39. Jessie Ware – Soul Control (What’s Your Pleasure? – Album)
I’ve been a fan of Jessie Ware since her very first releases and guest vocal appearances but nothing prepared me for just how joyous and downright dancefloor ready her stuff this year would be. The whole album is an absolute essential listen and this track just encapsulates the complete feel – an 80s inspired dance pop banger that you can not sit still to.
38. High Contrast – Rhythm Is Changing (Notes From The Underground – Album)
This guy has been producing some absolute dance anthems for a fair few years now and this is no exception. Great house piano and a jungle-style rhythm really get the body moving, topped off with a strong vocal from Evie Plumb of LOWES, who seem to be the go-to collaborators on the UK dance scene right now.
37.Bring Me The Horizon – Teardrops (POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR – Album)
The evolution of these guys over the years has been something to behold and one of the great success stories (and yes, I do sometimes miss the straight up metal of their earlier stuff). This has them firmly in Linkin Park territory (without the raps) and just showcases the pure power they possess. Huge sounding guitars and drums sitting on top of an electronic base, all rounded off by Oli Sykes’ impassioned vocals.
36. You Me At Six – SUCKAPUNCH (SUCKAPUNCH – Single)
You Me At Six hit the dancefloor!! This has an almost trance-like feel in the intro and verses before exploding into a hugely powerful break and chorus, all the while still maintaining the sheer danceable exuberance. Very much looking forward to what the album has in store when it drops in the new year.
35. Harry Styles – Golden (Fine Line – Album)
I never wrote off One Direction as manufactured pop and could see the appeal in a few of their singles but I must admit I never expected the kind of quality that Harry Styles would emerge with for his solo career. This is just a straight up great pop song with a chorus and backing vocals that are a pure earworm, it’s impossible to resist. This guy is the epitome of a modern pop star and looks to have a long career ahead of him.
34. Lil Uzi Vert – POP (Eternal Awake – 2020)
Vert has been dropping bangers for years but listening to this made me feel that this guy is the natural successor to Lil Wayne. He has the ability to switch up flows throughout the track, can drop some lyrical punchlines and can ride the aggressive sounding beat like a pro.
33. London Grammar – Baby It’s You (Kolsch Remix) (Baby It’s You – Single)
The original is a beautiful song in it’s own right but this remix creates a feeling of euphoria that can’t be beat. London Grammar seem to have the knack for crafting songs that are a perfect fit for a dance makeover and something that seems too fragile to dance to in it’s initial form just takes flight with the addition of some well placed house keyboards and beats.
32. Future Islands – For Sure (As Long As You Are – Album)
I was delighted when I heard this as a band this good was in danger of being known as an almost one hit wonder (‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’). This song shows they can write a huge sounding alternative pop song with the best of them and the chorus is one of the greats of the year, making you dance and sing at the top of your lungs.
31. Bad Bunny – DAKITI (EL ULTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO – Album)
Bad Bunny released two full length albums this year, the second of which produced this banger, his best song of 2020. More straightforward than the two previous entries on this list, it really showcases his pop sensibilities welded to a haunting production that also gets you moving when the beat drops.
30. James Vincent McMorrow – I Should Go (Nic Fanciulli Remix) (I Should Go – Single)
The power of a remix in all it’s glory. What is a good pop song in it’s original state is transformed into a dancefloor beauty. You can’t help but want to move to this and the chorus will be stuck in your head for days.
29. Origin8a & Propa – Harmony (Benny Page Remix) (Harmony – Single)
Drum ‘n’ Bass banger!! This is guaranteed to ignite dancefloors around the globe, I defy anyone to try and sit still when this drops. The vocals give the track an early 90s rave feel with some stabbing house piano and BIG bass come chorus time.
28. Riz Ahmed – Once Kings (Once Kings – Single)
Better known for his acting skills (I will be reviewing the brilliant Sound Of Metal (2020) for our sister site noeasywatch.com) this is his debut foray into music and what a start it is!! Lyrically this is incredible, Riz has a flow that just gets better and better as the song progresses and the atmospheric production swirls around your head without overshadowing what it is that’s being said. It gave me the kind of feelings I had when I first heard The Streets – Original Pirate Material album all those years ago. More please Mr. Ahmed.
27. Bree Runway – LITTLE NOKIA (2000AND4EVA – Album)
This has some of the best production on any track this year, a pure pop song wrapped up in a futuristic sheen that adds layers of distorted guitars giving it a hard edge to offset any sweetness. Catchy as hell, it’s songs like this that give me such a belief that Bree will be this years breakout star.
26. JASSS – Turbo Ole (Whities 027 – Single)
Good lord, what an absolute monster this is!! Atmospheric techno start gives way to some delicious trance synths and then bass that grabs you by the neck and throws you around the dancefloor giving you no option but to move!! It breaks down in the middle only to start the whole process all over again.
25. Run The Jewels – a few words for the firing squad (radiation) (RTJ4 – Album)
An incredible song from an incredible album, these guys are just so far ahead of the rap game in every way. Awesome production that builds and builds tension until it seems like it’s going to spill over into pure aggression but teeters on the edge before letting it all build back up again. Jazz inflected outro, amazing thought provoking lyrics (as always), Killer Mike’s vocal power, EL-P’s heart tugging couplets, this is damn near perfect.
24. Jessie Ware – Spotlight (What’s Your Pleasure? – Album)
An understated intro gives way to the best pure pop song of the year. This could have come out in any year from about 1985 onwards and been a hit. Great nod to The Jackson’s on the chorus, electronic backing with a combination of strings make this a classy offering from a classy artist.
23. Jacob Banks – Devil That I Know (Devil That I Know – Single)
Devastatingly beautiful song, so pure and so sad but with a feeling of hope, this made me stop still when I heard it and I had to listen to it all over again when it had finished. The little production touches, like the synth bassline at the end of the song are genius and compliment the simplicity of the voice and piano. The only reason this isn’t higher is that it feels like it’s too short and had more to offer.
22. Jazmine Sullivan – Lost One (Lost One – Single)
Yeah, this one knows how to hit you in the heart. Over a simple but so effective backing track, Jazmine’s vocals shine so bright but sing words that are so sad and can resonate with almost anyone. She has a voice that can absolutely soar but keeps it restrained here which fits so perfectly with the mood of the track. She takes awhile to release music these days but when she does you can be sure it’s worth the wait.
21. Rina Sawayama – XS (SAWAYAMA – Album)
One of my favourite discoveries of the year was this lady who makes the catchiest pop songs but certainly isn’t afraid to add something a little more challenging to the mix. The descending metal chords cut through the gloss of the production like a chainsaw and give it that something different to set it apart from the pack. It’s like what you would get if you created a song and your biggest influences were late 90s/early 2000s pop and Nu-Metal (and maybe they were!!)