The 30 Best Pop Songs Of Q2, 2020
The first six months of 2020 are thankfully behind us (good riddance), which means it’s time for a little reflection. Given that I’ve already listed my favorite songs of Q1, I thought I should round up the best that Q2 — i.e. April, May and June — had to offer. Happily, there was no shortage of bops to choose from with 2020 pop saviors like Jessie Ware, Charli XCX and HAIM regularly going above and beyond. Throw in a couple of surprise cameos from superstars like Beyoncé and Shakira, and it becomes even harder to narrow down a top 30.
So hard, in fact, that I decided not to rank them. (That can wait until the end of the year when the dust settles). Instead, the 30 best pop songs of Q2, 2020 are listed in alphabetical order. I also would like to give a special shoutout to comeback queens Zella Day and Annie, who announced their first projects in 5 and 11 years — respectively. Oh, and let’s not forget The Chicks. They somehow picked up where they left off in 2006 without missing a beat.
Annie — “American Cars”
The lead single from Annie’s first album in 11 years is a brooding electro-anthem inspired by David Cronenberg’s Crash. (Yes, the movie about people who are aroused by car accidents). What more could you ask for?
Anuel AA & Enrique Iglesias — “Fútbol y Rumba”
Different generations of Latin hitmakers come together for one of the year’s most enjoyable party songs. If only there was something to celebrate.
Becky G — “They Ain’t Ready”
Speaking of Latin hitmakers, Becky G took a break from releasing Spanish-language smashes to bless us with a romantic bop called “They Ain’t Ready.” This deserved so much more.
Beyoncé — “BLACK PARADE”
Queen Bey wasn’t going to let Juneteenth pass without giving us a rich, multi-layered celebration of black culture. “BLACK PARADE” is 4:41 minutes of Pride distilled over banging beats.
Black Eyed Peas & Shakira — “GIRL LIKE ME”
Nobody expected the Black Eyed Peas to be churning out hits in 2020, but here we are. The hip-hop outfit’s entire TRANSLATION album is full of bangers, but the Shakira-assisted “GIRL LIKE ME” is next-level.
BLACKPINK — “How You Like That”
The K-Pop Queens’ latest single took a couple of listens to click for me, but now I find myself randomly humming “look at you, now look at me.” Which is always a sign of a really good pop song.
Chappell Roan — “Pink Pony Club”
A delightful oddity. Chappell Roan switches up her stripped-back, folky sound to dabble in country, pop and disco on “Pink Pony Club.” Throw in multiple guitar solos and lyrics that rival “YMCA” for campiness, and you have a future cult classic.
Charli XCX — “i finally understand”
The crowing jewel of Charli XCX’s how i’m feeling now is a furious banger about love. More specifically, about reaching the point of emotional well-being where you can finally accept and reciprocate love.
Chloe x Halle — “Do It”
Destiny’s Grandchildren are slaying in 2020. By shaking off their serious image and having a little fun, Chloe x Halle suddenly find themselves with one the year’s most beloved bops.
Dagny — “Somebody”
At a time when pop is increasingly minimal, Norway’s Dagny had the audacity to drop a big, bold banger with the kind of chorus that would win Eurovision. “Somebody” is a pure-pop delight.
FLETCHER & Kito — “Bitter”
After dropping one of the best pop songs of Q1 with “Forever,” FLETCHER repeats the feat in Q2 — with a little help from Kito — with the wonderfully acidic and irritatingly relatable “Bitter.”
HAIM — “I Know Alone”
If there’s one song that sums up the general malaise and world-weariness of 2020 it’s HAIM’s “I Know Alone,” an electronic detour about feeling disconnected from the normal ebb and flow of life.
HONNE — “no song without you”
The title track of HONNE’s no song without you mixtape is a sweet, stripped-back lullaby that wraps around you like a warm blanket. Don’t be surprised if it turns out to be a sleeper hit.
IU & SUGA — “eight”
My favorite K-Pop anthem of Q2, 2020 belonged to IU and SUGA. Sugary sweet and shamelessly nostalgic, “eight” evokes the anime/ani theme songs from the ’80s and ’90s.
Jessie Ware — “Save A Kiss”
Another artist who blessed us with perfect pop songs in Q1 and Q2 is Jessie Ware. I thought “Spotlight” would be impossible to top, but the Brit just might have done it with the disco-pop bliss that is “Save A Kiss.”
Kathleen — “Seven Miles”
One of 2020’s most exciting newcomers is Kathleen. Her debut EP, the pragmatically-titled Kathleen I, is all killer, no filler. That being said, I keep going back to the sublimely jarring “Seven Miles.”
Katy Perry — “Daisies”
I’ll save my justice for “Daisies” think piece for another time, but I will say that there’s something rather brave about releasing an old-fashioned, feel-good pop song in 2020.
Kim Petras — “Malibu”
Queen of Bops, Kim Petras, really showed out on the era-introducing “Malibu.” This sugary pop concoction riffs on ’80s superstars like Madonna and Prince without sounding derivative. Which is quite the feat.
LANY — “good guys”
After dabbling in synth-drenched Cali-pop, LANY is going back to their midwestern roots for album number three. Which sounds like a stroke of genius if “good guys” is any indication.
Lennon Stella — “Fear Of Being Alone”
Few albums are as consistently surprising as Lennon Stella’s Three. Two. One., which experiments with everything from electronica to country and gospel. “Fear Of Being Alone” deserves a special mention for the simple fact that a toe-tapping pop song has no right to be this profound.
Megan Thee Stallion & Beyoncé — “Savage (Remix)”
The Song Of The Summer. It might have only spent one week at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, but Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s “Savage Remix” has been top five for months. Not only that, but this is the most quotable, confidence-building bop of 2020.
Noah Cyrus — “Young & Sad”
There isn’t a dud song on Noah Cyrus’ The End Of Everything EP. However, there are two that standout — “July” and “Young & Sad.” The latter is one of the most honest songs about dealing with depression released in 2020.
Oliver Tree — “Let Me Down”
Oliver Tree’s Ugly Is Beautiful is one of my most anticipated albums of 2020 thanks to the genius of sing-along alt-rock anthems like “Let Me Down.” The fact that he wrote it as an apology to fans after postponing his album makes it even better.
Ozuna — “Caramelo”
Latin artists are killing it in 2020, but Ozuna still doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves. The Puerto Rican star specializes in bangers, which range from reggaeton anthems to pop-adjacent earworms like the lovely “Caramelo.”
San Cisco — “On The Line”
If you’re looking for retro-leaning indie-pop that evokes the paisley print-wearing singers of the ’70s, San Cisco’s “On The Line” is essential listening. The lead single from Aussie trio’s 4th album (I hope) is a sun-dappled daydream of song that gets better with each listen.
Selena Gomez — “Boyfriend”
The rollout of Selena Gomez’s “Boyfriend” needs to be explored on the next season of Unsolved Mysteries. Why give us a stone-cold bop with two (very good) videos and then not service it to radio or promote it? I’m still confused and this is a still a great song.
Seraphina Simone — “Cherry <8"
Now here’s a pop newcomer with pedigree. Seraphina Simone is the daughter of ’80s hitmaker Terrence Trent D’arby and she appears to have inherited his soulful voice and razor-sharp pen. This is one of the better debut singles of 2020.
Skott — “Talk About Me”
Sweden’s Skott finally got around to releasing her debut album, Always Live For Always, a couple of weeks ago and it’s jam-packed with off-kilter, instantly catchy tunes like “Talk About Me.”
The Chicks — “Julianna Calm Down”
The renaissance of The Chicks (they dropped Dixie from their name) is one of the few good things to happen in 2020. Every song from Gaslighter has been great, but “Julianna Calm Down” is the kind of empowering pep-talk that puts a spring in your step.
Zella Day — “People Are Strangers”
After a five-year break, Zella Day returned with a psychedelic fever dream called “People Are Strangers.” The first taste of Where Does The Devil Hide is a magical way to spend three minutes.