Despite the rocky year — one that consisted of a presidential election, protests over social injustices and a global pandemic — 2020 was a strong year in music. The popularity of TikTok during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped broaden the scope of music to a wider audience. Like previous years, new artists have continued to come out of the woodwork and gain a lot of attention, as well as preestablished stars making their presence known. Megan Thee Stallion broke onto the scene with multiple hits, and well-known artist The Weeknd released his popular hit single “Blinding Lights,” which was certainly neither his first nor his last of its kind. Despite COVID-19 uprooting our lives and forcing us inside and apart, it was a fun year for music lovers. Here is Pipe Dream’s playlist of the highlights from 2020.
“The Box” by Roddy Ricch
Even though it was released in 2019, “The Box” gained immense attention in 2020 after being popularized on TikTok. After beginning with epic string and piano notes, the song leads into a rap verse by Roddy Ricch, in his unique, recognizable voice. Its hook is an earworm, and Roddy Ricch’s sound has established him as a strong talent to continue listening to.
“Say So” by Doja Cat
Doja Cat has been around for a couple of years, but when a dance on TikTok became viral for the song, she blew up. The dreamy guitar and Doja Cat’s lovely singing voice make this a really enjoyable song. It is also quite easy to keep replaying it due to Doja Cat’s ability to sing one verse and then rap the other.
“Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion
Another song that became popular from TikTok, but took on a life of its own. Megan Thee Stallion displays all of her strongest qualities as an artist in this song, including her well-known rapping style, clever wordplay and infectious swagger. The song is so good that Beyoncé hopped on the track in the remix.
“Dynamite” by BTS
The Korean boy band BTS has become a worldwide phenomenon. This bubbly and snappy song keeps things fun. With pop culture references to King Kong and LeBron James, this one makes you want to get up and dance no matter where you are.
“Adore You” by Harry Styles
Harry Styles is a beloved figure in the music world, and this sweet, soulful song upholds that persona. Styles uses psychedelic wordplay, with lines like “Walk in your rainbow paradise / Strawberry lipstick state of mind.” With beautiful harmonies in its hook and bouncy rhythms, this song will get stuck in your head very quickly.
“Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd
The Weeknd returned in 2020 with a whole new ’80s inspired look and launched this single, which stayed on the charts for months. Everything about the song is exciting, including its pulsating drum beat, smooth synths and iconic vocals. The song’s popularity just kept growing and made The Weeknd’s new album a wonderful event for music lovers.
“Good News” by Mac Miller
After the unfortunate death of Mac Miller in 2018, a posthumous album was released in January of this year called “Circles.” “Good News,” the leading single of this album, reveals some of Miller’s inner thoughts, leaving listeners emotional. Miller sings about how “There’s a whole lot more for me waiting on the other side,” with the minimal instrumentation of tangled, muted guitars and keys in the background. The song remains one of the best of the year, and a fitting end to Mac Miller’s tragically short career.
As we take time to celebrate the holidays and reflect on an intense year, we hope you find some joy in Pipe Dream’s compilation of some of the best hits of 2020! Check out the full playlist here!