PuR’s 50 Best Songs of 2020

Saturday morning at 5 am was awoken by FDNY banging on all the doors of my east village NYC building & telling us to get out asap. It was one of those just the clothes on your back situations. We hustled outside to see 2 buildings engulfed in flames including the 128 year old Middle Collegiate Church only one building down from us. Burning embers were falling like snowflakes everywhere. It was terrifying & sad. Sat in the nearby shelter for a while worrying if my neighbors & myself were gonna lose everything. Blessedly FDNY got things under control & we were able to go back home after hours of non-stop worry. There was still a lot of destruction but the people were okay. It could have been even worse…but everyone’s still here.

This is not how I intended or ever imagined I’d present the PuR 50 Best Songs of 2020 Playlist but you know, the experience was so utterly in keeping with this nightmare of a year we are all trying to survive.

I wrote the stuff below before all that happened & in some ways it feels overly romantic & trivial but at the same time maybe it’s more meaningful now…right, so now I offer the original intro to the joy that is the PuR Best 50 Songs of 2020 Playlist written about a week ago …

One night in mid-November, I was putting together a playlist for this very blog at a time I was admittedly feeling kind of emo. Shit was seeming particularly overwhelming, sad & futile. I hit play on a random song & suddenly some internal wire was tripped & boom, just like that I was crying. Oddly, my first thought was not about a specific problem…it was that I couldn’t believe how something could sound so good, so gorgeously alive in the midst of the misery. It was a song I’d never heard before by an artist I didn’t know. It was a weird & powerful moment. Hey, it’s okay to roll your eyes. In regards to what 2020 felt like I know how on the nose that anecdote sounds…but it happened just like that. Fact is through all of 2020’s mayhem, there were still things being created, fussed over & invented, there was still plenty of dreaming happening, artists still made wondrous & crazy art.

The mission of the Picking Up Rocks blog has always been the same, to shine a light on the best music regardless of label affiliation or level of fame or social media presence or genre or perceived coolness because WHO CARES. A great song is a great song. And whenever I stumble upon a great song I want to share it no matter if it was born in a garage, someone’s bedroom, a state of the art studio or a freakin’ garden shed (dammit)!

And now we present PuR’s 50 Best Songs of 2020. You can listen on Spotify or Soundcloud but should note that since a few songs are not available on both platforms they are each a tiny bit different ( just think of it as an approximately 3 song bonus each way). You can not only hear the track that inspired all the aforementioned waterworks, Gilah’s “Better Young” but a bunch of other truly gorgeous & wonderful songs. Mostly I hope you discover or rediscover something that embraces you equally as hard & fills you with love & hope even if it’s just for a minute.


Listen on Soundcloud:

Listen on Spotify:

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