Top 10 Tracks – January 2020

Top+10+Tracks+-+January+2020

Jackson Wyatt, Digital Editor-in-Chief

January is a unique time for musical releases. On one hand, there is the urge for an artist to start the year off with a bang, cementing a spot in year-end lists as quickly as possible. On the other hand, there is a certain fear of being forgotten in the subsequent wave of music, left behind in a month people often overlook. Luckily, many artists gravitate towards the former urge, and a score of excellent tracks have been released over the past few weeks. With both underground and mainstream artists working away, 2020’s catalogue is growing already. At a time of the year synonymous with cold and boring tendencies, here are ten songs to hopefully bring you some sort of sunshine.

 

  1. Lynks Afrikka, ‘I Don’t Know What I Want’

Life is a tightrope walk between widely diverging pathways on Bristol performer Lynks Afrikka’s new track ‘I Don’t Know What I Want’, with Lynks questioning if they want fame, love, a nice house or even religion over ‘80s-esque synths and call-and-response vocal lines. The title may point towards indecision, but ‘I Don’t Know’ sees Lynks creating a fully-realized celebration of a song, merging vintage instrumentation with a playful and forward-thinking spirit. How could you not want it?

 

  1. Tove Lo, ‘Bikini P***’

Swedish pop powerhouse Tove Lo brings a sweet slice of sunshine to January with the bouncy ‘Bikini P***’, an undeniably infectious number that will stick to your brain like a golden suntan does to your skin. Over a patient but strutting beat, Lo sings about drinking champagne, skinny-dipping and laying out in the sun all day, asking a romantic prospect to come live out the perfect lifestyle with her. It may be a bit of pop escapism, but when such escapism is so delectable, one cannot help but believe every word.

 

  1. Okay Kaya, ‘Mother Nature’s B****’

So swanky that it almost threatens to slip out of its own skin, Norwegian singer-songwriter Okay Kaya’s track ‘Mother Nature’s B****’ gracefully treads the line between oddity and elegance. Kaya’s lyrics comparing nature and the world to maternal and paternal figures are underscored by a jazzy instrumental, steamrolling the listener with both confusion and euphoria. By the end, though, the only thing you will be asking yourself is why it is not longer.

 

  1. Jack Harlow, ‘WHATS POPPIN’

Flexing is taken to a higher level on Kentucky rapper Jack Harlow’s ‘WHATS POPPIN’, the seemingly first top-tier banger of the new year. Over a pounding beat and fluttering piano sample, Harlow uses clever rhymes and an addictive flow to elevate brags about his womanizing and high-spending ways into an absolute slam-dunk of a track. Harlow may come off as extremely cocky, but with a song this good, it is impossible not to smirk right alongside him. 

 

  1. Soccer Mommy, ‘circle the drain’

Cloaked in the warm, confessional atmosphere of a ‘90s alternative track, ‘circle the drain’ sees Nashville singer-songwriter Soccer Mommy (aka Sophie Allison) detailing her fight with mental illness. Lyrics about being unable to get out of bed and feeling as if your brain is molding over are wrapped up in a beautifully candid bow over beaming guitar strums and an absolute earworm of a chorus. The subject matter may be heavy, but on ‘circle the drain’, Allison makes the listener float on air.

 

  1. Tabby, ‘Kelly Green’

Almost hypnotizing in its patient flow, Minnesota rapper Tabby’s recent single ‘Kelly Green’ is an exceptionally fun banger that will slowly wedge its way into your brain and make you press replay and again. Tabby ties clever references to English breakfast tea, King of the Hill and everything in-between on his equally braggadocious and playful verse, tying up ‘Kelly Green’ to be a track that is more red-hot than green around the gills.

 

  1. Black Lips, ‘Rumbler’

A quick sonic shift from garage rock to country does not sound like a likely avenue for success, but on the twangy ‘Rumbler’, Atlanta band Black Lips blaze down that risky road like a bat out of hell to an exhilarating result. Lyrics about Rumbler, an obscure G.I. Joe character, build up into an uplifting, singalong chorus that will surely brighten the cloudiest January day. All-in-all, it is a ride that will be hard to forget.

 

  1. Hayley Williams, ‘Leave It Alone’

Slinking by like a wild animal in the night, singer-songwriter Hayley Williams’ new track ‘Leave It Alone’ expertly balances its hushed tones with obliterating lyrics about personal loss, memory loss and intrusive thoughts. Its topics may be bleak, but ‘Leave It Alone’ feels like a carefully constructed, white-hot ray of sunshine creeping across the countryside, illuminating everything in its wake. And with a song this delectable and moving, you will want you throw yourself into its path and never leave it alone.

 

  1. Porches, ‘Do U Wanna’

Interspersed with dreamy synth tones and metallic cowbell clangs, New York indie-pop outfit Porches’ track ‘Do U Wanna’ is a textural snapshot of desire, innocence and young love. For a track released mere weeks ago, it already feels nostalgic, holding the ethos of teen-year remembrances behind its shaded, pastel exterior. It sounds like the empty dance floor after everyone leaves prom, ready for the taking. To answer the title: Yes, we do. 

 

  1. King Krule, ‘(Don’t Let The Dragon) Draag On’

Comparing emotional turmoil to an alien race from a 1973 French sci-fi film, London singer-songwriter King Krule’s ‘(Don’t Let The Dragon) Draag On’ drips with a sense of melancholy isolation. Lyrics point to feelings of greyness, emptiness and laziness, but ‘Draag On’ is almost electric in its use of low-key attitude and thick atmosphere to pull the listener deeper into its tractor beam. If this is what being on another planet feels like, abduction does not sound too bad. Just remember to pack your raincoats.

 

(All sources from featured artists’ Genius and Spotify pages)

For more track reviews:

Top 25 Tracks of 2019