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NPR Music's Top 20 Songs Of March

Dua Lipa's "Good in Bed" is one of the best songs of March.
Hugo Comte
Courtesy of the artist
Dua Lipa's "Good in Bed" is one of the best songs of March.

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

Music affords an escape, takes us back in time to reflect on the present, mirrors our aches and joys and offers serenity. As relentless news about the coronavirus continues, these songs were gifts during difficult times.

This month, that included one of many disco bops from Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia, an industrial-metal anthem by Code Orange and Kelsea Ballerini's thoughtful country ballad about a divided America.

Below you'll find an alphabetized list of NPR Music's top 20 songs of March 2020. Be sure to check out our top 11 albums from the month, too.

Clem Snide, "Roger Ebert"
APPLE / SPOTIFYEef Barzelay's stirring remembrance of the late film critic Roger Ebert suggests this mysterious human experience – this mortal world – is not what it appears to be. — Robin Hilton

Code Orange, "The Easy Way"
APPLE / SPOTIFYIndustrial electronics glitch and pulse in this soaring, metallic anthem calling out those who take the past most-traveled. — Lars Gotrich

Dua Lipa, "Good in Bed"
APPLE / SPOTIFYWith fun and unexpected flourishes, Dua Lipa reimagines the mid-2000s piano-pop jaunt with a wink towards saucy jazz standards. — Cyrena Touros

HAIM, "The Steps"
APPLE / SPOTIFYLove is messy and so is this dusty garage-rocker from LA's sunny sisters. Danielle Haim leans into that baaaaby like her life depends on it. — Lars Gotrich

Hayley Williams, "Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris"
APPLE / SPOTIFYHayley Williams' skittering, botanical tribute to choosing cooperation and self-love over external comparison sagely enlists the help of boygenius, a supergroup whose very existence echoes the same thesis. — Marissa Lorusso

Jacaszek, "November Early"
APPLE / SPOTIFYWith its clipped opening – like a distant radio signal crackling – "November Early" slowly intensifies with strings, keys and treatments, offering another spectacular fever dream from Poland's premiere electro-acoustic composer. — Tom Huizenga

Kelsea Ballerini, "Half of My Hometown (feat. Kenny Chesney)"
APPLE / SPOTIFYAmerica feels divided in so many ways; this tender ballad from one of country's most thoughtful young stars considers how those divisions play out within one person's heart, and how to bear them. — Ann Powers

Kenny Barron/Dave Holland Trio, "Without Deception"
APPLE / SPOTIFYTwo NEA Jazz Masters — Barron, a pianist, and Holland, a bassist — bring easy erudition to Without Deception. Barron's title track is a smart, Monk-ish swinger. — Nate Chinen, WBGO

Kim Jinmook, "Misty Mountain/Sarod Sanjo"
BANDCAMPIn the early '90s, Kim Jinmook spearheaded a series of collaborations between traditional Korean and Indian musicians, discovering that a distinct, uncanny valley of expression lay between the two practices; ineffable, deep and arresting. — Andrew Flanagan

Lakecia Benjamin, "Om Shanti"
APPLE / SPOTIFYAn Alice Coltrane chant turned Afrofuturist soul jam, with Benjamin's saxophone and Meshell Ndegeocello's bass backing Georgia Anne Muldrow's authoritative vocal. Peace, meet Power. — Nate Chinen, WBGO

Lucinda Williams, "You Can't Rule Me"
APPLE / SPOTIFYPowered by Stuart Mathis' gutbucket guitar, this politicized declaration of independence from Americana music's leather-jacketed queen is the Rolling Stones song we didn't know we needed. — Ann Powers

Meredith Monk & Bang on a Can All-Stars, "Memory Song"
APPLE / SPOTIFYPropelled by tinkling chimes and gentle oscillations, this ode to remembering planet earth ("trees," "coffee," "candlelight"), from Monk's dystopian opera The Games, strikes a surprisingly pleasant tone, closing with a cacophony of caterwauling animals. — Tom Huizenga

Mickey Guyton, "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?"
APPLE / SPOTIFYThe most powerful feminist and anti-racist song by a country artist in recent years is a cry of the heart by a remarkable singer and writer who deserves to be a full-on superstar. — Ann Powers

R.A.P. Ferreira, "Noncipher"
APPLE / SPOTIFYThe Wire and OutKast's Aquemeni get tangled up in a jumbled jazz, boom-bap non-sequitur that somehow rings true when little else does right now. — Lars Gotrich

Roger Eno & Brian Eno, "Spring Frost"
APPLE / SPOTIFY"Spring Frost" opens brothers Roger and Brian Eno's Mixing Colours, an ambient album perfect for these times. — Bob Boilen

Rosalía, "Dolerme"
APPLE / SPOTIFYSelf-quarantine allows a lot of time for thinking about old wounds, as in "Dolerme," a long exhale grieving the loss of an old flame's equal investment in love and pain. — Stefanie Fernández

Swamp Dogg, "Billy"
APPLE / SPOTIFYStill in great, soulful voice, the 77-year-old Jerry Williams Jr. offers a heartrending country-soul weeper about a father mourning his lost wife. If you like classics like "Patches," you'll love this. — Ann Powers

Tineke Postma, "In the Light of Reverence"
APPLE / SPOTIFYDutch saxophonist Tineke Postma has a modern ear, and on this flowing ballad she brings out the best in peers like pianist Kris Davis and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. — Nate Chinen, WBGO

Waxahatchee, "St. Cloud"
APPLE / SPOTIFYIn a flurry of turning pages, Katie Crutchfield chooses forgiveness, delicately preserving an image of her past self as a young woman ablaze with promise. — Cyrena Touros

Yael Naim, "Daddy"
APPLE / SPOTIFYOn this delicate and heartbreaking lullaby, the Israeli-French artist reflects on her father's death. "I'm trying my best," she sings, as the tears begin to fall. — Robin Hilton

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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