Top 10 music of 2020

An overview of 2020’s best music videos, performances and releases

2020 – a year of chaos and major disruption for the music industry. Concerts, studio recordings and events were predominantly cancelled, leaving many music lovers without new content from their favourite music artists. But for those who managed to release their work has left me wondering; how will 2020 be remembered in terms of its music? 

Here are some of my Top 10 music performances, music videos and releases of all genres which stood out to me.  


PERFORMANCE – Alicia Keys, Someone You Loved | 2020 GRAMMYs Live Performance

Alicia Keys’ heart-warming rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved opened 2020’s Grammys. Featuring the biggest names in music across all genres, and current events with a comedic touch, Keys’ performance touches hearts as she unites the audience with the love of music. After hearing her performance, it’s hard not to feel moved by music, and at almost 19m views on YouTube at the time of writing, it seems many agree.

MUSIC VIDEO - Christine and the Queens, La vita nuova

La vita Nuova is an extended play by French artist, Christine and the Queens. Fourteen minutes of performance art, sweet melodic chords, and serene vocals from Letissier, it's an excellent addition to her album.  The concept is highly visually artistic and enigmatic, with graceful choreography matched with ethereal costumes and performances. The uniqueness of this video, fulfilling triple threat performing arts is something often lacking in the music industry outside of the theatre, earning it a spot on this list.

ALBUM- AC/DC, Power Up

AC/DC have somehow entered their sixth decade of performing – yet their music sounds straight from the 1980s. Power Up is the band’s first release in six years and the first since founding member Malcolm Young died.To bring such a classically 80’s rock sound into 2020 is impressive, earning it a place on this list (and a continuous spot at number 1 on several charts).  

Favourite Track:Demon Fire

REMIX -  G-Eazy, Love Is Gone (Official Video) ft. Drew Love, JAHMED

In response to The Black-Eyed Peas “Where Is The Love?” (2003), Love Is Gone captures the abandonment and futility of 2020. 

Although G-Eazy’s original version was released in 2017, 2020’s version sees the addition of rapper JAHMED, as the trio use their platform as artists to express a social commentary and music video of 2020’s events. Despite not placing on the billboard charts, I can imagine this song being of historical significance in the years to come as people reflect how 2020’s events impacted its culture.

FESTIVAL SET - Fatboy Slim

Fatboy Slim, remembered by most for Rockafella Skank, performed at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in January with a wonderful fusion across genres with his samples – from Electro to African Boogie, to Rock. The visuals are hypnotising, and Fatboy Slim as an act is simply entertaining. A great treat to those stuck in quarantine missing out on the festival season.

ALBUM - Nine Inch Nails, 'Ghosts VI: Locusts'

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross showcase their skills as quality musicians and producers in the atmospheric, Ghost VI: Locusts.Like their soundtrack work, the songs are exquisitely composed, capturing a level of despair and beauty mixed into a single note in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It's refreshing, pleasant to the ears, and an underrated album that I feel I feel many people missed this year (amongst everything else in 2020). 

Notable Tracks:The Cursed Clock, Your New Normal 

PERFORMANCE - 'Old Town Road' Live Performance with Lil Nas X and more @ GRAMMYs 2020

Perhaps the most Tik Tok occurrence in real life, this entertaining collaboration features some of the biggest current names in pop music – Lil Nas x BTS x Diplo x Billy Ray Cyrus x The Yodelling Kid.

Old Town Road may have been 2019’s most overplayed hit, but this 2020 performance brings new life to the song, showcasing well-choreographed dance, incredible sets and extravagant costumes.

COVER - Miley Cyrus, Heart of Glass (iHeart Festival)

The second Cyrus on this list, Miley Cyrus’ cover of Heart of Glass was a complete surprise. Blondie’s Heart of Glass is iconic, making it an almost impossible song to cover well, but Miley Cyrus’ raspy, raw version held its own. Cyrus’ country twang fused with her now rocky edge is appealing, exciting, and overall, a very interesting, unusual voice. This cover was performed at the iHeart Festival, ahead of her new album, Plastic Hearts - which features more fusions between rock, pop, and country. 

I’m a big fan of this version of Miley Cyrus. With so few women at the forefront of the rock industry in 2020 I’m very intrigued to see where she’s going. Her voice carries so much power and distinctiveness that she has the potential to become legendary.

VIRTUAL EVENT Tomorrowland, United Through Music

Tomorrowland is one of the biggest festivals in the world, selling out of tickets as quick as 3 seconds to festival-goers of over 75 countries. 

Whilst much of the world plunged into quarantine amidst an endless cancellation of events, Tomorrowland’s United Through Music delivered its first live stream of musical acts from Tomorrowland on 31st March 2020 (just weeks into worldwide lockdowns), for FREE. The series continued for eight weeks, at four hours per set = 32 hours of free performances that these musicians put in to help unite people through music. These sets include interviews with the artists and a constant live stream of fans at home shared on the screen alongside the artists. 

PERFORMANCE & SINGLE- The Weeknd, Blinding Lights

Arguably, Blinding Lights was ‘the’ song of 2020. Its drums and synths brought back the nostalgia of the 80s for many, and I’m all for Synthwave’s comeback. But it was The Weeknd’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance which earned the musician the top spot on this list. How to deal with no audience? Just perform on an NYC skyscraper. The performance is dizzying, hypnotic, and enthralling.

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Author

Elle Farrell-Kingsley

Elle Farrell-Kingsley Kickstart Team

Elle is a Journalist and Presenter interested in all things arts, current affairs, technology, gaming, culture, politics and policy. She's based in Surrey and London, and when she's not writing, she's taking part in her local MMA classes or travelling.

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