The best songs of 2020 as told by the staff of KTRM

2020. It’s been one hell of a year. Australia caught on fire, a mass pandemic swept the world, police brutality came to the forefront of U.S. politics once again and the most divisive president in recent history — if not all U.S. history — is currently refusing to concede an election that he clearly lost. So much negativity has been cast upon us that it’s hard to think fondly of this year. This isn’t to say that everything has been terrible. Many of us discovered new hobbies, we learned how to better use video calling services, such as Zoom, and we likely grew closer together with those we lived with. Above all, the music released in 2020 has been the most invigorating in years! Traditional concerts have largely been postponed for the foreseeable future, but that hasn’t stopped artists from giving live performances online and in drive-in concerts. Better still, quarantine allowed many of our favorite artists to really hone in and deliver some stellar tunes. Here are some of the songs that we at KTRM thought were among the best to come out of 2020. 

A Few Good Stories” – Brett Kissel featuring Walk Off the Earth

“I chose this song because it represents what I think is every persons’ desire in life. You want to be successful and find someone special, but it won’t mean anything unless you have some good stories to tell at the end of the day.” – Rob Garner

Sharpener” – Cavetown

“This, in my opinion, has been the best song released in 2020. This year’s been kinda weird for music, not gonna lie, and this one feels familiar, like a warm hug.” – Lukas Pierce

Last Try” – This is Lorelei

“Recorded in an apartment – rather than a studio – this song provides the personal closeness of listening to your friends play music in the living room, and plays to the feelings of isolation and existentialism that have accompanied this year.” – Liam Connolly

I Know the End” – Phoebe Bridgers

“Not only was Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Punisher’ a masterpiece, this song truly encompasses the depressing, apocalyptic reality of 2020. It is worth the wait of the slow build-up to hear Bridgers’ scream at the end of the song, and most days I can’t help but scream along with her.” – Evelyn Opper

911” – Lady Gaga

“Fans of pop music have been waiting for another pop album from Lady Gaga for a while. When ‘Chromatica‘ dropped, it was bright and fun during the early parts of COVID-19. I believe that ‘911’ is a defining track from this album, being both fun and smart. Additionally, its prelude, ‘Chromatica II’ leads perfectly into the track, making it a full and rich experience. If you haven’t listened to this song yet, I recommend watching the music video as your first exposure which is a beautiful cinematic masterpiece.” – Ryan Burch

Back To The Streets” – Saweetie featuring Jhené Aiko

“The beat is uplifting and the message is empowering for icy girls.” – Jazzy J

Combat” – Hazel English

“Currently my favorite song for sad girl hours.” – Kim Ramos

seven” – Taylor Swift

“I absolutely loved most songs from ‘folklore,’ but ‘seven’ (yes it should be lowercase) was my FAVORITE. There’s something beautiful and haunting about the story that Swift portrays in this song, and the use of acoustics was a great way to highlight it. The entire song has the vibe of looking out the window during a rainy day and trying to recall things that you had almost forgotten, complete with the bittersweet sadness of loving those days and feeling sad about the uncertainty about where the person you are remembering is now. Imagery, poetry and incredible chords – this song has it all.” – Savannah Kluesner

Sweet Hibiscus Tea” – Penelope Scott

“‘Sweet Hibiscus Tea’ is the best way to route all of your 2020 exhaustion into one big, happy shout-along.” – Lauren Frazier

Fit N Full” – Samia

“I love her and I love her lyrics. It slaps!” – Billy Bascom

Legends Never Die” – Orville Peck and Shania Twain

“I just get giddy every time I hear this song. There’s something about duets, when done right, that is magical. This song is no exception. Most of this is down to the chemistry between Orville Peck and Shania Twain. It’s sizzling. Peck and Twain might come from different backgrounds, but they understand each other magnificently. Besides the assuredness of Shania Twain and the swagger of Orville Peck, you’ve got a set of lyrics that kind of encapsulate the human spirit.  This is a song about resilience and overcoming personal struggles. From the ‘dust in our veins’ to the ‘lonesome trail’ this song takes us on a journey through small-town America, a small town that serves as a metaphor for life. It ain’t always pretty, and sometimes it’s rough, but we learn to push through and thrive. In this way, the song might just encompass the struggle of 2020 more than any other.” – Connor Shelton