• Jackson Ward

The top music of 2020

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

The sound of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the popularity of the genre that once dominated the entire music industry has seen an extreme decline. The phrase “Rock is dead” has been expressed within recent years, but in fact, rock is not dead and is alive and well. There are two ways to develop a sound in any genre : bring back a style of music that has already been introduced, but in a different way, or a completely different and original sound from scratch from the traditional barriers of the genre. Machine Gun Kelly, who is known for his hardcore rapping style completely changed his sound with the release of his debut Rock album, “Tickets To My Downfall”. “Tickets To My Downfall” is an example of bringing an old sound back, however MGK’s previous style influenced this album to have a different feel.

“MGK’s album was one of my favorites that dropped this year. It provided a new sound in today’s music world and the use of alternative rock style caught my ear,” senior Jack Bell said.

Other new age bands that have revived an old sound and have found some levels of commercial success are Greta Van Fleet, Rival Sons, and Dirty Honey. New age contemporaries that developed a new sound consist of Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, and Nothing But Thieves.


Since the ‘80s, Pop became one of the most consistent genres in music. The ‘80s had Michael Jackson. The ‘90s had George Michael. The ‘00s had *NSYNC and The Backstreet boys. The ‘10s had Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande, amongst other names. Ariana Grande released three albums in the last three years and secured a surefire name for herself as an artist . Her most recent album, “Positions” peaked at #1 and at the time of this publication, the album is charted at #3 on the Billboard top 200.

“I liked her album because I feel like her music has only gotten better every time she drops something new,” junior Bella Gorges said.

Alternative is a genre that is the most flexible in the music world. Anything that sways away from the paths of typical genres is considered alternative. In retrospect, the genre is composed of multiple sub-genres. Artists that have hit the mainstream in the last couple of years consist of names like Billie Eilish, Joji, The Neighborhood, Tame Impala, and Lewis Capaldi. Joji was the artist that found the most success and spotlight this year. The name “Joji” might be unrecognizable to some, but the name “Filthy Frank” or “Pink Guy” might be more familiar. Joji is a previous Youtuber under the name of “TVFilthyFrank” that made videos that were comedic and sometimes overly grotesque. He gained a large following of about seven million subscribers before transitioning to music. Joji’s music portrays a polar opposite style from the characteristics portrayed in his youtube videos. His style combines lo-fi, R&B, and electronic.

“The style of his music is very deep and emotional,” senior Mackenzie Scheidel said. “When you listen to it, you become fully invested into his words and how full of sounds and harmonies each song is.”

“Nektar” peaked at #2 on the Alternative charts and is currently charted for the last nine weeks and showed that the music industry is full of surprises.


Hip-hop and Rap music have steadily dominated the charts for the last 5-10 years, with virtually no decline in sales on a widespread scale. The access of music and availability and streaming platforms have been crucial in the success of the genre and made it easier for more artists to enter the mainstream. An up-and-coming artist that goes under the name The Kid LAROI hit the mainstream with collaborating alongside late rapper Juice WRLD earlier this year. The Kid LAROI is viewed to be a predecessor of Juice WRLD, due to their similar style of rap. His debut album, peaked at #2 on the Rap/Hip-hop charts and remained on the charts for the last seven weeks since releasing the deluxe version. The Kid LAROI embodies a young voice and a memorable flow which makes him a one-two punch for the industry and the genre.

“All the songs are very good. You can really hear his emotion through the entire album and he’s very talented,” sophomore Zaydie Ladner said.

The Kid LAROI provides a refresh for rap fans and at only 17 years of age, the sky's the limit for The Kid LAROI.


R & B is feel-good music and has always had an uplifting sound. From Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley to Khalid and The Weeknd, the genre is constantly changing and being challenged by new artists and styles. The mainstream style of R&B is heavy on slow, hip-hop like rhythm and beats. Many contemporary artists still use the roots of R & B, but the artist whose shown the most consistent success is The Weeknd. “Blinding Lights”, was his first single off the album and created a plethora of TikTok dances. With that exposure, the song charted on the Billboard Top 100 for a total of 52 consecutive weeks. With the release of his 4th studio album, “After Hours” , The Weeknd showed his talent the way he promoted the album and challenged the genre. The album itself is combined with elements of new wave and dream pop, which is more of a glamour style of R&B. Regardless, the album had consistent success and charted at #2 on the R&B charts last week, and spent 36 consecutive weeks charted.

“I didn't really like him until he dropped the album. After that, it really opened my eyes. Crazy that he’s only seventeen,” sophomore Tayten Edenfield said.

The Weeknd was “snubbed” from any Grammy nominations which raised eyebrows and created controversy not only amongst fans, but amongst other artists.

“The Grammys remain corrupt,” The Weeknd said via Twitter. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

It is understandable that the Grammy’s can be viewed as corrupt because other R&B artists like Summer Walker, Kehlani, and even late rapper Juice WRLD came out empty handed as well.



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