There aren’t a lot of good things to say about the year 2020, but it was nevertheless a year filled with great music. Here are 20 of my favorite songs for 2020. Please use the comments box to add your favorites. And check out the end of the post for links to my favorite songs lists of previous years.
I’m a long-time fan of the work of fellow William & Mary alum Thao Nguyen, so I was excited when Thao & The Get Down Stay Down released their newest album in May. Doubly so when I saw that Thao Nguyen and her many collaborators put together the first great pandemic music video, filmed on Zoom, for the lead single “Phenom.”
Lyrically, the album explores Nguyen’s recently outed queer identity and reconciles it with her Vietnamese-American heritage. Musically, the songs sound different from the band’s earlier works. The sound draws on a variety of influences from blues rock to 80s post-punk to jazz to indie pop with some tracks incorporating hip-hop elements. It’s creative and original, and a little bit quirky but also very catchy. It’s a great grab bag that rewards multiple listens.
This week’s song “We The Common [For Valerie Bolden],” the first single from Thao and The Get Down Stay Down’s new album We The Common. I’ve liked Thao Nguyen’s music for a while, and feel a special need to promote it since we share the same alma mater, The College of William & Mary.