Our favourite songs of 2020 so far

We know, we know, playing favourites isn’t cool, so let’s start by making it crystal that we love all the hard work and creativity that’s gone into every alt album released this year. With that being said, you know the feeling of not being able to stop humming along to a song, so here’s to our top ten favourites of the past six months.

Words: Renette van der Merwe

Silverstein – Stop

Releasing A Beautiful Place To Drown earlier this year, Silverstein showed us that old dogs are indeed capable of new tricks with an accomplished record that’s a strong contender for our Album Of The Year. Among all the gems on this album, there was one that shone a little brighter, which gives ‘Stop’ a place on this list. Packed with riffs, a mega breakdown and mix of elements that feel familiar, yet evolved, this track is groovy AF – definitely one for the playlists.

Enter Shikari – satellites* *

Aware that words can’t quite describe the beauty of this song, we’re giving it a go anyway. From the first listen of Shikari’s Nothing Is True & Everything is Possible, ‘satellites* *’ was absolutely arresting. Written about the experiences of a homosexual friend of frontman Rou Reynolds’, it soars with empathy for love that’s still somehow seen as taboo. It’s heartfelt and at its core, although fun to sing along to, saddening and infuriating that people are still made to feel scared to live as their true selves.

The Villa – Turning Point

Hot damn, this song came out of nowhere and swept us off our feet. Michael Bohn (formerly of Issues and Woe, Is Me) is back behind the mic and the result has us completely smitten. If you’ve ever wondered what The Devil Wears Prada and 2010 Sleeping With Sirens would sound like smooshed together, then The Villa is for you. Not just you, though, it’s also for anyone longing after those sweet naughties post hardcore sounds and for those generally into good music. Melodic, filthy and poignant – we’re excited to see what else they have to offer.

Anti-flag – The Disease

Anti-Flag have always had a knack for using their music as a vehicle for challenging injustice and their 20/20 Vision album was no exception. Filled to the brim with anthems for the afflicted it’s like holding a megaphone to their collective lips and amplifying the outcry against the system and the criminals hiding within it. ‘The Disease’ is the best example of this as they sing ‘And we are the disease, that brings you to your knees’. It’s a call to arms – play it loud and proud.

The Word Alive – No Way Out

We’re not ones to throw the word ‘epic’ around, but this chorus is, well, epic. Telle Smith’s vocal range isn’t exactly a well kept secret and he uses that versatility incredibly well in ‘No Way Out’. It further drives what is already a melodic track, adding more depth to its highs and lows. And yes, we can’t nail singing along in the same key, but we’ve had a hell of a lot of fun trying.

NOBRO – Don’t Wanna Talk About It

Canadian punks NOBRO released their EP earlier this year and it quickly became one of our most played. The whole thing reeks of attitude and rock ‘n’ roll and you can’t help but daydream about a world where it’s the soundtrack to your life. ‘Don’t Wanna Talk About It’ in particular has a pulse to it that makes all the other elements come alive. Everything from the fuzzy guitars to dynamic percussion and Kathryn McCaughey’s killer vocals feel huge. This all female band rules in a big way and we can’t wait to see what else they have to offer (hopefully it’s more key changes).

New Found Glory – Greatest Of All Time

NFG have just released their tenth studio album and there are many contenders for our favourite songs on this album alone – ‘Himalaya’ and that killer breakdown being at the top of that list – but there’s something special about ‘Greatest of All Time’. Maybe it’s the uplifting essence of the song or that it’s really just a sweet love song – with a cheeky undercurrent that perhaps the band are referring to themselves – but either way, it’s exactly what you want from pop punk.

The Used – Paradise Lost, a poem by John Milton

Long time purveyors of post-hardcore heartbreak, The Used, served up a very accomplished album earlier this year and from it, comes one of our favourite tracks. ‘Paradise Lost, a poem by John Milton’ might start off a little unusual, but man, when it hits, it really hits. Bursting with that trademark frenetic Used energy and incredible lyricism fans have come to expect from Bert McCracken, it’s not only hella fun, but also showcases a band who are constantly shedding their skin and reinventing themselves.

Meet Me @ The Altar – Garden

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Dan Campbell (The Wonder Years), Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low), Green Day and many more artists are all voicing their support for Meet Me @ The Altar’s new track, ‘Garden’. Multifaceted, lively and catchy as hell, this track is the crystal ball foretelling of a band with a bright future. Having LGBTQ+ and people of color representation, this all female band not only kicks ass, but amplifies the voices of the unrepresented with inspiring songs you can’t help but bop along to

Machine Gun Kelly – Bloody Valentine

Did we think Machine Gun Kelly would make it onto any list of ours? Nope. Did we know he’d drop a track that was more Blink than Blink? We did not. MGK isn’t a stranger to the scene, listening to punk rock from a young age, dipping a toe in with a feature on Sleeping With Sirens’ ‘Alone’ and even playing rock star Tommy Lee in Dirt. Now, he’s leaning further into this side of himself and as far as we can tell, doing a pretty phenomenal job. ‘Bloody Valentine’ explores his great vocals and obvious ability to crack every genre.

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