We’re in December readers! I love this time of year because firstly, it’s Christmas time. I’m a Londoner and Christmas in my city is unrivalled; London goes all out for the festive season.
Every year, after I finish shopping I come out onto Oxford Street and Christmas lights are everywhere. I wander down to Bond Street and it gets even better. I’m extra, so believe my friends are being dragged to Carnaby Street too. I get excited and yell “I see lights, you guys, IT’S CHRISTMASSS”. (They secretly love it).
There is another reason why I like this time of year though.
At the end of the year, I get to write a piece on my favourite albums of the year.
This year I had extra gratitude for music because we had two Lockdowns in the U.K. and they both felt like jail-time that I really didn’t want to serve.
No seeing friends. No cinema. No theatre. No art. No travel.
I looked around and the scenes were horrific! Zero bants and zero entertainment – if this is sounding like one vision of Hell, that’s exactly what it was.
I actually don’t need to tell you – whether my readers did one stretch in Lockdown from across the pond, or two if you’re from the U.K. – 2020 will likely not go down in anyone’s history as the most fun year of our lives.
Music was however, the small saving grace that got me through both Lockdowns.
That’s because lots of quality music was released this year. Strangely however, not a single album stood out as being ‘the one’. I enjoyed certain tracks from quite a lot of albums and some singles too and in this blog, I’ve compiled ‘My Top 10 Tracks of 2020’.
No. 1: Lockdown – Koffee
Very apt and fitting, Koffee’s ‘Lockdown’ wasn’t just my Summer anthem, it ranked No. 1 as my top song of the year (as wrapped up by Spotify). If I rinsed this song out on Spotify, you don’t even want to know how many times I watched the music video on Youtube lol.
I wanted to teleport to Jamaica and be in that music video 😭. I love the simplicity of it all; some artists do the most when it comes to video production but that video just looked like Koffee and her friends vibing.
I love the beat to this song so much together with Koffee’s distinctive, melodious voice singing over it. This is one song you can’t help but feel good to and smile at when it plays.
No. 2: No Fit Vex – Burna Boy
I don’t know why it feels as though Burna Boy released this song so long ago. His album ‘Twice As Tall’ dropped mid-August and it was an eagerly anticipated album for me. I stayed up and listened to the whole album.
His song ‘No Fit Vex’ was repeated at least ten times before I said “You know what Fahmida, we can wake up tomorrow and listen to it some more quickly”.
I liked ‘No Fit Vex’ most for it’s lyrics because they were speaking to me.
Good vibes man, I’m here for it.
No. 3: Ultra Black – Nas
Nas made a comeback in 2020 with his 12th album ‘King’s Disease’. Four or five tracks in particular, stood out to me. ‘Ultra Black’ however, was the one track that for myself, trumped them all.
“HIT-BOY ON THE BEATTT, THIS SHIT ‘POSED TO SLAPPP”.
Readersss, the beat didn’t just slap, the lyrics did too!
This track ranks No. 3 in my list of favourite tracks from 2020 because Nas used his craft to make conscious political statements about identity against the backdrop of the BLM movement that took place this year.
“To Africa, you say, ‘Go back’/ I stay pro-black, my Amex black (ahhhh)”.
At it’s core, this track is a celebration of identity. Throughout the rap in fact, Nas repeats: “Black is beautiful”.
Timely. Meaningful. Relevant.
The King came through and delivered.
No. 4: Mystery Lady – Masego ft Don Toliver
Last month, Masego dropped his EP ‘Studying Abroad’ and when I saw the third track ‘Mystery Lady’ featured Don Toliver, I didn’t know what to expect.
I couldn’t envision Masego and Don Toliver on a track together. So I hit play and found out.
Butttt, in all honesty, I enjoyed Masego’s bits more than Don Toliver’s. This song ranks No. 4 in my list for Masego’s voice alone and the way it blends into the smooth R&B instrumental (at least I think it falls under R&B).
In one line Masego sings: “In this life I come across fans and h***/ And I like to give my fans a rose”.
Forget the fans, I’m trying to give Masego a rose for the way the guitar is played in that song.
Stellar sounds. Lyrics aside, I can vibe to the instrumentals alone.
No. 5: Passport – Masego
Masego’s ‘Passport’ was resonating deep within my soul. Boris said “Lockdown, no flights’ and I’d been itching to grab my passport ever since 😂. I liked the timing of the drop of this song (well, EP).
Everything was just working in this song and Masego deserves several accolades.
Firstly, for the way he plays all those instruments (those instrumentals – I was loving them, especially the way the instruments play in the outro). Secondly, give him an accolade for that melodious and smooth voice. And thirdly, for the Japanese.
I was just vibing, bobbing my head along to the beat and then he started singing in Japanese?
Masego honey, we love you.
No 6. Play Play – J Hus ft Burna Boy
J Hus’s album came out pre-lockdown right at the beginning of the year. The rhythm and tempo of this track in particular made it the perfect music for my mornings.
It’s a fun song and that’s what I need in the mornings because I really am not a morning person. So when this song first came out, I’d vibe to it while it played at the loudest volume on my headphones and by the time I’d reach work, I’d be in a great mood and ready to conquer the day.
Extra points for the clever wordplay, it made me chuckle.
No. 7: Sunlight – DaVido
“SUNLIGHT GOOO, SAY MY BABY GIRL, YOU’RE TOO FINE, OHHHH/ YOU GOT THE BEST MIND OHHHH”
For those of my readers who have heard my voice in person, I’ll give you bants imagining me singing along to Afrobeats lol. The two don’t go together and yet here I am, fully enjoying and singing the chorus with extra vimmm.
The lyrics are quite simple and I think it’s the beat that makes this song for me.
No. 8: Sweet One – WizKid
Everything about Wizkid’s ‘Sweet One’ scored a 10/10, from the lyrics to the instrumentals. In essence it’s a sensual song, complimented by the smooth playing of a saxophone in the background.
It’s a gorgeous song and I could probably fall asleep to the melodious sound of the saxophone alone.
No. 9: Summerhouse – Kota the Friend
“Sunshine, sunshine, yeah /
I could fall in love right here /
I could be young right here /
I could live it up like ay /
Sit up in the sun like ay /
Kick it in the cut all day /
Listen to drums all day”.
Same, same honey. The drums on this track, the guitar too tbh are 10/10. Kota in general is a vibe and this is chilled out Sunday music.
No. 10: What You Know Bout Love – Pop Smoke
You read ‘What You Know Bout Love’ and likely had ‘I got what you needddd’ play in your head straight after. That’s because this is indisputably one very catchy song.
It’s very feelings-y too, which is cute because Pop Smoke obviously had someone in mind when he wrote the lyrics. I find it refreshing when artists can show a degree of vulnerability in their music.
RIP Pop Smoke.