We're officially halfway through 2020 (phew!), which means we've had six months of amazing pop music from both returning superstars and artists on the rise. I went month by month through the year and picked some of my favorite songs. Without further ado, here's six of the best songs from 2020 so far featuring Bad Bunny, Beyoncé, Blackpink, Camilo, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, and The Strokes.
January: Dua Lipa "Physical"
What a way to rip into the new decade like British pop star Dua Lipa did with "Physical." Most of the conversation around her new album was around the disco influences, but honestly it's her dive into the '80s with "Physical" that did it for me. This icy and sexy slice of synth-pop that's so effectively described by the album's title as Future Nostalgia is exactly what Lipa evokes. Her conviction to deliver something familiar yet fresh paid off here. Come on, Dua, teleport us to Mars!
February: Bad Bunny "Yo Perreo Sola"
Ever reggaetón music's most quirky and colorful personality, Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny dropped his second solo album, YHLQMDLG (or "I Do What I Want" in Spanish shorthand) on an unforgettable day, February 29 (Leap Day). The album's perreo de résistance is "Yo Perreo Sola," his collaboration with Nesi (who was sadly not credited on the track). Despite that fact, it's one of reggaetón's most inclusive bangers with both artists encouraging women to perrear, or twerk, without a man. Bad Bunny even alludes to women wanting to hit on the song's female protagonist while dismantling machismo in the club. Gay rights!
March: Camilo "Favorito"
After co-penning hits like Becky G and Natti Natasha's "Sin Pijama," last year Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo Echeverry, who just goes by his first name, started to make a name for himself as an artist. One of the offerings off his new album Por Primera Vez (or "For the First Time") beautifully encompassed that uniqueness he brings to Latin music: a refreshing mix of pop with reggaetón influences. Camilo's charming quirks on this sweet love song to his wife Evaluna Montaner are irresistible. "Favorito" is undeniably a Camilo masterpiece.
April: The Strokes "The Adults are Talking"
Not even the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) could stop The Strokes' highly-anticipated comeback. After breaking away from RCA Records in 2013, The New Abnormal (what a title to accurately describe the times we're living in) dropped in April. It's the New York City-based band's first album as an indie act. For those longing for that signature Strokes sound of the 2000s, the guys give that and then some with the LP's opener "The Adults are Talking." They challenge the want for them to deliver nostalgia while finding their new groove in 2020. Frontman Julian Casablancas (and his gorgeous falsetto) continues to be that muttering yet moving voice of his generation.
May: Lady Gaga & Blackpink "Sour Candy"
While pop is embracing a disco music revival, pop queen Lady Gaga was on another planet and wavelength with her new album Chromatica. On a majority of the LP, she takes revisits '90s house music through a futuristic lens and that's best exemplified on "Sour Candy," her jaw-breaking collaboration with the Korean pop princesses of Blackpink. Category is: Snacks in space, and Gaga and the K-Pop cohorts serve that in English and Korean with plenty of bite. Two different worlds of pop collide, resulting in this fierce and fire confection. Sour Patch Kids and Warheads could never.
June: Beyoncé "Black Parade"
In late May, the world took notice of racial inequality, specifically towards African-Americans, and police brutality after the murder of George Floyd made headlines. The masses came together and protested through the streets (even in this time of COVID-19) in support of the Black Lives Matter movement to seek justice for Floyd and the countless other African-American folks murdered by the police. As the media moves its eye away from the movement that rages on, Beyoncé mobilized that energy on her surprise single "Black Parade" that dropped on the historically significant Juneteenth. Queen Bey celebrates her Blackness and the Black community with pure pop joy on the triumphant track. She highlights African-American history, the tide-turning present, and what she hopes to see in the future while coming through with a #BLM anthem for the ages.