This Week’s Best And Worst Comments

Hey Gummers. Similar to what dansolo and Chazpod have now done for years with albums, I aggregated everyone’s song lists from the comments of Stereogum’s Best Songs of the Year post. I did this in 2018 and I’m bringing it back in 2020.

Overall, there were 1,037 individual song entries tallied, with 655 distinct songs in total from 397 artists.

Song lists require a different tallying approach than albums do, since everyone’s lists vary so much more. You don’t want to give too much weight to highly ranked songs at the cost of those with broad appeal, when there are so many songs at play. I assigned 3 points to 1st-place votes, 2 points to 2nd-place votes, 1 point to songs ranked 3-10 (or on an unranked list of 10), and 0.5 points to songs ranked 11 through 20 (or on an unranked list of 20-ish).

The first tiebreaker was the number of total appearances each song made across all lists. In a change from last time I did it, the second tiebreaker was based on “artist points,” i.e. how many total points did each artist receive when combining all of their songs. When artists have a ton of great songs in a year, they sometimes get screwed in the voting since it’s harder to reach a consensus on what their best song is, so I wanted to give them some benefit in the tiebreaking process. But again, the points and number of appearances are still more important.

Now presenting, our very own official 50 Best Songs of 2020. Next to each song in parentheses, you’ll find the total points and the total appearances.

01. Phoebe Bridgers: “I Know the End” (20.5, 12)
02. Waxahatchee: “Fire” (16.5, 12)
03. Soccer Mommy: “circle the drain” (14.5, 13)
04. Yves Tumor: “Kerosene!” (14, 10)
05. SAULT: “Wildfires” (12.5, 6)
06. Yves Tumor: “Gospel for a New Century” (12, 8)
07. Panopticon: “Rune’s Heart” (10, 5)
08. Nation of Language: “The Wall & I” (9.5, 6)
09. The 1975: “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)” (8.5, 5)
10. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: “Cars in Space” (8.5, 5)

11. The Strokes: “The Adults Are Talking” (8, 9)
12. Charli XCX: “forever” (8, 6)
13. Perfume Genius: “On the Floor” (8, 6)
14. Christine and the Queens: “People, I’ve been sad” (8, 5)
15. Waxahatchee: “Lilacs” (7.5, 6)
16. Phoebe Bridgers: “Garden Song” (7, 8)
17. Grimes: “Delete Forever” (7, 7)
18. Romy: “Lifetime” (7, 4)
19. Perfume Genius: “Describe” (6.5, 5)
20. Porridge Radio: “Lilac” (6, 6)

21. Taylor Swift: “exile (ft. Bon Iver)” (6, 5)
22. Jeff Rosenstock: “The Beauty of Breathing” (6, 4)
23. Phoebe Bridgers: “Kyoto” (5.5, 6)
24. Run the Jewels: “JU$T (ft. Pharrell Williams & Zack de la Rocha)” (5.5, 6)
25. Fiona Apple: “Heavy Balloon” (5.5, 5)
26. Destroyer: “Cue Synthesizer” (5.5, 5)
27. HAIM: “I Know Alone” (5.5, 4)
28. Frances Quinlan: “Your Reply” (5.5, 4)
29. Jessie Ware: “What’s Your Pleasure?” (5.5, 3)
30. Bartees Strange: “Boomer” (5, 6)

31. HAIM: “The Steps” (5, 5)
32. Fiona Apple: “I Want You to Love Me” (5, 4)
33. Tame Impala: “Breathe Deeper” (5, 3)
34. Bonny Light Horseman: “The Roving” (5, 3)
35. The Weeknd: “After Hours” (5, 3)
36. King Krule: “Stoned Again” (5, 3)
37. Dion: “Song for Sam Cooke (Here in America) (ft. Paul Simon)” (5, 2)
38. Gorillaz: “Aries” (4.5, 6)
39. Jessie Ware: “Spotlight” (4.5, 5)
40. Jamie xx: “idontknow” (4.5, 5)

41. Fiona Apple: “Shameika” (4.5, 4)
42. Caribou: “Never Come Back” (4.5, 4)
43. Lingua Ignota: “O Ruthless Great Divine Director” (4.5, 4)
44. Sufjan Stevens: “The Ascension” (4.5, 3)
45. Khruangbin: “So We Won’t Forget” (4.5, 3)
46. Dua Lipa: “Physical” (4, 5)
47. Charli XCX: “claws” (4, 4)
48. The 1975: “Me & You Together Song” (4, 4)
49. Dogleg: “Fox” (4, 4)
50. Westerman: “Blue Comanche” (4, 4)

Top 10 artists with the most total points: Phoebe Bridgers (34.5), Waxahatchee (30), Yves Tumor (28), Fiona Apple (22), SAULT (19), Charli XCX (18.5), Perfrume Genius (18), Soccer Mommy (17.5), Run the Jewels (17), Tame Impala (15.5)

Top 10 artists with the most song appearances across all lists: Phoebe Bridgers (28), Waxahatchee (26), Fiona Apple (22), Run the Jewels (20), Yves Tumor (19), Charli XCX (17), Soccer Mommy (16), Perfume Genius (15), Jessie Ware (14), The Strokes (14), Taylor Swift (14), Fleet Foxes (14).

Artists with the highest number of distinct songs that received at least one vote: Run the Jewels, Tame Impala, and Caribou (each with 7); Waxahatchee, Fiona Apple, SAULT, Perfume Genius, Jessie Ware, Taylor Swift, Fleet Foxes, Dogleg, Dua Lipa, and Roisin Murphy (each with 6).

Here were some artists that had a huge difference between their total artist points and their highest ranked song (i.e. they received a lot of total points, but had so many good songs that the points were spread out too far to have a high-ranked song): Fiona Apple (4th in artist points, highest ranked song was 25th), Tame Impala (10th in artist points, highest ranked song was 33rd), Caribou (14th in artist points, highest ranked song was 42nd), Fleet Foxes (18th in artist points, highest ranked song was 60th), Dogleg (20th in points, highest ranked song was 49th), and one of the most egregious ones, Roisin Murphy (30th in artist points, highest ranked song was 137th). Others in this category: Dua Lipa, Rina Sawayama, Against All Logic, Bob Dylan, and Moses Sumney.

Also, here’s a Spotify playlist with these 50 songs. Enjoy: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1NT2p1CpZil4xwQXonH7Fl?si=-dZL70wmTjC4RpPofzaqrA

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