nostalgia. The slick guitar and fresh synthesiser will have you living for the lighter and uplifting side they have to their artistry. And don’t even get me started on the playful layering of vocals with Luke Hemmings’ seductive roll of the words “Tell you what I like”.
It’s a song that doesn’t get old and still feels fresh and exciting with every listen.
6. The Pussycat Dolls – React
The Pussycat Dolls are truly the comeback act of the year, and it’s so exciting to have them back!
At its core ‘React’ is a quintessential Pussycat Dolls song. It’s seductively fresh, infectiously catchy and has a retrospective dance element that will immediately have you ready to break the choreography out on the dance floor.
For the production of the song, they haven’t stepped too far away from the material they were delivering at the height of their career. It builds in that nostalgia factor into the heart of the song without being too gimmicky or obvious. Instead they just focus on doing what they’ve always done and that is create a brilliant pop moment that is ready to climb the charts and sit on heavy rotation at radio.
The song is a playful exploration of the mind-games we play when we flirt with someone that we’re interested in. And unsurprisingly the PCD girls capture that seductive taunting so well with the captivating hook.
5. Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyonce – Savage
Megan Thee Stallion is another music industry success story that TikTok has elevated. ‘Savage’ is already the social media song of the year and she gave it a refreshed outlook with one of the most surprising collaborations of the year.
With Beyonce stepping on the track and giving one of her most iconic verses ever, the song is a playful, sassy and confident anthem that you want to hear all day to pump you up when you’re feeling down.
From the first listen you will be hooked and ready to press replay over and over again.
4. G Flip – Hyperfine
‘Hyperfine’ is one of G Flip’s strongest releases yet, and it’s one that you won’t be able to shake out of your head for days, weeks and even months.
Inspired by the communication break downs in her own relationship, ‘Hyperfine’ normalises those feelings and complications and just pleads for a better understanding of what the other person is thinking to help strengthen their foundations.
Opening with a high pitched “hyperfine” sample, she dives into a moody and brooding synth gradient that feels reminiscent of Banks’ catalogue. But as she heads into the chorus she unveils a groovy layering of guitars, bass and drums to give listeners the ultimate festival singalong.
The hook is immediately catchy and something that you just want to passionately scream along to as an emotional release. Highlighting the light and shade of the raw vulnerability in the subject matter, she fittingly strips it all back to the piano demo before the final chorus. This gives listeners a fresh reminder of the emotions before giving them one final euphoric release.
3. Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me
With the word coming out that Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande were working together, ’Rain On Me’ quickly became one of the most hyped collaborations of the year. Ageing like fine wine, this song impresses every time you hear it.
Embracing an empowering stance, the song looks at opening up the backlog of tears that have been weighing Gaga down, and finding confidence in not being afraid to let it all out.
The production is bold and other worldly. With it’s floor filler drop, its so large and anthemic and has so many different layers to it. The experimental nature of the song is something that isn’t always embraced on commercial radio and it’s so exciting to hear this song being embraced as well as it has.
2. Jack Garratt – Better
With the goal of creating an album for people who like to dance but don’t necessarily want to go out on a Saturday night, Jack Garratt’s highly anticipated sophomore record ‘Love, Death & Dancing’ is an album that beautifully touches on mental health and also makes you want to dance and smile.
‘Better’ which is an anthem about the end of times that kind of feels super relatable right now. With so much negativity in the world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic with all the information and hard truths being laid on you that you just want to escape. And that escapism is what this song explores.
Beginning the song with a glitchy EDM sample of someone saying “hey, I think you’re really cool. I like you a lot” on repeat, he erratically changes the pace by implementing a prominent indie-rock guitar riff in the first verse. He then changes the sonic again for the chorus with a pop-dance beat that explodes with pure euphoria.
His sound is always genre pushing, and ‘Better’ is such a strong example of the innovative ideas he implements into his music. Every time you listen to a Jack Garratt track you have no idea just where it’s going to go sonically and that’s so exciting.
1. Dua Lipa – Levitating
Dua Lipa has honestly delivered one of the most exciting pop albums of 2020, and on that record is a future hit waiting to be embraced by commercial radio, and even has a throne awaiting at the top of the charts.
‘Levitating’ is a flawless pop song that is pure 80’s realness layered with a fresh perspective. The hopeless romantic track is about the moment you meet someone and feel like your constantly levitating around them.
The song’s structure is classic pop, and has this smooth and funky feel to it which makes it a whole lot of fun. Breaking the song down to have this nostalgic 80’s acapella moment towards the end of the song, she just captures every moment so perfectly.
This is a flawless pop song and is one that I haven’t stopped thinking about since the albums release.