One of my favorite things about the music world in 2020 is that there truly seems to be no boundaries as to what your music can sound like. For so long in this industry, artists were forced to try to stay within certain genres with their music. Until fairly recently, genre-bending and mixing up sounds that are totally different from each other was mostly frowned upon, at least in the mainstream. Yeah, I know that there have always been artists who push the boundaries and blend styles of music that one normally would not think of blending, but those artists have usually been known as some of the biggest and most important artists of their time because they were willing to push those boundaries. Because of those artists who have been pushing the boundaries and blending genres for so long, it seems like there really are no limits to what you can do in music these days. In 2020, genres are being blended so frequently and so well that people are creating totally new styles of music. With all of that being said, here is a list of some new tracks that I love by some artists that are very good at blending genres and pushing boundaries themselves. Please leave any suggestions you have for awesome new songs that I should have included in this list and didn’t in the comments below, and let me know if you love any of these songs as much as I do in the comments as well
EASY – TROYE SIVAN
If are someone that has been pretty active on Youtube for a while, Troye Sivan is a name that you should probably recognize. Troye has been a very popular internet figure for a while, originally making his rise on Youtube in the mid-2010s with vlogs and other kinds of content popular on the platform at the time. Troye has always had a love for music and acting, and he was able to use his online popularity to shift his career into both of those fields over the last couple of years. In 2018, he starred in the movie Boy Erased and also released his debut album, Bloom. Bloom is an album which received critical acclaim and produced hits like the songs ‘My My My’ and ‘Dance to This,’ which features Ariana Grande. Troye Sivan’s newest track, ‘Easy,’ is the first single from his new album, which is supposed to come out later this year and that I am very excited to check out. It has a super warm Synth-Pop melody that is very cozy and sweet to listen to; this is the kind of song that would be perfect to play at the end of a date night when you and your partner are dancing alone together in the living room. Lyrically, this song is not as happy and warm as the melody and instrumental feeling would indicate. On ‘Easy,’ Troye is singing about someone that he has loved and lost. While he was in the relationship, he did not appreciate what he had; now that his former partner is gone, he is realizing how simple and fun life was while he was with this person. ‘Easy’ is such a warm and nice song to listen to(even if the lyricism is kind of cold), and it gets me very excited to hear Troye Sivan’s upcoming album.
SELENE – NIKI
You know that feeling when you hear a new song and you just know it is going to be one of your most played songs for the unforeseeable future? That is how I felt when I first heard NIKI’s song ‘Selene.’ I usually try to wait a few weeks after a song comes out until I add it to my list of best songs from the year, but this one is so good that I had to add it to the list right away because I know I will not stop loving it. ‘Selene’ has a sound that is so reminiscent of 70s Disco music, but also has elements of the futuristic neo-R&B that she is known for making in the past as well. This song has such a retro Dance-club music kind of feel to it that I actually played it for my parents and they both loved it. On ‘Selene,’ NIKI seems to be singing about an alter-ego that takes over her body when she goes out at night. Normally, NIKI is more chill and reserved, but when this character takes her over, she starts to become super bold and careless. All this character wants to do is go out and dance and find someone to love, and NIKI has no way to stop it(not that she would want to). If you are a fan of upbeat R&B music that makes you want to dance, ‘Selene’ is a song you should download right away.
CARE – BEABADOOBEE
If you have been paying attention to this blog for a while, you should know how I feel about Beabadoobee. Beabadobee has easily become one of my favorite alternative rock artists over the last year or so; in fact, they have actually become one of my favorite artists overall since I first starting listening to their music. Beabadoobee, led by Bea Kristy, is an indie/alternative rock band who has a decidedly retro sound that is so warm and fun to listen to. Their newest song, ‘Care,’ highlights all the qualities about their music that I love. This song has a decidedly 90s Alternative Rock and Punk Rock feeling to it. The way the instruments are played and the distortion that is used reminds me a lot of Dinorsaur Jr, Rancid, or Pavement. One thing I really love about Beabadoobee is how much emotion is felt through the vocal performances and lyricism in their songs. On ‘Care,’ Bea is singing about how the people around her and society in general does not understand how she feels and why she is so distraught. This song has such a rebellious feeling to it, as if Bea is telling those who don’t support her and don’t know how she feels to fuck off. If you enjoy this song, get psyched for new Beabadoobee music, as the second single from their debut album comes out later this week. Until then, I will be continually streaming ‘Care’ because it is just so heartfelt and awesome.
BAGUETTI – SMINO FEAT. JID AND KENNY BEATS
It is amazing how Kenny Beats is able to get the best out of any artist(s) that he is working with. It seems like every time I see music with him popping up lately, it is with an artist or artists that I have not seen him work with before yet, and he always kills it and lays down the perfect style of production for that artist. His newest single he has produced is ‘Baguetti,’ which features JID and is off of Smino’ highly anticipated upcoming album. ‘Baguetti’ has a really smooth and funky riff that is a slow burn of sorts; it almost reminds me in a way of the funky 90/2000s Reggae music that all of your stoner friends listen to(bands like Sublime, 311, etc). This the melody for this track goes perfectly with the high-pitched and nasally deliveries that both Smino and JID use on this track. Speaking of Smino and JID, their chemistry on this song is amazing; I really love the way they go back and forth on the second verse in particular, as it reminds me of all of those great early 2000s rap groups(like Gang Starr). If you are a fan of funky Jazz Rap that is super melodic and fun and also very lyrical, ‘Baguetti’ is a song you do not want to miss.
PAC-MAN – GORILLAZ FEAT. SCHOOLBOY Q
Even though Damon Albarn, creator of Gorillaz, has repeatedly stated over the last four or five years that he wants to take a break with the project, it seems like he just can’t stop making Gorillaz music. In 2017, they released the album Humanz and in 2018 they released The Now Now, which both received mixed reviews(I personally love Humanz but I do understand the critiques because it is pretty unnecessarily chaotic). 2 albums in 2 years is not something Gorillaz has ever done, so one would be safe to assume we wouldn’t hear from them in a while. This sentiment was very wrong because they decided to release a new project called Song Machine in 2020. Song Machine is a series where the virtual members of Gorillaz invited their favorite non-virtual artists over to their studio for a jam session, creating these super weird and cool music videos. Every addition to the Song Machine series so far has been excellent, but my favorite one so far is definitely ‘Pac-man’ with Schoolboy Q. This song has a very funky and groovy Dance-Pop kind of sound and feel that is super soothing and calming. The riff for this song is so catchy and fun that it immediately gets stuck in my head as soon as it comes on. I really like Schoolboy Q’s gruff and tough delivery on this track, as it provides a nice contrast to the calm nature of the song. ‘Pac-man’ reminds me a lot of the best songs from the Gorillaz classic album Demon Days. If you are a fan of the music that made the Gorillaz popular back in the day, ‘Pa-cman’ is a song you should download.
MOONWALKING IN CALABASAS – DDG
If you have been active on Tik Tok at all lately, there is a very good chance that you have heard this song. If you haven’t heard it yet, though, expect it to blow up very quickly and become one of the top songs in the country pretty recently. I do not know a lot about DDG, but I have to say that he accidentally nailed it with the song ‘Moonwalking In Calabasas.’ This is just the kind of song that blends Pop music with Trap music perfectly, fusing them in a way that only a few of the top artists of today are able to do. DDG’s ‘Moonwalking In Calabasas’ kind of blends dark, melodic Trap music by artists like Travis Scott or Future with the Pop-Trap sound that Drake excels so much at making. I really love DDG’s constant switch up of flows on this track. It is impossible to get bored while listening to this song just because he is able to switch up his vocal style and flows so quickly and easily throughout the track. If DDG can keep making music that is in this vein, he will be popular for a very long time because he has absolutely nailed this sound. Anyone who is a fan of moody Pop-Trap music should download ‘Moonwalking In Calabasas’ as soon as possible because they will love it.
DON’T BE SAD – SCOTTY SIRE
Before a couple of days ago, I had never listened to any music from Scotty Sire. I have known who he is for a while, and I know that he has had a few of his songs pop off in the past, but I just for some reason never gave them a chance. Scotty Sire is a member of “The Vlog Squad” on Youtube; I do not have anything against David Dobrik and his friends, but I just did not know if members in their group would take making music seriously or if they would just do it because it is the popular thing to try to do. A lot of other Youtubers who have made music in the past(i.e. Jake Paul or Ricegum) did not put a lot of effort in and ended up releasing pretty shitty songs, and unfortunately, I let my biases against them get in the way of checking Scotty Sire out. ‘Don’t Be Sad’ has turned me into a major believer when it comes to Scotty Sire and his music, as I have had this song on repeat and stuck in my head for days. I am usually not that into grand and bright Alternative-Pop music like this because it often feels overproduced and too complicated, but Scotty absolutely nailed this sound on ‘Don’t Be Sad’ and made the track exactly as big and bold as it should be. I really like the contrast in sounds on this track; The verses have a bit of an Indie-Folk feeling to them, the chorus has that big and bold Alt-Pop song I previously referred to, and the bridge has a bit of a Pop-Trap sound that completely switches the sound of this song up and keeps it fresh. On ‘Don’t Be Sad,’ Scotty is singing about a very relatable sentiment and feeling for those of us who suffer from depression. Everyone around him in his life is telling him that he just needs to change his attitude and force himself to feel happy, and Scotty is struggling with this just as much as all of us who constantly hear these kinds of things struggle as well. Not only is Scotty Sire’s ‘Don’t Be Sad’ super relatable and comforting to those who struggle from mental illness, but the upbeat and positive nature of the song is also super fun and uplifting as well. ‘Don’t Be Sad’ has definitely made me a fan of Scotty Sire as a musician, and I am eager to see what he does next.