Well, this debuted in the right week to have its entire chart run count!
One of 2020's definitive pop hits here. "Say So" never seemed like an exceptional song to me... it simply satisfies the necessary criteria to be a palatable pop song. Which isn't a bad thing, as it did reach the top 5 of my chart. It's just not enough to go higher than that.
The atmosphere is radiant and fluffy like cotton candy. The chorus melody easily sticks. And the "ass and titties" rap section breaks the monotony in a welcomed way.
Points: 513.0 Lifetime Points: 545.5 (enough to be #49 for 2020) Peak: 3 Debuted: 2019-12-20 Chart Run: (39-24)-9-6-3-6-8-12-15-18-21-25-29-33-38
Out of all the Fine Line singles, this is the one that's burned on me the most. It is, however, the one that peaked the highest! Although "Lights Up" has more lifetime points (673.4 - enough to be #33 on the 2020 list).
The other singles have more immediate and obvious hooks. Whereas "Adore You" gently floats in the breeze, which probably explains its airplay longevity. It sounds "nice" and inobtrusive. I wouldn't call this song "bland", though. But I also don't have much to say about it lol.
Points: 514.6 Lifetime Points: 670.5 (enough to be #33 for 2020) Peak: 2 Debuted: 2019-12-13 Chart Run: (39-6-4)-2-4-5-9-11-13-16-19-23-27-30-34-39 Blocked by: "Blinding Lights"
Benee first appeared on my chart in early 2019 with "Soaked" (#36). Her next three entries would outpeak the previous one - "Find An Island" reached #26, then "Glitter" got to #2, and finally she topped my chart with... a song that will appear later in this countdown.
The instrumentation on "Glitter" has this nostalgic 1970s-ish vibe that I quite enjoy (the guitar riff is psychedelic). It paints a calm, sunshiny image. Benee also injects her down-to-Earth personality into the song.
This is one of my favourite discoveries from Germany's chart last year.
"Hypnotized" contains a satisfying, synth-heaving production, that's accompanied by an immediately vocal melody. The main hooks being "WAIT for me", "I'm coming home..." and the elongation of "hyp-no-tized". Sophie is a great addition here - she makes the words stand out. There's also something reassuring and comforting about this song.
This peak position was a surprise, considering that neither artist had entered my chart before. MGK's previous material (namely "Bad Things") seemed "blah" to me, while "Hot Girl Bummer" was just whiny and obnoxious.
However, switching to a pop-punk direction allowed for a bop! And it gave his music more of a personality. Although the lyrics are pretty silly in "My Ex's Best Friend", in how they unapologetically lack any self control, or consideration for their friends. Especially Blackbear's verse, which is my least favourite part of the song. But the catchy chorus was strong enough to occupy my top 10 for multiple weeks.
My favourite discovery from the O.G. season of Pulsevision! (we're going to ignore the song I gave 12 points to)
"XS" immediately stood out thanks to all the stray guitar riffs aggressively intruding throughout. It's jarring without being irritating. The intro also sounds exotic. While foundation production channels early 2000s R&B hits. "Love Don't Cost A Thing" by J Lo is the comparison that comes to mind. The song's arrangement represents how we embrace nostalgia and self-indulgence, while ignoring the real world problems of today. The guitar riff symbolizes reality nagging at our minds.
"XS" is an artsy and attention-grabbing song, while still containing an accessible melody.
It's also an appropriate sound to replicate, because music videos from the 2000s were all about flexing luxurious possessions.
Whelp, I guess I'm in the minority on Pulse with this one. I can't say I'm a fan of the current trend of purposely out-of-tune vocals. And I can see how "So Done" is... juvenile? But it sounds exactly like a relationship that a 17-year old would experience. And the Kid Laroi's charisma carries his material. He has considerable confidence and determination for his age.
The song just clicked with me one week. The ukulele creates a summery vibe. The back-and-forth exchange in the second verse is slick. And the percussion beat is nice.
Moving on from songs that I like in spite of their flaws..
Tove Lo delivered a quirky bop last year! "Bikini Porn" is probably my favourite Finneas production that isn't by Billie Eilish. There's a bunch of "whoop"s in the background, alongside low-pitched backing vocals. The chorus becomes a bit murky. And the lyrics are somewhat unusual. But these aspects make "Bikini Porn" alluring. And it does paint the image of a sunny day by the pool.
"Think About Things" would have represented Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, and it was a hot favourite to win it. It's the entry I would have bet my money on. Russia is too televote-heavy, Switzerland is too jury-heavy, and Lithuania feels like a 4th placer. Bulgaria though... hmmm
Anyways, "Think About Things" is embodiment of quirkiness. The melody/harmonies are unusually monotone, the production is retro, and of course there's the green pyjamas and 8-bit imagery... but it's a catchy song so...
Not only do I chart Eurovision entries, but I also chart finalists from the Swedish national selection, known as Melodifestivalen. "Bulletproof" was my favourite from 2020
Structurally, "Bulletproof" is a standard pop song seen in Melfest, but Dotter's melancholic vocal makes it stand out. The "Just shoot me in the middle..." part is particularly effective as an outpouring of sorrow. She expresses vulnerability and weakness well. She's basically begging to get it over with.
The emphasis put on the word "bulletproof", and the "I'm talking 'bout..." bridge are also great hooks.
The staging involved some tricks with a light beam and a reflective outfit.
Well, I wish this were higher, but it peaked too close to the cut-off.
Romy is better known as a vocalist for The XX. "Lifetime" is, I believe, her first solo single. And it's honestly one of the best produced songs to come out of 2020. The arrangement is soo smooth. And the whole song is just a giant rush of adrenalizing bliss for 3 minutes.
The chorus is very effective, with the exclamation of "ONCE IN A LIFETIME", followed by the muffled repeated reassurances of "I'll be right beside you" in the background. While Romy provides a warm and embracing vocal texture. She sounds so personable.
As I mentioned in my write-up for "Magic", this was the most excited I felt for new Kylie music since "Timebomb".
"Say Something" utilizes a euphoric soundscape. The grinding beat drives the song, the funky guitar riff is a reaction of excitement, and the echoing background vocals are almighty.
The "S-s-s-say something, say something / Tell me how you're feeling" line ends up being a tease. Instead, the song is all about the progression to that "Cause love is love, it never ends..." climax. The last minute-ish is where Kylie gets lost in the moment/feeling.
Save Your Tears was an instant stand-out when I listened to After Hours, so I had to chart it right away. I'm happy to see it become a single all these months later!
Max Martin rarely disappoints when he works with the Weeknd. He can craft an instrumental that fits Abel's style, while attaching a catchy melody. Indeed, the "save.. your.. TEARS for another day" hook latches pretty easily here.
The song is about Abel running into his ex at a party. He ended the relationship without proper closer, and now she's ignoring him. The lyrics describe the non-verbal communication between them. The production captures Abel's internalized range of emotions that hit him in this moment. It expresses that sinking feeling whilst in a crowd. When he says "I don't know why I run away", it sounds like he's about to do just that lol.
This was a nice discovery from the New Zealand charts. Funnily enough, nearly a year later, and it's back in the top 3 of their charts (alongside two of their other songs).
"In The Air" is a chill and relaxing song, with an instrumental that is straight out of the 1970s. It's a very authentic-sounding throwback. The funky guitar and the smooth vocals are highlights here. The song is also romantic and inviting; like a slow dance on the terrace on a summer evening.
I discovered "Heat Waves" when a RL friend recommended it to me. Subsequently, the summery song slayed my chart in November lol. And now it's climbing in the UK and Australia!
The production is comprised of lo-fi beats, which is not only creative, but it also projects hazy atmosphere, much like a humid summer day. The bass line is compelling in a hypnotic way. The song is about letting go of a relationship that has become stale. The "heat wave" is a metaphor for the hallucinogenic flashbacks of the romance... I think. Anyways, the chorus melody is impossible to ignore.
Interestingly, this is the highest song on my year-end that peaked outside the top 3.
"Levitating" was an instant favourite from Future Nostalgia, so I debuted it back in April.... while she still had two other songs in the top 15. The song is built around this wobbling, reverberating, low-pitched synth that makes a "bwah bwah bwah" sound. It's highly addictive.
Moreover, the song's arrangement does progressively levitate. The first half maintains pace with the prominent synth and the handclaps, as Dua lists some cheesy space metaphors. The chorus, meanwhile, utilizes a series of pauses ("moonlight... you're my... starlight") that's quite catchy. The initial escalation happens in the pre-chorus, culminating in the "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah" bit. But it's after the second chorus when the song truly ascends into outer space. The last half is an encompassing, celebratory party. The pre-chorus loses all restraint, and then Dua brings out the thick accent in the bridge. It's a cute song.
The lowest #1 with a complete chart run. It's re-grown on me recently though.
Halsey's chart history begins in 2016, when "Ghost" and "Colors" peaked at #1 and #2 respectively. I really liked her debut era, but her subsequent singles were inconsistent for me. "Now or Never" and "Without Me" never fully clicked, but I loved "Bad At Love", "Nightmare" and "Graveyard".
"You Should Be Sad" is a cathartic song, where Halsey vents about a toxic relationship that she had to break off. She wanted to help and support her partner, but he was unwilling to seek help. He succumbed to his vices of "money, drugs/girls and cars". The lyrics are ruthless and biting, while Halsey's voice is so angsty and frustrated. The swearing is effective. And the electric guitar moments are fiery.
It's sad how this song flopped and disappeared immediately.
"Love Me Land" was Zara's first top 10 since "Ain't My Fault" 4 years prior. Which makes sense since I wasn't that crazy about anything she released in between.
The song is atmospheric, with its surrounding production. It's like swimming in a thick jelly-like fluid of synths(?) and strings, while Zara gets to show off her vocal exclamations in the verses. The sirens are a great opening too, and the "Never thought I would love again" section builds up anticipation.
Raye has quietly racked up four top 10 hits on my chart, with "You Don't Know Me", "Friends", "Love Me Again", and now this. "Secrets" is Regard's only appearance so far, since I found his cover of "Ride It" to be rather bland.
"Secrets" is just a super catchy future house song. The grinding beat, the "f**kin' with my heart and head" hook, and the instrumental breaks are key highlights. Raye's verses enhance the club atmosphere too. Her corresponding album was titled Euphoric Sad Songs, which is an appropriate description of this song. The production paints the image of a late night out with friends, while Raye deals with a bombshell that just hit her.
The fan-favourite track and the hit that got away? Well, we'll never know, because she went completely left field later in the year. I personally love it, though. The Jack Antonoff productions are some of my favourites in Taylor's discography.
"Cruel Summer" is a bubbly and blissful song, featuring a full soundscape consisting of bubbling synths and percussion beats. The song describes Taylor sneaking off with a bad boy. The arrangement captures that exciting rush quite well. The chorus especially elevates her infatuated desire. While the bridge is a diversion, where Taylor's dialogue cuts through. It's when she's reminded of the implications of the situation. The bridge is also a good hook!
Points: 723.6 Lifetime Points: 1101.2 (enough to be #1 for 2019, and pretty close for #1 of 2020 as well) Peak: 1 Debuted: 2019-12-06 Chart Run: (4-1-1-1)-1-3-4-7-9-9-9-11-13-16-18-21-24-27-31-35-39
Basically a perfect pop song with an incredibly low burn rate, despite the insane longevity its had on the real world charts. I'm rooting for it to topple "The Twist" (and "Shape of You" on Spotify). Most of the "biggest hits of all time" tend to be songs I find overrated, or ones that I got sick of after a while (like "Uptown Funk"). So I'm happy to see BL rise to that tier.
Also unfortunate timing with its points being split between years.
1 New Blood (with Boy Matthews) Gryffin 27 2 Sunrise Aly & Fila 24 3 Don't Wait (feat. Claudy) MesTo 23 4 Drive (feat. Wes Nelson) Clean Bandit 22 5 Temporary Highs Markus Schulz 22 6 By Heart (with Londin Thompson) DJ SHAAN 21 7 Our Moon Ferry Corsten 21 8 Should I Wait - Armin van Buuren presents Rising Star Remix Armin van Buuren 20 9 Fight For Arty 20 10 Take Your Time Arty 20
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