The first quarter of 2020 provided listeners with an overwhelming distraction to the chaos that would later become an unfortunate reality. Still, the oversaturated release schedule shedded a glimpse of hopeful light. Allowing listeners to celebrate amongst the chaos, and reclaiming the calm.
Behold, CTRL's first half of the Best Songs of 2020 (so far).
(Song's ranked alphabetically. Only songs released from January 1st-March 31st were considered)
After Hours - The Weeknd
In 6 minutes the soundscape of After Hours contributes to the such chaotic journey, highlighting the crash and burn of feeling trapped, as if it’s all just an illusion. Listeners are in the passenger side of the ride, as the song travels through various roads unraveling the layers to his escape. In just mere seconds the song kicks off with hints of something intense, as it slowly builds and builds and the drive kicks off right at the halfway point.
Alone, Omen 3 - King Krule
In a turn of events that most fans didn’t see coming,
King Krule is reawakened, and has been reintroduced to a newfound love. Seeking comfort in sincerity, Archy Marshall creates an atmospheric environment on Alone, Omen 3. Shedding a positive light, King Krule has truly become a man alive.
Are You Feeling Sad? - Little Dragon feat. Kali Uchis
Yukimi Nagano, the voice of Little Dragon, and Kali Uchis reassure that everything is going to be alright. On Are You Feeling Sad?, both vocalists provide a sense of hope through a groove that can’t be resisted.
At The Door - The Strokes
The oh so terrifying reality of failing to meet expectations will have one in a loop that much like an hourglass, it’s never ending, despite time just being wasted. Sending an outcry by banging at the door, At The Door represents the desire to rewind and hope for a restart. Marking a brand new transition into a new decade, The Strokes take full responsibility into filling the void that they left open, and they've returned like they've never left.
Blue World - Mac Miller
Produced by Guy Lawrence, 1/2 of house duo Disclosure, Blue World is a distinctive electronic number. Entering Mac Miller’s alternative reality, the song is an unexpected journey of a battle with life’s demons trying to lure you in with defeat.
Cuba - Theophilus London
For his new album, Bebey, Theophilus London revealed that he wanted it to sound as Caribbean as possible. The most apparent of the island flare is showcased on the single, Cuba. In less than 3 minutes, the song exposes all of its Caribbean roots, in a song that is reminiscent to the sounds from the islands.
DIET_ - Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats
In 2019, Kenny Beats made a name for himself becoming the sought out producer in rap, while Denzel Curry provided fans with a homecoming to his west coast collective on ZUU. With the new year, Kenny and Denzel became the ultimate tag team on their collaborative project, UNLOCKED. Unleashing fury on the rap game, the duo provided hit after hit on an album that was too intense to catch a breather. Standout DIET_, ultimately became the best showcase of what the two had to offer.
Ecstasy - Disclosure
Entering straight into a time machine straight to the past, Disclosure take a trip to nightclubs of the 70s and are living in the moment. Chopping up Aquarian Dream’s late 1970’s track, Fantasy, Disclosure introduced their new direction with the throbbing house number, Ecstasy. Allowing listeners to indulge in the side effects of ecstasy, the track is a vibrant invitation to the dance floor.
Girl Crush - Boys Noize & Rico Nasty
Over a pulsing electro beat, Rico Nasty explicitly tries to lure a girl in. With a driving bass and a heavy trancing delivery, producer Boys Noize and Rico Nasty are dark, gritty, and filthy in all the best ways. Hi-tech and straight into club distortion, Girl Crush is a top notch theme song for all of your late night regrets.
If You Can't Do It Good, Do It Hard - Against All Logic
Militant with a focus on frustration and paranoia, Nicolas Jaar’s second release as Against All Logic is a chaotic electronic project that falls right into place through limitless mixes and sample heavy instrumentals. If You Can’t Do It Good, Do It Hard is an enchanting, urgent, combative inspired track.
In Bloom - Moses Sumney
Invincible - Pop Smoke
What made Pop Smoke so special was his abilities to stand out, as much like A$AP Rocky, he achieved the success of setting himself apart from other rappers coming out of New York. The energy Pop Smoke presents comes to life, it’s jarring, gritty, and ultimately hardcore.
Juro Que - ROSALÍA
Returning to her flamenco roots, Rosalía isn’t reliant on the past, but rather utilizes the techniques to help her experiment further. With a full display of charisma and confidence, Rosalía delivers her usual blend of urban and avant-garde on Juro Que, which translates to I Swear That. Assisted by Arca, Rosalía keeps it traditional while remaining fresh and original.
Levitating - Dua Lipa
Reviving the energetic, electrifying fast paced pop numbers that have been missing in the current climate of pop music, Dua Lipa infuses a touch of nostalgia in her vision of the future. Exploring a disco galaxy, the new pop icon struts on the dance floor on Future Nostalgia’s album highlight, Levitating. Dancing on her own, Dua is slick, sexy, and sophisticated inviting listeners all over the world to her retro-futuristic dance party.
Life Is Good - Future feat. Drake
Isn’t is ironic that ever since Future and Drake dropped Life Is Good life hasn’t been good? The irony is just the sign of the times, most like the response to this song. It’s at this point that fans and critics will criticize every single move that Drake makes, overanalyzing when it’s unnecessary. An oddly structured song that found success after the impact of Sicko Mode with two artists having the time of their lives. It’s a FUN song, nothing more, nothing less.
Me & You Together Song - The 1975
Continuing to showcase their versatility with their approach to rock music, The 1975 captures a nostalgic sound from the past to re-dream angsty pop rock music. Me & You Together Song is what the band would’ve sounded like in the 2000s, and it works.
Microdosing - 070 Shake
Emerging from finding freedom in the darkness, 070 Shake swims with the heavy weights on the epic Modus Vivendi album cut, Microdosing. Layering vocal melodies, O70 is an outcry of a fear of losing yourself while getting lost in someone else.
Momentary Bliss - Gorillaz feat. Slowthai and Slaves
Formulated upon an unprecedented array of unpredictability, Momentary Bliss is a sneak attack of a bright colorful punk moment. In the early seconds the song begins with gentle melodies before entering Slowthai’s chaotic rage filled flow. It’s everything listeners wouldn’t expect, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
Never Come Back - Caribou
Dan Snaith returns for his fifth album Suddenly, under the Caribou moniker, which was led by the single, Never Come Back. Soothing with gentles vocals, Snaith avoids obnoxiously bearing his voice over the production, but rather allows the instrumentation to carry his voice. Like the album cover suggests, the song, and the album is an escapism to the deep sea, one deserving to be explored.
One More Year - Tame Impala
Opening the new chapter of the psychedelic mind of Tame Impala, Kevin sings “do you remember we were standing here a year ago, our minds were racing, times were slow”, the introduction to the concept is clear from the get go. One More Year is an outcry for stopping time, but dazed on what to exactly do with it. Destiny is fate, our past has shaped the exact moment of today, and Kevin is on the edge of coming to terms with it, but not necessarily ready to let go.
Prices - Lil Uzi Vert
Sampling Travis Scott’s Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight album cut, Way Back, Lil Uzi Vert keeps it classic with a nostalgic flow that every fan will appreciate on Prices. Referencing his highlight year, Lil Uzi reassures that he wasn’t just a one era wonder, but rather he’s only going up from here on now.
Run - Joji
Cinematically displaying an eerie outcry of emotions, Joji is the star and the sole character to his faith to escape. On Run, the singer songwriter displays an unprecedented amount of maturity that leaves listeners in awe. Through layering of breathy vocals and psychedelic production, Run is a haunting series of events in just under 4 minutes.
Surf & Turf - Boldy James and The Alchemist feat. Vince Staples
Boldly James and Vince Staples return on The Alchemist produced number, Surf & Turf. Promoting the track by tweeting “Sometimes you just gotta bring out the bars to see if you still got it ya know”, Vince reassured fans that they were in for a treat, and he delivered. Exchanging bold bars from the get go Boldy James is no holds barred as he then taps Vince Staples in to match his energy.
Turks - Nav & Gunna feat. Travis Scott
Evolving right before our eyes, Nav delivers his best performance to date on Turks. Gliding smoothly, Gunna effortlessly provides yet an ordinary but effective Gunna verse, while Travis Scott continues to be on a hot streak of features. The most memorable moment is the insanely repayable hook. Congrats Nav!
We Will Always Love You - The Avalanches feat. Blood Orange
Driven upon a rather mellow atmosphere, The Avalanches make their long awaited return and they don’t disappoint. We Will Always Love You is a stunning cosmic arrangement of instrumentals, captured alongside a beautiful Dev Hynes vocal moment.
What Kinda Music - Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes
The genius masterminds behind the new school wave of a soulful, electronic, and jazzy fusion have joined forces for a head inducing musical experience. Tom Misch, and Yussef Dayes two promising young stars already impressive on their own, prove that they’re even better together on the explosive title track of their upcoming collaborative project, What Kinda Music.
WHATS POPPIN - Jack Harlow
Ever since the release of 2019’s Confetti, Jack Harlow continues to celebrate his newfound success to reassure that he’s here to stay, and you need to accept it. Jack Harlow doesn’t need to impress you with his lyrical ability, but let’s his confidence, and his effortless flow do all the talking. Such is apparent on his breakthrough hit, Whats Poppin. Jack is charismatic, easy to listen, and most importantly, enjoyable.
Your Love (Deja Vu) - Glass Animals
Glass Animals return with their first lead single in four years. The song, Your Love (Deja Vu) is a chaotic love story that is toxic yet you just can’t escape. Maintaining with their signature sonic sound, Glass Animals provide intimacy in all of a relationships problematic moments.
XS - Rina Sawayama
Fusing pop and rock with a heavy metal guitar for the cherry on top, Rina Sawayama redefines the bubblegum pop experience. In war with capitalism, Rina shifts the perspective and exploits the system on XS. For first time listeners, Rina will reassure to redefine their expectations of a electropop song.
Stream all songs listed on CTRL's curated playlist, NEW TUNES NOW! The ultimate weekly updated mix of the best of the weekly new releases. Available on Apple Music + Spotify