We’re just two months into a year that already feels like eternity, but at least we had an abundance of tunes to keep us occupied the whole time. From a bittersweet posthumous release to petty breakup bops, here are the best songs 2020 has to offer so far. (Rihanna, there’s still time!)
“Breathe Deeper” by Tame Impala
The best six minutes of your life begin the moment the bright drums of Tame Impala’s “Breathe Deeper” roll in. Fusing R&B smoothness with jazzy, dreamy melodies reminiscent of the ’70s, “Breathe Deeper” feels like the kind of song that soundtracks a scene depicting a character’s dizzying acid trip, which makes sense since the beginning of the song was created when Kevin Parker was “stoned.”
“Physical” by Dua Lipa
If Olivia Newton-John’s classic “Let’s Get Physical” is the quintessential Zumba workout jam, then Dua Lipa’s “Physical” is the darker, sultrier tune suited for an intense Barry’s Bootcamp session. Like the ’80s hit, Dua’s song is about the other form of physical fitness—no resistance bands or dumbbells needed.
“Let Me Know” by Brent Faiyaz
With all the senseless acts of violence happening daily, Brent Faiyaz’s “Let Me Know” is a reminder that to love someone else means to love yourself first.
“Boss B*tch” by Doja Cat
Doja Cat can make just about any type of music; last year’s Hot Pink was proof. But if you need further convincing, “Boss Bitch,” her contribution to the all-female Birds of Prey soundtrack, will surely do the trick. Knowing her critics try to cancel her out, Doja hits back with a sharp bite, a reminder she’ll keep eating up her competition: “Big up yourself ’cause you know they don’t/I chew, chew, chew, ’cause they hope I choke.”
“Good News” by Mac Miller
The late Mac Miller’s pensive “Good News” is like the old saying, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” Miller works through his dark thoughts in the beginning of the song, singing, “Why can’t it just be easy?/Why does everybody need me to stay?” But by the end of the track, he’s optimistic that “that there’s a whole lot more for me waiting.”
“B.I.T.C.H” by Megan Thee Stallion
After a turnt-up summer dropping twerk-inducing tracks like “Realer,” “Cash Shit,” and “Simon Says,” Megan Thee Stallion returned to her Tina Snow roots with the lusty slow-burner “B.I.T.C.H” It makes you want to send a toxic text—or three.
“You Should Be Sad” by Halsey
Being the bigger person after a breakup requires growth, but sometimes you just want to be a little petty and get some things off your chest. Enter Halsey’s country-ish single, “You Should Be Sad” from her new album Manic. Why is this pop princess dabbling in the country sound? “The most petty and heartbreaking songs all come from country,” she explained on Twitter. So she grabbed her guitar and created her own version of “Before He Cheats,” she tweeted, “but instead about after he does haha.”
“Sometimes” by H.E.R.
In the midst of an emotional Grammys ceremony, H.E.R. blessed the stage with a glowing reminder that sometimes things don’t always pan out, and we have to accept life’s ups and downs.
“What a Man Gotta Do” by Jonas Brother
“Cut You Off” by Selena Gomez
“Conversations In the Dark” by John Legend
This Is Us keeps us perpetually teary-eyed with its heart-wrenching storylines, and in the season 4 premiere, Kevin meets a girl with whom he instantly clicks—only to find out she’s in town for a limited time. After learning of her love for John Legend, he uses his celebrity power to whisk Legend to a park to serenade his new boo with what is sure to be the wedding song of 2020.
“Pu$$y Fairy” by Jhene Aiko
Real fans know Jhene Aiko’s sexually explicit lyrics are nothing new—after all, she’s the one behind that “groceries” lyric. But “Pu$$y Fairy” goes much deeper than its steamy lyrics; the song was made using Aiko’s crystal sound bowl in the key of D, which is the sacral chakra—also known as the sexual organs.
“Get Me” by Justin Bieber fi. Kehlani
Justin Bieber said the return of “R&Bieber” was imminent, then released the bubbly, trap-inspired”Yummy”—and had me worried about what the rest of his forthcoming album would sound like. But with “Get Me,” featuring R&B princess Kehlani, my faith in JB has been restored.
Nerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.