Back in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic dictated everything.
Live gigs (you remember) were a no-go, but in the years of this annual “Best Tracks” list, it allowed bands and artists to take stock and produce one of the most exciting years of Scottish music I have seen.
With a long list of over 300 songs, distilled into this Top 100, this eclectic annual journey started.
In this Scottish playlist of the most important tunes of 2020, you’ll find everything from alternative rock, pop, electronica, hip-hop, rap, indie choral, punk, post-grunge, folk and… All right, see for yourself.
It’s a combination of the known, the little known and the unknown, instant pop anthems and demanding experimental ventures, leftfield and mainstream.
The 100 will be released over four days, with Boxing Day announcing the final 25.
Top 100 Scottish tunes in 2020 Part 1 (100-76).
Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2020 Part 2 Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2020 (75-51)
Top 100 Scottish 2020 Tunes Part 4 (26-1): From Lewis Capaldi to The Blue Nile
Going on… going on…
Part 3 – 50-26-26
=50 ONR (feat. Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel) – Must Stop
“A Killers-style R Rated epic with “must stop falling in love with any girl/boy that f*cks me” with one of the most unruly pop lyrics of the year. ONR is the nickname of the man behind some of the best tunes in Scotland and the former frontman of Finding Albert, the overlooked Dumfriesshire combo.
=50 Tommy Ashby – Blood Moon Wolf
For this beautiful and reflective indie folk album, Borders-based vocal songwriter Tommy Ashby, who has a PhD in psychoacoustics, has racked up more than 2 million streams.
49 Beattie Callum – Some heroes don’t wear capes.
The singer-songwriter, raised in Edinburgh, says it’s the most personal song he’s written. It’s about how he was raised alone by his aunt, who first introduced him to songwriting. During the Covid Pandemic, it has since been reworked as a tribute to key employees. This latest edition is used in the most recent video for International Nurses Day by NHS Professionals.
48 Aware Route & True Note – Living in the Rain.
The 2020 Scottish album was possibly created by the partnership between Edinburgh-based rapper Rolain Bradbeer – Conscious Path – and producer True Note alias Mert Pearson. This is one of the most reflective albums, exposing insecurities in their masterpiece.
Zildjianpinky 47 – nightingale
The enigmatic Glasgow producer’s Chirping Birds, a chirping piano and an irresistible melody cut through this Moby-esque chillhop instrumental.
Blanck Mass 46 – Credits.
Edinburgh-based electro master aka Benjamin John Power transforms from his first feature-length soundtrack – for Irish crime drama Calm With Horses – in this haunting, synth-heavy piece with echoes of Giorgio Moroder.
=45 Ally Kerr – April
Stunning, sweeping strings glow on this swirling standout instrumental from the Glaswegian singer-songwriter’s new adventure on his soundtracks album. This cinematic, orchestral music is a far cry from the folky indie pop of the past.
=45 Dead By Monday – Lost Generation (Hessian Renegade Remix)
The ear-splitting riffola demon of the Glasgow post-hardcore combo gets an acid rock makeover in this colossal remix from Glasgow rave-rap heads Hessian Renegade.
44 Constant Follower – Set Aside Some Time.
A warm and enchanting first single from the experimental folk four-piece from Stirling, led by Stephen McAll, plus Andrew Pankhurst, Amy Campbell and Kessi Stosch from their forthcoming album Neither Is, Nor Ever Was.
43 Sega Bodega – U Got The Fever
The Glasgow-raised producer, also known as Salvador Navarrete, produces a sublimely freaky piece of avant-pop vs. experimental dance that is an ode to chaotic behavior. This highlight from his debut album Salvador comes across like an early Basement Jaxx trying to piece together a broken nursery rhyme.
42 Peat and Diesel – Brandy in the Airdidh.
This heartwarming three-piece from Stornoway definitely gives it their all (they say so) with a crowd-pleasing and light-hearted folk-punk anthem with a nod to the Pogues that seeps into your brain and won’t let you go. It’s so good, I was convinced it had to be a cover. “We’re the P and the D, from the town of Stornoway. We’re in a rented van, it better not break down.” From their witty second album Light My Byre.
Light my Byre by Peat & Diesel
41 McRoy – Outlaw
From Paisley comes this amazing rhyming barrage that is