In 2020, I listened to over 50,619 minutes of music and had a playlist of 890 songs that I liked, listened to, and discovered from Spotify’s New Music Friday, Spotify’s New Music Friday Canada, and Spotify’s Release Radar playlists every week.
This also includes songs I discovered off of the social media platform TikTok and watching the Spotify Weekly Song Charts to keep updated with emerging song trends that I may have missed.
2020 will be a year that stands out from the rest. When I listened to music it was intentional and comforting because I wasn’t commuting as much and using music as a distraction.
I’m going to share the artists I enjoyed a minimum of five songs from their discography this year with you. If I liked more than five songs, I’m going to explain to you why I liked their music in 2020.
Taylor Swift – 28 Songs
Taylor Swift is my top artist of 2020 because she released a double-album. Overall, I did enjoy her experimenting in the indie genre, and I feel like her songwriting is so strong. I can’t say which album I preferred more (Folklore or Evermore) because these songs are a slow burn, and they take multiple listens to absorb.
My favourite Taylor Swift song of 2020 is ‘the 1’ because it’s about accepting a relationship’s end. It’s not bitter – it’s just about recognizing past feelings and letting go.
Favourite Song of 2020: the 1, Taylor Swift – Folklore
Justin Bieber – 18 Songs
Justin Bieber had a fantastic year creating meaningful R&B music. I liked his new album Changes way more than I imagined. ‘Running Over Ft. Lil Dicky’ being my favourite song of his in 2020, is hilarious to me. I listened to it ironically at first because the Lil Dicky feature is so embarrassing. But after a few times, the track would get stuck in my head, and I would want to listen to it again.
Favourite Song of 2020: Running Over Ft. Lil Dicky, Justin Bieber – Changes
Lauv – 15 Songs
Lauv could not stop releasing awesome pop music in 2020. I was heartbroken that I couldn’t get to see him live as I planned to in July, but I’ll see him in concert when it’s safer to do so. ‘Changes’ is a self-improvement song that is truthful and non-cliche.
Favourite Song of 2020: Changes, Lauv – ~how i’m feeling~
Megan Thee Stallion – 15 Songs
I discovered Megan Thee Stallion in 2019 and wanted to keep a secret because she’s so talented and incredible at rapping. I’m excited by her deserving success in 2020, and I feel like the song ‘Savage’ with the Beyoncé feature or the original was on everyone’s yearly playlist.
Favourite Song of 2020: Savage Ft. Beyoncé, Megan Thee Stallion – Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé)
Selena Gomez – 15 Songs
At the beginning of 2020, I was excited about the new Selena Gomez record because her last album, Revival, was surprisingly sentimental. I was not fond of her album Rare as much, but it did have a couple of fun tracks. ‘Cut You Off’ is a catchy way to describe removing toxic people from your life.
Favourite Song of 2020: Cut You Off, Selena Gomez – Rare
Ariana Grande – 14 Songs
I’m always happy about the surprise Ariana Grande albums we get. I feel like Positions may not have been her most commercially successful album, but it does have a lot of terrific music on it. Watching her 2020 Netflix special ariana grande: excuse me, i love you. made me feel emotional because I got to see her in concert during that tour in 2019, and it feels unworldly due to the pandemic – such a simpler time.
Favourite Song of 2020: Positions, Ariana Grande – Positions
Drake – 13 Songs
Spotify said Drake was my most listened to artist in 2020, which is not surprising. I get nostalgic listening to his previous tracks because I link them to happier times before the pandemic. In 2020, Drake shared some great unreleased tracks and had some incredible features on Future and Lil Yachty songs. ‘From Florida With Love’ is one of my favourite songs on Dark Lane Demo Tapes, and I like the Kobe Bryant tribute on the track.
Favourite Song of 2020: From Florida With Love, Drake – Dark Lane Demo Tapes
Kygo – 12 Songs
Kygo had a busy year creating electronic dance music with some of my favourite artists. It’s hard for me to turn down songs featuring OneRepublic, Sasha Sloan, Oh Wonder, Zara Larsson, and Kim Petras. ‘Lose Somebody’ is the perfect combination of Kygo production and Ryan Tedder’s songwriting.
Favourite Song of 2020: Lose Somebody Ft. OneRepublic, Kygo – Golden Hour
Lady Gaga – 11 Songs
Quarantine was a lot easier to handle when I had a new Lady Gaga album to listen to on repeat. Her 2020 album Chromatica is a blast, and I liked its electronic, dance, and rave elements. ‘Rain On Me Ft. Ariana Grande’ is an iconic song that fills me with joy every time I listen to it.
Favourite Song of 2020: Rain On Me Ft. Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga – Chromatica
Dua Lipa – 10 Songs
Dua Lipa has a unique superpower where every song she makes is pure gold. Her disco-inspired album Future Nostalgia is the best pop rollercoaster to ride. The whole album is incredible, but I listened to ‘Hallucinate’ the most.
Favourite Song of 2020: Hallucinate, Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
The 1975 – 9 Songs
I’ve said this before, but there is nothing like the energy of a The 1975 concert. It’s hard to replicate those feelings on recordings. It would’ve been my second time seeing them live in concert in 2020, but they’re worth the wait till a safer time.
I’m not the biggest fan of instrumental tracks, so their newest album, Notes On A Conditional Form, had many skips for me. But the songs I did like, I listened to them quite frequently. My favourite song on the album is ‘Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied.’
Favourite Song of 2020: Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied, The 1975 – Notes On A Conditional Form
HAIM – 9 Songs
HAIM are some of my favourite singing sisters. I feel like I’ve become a bigger fan of their music over time, and I like how classical rock and indie music influences their songwriting. ‘Gasoline’ is the perfect 70s song written in 2020.
Favourite Song of 2020: Gasoline, HAIM – Women In Music Pt. III
Niall Horan – 9 Songs
It’s hard for me to admit, but I feel like Niall Horan’s solo material is the most reminiscent of One Direction music. His songs are catchy, boy-band-like, and written about heartbreak. I liked many of the songs from his newest album Heartbreak Weather, but ‘San Francisco’ is my most listened to.
Favourite Song of 2020: San Francisco, Niall Horan – Heartbreak Weather
Pop Smoke – 9 Songs
I get emotional listening to artists’ posthumous work, and Pop Smoke was no different. I feel like I didn’t appreciate his music enough while he was living, and now that he’s gone – it’s hard to accept. I can’t wait for the day when I can dance to the Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon album on a patio.
Favourite Song of 2020: Diana Ft. King Combs, Pop Smoke – Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon
5 Seconds of Summer – 8 Songs
When I saw 5 Seconds of Summer open for One Direction in 2013, I had no idea that I’d still be a fan of their music today. I like their pop-punk songs more, but I do enjoy their current pop music.
Favourite Song of 2020: Wildflower, 5 Seconds of Summer – CALM
Chloe x Halle – 8 Songs
Like many people, including Beyoncé, I discovered Chloe x Halle through their cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Pretty Hurts.’ Their talent and voice harmonizing are incredible, and it’s only the beginning of their careers in stardom. Their new album, Ungodly Hour, has bop after bop.
Favourite Song of 2020: ROYL, Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour
LÉON – 8 Songs
In 2019, LÉON’s music helped me get through a lot of feelings and emotions. This year, I liked most of her new releases, but I felt like her production was repetitive, and I didn’t connect with her songs as much. ‘In a Stranger’s Arm’ is a beautiful way to describe moving on from a previous romantic relationship and finding love again.
Favourite Song of 2020: In a Stranger’s Arms, LÉON – Apart
Sam Smith – 8 Songs
I’ve been a fan of Sam Smith for a while, and I liked the direction he went with his music this year. I feel like he sounds excellent with electronic and dance elements – on top of his superb ballads that he’s known for. The song ‘To Die For’ is so heartbreaking.
Favourite Song of 2020: To Die For, Sam Smith – Love Goes
The Aces – 7 Songs
I adore all women pop-groups, and The Aces are sensational. I liked their fun Under My Influence album overall, and ‘Daydream’ was my favourite song of 2020. Sometimes you need a happy, energetic, love song to get you through tough times.
Favourite Song of 2020: Daydream, The Aces – Under My Influence
Dagny – 7 Songs
Dagny is a Norwegian pop singer who releases unique music. I discovered her this year, and I feel like her music has such an empowering message. Her music is so catchy and enjoyable to listen to.
Favourite Song of 2020: Let Me Cry, Dagny – Strangers / Lovers
Lennon Stella – 7 Songs
Lennon Stella is a soft-voiced singer who writes slow relatable pop music. Surprisingly, she didn’t include the version of ‘Golf on TV’ with indie-singer JP Saxe on her new album Three. Two. One. I feel like the male voice as an addition to the song adds so much emotional depth.
Favourite Song of 2020: Golf On TV Ft. JP Saxe, Lennon Stella – Golf On TV feat. JP Saxe
Lil Uzi Vert – 7 Songs
My friends had a reoccurring joke that if you ever saw me on the subway with earbuds in, you think I’d be listening to Taylor Swift when in truth, I’d be memorizing Lil Uzi Vert raps. That’s no lie because Lil Uzi Vert released some of the best hip-hop songs in 2020 on his new record Eternal Atake.
Favourite Song of 2020: Homecoming, Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake
Miley Cyrus – 7 Songs
I’ve been a fan of Miley Cyrus since her Hannah Montana days and have always rallied that she has one of the industry’s most unique voices. I didn’t take to her original country music a few years ago, but I loved her glitter-pop songs released in 2020. I feel like she suits this pop genre so well, and the live covers were sensational.
Favourite Song of 2020: Midnight Sky, Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts
Nightly – 7 Songs
I discovered the band Nightly in 2020 through my Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist because they did an EDM song with one of my favourite producers named ayokay. The best way to describe Nightly’s music is to say they’re a soft-alternative boyband. If you like LANY, The 1975, or Lauv – you’ll love Nightly.
Favourite Song of 2020: the movies, Nightly – night, love you.
R3HAB – 7 Songs
R3HAB has been one of my favourite DJ and electronic music artist since 2018. In 2020, I feel like I repeatedly listened to his remixes of Nirvana and Radiohead songs.
Favourite Song of 2020: Creep – mint Singles Ft. GATTÜSO, R3HAB – Creep (mint Singles)
Rina Sawayama – 7 Songs
I need to see Rina Sawayama’s music played live in a stadium. It’s loud, energetic, and has outstanding pop production. I liked her music in 2019, but I felt like in 2020, she blossomed into the pop star the world needs to know her as. I feel like she’s going to become insanely popular in 2021.
Favourite Song of 2020: Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys), Rina Sawayama – SAWAYAMA
Sam Hunt – 7 Songs
I feel like I have such a soft spot for Sam Hunt and his contemporary country music. Waiting a couple of years for his new album SOUTHSIDE in 2020 was worth the wait.
Favourite Song of 2020: Sinning With You, Sam Hunt – SOUTHSIDE
The Weeknd – 7 Songs
The Weeknd had a sensational 2020. I like the direction he went with for his full 2020 album After Hours way more than his full 2016 album Starboy. I adore the smoothness and clarity of his voice in combination with the ambient production. ‘Hardest To Love’ is the perfect song to describe a toxic romantic partner and how they can easily victimize their behaviour.
Favourite Song of 2020: Hardest To Love, The Weeknd – After Hours
Astrid S – 6 Songs
In 2019, I mentioned that Astrid S wrote the best pop songs about heartbreak and this year, she continued that tradition. The song ‘I Do Ft. Brett Young’ wasn’t included on her 2020 Leave It Beautiful album, but she sounds fantastic singing with a country singer.
Favourite Song of 2020: I Do Ft. Brett Young, Astrid S – I Do
Carly Rae Jepsen – 6 Songs
I was surprised when Carly Rae Jepsen announced that she would be sharing the unreleased music and demos that didn’t make it onto her 2019 album Dedicated in the pandemic. My favourite song of her’s in 2020 ‘This Is What They Say’ has the same bubblegum pop flavour her other songs have.
Favourite Song of 2020: This Is What They Say, Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated Side B
Charli XCX – 6 Songs
Charli XCX always has a hard drive full of music ready to release. I like how in 2020, she was experimenting with her sound, adding lots of effects and samples. The alternative sound isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I feel like it suits her grungy style and personality so well.
Favourite Song of 2020: forever, Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
Jeremy Zucker – 6 Songs
Jeremy Zucker is a sensitive songwriter who expresses the most challenging emotions of rejection and heartbreak. I liked his new album, love is not dying and appreciate the vulnerability put into the tracks.
Favourite Song of 2020: always, i’ll care, Jeremy Zucker – love is not dying
LANY – 6 Songs
It’s sad for me to say, but I found LANY’s 2020 album mama’s boy unoriginal and repetitive. It didn’t have the same impact as their 2018 album Malibu Nights did. I hope they can improve on this in their future music and won’t get caught up trying to recreate the same sound over and over again. My favourite LANY song in 2020 is ‘you!’ and when the choir starts singing, it’s beautiful.
Favourite Song of 2020: you!, LANY – mama’s boy
Little Mix – 6 Songs
I get excited about Little Mix resurgences because the effort they put in their vocals and harmonizing is impressive. I know they’ll be taking a hiatus to deal with losing a member, but their 2020 album Confetti is full of fun pop songs like ‘Break Up Song.’
Favourite Song of 2020: ‘Break Up Song’, Little Mix – Confetti
Allie X – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Learning in Public, Allie X – Cape God
Ava Max – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Born to the Night, Ava Max – Heaven & Hell
The Chicks – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Gaslighter, The Chicks – Gaslighter
Conan Gray – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Wish You Were Sober, Conan Grey – Kid Krow
Diplo – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Dance with Me Ft. Thomas Rhett & Young Thug, Diplo – Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil
Fiona Apple – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: For Her, Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
FLETCHER – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Bitter ft. Kito, FLETCHER – THE S(EX) TAPES
Gabrielle Aplin – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Dear Happy, Gabrielle Aplin – Dear Happy
Halsey – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: More, Halsey – Manic
Russell Dickerson – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Forever For A Little While, Russell Dickerson – Southern Symphony
SHY Martin – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Slow, SHY Martin – Sad Songs
Troye Sivan – 5 Songs
Favourite Song of 2020: Easy Ft. Kacey Musgraves & Mark Ronson, Troye Sivan – Easy (with Kacey Musgraves feat. Mark Ronson)
Who were your favourite artists of 2020?
Let me know.