My Top 10 Songs in 2020

Long time followers of the blog know that music is my gateway drug to creativity. In the past, I’ve posted a top ten list of favorite soundtracks for video games that were released during the year. Since I’ve been out of touch with a lot of the soundtracks released this year, I decided that instead, I will just list my ten favorite songs that I discovered this year and why. These songs may not have been released this year. Discovering music is something I love and there is so much of it out there to be found and loved.

How do you find so many kinds of new genres, artists, and songs, you ask? Having a Spotify Premium account gives me access to the Discover Weekly playlist, which brings up a list of thirty or so songs that the algorithms have deemed I might enjoy. I have found SO many of my favorite songs from this. Several of the songs featured on my list this year were also uncovered this way.

Let’s dive in!

10: Heartbeats by The Knife

from ClashMusic.com

So, I feel super dumb about this one because the song was originally released in 2002. I had actually heard the song before as a cover by Jose Gonzalez but never realized it was a cover. The original song came up on my Discover Weekly playlist this year and I immediately recognized the lead singer’s voice as Karin Dreijer, otherwise known as Fever Ray. I’ve been listening to Fever Ray for a while. Dreijer’s voice is so distinctive and pairing it with a synth-pop beat really made me fall in love with this song.

9. Indigo by Moloko

image from RateYourMusic.com

Good lord. I just found out how old this one is, too. Released in 2000 by Roisin Murphy (who is amazing!) and Mark Brydon as Moloko, this is another good beat song that I found via Spotify’s Discover Weekly. I was intrigued enough by the opening line of “Rameses! Colossus!” to go look up the music video for it. It didn’t answer any of my questions. This has become one of my new favorites to listen to this on a long car ride, singing along. I’m beginning to get a little sad that the last two bands I’ve listed aren’t even together anymore. No new stuff to look forward to. I’m sure the backlog is just as awesome as this song though, and I look forward to delving into it in 2021.

8. NUN WITH A MOTHERF*&*ING GUN by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

photo from Everipedia

One of the best things we got to watch this year (though we weren’t able to finish it before Hulu pulled it) was the Watchmen HBO miniseries. Among the awesome characters introduced in this particular Watchmen timeline is Detective Angela Abar aka Sister Night. Seriously, what a badass! The soundtrack, composed by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross only emphasizes the badassery of Sister Night in the track “Nun with a Motherf*&*ing Gun”. This has been a good one to listen to while driving in to work in the morning (in anticipation of chaos) as well as to listen to while writing a good fight scene.

7. S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

image from Telluride Blues and Brews Festival website

This is one of those songs that you had to be in the right place at the right time to discover. Earlier this summer, my partner and I went to one of our local bars that was specializing in take out cocktails. This used to be one of our favorite places to go to pre-pandemic because of how beautiful the bar space was and how relaxing and cozy it was to spend time there. Unfortunately that day, it was raining so their outside seating wasn’t available. We put in our order and waited at one of the few not wet tables outside, listening to music on the outdoor speaker. This song, that neither one of us had heard before came on and we instantly fell in love. I immediately looked it up and added it to a Spotify playlist because I didn’t want to forget it. It’s been mixed into one of my most listened to playlists ever since.

6. Dissolved Girl by Ramin Djawadi

image from Newsweek

I’ve spent hours listening to this song. When I mean hours, I mean more hours than a human should probably listen to one song. Why you ask? Because one.) This is one of my favorite Massive Attack songs and two.) it fit perfectly with a scene I was working on for my book in progress, “The Wild Dark”. Dissolved Girl is a full blown rollercoaster of a track released by Massive Attack on their acclaimed Mezzanine album. I’ve definitively called it a favorite for a while. When this cover popped up on my Discover Weekly playlist, I nearly lost my mind over how moody and ominous and freaking awesome it was. Do yourselves a favor and listen to the original first before you listen to this one. I haven’t watched the scene in Westworld season 3 where this plays but I’m sure its as epic as I’m imagining.

5. Evil Voices by The Faint

image from Stereogum

Another song that popped up on Discover Weekly was this 2014 hit from The Faint, Evil Voices. I hadn’t listened to The Faint until that song but this instantly became one of my most listened to songs this year. Also just found out that the lead singer for The Faint, Todd Fink, is married to Orenda Fink of Azure Ray. The music world seems so small sometimes. Be that as it may, I’ve officially added this to the soundtrack for my top secret WIP that I’m working on releasing next October. Shh. I’m not saying anymore. What was that? Nothing!

4. Halo by Matthew and the Atlas

image from RedBrick

Matthew and the Atlas has fast become one of my top ten favorite bands. They are always putting out music that I love and I never get tired of their mellow, lovely tunes. This particular song, which I discovered while working on my sequel to The Wild Dark, I played for a long time while working on a set of scenes in November. While this is a recent find of mine, it quickly became my most listened to new song according to my end of year Spotify stats. Halo has this beautiful loneliness to it that I felt really encapsulated the day to day survival of my character group in this book. I’ll probably end up listening to it a lot more before the book is finished.

3. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings by Father John Misty

image via Pitchfork

Yet another song given to me by the formidable Discover Weekly playlist. This one is all about the mood it evokes, this haunted, sinful, brooding tune that immediately made me put it on the playlist for that same secretive WIP I hinted about earlier. I’ve yet to find another song by Father John Misty that feels nearly as dark and evocative as this one. No matter what, I can listen to this and immediately be put back into the world of darkness in my WIP.

2. Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

image from Rolling Stone

Pop doesn’t usually hit my radar immediately and therefore, the release of Blinding Lights went totally unnoticed by yours truly until about two weeks ago when it came on our Pandora station at work. I apparently had mentioned to my coworker that I’d liked it a previous time and decided that I needed to give it a closer listen at home or in my car on the way home. I’ve probably listened to this song a total of fifty times in the last few days. I’ve danced to it, I’ve written to it, I’ve cooked dinner and cleaned and organized to it. You could say I might have a slightly unhealthy obsession with this song right now. But what’s not to love? Those vocals, that beat, and even the lyrics make me happy. Music that brings pleasure is always a favorite in my book.

Speaking of unhealthy obsessions, here’s my number 1 for 2020:

Dark Allies by Light Asylum

image from Genius

You guessed it: another gift from the Gods at Spotify. The only thing I don’t like: it’s now not on Spotify. It’s also apparently not available to buy ANYWHERE on the internet. Not sure why this band or its label wouldn’t want such a powerful and amazing song to make money but it seems very strange that it just up and vanished a couple months ago from all online platforms. I managed to find it for download on a music promotional website that had done an interview with the band and that download has saved my life. The song is chalk full of passion, of darkness, of pure emotion that it brings me inspiration every time I hear it. I’ve listened to it more than I’ve listened to everything else on this list and won’t stop for some time, I imagine. It also belongs to the playlist for that enigmatic autumnal WIP.

And there you have it. Looking forward to discovering more music in the year ahead. If this article has taught you anything, it should be that you need Spotify if you want to keep discovering new and interesting songs. I’m in no way affiliated with the app…I’m only extolling its praises and saying that it is totally worth the ten bucks a month. Plus I get Hulu for free with it!

What were some of your top ten songs in 2020? Did you write to them or did they make you happy? Let me know in the comments.

Until 2021, Happy New Year!

KSilva

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