Lisa Marie’s 20 Favorite Songs of 2020

Every January, I list my favorite songs of the previous year and, every January, I include the same disclaimer.  My favorite songs are not necessarily the favorite songs of any of the other writers here at the Shattered Lens.  We are a large and diverse group of people and, as such, we all have our own individual tastes.

If you ever visited the TSL Bunker, you would be shocked by the different music coming out of each office.  You would hear everything from opera to death metal to the best of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.  And then, of course, you would reach my office and you would discover that my taste in music pretty much runs the gamut from EDM to More EDM.

Now, usually, I do try to listen to a variety of music.  You can go to my Song of the Day site — Lisa Marie’s Song of the Day — and see that I do occasionally listen to other types of music.  But, I have to be honest.  2020 was not a year that inspired me to really leave me comfort zone.  If anything, music provided me with some much needed consistency in an otherwise chaotic year.  2020 was a year that made me want to dance until it was all over and, for the most part, my favorite songs of the year reflect that fact.

Before I list my songs, I should make something else very clear.  These are my favorite songs of 2020.  I’m not saying that they’re necessarily the best songs of 2020.  I’ll leave that debate for others.  Instead, there are the songs that I found myself listening to over and over again.  These are the songs made me dance.  These are the songs that made me sing.  A few of these songs relaxed me when I needed to be relaxed.  These are songs that I liked.

You might like them.

Or you might not.

That’s the beautiful thing about art.  Everyone experiences it in their own individual way.  For instance, if you want to see an example of the different tastes of music that you’ll find here at TSL, be sure to check out Necromoonyeti’s top albums of 2020.  And also go to Days Without Incident and check out some of the songs that Leonard has posted.  To quote my friend Shirley Loh, “we all like different things.”

Here are my favorite songs of 2020:

20) No Sleep by Jessie Frye

19) Ghost In These Streets by Kate Vogel

18) Matches by Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys

17) You Do you by Dillon Francis and BabyJake

16) Into the Abyss by Zeds Dead x REZZ

15) Teacher by Chromatics

14) Stardew by Purity Ring

13) Everybody Here Hates You by Courtney Barnett

12) Swimming in the Stars by Britney Spears

11) Don’t Wanna by Haim

10) Preach by Saint Motel


9) Famous Monsters by Chromatics

8) Break my Heart by Dua Lipa

7) Feel Something by Armin van Buuren feat. Duncan Laurence

6) Dance Again by Selena Gomez

5) Phobos by Space 92

4) Pomegranate by deadmau5 & The Neptunes

3) Castles In The Sky by i_o

2) The Steps by Haim

1) A Good Song Never Dies by Saint Motel

Finally, allow me to offer up two honorable mentions to my favorite cinematic musical moments of the year.  From Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga:

And from What Did Jack Do?:

TSL Looks Back at 2020:

  1. Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2020 (Lisa Marie Bowman)
  2. My Top 20 Albums of 2020 (Necromoonyeti)
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems That I Saw In 2020 (Valerie Troutman)
  4. Top 10 Vintage Collections (Ryan C)
  5. Top 10 Contemporary Collections (Ryan C)
  6. Top 10 Original Graphic Novels (Ryan C)
  7. Top 10 Ongoing Series (Ryan C.)
  8. Top 10 Special Mentions (Ryan C.)
  9. Top Ten Single Issues (Ryan C)


Music Video of the Day: The Steps by HAIM (2020, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

I’m the youngest of four sisters and everyday, I’m thankful for that because I would seriously be so lost without them in my life.  I think that’s one reason why I like HAIM.  The Haim sisters remind me of my older sisters and that’s especially true in the video for The Steps.

The song, of course, is about a relationship that, if it hasn’t ended yet, is coming to an end.  The messiness of Haim’s morning routine perfectly mirrors the lyrics of the song, in which the narrator says that every time she tries to move forward, her lover gets mad at her for “making a mess.”  There’s something very liberating about HAIM’s messiness in this video.  It’s not just the fact that they’re throwing stuff all over the apartment and stumbling out of bed (which is the way I think most of us wake up but it’s something you rarely see in movies or music videos, where everyone wakes up refreshed and ready for a photo shoot) but it’s also the fact that there’s none of the fake glamour that you might expect to see in a music video like this.  It’s a song about freedom and being yourself and if that means making a mess then make a mess.  It’s a liberating song and a liberating video.  It’s not a video where HAIM tries to live up to some pop princess archetype.  This is a video that says, “This is who we are and fuck you if you can’t handle it.”

That said, I have to admit that I’m a compulsive cleaner and my natural instinct is to usually tidy up so my room has never looked as messy as my life.  I guess I should be happy about that because otherwise, I don’t think I’d ever be able to find anything.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay to be messy.  It’s okay to be neat.  What matters is that you’re being yourself and not allowing anyone to force you to try to be someone else.

This video, like most of HAIM’s recent videos, was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  The film critic Armond White has argued that Anderson’s work with HAIM is actually superior to most of his recent films and I think White might have a point.  (Before anyone starts yelling at me, I don’t care whether or not you like Armond White.  He’s a consistently interesting writer and someone has to be willing to be a contrarian.)  There’s a definitely naturalness to Anderson’s videos with HAIM, as if anything could happen at any moment.