In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Tom Corson, Warner Records’ COO, stated that “Music is, by far the most important of the least important things.” Hence why Warner have released major albums like Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia and PartyNextDoor’s PartyMobile, that included Rihanna’s first new vocal for three years, while the world was in lockdown and other major labels were postponing releases.
7 months into a strange year for music (and for every other aspect in life) and we can all agree music is more relevant than ever before. Here’s a list with the top 10 songs of 2020 so far:
10. Dixie Chicks, “Gaslighter”
Coming back from a 14-year lapse, The Chicks confirm that country music has a place on today’s music panorama with this 3-minute 43 seconds empowering, fiery anthem that serves as lead single to their 8th studio album.
Shortly after the massive success of Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road,” the trio bring another record to country and western music by becoming the bestselling female band in the US since the Nieldsen SoundScan tracking system was first introduced in 1991. Hooray!
9. Grimes, “Delete Forever”
A semi-acoustic ballad built around guitar chords, lyrics of anxiety and frustration, and the fact that the song was written the same night emo rapper Lil Peep died, sets the perfect combination to appoint this song as the “Pandemic” hymn. In a February interview with Apple Beats 1, Grimes stated that he feels “It’s a pretty bummer song […] super aggro.”
It is, after all, a song regarding the opioid epidemic that killed Peep and an 18-year old Grimes’ friend, among others. The opening lyrics (Lying so awake, things I can’t escape/ Lately, I just turn’em into demons. Flowing to the sun, fucking heroin/ Lately I just turn’em into reasons and excuses.) already give a feeling of disappointment and melancholy.
“Always down when I’m not up/ Guess it’s just my rotten luck.”
8. Dua Lipa, “Physical”
The second single to her sophomore album, “Future Nostalgia” is a club-ready adrenaline-filled banger that promises to have everybody on the dancefloor.
Debuting at number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the critics viewed the high energy of the track and Lipa’s vocals as a reminiscence of 80s pop era.
Get ready to bust a move on the dance floor to this song as soon as clubbing is allowed again.
7. Christine & The Queens, “People, I've Been Sad”
The French singer proves again she has mastered the art of depression anthems in “People, I’ve Been Sad.” The song also serves as lead single to her new EP “La vita nuova” (English: The New Life).
By mixing English and French lyrics with equal parts of muscle and melancholy, Christine creates an atmosphere of solitude not hard to resemble with the quarantines established in almost every country in the world.
Certainly, we can all feel related to the lyrics of the opening verse. If you don’t, then it’s just because you haven’t listened to it yet. Go stream this piece of art now!!
6. Lady Gaga, “Stupid Love”
Opening with a shaking electro-pop rhythm, Gaga transitions her sound back to the distinguished full-speed ecstasy of her early work. It is a dance-pop and electropop song that brings to mind the 80s (again) and revisits the music of “Born This Way.”
After her detour on “Joanne”, Gaga is moving back to loud and euphoric, the mark of every great lead single by Gaga.
5. Roddy Ricch, “The Box”
If you haven’t listened to “The Box” yet, you probably haven’t been on planet Earth the past seven months (Which is good news for you as we all have been quarantined but this article is not about that).
Roddy is more than just the continuation of an everlasting saga: Compton rappers.
While 2Pac, Eazy-E, The Game and contemporary others have carried on with the distinguished gangsta rap style that put the city on the map, Roddy delivers an excellent combination of pop rap vocals and an iconic ad-lib “er ew” (depending on who writes) that caused “The Box” to stay 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Furthermore, in the internet era, a song that has been used in over 2.4 million videos on TikTok and has inspired many memes, can’t be short in popularity.
As Justin Bieber tweeted when he lost the #1 spot on the Billboard list: “Everyone go stream #thebox.”
4. Doja Cat, “Say So”
While Doja’s debut album “Amala” was more of a dancehall and psychedelic style, “Hot Pink” is a pop, R&B and funk album containing elements of soul. “Say So” is another success for disco-retro music, accompanied with playful rap vocals in her second verse.
Once again, TikTok plays a heavy role in the commercial performance of a top 10 song, helping Doja’s fifth single gain popularity after a viral dance posted by a user.
3. Harry Style, “Adore You”
Another single from another second album. That is no surprise based on the fact that this year’s list is filled with Gen Z’s. “Adore You” represents a switch on Styles` approach to a funkier pop tone, gaining him the spot at today’s pop.
If the vocal ain’t enough for you, the music video tells the story of a “peculiar” boy from a fictional island town in the North of the Irish Sea that engages in a relationship with... a fish! Not your stereotypical video for a romantic song but is worth the 8 minutes it lasts.
2. Megan Thee Stallion & Beyoncé, "Savage (Remix)"
After several days spent in a dispute with her label, 1501 Certified Entertainment, Megan was finally able to release “Suga,” her 3rd EP on March 6. Immediately after, “Savage” went viral on TikTok thanks to the #SavageChallenge dance.
In April 29, Beyoncé joint forces with her Houston partner to feature in a four-minutes remix that will eventually reach number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 26. The opening calmed verse from Queen B contrasts with Megan’s aggressive style.
“Texas up in this thang”
1. The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights”
Even though it was released in late 2019, “Blinding Lights” is the most streamed song from the most streamed album by the most streamed artist, according to Spotify data from June 2020.
The beat resembles 80s vibes, keeping Weeknd’s signature contemporary R&B sound, adding a catchy melodical chorus. If we include in the equation the premiere of the YouTube in January 21st, you obtain the recipe of success, well known to Weeknd.
“Blinding Lights” is more than a reference to the on-and-off relationship the singer has with model Bella Hadid. In the video, various actions performed by the singer are inspired by movies such as “Fear and Loating in Las Vegas,””Joker,”and “Casino.”
Go take a look and tell us if you can spot the resemblances.
And here ends the top 10 of 2020 [so far]. Did you miss any song?
Written by Andrea Desmond
Many of my musician friends have asked me advice on becoming a music teacher, knowing that I’ve been in the business for over nine years. I went from teaching, directing, and overseeing other instructors at music schools to running a full private practice of my own.
They want to know where to begin, and they often wonder if they would even be able to pull it off. If you’re one of those musicians wondering the same thing, the good news is that you do have the capability to pull it off. It just takes getting organized - and most of all believing in yourself.
Most every musician-turned-teacher has the feeling of being not good enough, or imposter syndrome, when they first start. However, this is only because they don’t have the technical instructor experience to back up giving themselves that title. When I first started out at the School of Rock, a fellow teacher said to me, “fake it till you make it, and then one day you’ll actually feel experienced as a teacher”. Not only did those words help me tremendously, but that exact scenario played out through the years.
Thus, the big secret to getting started as a music teacher is having confidence from the get-go. It may sound like a basic concept, but this is a key factor to helping your build your clientele. Of course, mapping out your lesson structure and curriculum are absolutely important steps as well to feeling confident in what you can bring to the table, but when it comes to gaining and keeping new students, it is all about relationships. You are presenting yourself as someone who has knowledge about the subject that will truly help your student grow. They want to see you confident and sure of yourself - after all, they or their guardians are paying for your expertise and ability to help them improve at their craft. It is not ego or pride, but a teacher is a role of being a leader and a guide. For the record, this advice comes at the level of having the actual musical knowledge to be ready to become a teacher.
Personally, I majored in music and spent over a decade honing my craft. Everyone has a different path here. Plus as a bonus, if you have experience in the industry that is usually very exciting for your student because you’re doing it or have done it in the real world. As soon as I figured out that I do have a lot to offer and came in strong from the start, then seeing my students believe in me allowed me to really settle into the role. After the first year, I actually then did feel confident in my experience so far and it gave me so much fulfillment to witness my students improve. I knew I could grow my curriculum from there, and I have been evolving every year since. Therefore, I advise you that if you are a musician wanting to become a music teacher, believe that you are valuable and have a lot to offer. You can do it too!
If you’ve tackled this first big secret and are ready to get prepped for mapping out your lessons and material, stay tuned for my upcoming article about other tips to become a music teacher.