Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. Taylor Swift had the biggest album of the period with a surprise indie-folk LP, radio records were broken by The Weeknd sure and 24kGoldn and iann dior more surprising , and Nicki Minaj finally scored the first Hot chart-topper of her decade-plus of superstardom -- only to score a second barely a month later. Imagine trying to explain to folks in that a half-decade later, we'd get Jason Derulo's first No. And then imagine trying to explain how a new video-sharing service called TikTok helped make it all happen. And if you thought TikTok was influential before, that of course proved to be a gentle nudge compared to the full-body impact it flexed once the youth of America had less reason than ever not to spend all day on their phones.
"Lifeline," A.G. Cook
Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. The first half of has posed many questions most of us never thought we'd have to answer in our lifetime, including: "What does pop mean in a world of self-isolation?
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Clubs remain closed. Same with bars and arenas and coffee shops and theaters and DIY venues and basement parties. But while live music has come to a terrifying halt in , artists have been anything but silent during a global pandemic. This is a once in a generation human crisis. But even though we can't experience it together, music has provided hope, escape, and cathartic dance parties streamed directly into our bubbles. Artists like Run the Jewels have provided anthems for a civil rights movement. Taylor Swift has found her voice as a great American storyteller. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion boldly celebrated the sexuality of women, much to the chagrin of shitty men. Dua Lipa gave us a much-needed excuse to move. And BTS gave legions of fans a glimmer of light.
Any given year, new music is what defines our seasons—giving us something to cozy up to in the wintertime, and party to in the summertime. In , though, there was perhaps no greater companion than the music that came out, since—aside from the great new shows we were bingeing to fill our time or the movies we were lucky to catch at home—it was what many used to cope or throw their own dance parties in our living rooms during the pandemic. There may not have been many live events or the typical album rollout for artists, but both pop stars and up-and-comers still delivered hits to keep people jamming or give them a soundtrack to cry to. Below, find the 75 best songs of that managed to bring some excitement, goodness, and support to this unprecedented year.