Beyoncé

To celebrate the end of this godforsaken year, we are publishing a special edition of Heavy Rotation — our popular, monthly series that features songs public radio can't stop playing. This list of songs is ranked by total plays across various NPR Member stations across the country. Even in a pandemic, public radio endures: Here are the most popular 30 songs from 2020.

The 100 Best Songs Of 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Welcome to a whopper of a mixtape. If you've been living under the rock 2020 dropped on all of us back in March and spent the last nine months finding comfort in the sounds of your childhood (hell, even 2019), we have some good news for you: As crappy as this year has been for anyone with a shred of empathy, the jams were ample. When the news cycle had us at a loss for words, we found quiet songs to speak for us. When we wanted to smile without looking at our phones, buoyant distractions abounded.

The Recording Academy announced its 2021 Grammy nominations on Tuesday, with Beyonce, rising pop star Dua Lipa and stoner superstar Post Malone leading a diffuse field.

Beyonce features on two songs in the record of the year category, which essentially rewards the year's best single: the remix of Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" and her own "Black Parade." The latter was also nominated for song of the year, which is awarded to the winner's songwriters.

"To live without reflection for so long might make you wonder if you even truly exist."

There is a lot that can be communicated through longing. That internal sense of a missing piece and yearning for completion can be all-consuming. It can change the course of your life. For most, that might be a wanting for love, or the coveting of success. But in Beyoncé Knowles' Black Is King — directed by the star herself and released Friday on the streaming service Disney+ — that longing is for the certainty of identity.

Beyoncé's highly anticipated new project, Black Is King has arrived (on Disney+). Deemed "a celebratory memoir for the world on the Black experience" in a press release, Black Is King includes a cast of notable and familiar faces, such Lupita Nyong'o, Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams and JAY-Z, and moves across the world — New York, Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London and Belgium — to capture the performances of actors and dancers as they appear in varied tableaus.

YouTube

As she is wont to do, Beyoncé surprised the world overnight with a new song, "Black Parade." Released in the final hours of J

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In the first installment of our new video series The Formula, producer Just Blaze unpacks the drum-centric samples he created for Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Whether he's tapping out sampled drums or incorporating live drummers in the studio, his ability to harness energy is what makes his sound so dynamic.

From rap to rock to singer-songwriter pop, 2019 was a bountiful year for all kinds of music. Lil Nas X's hit "Old Town Road" defined the year with its massive, genre-crossing popularity and sheer catchiness. But when it came to the best albums of 2019, female artists reigned.

The 62nd Grammy Awards nominations are here, and it appears to be Lizzo's year to lose.

The singer, songwriter, flutist and rapper was nominated across five of the night's top categories, including song of the year, record of the year, best new artist, best pop solo performance and best R&B performance.

Lil Nas X was nominated for best new artist, album of the year (for his debut record, 7), and record of the year, where his Gen Z opus "Old Town Road" is up against Post Malone, Bon Iver, Swae Lee, H.E.R., Ariana Grande, Lizzo and Billie Eilish.

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