Music

The Best Songs Of 2020

Throughout this truly unprecedented year, songs have been with us. They were with us through the pandemic, when a rapper riffing on being “bored in the house” or a pop star creating an entire album with her fans made us all feel less alone. They were with us through this summer’s protests, when artists ranging from Denzel Curry to Leon Bridges used their artistic gifts to aid the cause. They were with us through the election, when musicians offered their talents in the form of performances and cover songs. And they are with us now, as we look forward to a 2021 that will hopefully wipe some of this slate clean.

Of course, not all songs are created equally, and some artists rose to the top in this truly incredible year. From Cardi B to Billie Eilish, the best of the best seemed to never stop producing, making sure there was always something new to help us get through the day to day. Their impact will be felt a lot longer than this calendar year. Check out Uproxx’s picks for the Best Songs of 2020 below.

50. Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”

Billie Eilish already has many big hits, but she only has one HIT. Her and brother/producer Finneas never seem to be trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice, but “Therefore I Am” does offer a few things that were present in her inescapable smash “Bad Guy,” namely that it veers away from some of the more spare songwriter-y territory she’s been exploring of late. “Therefore I Am” is as in-your-face as the titular sentiment conveys, all attitude and confidence, matching sonically just why Billie Eilish is so exciting to begin with. Whether anything ever supplants “Bad Guy” as her signature song remains to be seen, but “Therefore I Am” is her first release since her debut album to have a fighting chance.–Philip Cosores

49. DaBaby – “Rockstar” Feat. Roddy Ricch

DaBaby has been flying high since his 2019 breakout with “Suge.” The North Carolina native kept fans captivated with his enthusiasm and high-energy and that’s something that appears on his highlight “Rockstar” single. The track quickly grew to become one of his most successful releases as it topped the singles chart back in June. The Roddy Ricch-supported song brings an infectious experience for fans, one that helped it rule the charts for multiple weeks and extend DaBaby’s streak of commercial success.–Wongo Okon

48. Dinner Party – “Freeze Tag” Feat. Cordae, Phoelix, and Snoop Dogg

This year saw hip-hop and Black music highlighting more than ever the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement, but few of those works are as beautifully musical as the standout from this jazz quartet‘s debut album. Its soothing instrumentation belies the darkness of the topic, as Cordae and Phoelix speak more to the resilience of the human spirit. It’s the most optimistic version of the message we’ve heard all year, when optimism was needed more than ever.–Aaron Williams

47. Conan Gray – “Maniac”

After breaking out in 2018 with the Sunset Season EP, Conan Gray proved he’s a hit-making machine with the huge success of “Maniac” this year. Just one of several massive songs off his debut album, Kid Krow, this song dismantles the petty gossip that separates former lovers and fake friends from the real ones in their lives. Not quite kiss-off, not quite sympathetic, “Maniac” gives every higher-ground ex an anthem for the days when the gaslighting is just too much.–Caitlin White

46. Salem – “Starfall”

In the decade since we last were discussing electronic dua Salem, the entire music industry changed. And as they return with the stunning “Starfall,” their music that was once dubbed “witch house” feels closer to center than ever before. The huge catharsis at the center of this single doesn’t quite provide rave-tent euphoria, but something more nuanced, packing the adrenaline that comes with more natural highs into its shooting star of a song.–P.C.

45. Polo G – “DND”

Many rappers aspire for Polo G’s level of success, but affirmations to bring everybody with them fall by the wayside once responsibilities necessitate hard choices and you “cut everybody off, keep hittin’ decline” like he reflects on “DND.” The track is a compelling glimpse of the turmoil that a young artist goes through coming into fame. If the skills he shows here are any indication, he’ll have plenty of time to figure it out.–Andre Gee

44. Lil Baby – “Emotionally Scarred”

Lil Baby recently reflected that he doesn’t want to “get political” in his music anymore, but that’s impossible. Lines like “I can’t move around without tools, these n****s loose screws” on “Emotionally Scarred” reflect a broken environment that’s directly tied to calls for abolition. He also rhymes, “They say I’ll be great, I guess I’m waiting for it.” But the emotional excavation he displays here reflects that his greatness is inherent.–A.G.

43. Selena Gomez – “Look At Her Now”

At the top of the year, Selena Gomez separated herself from Justin Bieber forever. Releasing Rare in the wake of his incredibly quick marriage, Gomez got her own perspective out there the best way she knows how — glistening pop songs. “Look At Her Now” is the standout of Selena’s latest collection, asserting she’s better than ever after a rough few years, with a riff so addictive it’ll be stuck in your head long after your last ex fades away.–C.W.

42. G Herbo – “PTSD” Feat. Juice Wrld, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Uzi Vert

On “PTSD,” all four MCs take turns reflecting on the toll of the streets. Herbo is “in them whips, right back on the enemies.” Chance The Rapper “used to run home from the train stop.” Uzi is “affected by the streets, no appetite, I can’t eat.” And the late Juice WRLD has “seen my brothers fall over and over again.” They reflect different disheartened perspectives of life in forgotten communities — ones that deserve resources and healing.–A.G.

41. Giveon – “The Beach”

Giveon’s best work arguably comes on the intro of his March EP, Take Time, with “The Beach.” The track is an ode to his Long Beach hometown and the highs and lows he experienced in his time there. “The Beach” captures Giveon’s vocal talents thanks to its strong runs that find his baritone voice elegantly reaching for the skies. The song also stands as an impressive bullet point on his 2020 resume that includes his When It’s All Said And Done EP and a guest feature with Drake on “Chicago Freestyle.”–W.O.

40. Bartess Strange – “Boomer”

“Boomer” is an eclectic highlight of Strange’s stunning debut album Live Forever, but he told Uproxx the song almost didn’t make the album: “I thought it showed that I didn’t take myself too seriously. I felt like it was true to who I am, where I’m from, the people I’m from. It’s just like a punk gospel country outro on top of a Thao & The Get Down Stay Down chorus and a DaBaby style rap verse, like starting right on the one when the song starts.”–Derrick Rossignol

39. Khruangbin and Leon Bridges – “Texas Sun”

The surprise EP from the genre-bending band and the R&B star tagged onto the end of the 2019 Yee-haw Agenda, continuing to highlight the rhythmic roots of Americana’s favorite twangy tunes. It also gave Leon Bridges another perfect soundtrack for his whiskey-smooth vocal explorations, adding yet another dimension to his already mutifaceted catalog. The title track is like a roadtrip through the Lone Star State, falling in love with its down-home beauty.–A.W.

38. Jackboys & Travis Scott – “Out West” Feat. Young Thug

On “Out West,” Travis Scott delivers a braggadocious verse stained with the admission that, “I pour all of my pain out in a cup,” while Young Thug plays seesaw between a compelling, guttural vocal presence and crude, unimaginative sex lyrics. One might have spent the course of the song pondering the gravity of the casual nihilism, but Jabz and Buddah Bless’ production is so intoxicating that most are just dancing their way through it.–A.G.

37. The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”

As he’s done numerous times throughout his career, The Weeknd brought forth a new era in his music for his fourth album After Hours. The project saw a shift to synthwave for the Canadian singer, which is highlighted on “Blinding Lights.” The track topped the singles chart and became the singer’s fifth song to do so. “Blinding Lights” also took a number of awards this year and grew to be the most successful single of The Weeknd’s career.–W.O.

36. Rina Sawayama – “Comme Des Garcons (Like The Boys)”

Some pop songs were robbed of their rightful destiny this year. “Commes Des Garcons (Like The Boys)” is just one example of a track that would’ve dominated dancefloors this year, if we hadn’t all been stuck inside, isolating. Still, for a one man — or woman, as it would be — show in bedrooms around the world, there was probably no bigger track. Rina flexes her pop star reflexes on this massive house cut, which will live on well past 2020.–C.W.

35. Beabadoobee – “Care”

’90s nostalgia has been popular, it feels like, since January 1, 2000. Attempts to revive the decade’s magic don’t always go well, but Beabadoobee got it right with “Care,” which honors the tradition by highlighting the era’s appeal: comforting yet new and exciting.–D.R.

34. Future – “Life Is Good” Feat. Drake

Drake and Future’s worlds collide on their collaborative track “Life Is Good.” The song comes five years after the release of their No. 1 2015 mixtape What A Time To Be Alive and is a testament to their hit-making magic. Drake enters over a brooding track aided by the sounds of a haunting bass and strings, and offers a reflective hook. “Working on the weekend like usual,” he laments before Future blasts into the song’s hazy cadence on his own spaceship. Though the 6 God and The Wizrd are fully capable of playing in each other’s musical backyards, Drake does his thing on one side of the track and Future does his thing on the other side of the track without either having to leave the comfort of their home bases. “Life Is Good” is an addictive banger from Future’s High Off Life that showcases the duo’s willingness to explore outside the box with different ways to collaborate and pop out hits.–Cherise Johnson

33. Tobe Nwigwe – “Try Jesus”

When you saw that title, you undoubtedly rolled your eyes, thinking this is some kind of Christian rap anthem imploring you to praise the Lord. That’s where you’re wrong; it’s a stern warning and ultimatum rolled into one. If you’re going to try someone, it had best not be this Dallas native — because he doesn’t turn the other cheek. In a year in which the bullied masses decided they weren’t putting up with those shenanigans anymore, it’s a good message to take to heart.–A.W.

32. Blackpink – “How You Like That”

It was a long year without Blackpink, but the K-pop titans made their anticipated return this summer with “How You Like That.” The instantly memorable tune sees them on top of their game both artistically and commercially, as it shattered YouTube records.–D.R.

31. Jean Dawson – “Devilish”

Look no farther than MGK to see the influence pop-punk has had on rock music this year, and that infiltration coupled with the long-simmering impact of emo on hip-hop both seem to inform Jean Dawson’s excellent album. That’s all present on “Devilish,” along with some Bloc Party-esque theatrics that make this breakout song unlike much anything else released this year. In short, listening to Jean Dawson feels like the past, the present, and the future all at once, using some inspired reference points to hopefully draw a map to where popular rock music is heading.–P.C.

30. Soccer Mommy – “Circle The Drain”

On her second official album, Sophie Allison wanted to recreate the music from her childhood, but with a sense of degradation that comes with the harshness of everyday life. “Circle The Drain” is a perfect example of this goal, a warm and breezy track on the surface, but with lyrics that are not subtle in their message: “I’ve been falling apart these days,” Allison sings. “Split open, watching my heart go round and around.”–Zac Gelfand

29. Charli XCX – “Detonate”

Ever a stunning creative, Charli XCX took on the daunting task of quickly documenting her life during a global pandemic transparently and in real time. The result was a fascinating audio diary featuring highlights like “Detonate,” the vulnerability and self-criticism of which is masked by its glitchy, upbeat pop shell.–D.R.

28. Drake – “Chicago Freestyle” Feat. Giveon

Dark Lane Demo Tapes was a highlight reel of just about all the “Drakes” fans have come to love. The Giveon-featuring “Chicago Freestyle” is another dose of the rap icon in an introspective, brooding lane that reflects boredom with casual sex and situationships that we’d hope one could transcend at 34. His Eminem-channeling chorus reflects he hasn’t. Until he does, his fans will have fun eating up crestfallen journal entries like “Chicago Freestyle.”–A.G.

27. Blimes And Gab – “Shellys (It’s Chill)”

Closely related to Beckys and Karens are Blimes and Gab‘s new invention: “Shellys.” You know the ones; they’re always a little too touchy-feely at the club. They require a bit too much attention. They’re always around for the VIP section drinks and never around for the bill. They do too much and want everybody else’s participation or there’s a meltdown on the way. They don’t deserve a song this damn cool, but here we are. The retro-electro-funk vibes back Gab’s vocal display, while Blimes serves up an effervescent verse that balances complex rhymes with laid-back storytelling. “Shellys” even gets a nostalgic video complete with grainy VHS effects and all the loud patterns a child of the ’90s can handle.–A.W.

26. Internet Money – “Lemonade” Feat. Don Toliver, Gunna, & Nav

It’s the way “Lemonade” showboats with sweet guitar strings saturated in Don Toliver’s soulful reverie, for me. Created by the hit-making production crew Internet Money, “Lemonade” is bound by a syrupy draw that delivers an earworm so infectious it’s hard not to yell out “Off that juice, codeine got me trippin’” at random, especially before taking a sip of actual lemonade. The B4 The Storm song is also embraced with the essence of Nav and Gunna, who both add their own vibe to the song, which has exploded in popularity on TikTok. “Lemonade” has been one of 2020’s biggest songs with over 300,000,000 streams on Spotify alone and that’s just on the original version. Taz Taylor and Nick Mira also have plans on dishing out various remixes to “Lemonade” to keep the momentum going. So far, Roddy Ricch hopped on a version followed by a remix by Anuel AA. Word on the streets is that there are more remixes in the pipeline. It’s safe to assume the “Lemonade” conquest will go beyond 2020.–C.J.

25. Perfume Genius – “Nothing At All”

When Mike Hadreas first emerged as Perfume Genius more than a decade ago, just his tender, warbly voice was enough to captivate over mournful piano accompaniment. But as the albums have come, so has the ambition, leading to a song like “Nothing At All,” which underscores Hadreas’ delivery with music that pushes the project into maximal territory. It’s always hard to say whether Perfume Genius is getting better with each great album, but he’s certainly evolving, with each new destination as unexpected as it is true to the identity he’s been expounding on for all these years.–P.C.

24. Jack Harlow – “Whats Poppin”

Despite the song arriving early in 2020, the full impact of Jack Harlow’sWhat’s Poppin” was felt throughout the year. The single peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart and was later hit with a remix featuring Lil Wayne, DaBaby, and Tory Lanez. While the Kentucky native had three projects under his belt before the song, “What’s Poppin” introduced the world to his fun spirit and slick lyricism, something fans can continue to look forward to from him.–W.O.

23. Travis Scott – “Franchise” Feat. Young Thug & M.I.A.

Travis Scott will probably remember 2020 as much for his branding endeavors as his musical contributions. The Houston native inked deals with PlayStation, McDonald’s, and Fortnite, ensuring that everyone would know his name by the time his upcoming fourth album arrived. However, when you look at the music side of things, Travis did have a pretty good year. “Franchise” gave him another No. 1 release and also perfectly represents the brand he’s trying to build as its video was shot at Michael Jordan’s house.–W.O.

22. BTS – “Dynamite”

BTS have been steadily building their global domination over the last few years, but when “Dynamite” exploded this summer, it basically broke every record in existence. The song found this Korean boy band hitting their stride with funky, golden-era pop that doesn’t sacrifice any of their style or swag. Whenever you need a pick-me-up, this banger is here to boost your spirits, and remind you, BTS don’t make pop music, they are pop music.–C.W.

21. Waxahatchee – “Fire”

Waxahatchee penned her album Saint Cloud in the period following her decision to get sober and her album’s lead single “Fire” displays the radical form of self-love it took to make that choice. Offering a precursor to her album as a whole, the song is a vulnerable and sincere recognition of her own strength as she reckons with her past and anticipates her future.–Carolyn Droke

20. Dua Lipa – “Cool”

By now, you’ve probably heard Dua Lipa’s infectious hit “Don’t Start Now” on the radio, in the grocery store, or in any other number of settings. But her shimmering sophomore album Future Nostalgia also boasted some underrepresented bops, like her bouncy song “Cool.” The track provides an opportunity for the UK singer to showcase her soaring vocals while leaning on a clapping beat for a compelling rhythm.–C.D.

19. Aminé – “Becky”

What may come across like an anti-miscegenation screed at first blush becomes even more potent when you zoom out and see just how fraught internecine race conflict has become in this country. In pointing out his personal experiences in Portland, Aminé highlights the ongoing problem; those little black Instagram squares aren’t doing much to keep “Beckies” and “Karens” from using their privilege to lash out at Black people just for existing. As millions of Americans banded together to demand systemic change, others turned meaner, more xenophobic, and even worse, empowered by a loudmouth whose dog whistles rang more like bullhorns to stoke the flames. “Becky” is the sigh of exhaustion at being forced to carry that weight despite doing nothing to deserve it.–A.W.

18. Lady Gaga – “Rain On Me” Feat. Ariana Grande

If ever there was a year where we needed a pop song about the relief and drama of being washed clean, it’s 2020. Lady Gaga issued her return to form Chromatica this spring after a brief pandemic-related delay, getting by with a little help from her chart-topping counterpart, Ariana Grande, to turn this dancefloor frenzy into a No. 1. “Rain On Me” begs the sky itself for redemption, and, presumably, when that freedom comes, this song will be the soundtrack.–C.W.

17. Yves Tumor – “Gospel For A New Century”

Just the title, “Gospel For A New Century,” points to the grandeur of this ambitious brush with pop sensibilities. Yves Tumor is naturally experimental, but on this standout from his excellent Heaven To A Tortured Mind album, Tumor shows that working in more conventional colors suits him. Of course, the accompanying video is essential to truly experiencing the song’s breadth, complete with a YouTube warning, demonic prosthetics, and enough swagger to revive rock showmanship from its temporary slumber. Even at his most accessible, Yves Tumor is delightfully out there.–P.C.

16. Curtis Roach – “Bored In The House” Feat. Tyga

Who among us cannot relate? Truly, we all went a little bit stir crazy this summer with live entertainment, indoor dining, parks, beaches, and everything but the businesses essential to maintaining the American infrastructure shut down. Even those of us used to working from home were deprived of our usual outlets and reasons to breathe fresh air (seriously, the city took the rims off the basketball hoops at my local park. The rims!). Everything seemed to suck. And then, a 20-year-old rapper from Detroit gave us the anthem, the defining song of the moment — with a remix featuring Tyga! And it’s primed for a resurgence; the way things are headed, we’re staring down yet another lockdown (just wear the damn masks, people, and wash your disgusting hands) that may bring this hummable humdrum theme song back in fashion.–A.W.

15. Taylor Swift – “The Last Great American Dynasty”

While it will become abundantly clear in time that Taylor Swift never fell off, within the current narrative (which she never asked to be a part of) Folklore is a mother of a comeback album. And if we’re playing favorites, “The Last Great American Dynasty” is the quintessential Swiftian creation; bubbly melodies and paper-thin beats soundtrack the downfall of a clever widow, who, unexpectedly, shares a strange connection with Taylor. Where others might see only a mansion on a hill, Swift unearths beauty in madness, honoring the past while reserving the right to tell her own story, too.–C.W.

14. Chloe x Halle – “Do It”

The Bailey sisters returned to 2020 all grown up with their sophomore album Ungodly Hour. Chloe x Halle showed their growth and maturity on their second effort, but another thing that came with the album was a shot for the charts. “Do It” quickly became a fan favorite and the song that introduced a wider audience to the duo. From Jimmy Kimmel to a remix with Mulatto, Doja Cat, and City Girls, the track has taken a life of its own, becoming the poster child of Chloe x Halle’s incredible year.–W.O.

13. Lil Uzi Vert – “Futsal Shuffle”

Lil Uzi Vert has a precocious aura that’s belied by lyrics like “she was ridin’ on my dick, she ain’t need two pedals,” but is nevertheless apropos for a fun dance song like “Futsal Shuffle,” which tided fans over until Eternal Atake’s March release. The track’s strobing synths are the perfect canvas for Uzi’s melodious boasts, as well as the footwork-heavy dance that everyone and their mother was trying out on TikTok.–A.G.

12. Mac Miller – “Good News”

Good News” is charmingly glum, with ever-relatable laments like “why can’t it just be easy?” and “why I gotta build somethin’ beautiful just to go set it on fire?” over Mac and Jon Brion’s production that sounds ripe for a feel-good paper towel commercial. But instead of delight, there’s just Mac’s matter-of-fact despondency that’s so rife he’s barely articulating it. The track is beautifully crafted, but still haunting in hindsight.–A.G.

11. Haim – “The Steps”

After a string of one-off releases, “The Steps” marked the first official single from Haim’s excellent third album Women In Music Pt. III, a guitar-driven rocker about a dysfunctional relationship where the parties are fundamentally at odds, regardless of the situation. The track takes on a life of its own with a rousing chorus that forces the listener to pay attention if they’ve been faltering.–Z.G.

10. Pop Smoke – “Dior”

Brooklyn native Pop Smoke captivated the world with his energy and youthful exuberance. The rapper walked into hip-hop with his summer smash, “Welcome To The Party,” and followed it up with “Dior.” The latter track solidified the rapper’s presence in the game and discarded any “one-hit wonder” thoughts. Unfortunately, Pop would be taken from us at the beginning of 2020 in what was an extremely painful death for the hip-hop community. The young rapper’s music will always live with us and his potential will be something we dream of, just as he did.–W.O.

9. Ariana Grande – “34 + 35”

On a spectacularly filthy song, Ariana Grande juxtaposes the Disney strings she’s been known to use throughout her career with some of her most sexually explicit lyrics to date. Once you figure out what the sum of the two numbers in the title equals, the rest of this song falls into place like clockwork. More carefree and funnier than the lead single, “34 + 35” has all the makings of a late album hit, and will go down in Ari’s catalogue as one of her most clever offerings.—C.W.

8. Terrace Martin – “Pig Feet” Feat. Denzel Curry, Kamasi Washington, G Perico, and Daylyt

This summer was flooded with peaceful anti-police protests, and not-so-peaceful ones. A slew of artists captured the fury of the moment on “Pig’s Feet,” a resolute rebuke of the system. Denzel Curry leads off the song surmising, “They want us crucified with stones and hard rocks,” while rapper Daylyt sheds his comical reputation with a dead serious verse of his own. There were dozens of protests songs this year, and “Pig’s Feet” might be the most memorable.–A.G.

7. Doja Cat – “Say So”

Who’d have thought a disco-throwback deep cut from Doja’s year-old sophomore album would have shaken up the world like this? Suddenly, the floodgates are open for long-thwarted female rappers to traipse right up to the top of the Hot 100, TikTok is the first place major labels head to break their newest artists (and reintroduce older ones), and Doja herself is forever branded with a false narrative promoted by dry-dicked nerds who can’t take a joke. “Say So” is a funny little ditty but if you’d told me it’d have caused a tongue-in-cheek “beef” between Doja Cat and Nas, I would have thought you were smoking a loud pack marked “jet engine taking off from 10 feet away.” Yet here we are, a long way from “Mooo!” and closer than ever to weird-girl hip-hop dominance.–A.W.

6. Phoebe Bridgers – “I Know The End”

Only Phoebe Bridgers could fit a sweeping three-part suite into less than six minutes, tracing the burnout of bedroom ennui and toxic relationships to the fleeting euphoria of windows-down doomsday drives, and finishing it all off with a cataclysmic orchestral breakdown. Written long before the strange terrors and slow, deadly suffocations of 2020, the song feels oddly prophetic and cathartic at the same time. All we could ask for in a pandemic year, and whatever lies beyond.–C.W.

5. The Killers – “My Own Soul’s Warning”

You would be forgiven if you gave up on The Killers after their recent run of drab albums. But this year’s Imploding The Mirage was a legitimate comeback, providing all of the bombastic and giddy thrills that you hope for from this band. Maybe the best song from that album, “My Own Soul’s Warning,” is a pure adrenaline rush, an arena-rock anthem for a time in which arenas have been temporarily shut down. Hopefully, The Killers will be waiting for us when (if?) things return to normal.–Steven Hyden

4. Megan Thee Stallion – “Savage Remix” Feat. Beyonce

Classy, bougie, ratchet. Those are three words to describe Megan Thee Stallion’s explosive “Savage” 2020 takeover thanks to the power of TikTok and dance creators Keara Wilson and the Nae Nae Twins. While the “Savage” dance has been done by millions of Hot Girls and Hot Boys across the globe upon the release of Meg’s Suga EP, Beyonce ignited new life into the movement with a sign-o-the-times verse for the remix to an already infectious smash hit. “Hips tick-tok when I dance / On that demon time she might start an Only Fans,” Queen B spits on the certified platinum hit, before gathering more momentum with essential life quotes such as “If you don’t jump to put jeans on, baby you don’t feel my pain” and “I can’t argue with these lazy bitches I just raised my price.” The song now lives on Meg’s debut album Good News, which made its debut on the Billboard 200 charts at No. 2. If nothing else goes right in 2020, at least we got the “Savage Remix” with Houston queens Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion.–C.J.

3. Roddy Ricch – “The Box”

There are Billboard number ones, then there’s phenomena that transcends metrics. The latter was the case with Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” a single from this 2019 Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial project. Roddy shows out on both verses — and yes, with his uninhibited “hee her” adlib, but it’s “The Box’s” resounding, impossibly catchy chorus that had TikTok, and the rap world in general, on fire during the simpler days of 2020.–A.G.

2. Run The Jewels – “A Few Words For The Firing Squad (Radiation)”

Spoiler alert. The words referred to in this song’s title are also the final words of Killer Mike’s song-closing verse: “Fuck you, too.” That’s a pretty accurate summation of the general mood of anyone left in this country who isn’t an outright fascist sympathizer. The lines have been drawn in the sand; you’re either for or against the state’s policy of bald-faced violence against its own citizens and those of us who aren’t here for the status quo have a new musical manifesto courtesy of Run The Jewels. The unapologetic duo may not have captured the zeitgeist on purpose, but they did — not so much out of timeliness as out of America’s repetitious addiction to doing its worst. It just so happens, the people have had enough. Bring it on.–A.W.

1. Cardi B – “WAP” Feat. Megan Thee Stallion

What is there left to say about this song? If you’ve heard it, you know it. You know about the over-the-top reactions, the runaway popularity, the memes, the impact. You know what it means, you know how it fits into the grand scheme of the raunchy sex anthems before it and you can speculate about the dozens more it will inevitably enable. You know that you fall into one of two categories of people; you either get it, because you can relate from one end of the equation or the other, or you hate it, because you ain’t got a WAP, you never had a WAP, and bless your little heart, you will probably never even come close to one. Cardi B wins again either way. Stay mad or get on board.–A.W.

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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