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Best 2020s Songs: 10 Tracks The Define The Decade We Live In
List & Guides

Best 2020s Songs: 10 Tracks The Define The Decade We Live In

From nostalgic pop bangers to timeless R&B balladry, the best 2020s songs have united, healed and inspired us in an ever-changing world.


The 2020s have been challenging, to say the least, with a series of significant historical events testing our resolve. From battling Zoom fatigue (and, of course, worse) during the COVID-19 pandemic to navigating increasingly hardline political divisions and watching global conflicts escalate, it’s evident that these are trying times. However, amid the turmoil, the musical landscape of the decade has been nothing short of extraordinary, with the best 2020s songs offering comfort and escapism, even in the darkest of times.

From chart-topping pop anthems to soul-stirring R&B ballads, the decade has so far gifted us a diverse selection of music that will undoubtedly come to define an entire generation. Whether you’re a fan of Ed Sheeran’s infectious Bad Habits or are thrilling to the empowering dose of optimism administered by Lizzo’s About Damn Time, the best 2020s songs are the anthems of our time…

Listen to our Pop playlist here, and check out the best 2020s songs, below.

10: Ed Sheeran: Bad Habits (2021)

With its pulsing beats and catchy 80s-inspired synth hooks, Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits was one of the best songs of 2021, delivering an irresistible blend of dance-pop as Sheeran delved into the dark side of fame and his battles with sobriety. Peaking at No.1 in the UK and No.2 in the US, the song’s clubby vibes mask a relatable narrative that has proved intoxicating enough to rack up over 1.5 billion streams on Spotify to date. Proving Sheeran’s worth as a gifted musician and storyteller, Bad Habits is as addictive as it gets among the best 2020s songs.

9: Cardi B: WAP (2020)

An empowering celebration of female agency, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s WAP[] pushed boundaries and challenged societal norms in the summer of 2020. With its fierceness and charisma, the song peaked at No.1 in the UK and the US and got tongues wagging with a provocative statement about women owning their desires and confidently expressing their sexuality. While WAP has sparked debates and controversies, there’s no denying the impact its unapologetic defence of female pleasure has made among the best 2020s songs.

8: PinkPantheress (Featuring Ice Spice): Boy’s A Liar, Pt.2 (2023)

In February 2023, the dynamic duo of UK songwriter PinkPantheress and US rapper Ice Spice gave dance-pop a shot of adrenaline. Climbing its way to No.3 on the Billboard Hot 100, Boy’s A Liar, Pt.2 marked a significant milestone: one of the best songs of 2023, it became PinkPantheress’ first single to make waves in the US, seamlessly fusing her hyperpop style with Ice Spice’s drill-indebted bars, which in turn are perfectly complemented by Mura Masa’s energetic Jersey-club groove. Easily one of the most unexpected and yet game-changing entries among the best 2020s songs, Boy’s A Liar, Pt. 2 is likely to influence the next generation of pop mavericks.

7: Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever (2021)

Showcasing Billie Eilish’s artistic growth and emotional depth, Happier Than Ever saw the homespun maverick serve up a dark and introspective masterpiece that builds into a pop-punk tsunami of emotional catharsis. Released in July 2021 and peaking at No.4 in the UK and No.11 in the US, it’s a hauntingly beautiful song that explores themes of heartbreak and vulnerability. With Eilish gliding effortlessly from Billie Holiday-esque vocal inflections to a gutsy emo-indebted scream that Paramore’s Hayley Williams would be proud of, Happier Than Ever left us in little doubt over her status as one of the most captivating and thought-provoking artists of her generation.

6: Lizzo: About Damn Time (2022)

With its upbeat and infectious melody, About Damn Time wowed listeners upon its release. One of the best songs of 2022, its undeniable sense of joy and confidence encouraged fans to embrace their true selves and celebrate their individuality, Lizzo’s powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics delivering a message of self-acceptance and body positivity that scored her a US No.1 hit. Flying in the face of doom-scrollers with a blast of optimism and self-empowerment, Lizzo is nothing short of exceptional.

5: Joji: Glimpse Of Us (2022)

Thanks to Joji’s soulful and heartfelt delivery, the masterful piano ballad Glimpse Of Us takes listeners on an intimate and introspective journey they’ll never forget. Peaking at No.8 on the US Hot 100, Joji’s poignant narrative weaves a tale of love, loss and longing, while the song’s stripped-down production aches with vulnerability and authenticity. Easily one of the best 2020s songs, it leaves Joji holding his head high as a unique and compelling voice in the music business.

4: Harry Styles: As It Was (2022)

Drawing inspiration from 80s art-rock legends such as a-ha and Peter Gabriel, Harry Styles masterfully carved his own distinct path on As It Was. The song’s earworm melody and sun-kissed indie-pop hooks make it one of the most unforgettable and uplifting entries among the best 2020s songs, though beneath the surface it harbours poignant lyrics that reflect on nostalgia and loneliness. Soaring to the top spot on both the UK and US charts, As It Was became a monumental crossover sensation that remains hard to beat.

3: Dua Lipa: Don’t Start Now (2020)

Possessing an irresistible sense of disco-indebted euphoria that had listeners dancing along from the first note, Don’t Start Now, from Dua Lipa’s 2020 album, Future Nostalgia, peaked at No.2 in both the UK and US, and saw the UK pop singer take charge of her heartbreak. Confidently declaring her independence and newfound strength, Lipa is aided by retro-pop production that is as catchy as it is commending, helping the track become an anthem for empowerment and moving on. Widely regarded as one of the best Dua Lipa songs, it marked the moment the singer became a truly global pop superstar.

2: The Weeknd: Blinding Lights (2020)

A nostalgic synth-pop masterpiece that cruises through an 80s-inspired soundscape, Blinding Lights, which appeared on The Weeknd’s 2020 album, After Hours, is neon-saturated futurism by way of Knight Rider and TRON. Immersing listeners in a tale of late-night adventures and reckless love, the song took its cues from a-ha’s Take On Me to create a 21st-century dancefloor anthem that evokes escapism and euphoria in equal measure. An instant classic which went to No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic, Blinding Lights is dazzling to behold.

1: Silk Sonic: Leave The Door Open (2021)

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak teamed up as Silk Sonic for Leave the Door Open, a sensuous and soulful R&B ballad that pays homage to 70s soul music while injecting a modern flair. Oozing with charm and charisma, Silk Sonic’s smooth and velvety vocals, lush instrumentation, groovy basslines, soulful guitar riffs and nostalgic organ chords helped the song peak at No.1 on the US Hot 100, making listeners swoon thanks to its seductive and flirtatious narrative. As they invite their love interest to open the door and let sparks fly, Mars and .Paak’s immense talent and chemistry makes it incredibly hard to say no – and that’s why it tops our list of the best 2020s songs.

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