Run The Jewels

Run The Jewels

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year — Top 10 list season!

St. Joe Live is no stranger to this annual trend. During the next three weeks, we’ll count down our favorite albums and movies. But first, let’s check out our favorite songs.

10. Troye Sivan: ‘10/10’

Key lyric: "We're not what we used to be, but let's be what we are."

This minimalistic ballad shows you don’t need much to get a point across besides heartfelt lyrics and a catchy melody.

9. Claire Rosinkranz: ‘Backyard Boy’

Key lyric: "Drive me round the block, we can go in a loop. And we'll turn the volume up on some good boy band tunes."

Even though this got big on TikTok, it’s pretty much the opposite of what usually trends on that app. It’s low-key, sunny and restrained, as Rosinkranz peppers a plucky ode to her significant other with “Da da-da das” and pitched vocals. It was the perfect summer song.

8. Ava Max: ‘Kings & Queens’ 

Key lyric: "Disobey me, then baby,it's off with your head. Gonna change it and make it a world you won't forget."

2020 was the year that Ava Max’s maximalist pop out-Gaga’d Lady Gaga. Mixing the earworm energy of ‘90s dance music with walls of synths and a Ratatat-like guitar bridge, “Kings & Queens” deservedly reigned high on the charts.

7. Dogleg: ‘Kawasaki Backflip’

Key lyric: "Will you be the fire or the wind?"

While pop-punk and emo music slowly needles itself back into mainstream music, it’s still far from its 2000s heyday. On this album opener, the Michigan band Dogleg makes the case that the genre is still as vital and urgent as ever.

6. Soccer Mommy: ‘Circle The Drain’

Key lyric: "It's a feeling that boils in my brain. I would dial back the flame, but I'm not sure I'm able."

Beginning with a riff that sounds like it was recorded underwater, this slow burn of a song perfectly details the hopelessness of spiraling, while trying to appear like you’re keeping it together. The refrain that comes from singer Sophia Allison — “Hey, I’ve been falling apart these days.” In 2020, who couldn’t relate?

5. Phoebe Bridgers: ‘Kyoto’

Key lyric: "I'm going to kill you, if you don't beat me to it."

Family estrangement, isolation during a vacation, immediate regret while embarking on a trip — Phoebe Bridgers’ horn-tinged song captures her knack for specificity (touching on speed trains and arcades in Japan while remembering her first time driving as a kid) tied in with larger themes of forgiveness and anger in a brilliant, catchy way.

4. Dai Freyr: ‘Think About Things’

Key lyric: "It's been some time and though hard to define, as if the stars have started to align, we are bound together, now and forever."

This dance hit ropes you in with Icelandic singer Freyr’s bassy voice stating: “Baby, I can’t wait to know/Believe me, I’ll always be there, so.” From there, it goes to the funkiest bassline of the year and a killer horn breakdown. This was a gem of quarantine that could make even the saddest of people dance in their living rooms.

3. RMR: ‘Rascal’

Key lyric: "And every sleepless night led me to where I am. B---es that broke my heart, they became h--s I scam."

It takes a special kind of genius to turn the sap of Rascal Flatts’ “God Bless The Broken Road” into a profane, drug-fueled, anti-establishment anthem. The ski mask-wearing R&B singer RMR did it and made it a relevant song for a time of protest and injustice.

2. The Chicks: ‘Gaslighter’

Key lyric: "You think it's justifiable, I think it's pretty cruel. And you know you lie best when you lie to you."

If you’re making a comeback after four years of silence, you need to make a statement. The three-part harmonies that come from The Chicks, as they open the song with its huge, triumphant chorus, show they haven’t lost a step at making their presence known. An unapologetic, vengeful song against entitled cheaters and liars, it was a reminder of the creative hole The Chicks left not only in the country genre, but the modern music landscape.

1. Run The Jewels featuring Pharrell Williams and Zack de la Rocha: ‘JU$T’

Key lyric: "Try to run home, you might run your luck out 'Cause just when your bases loaded, they'll roll a grenade in the dugout."

Greed. Police brutality. Injustice throughout history. Inequity. In 2020, there were few songs as relevant as Run The Jewel’s booming team-up with Pharrell and Rage Against The Machine’s lead rapper. They don’t mince words as each rapper details the deck being stacked against the little man, reaching a crescendo with de La Rocha’s explosive rhymes as the closer. It was exactly what this year needed.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug