What a year. No one could have predicted the year we’ve had – from a worldwide pandemic to political and social uproar, 2020 has been tumultuous to say the least. We’ve dealt with the full spectrum of emotions from grief and anguish to frustration and anger, while learning to celebrate the little victories along the way, taking time to be grateful for what we have every day even when it feels like the world is ending around us.
While we’ve all had to adapt to new ways of life across the globe, the one thing that has brought us together more than ever has been music. Even though we may not have all been able to enjoy the music we love at traditional festivals or events, we’ve shared music in new ways, whether online streamed events or at sit-down or drive-in raves. With everything going on, we’ve turned to music more than ever – saving us from our worst mental health days and giving us moments to celebrate on our best. Working from home, we’ve racked up more hours on Spotify than ever before, and the tracks that got us dancing or smiling have meant more than ever.
Although it’s hard to narrow down 365 days of releases when there is so much good music out there, we’ve selected a few of our favorites below – here are the 15 Best Drum & Bass Tracks of 2020.
1. Banditt & Disrupta – “Sunshine Riddim” (Outset Audio)
This year has been all about finding music with the utmost positive vibes, and few tracks stand out more for that than “Sunshine Riddim.” A timeless combination of humble vocals, luxurious piano notes, and classic jungle drums, this soothing & easy-going number from relative newcomers Banditt and Disrupta has been on heavy repeat this year.
2. NCT – “Afterlife” (Liquicity)
Released as part of their debut album on Liquicity, Dutch duo NCT have created such a wholesome and catchy track that we will never get sick of. Upbeat and full of love, the track radiates pure, feel-good vibes from start to finish, delivering the sort of musical hug we’ve been needing more than ever this year.
3. Spor – “Count My Blessings” (Sotto Voce Recordings)
One of the biggest names to make a comeback in 2020, Spor (aka Feed Me/Jon Gooch) released his first drum & bass EP in over four years with Anachronic. Featuring original vocals from Jon Gooch himself, this alt-rock release is an easy choice for favorite, with earnest lyrics and, of course, faultless production from one of the all-time electronic music greats.
4. Halogenix – “Independent” (Critical)
A name that never ceases to impress, Halogenix is always pushing the boundaries of drum & bass with a plethora of diverse and intriguing releases, one of our (many) favorites being “Independent.” Eclectic and vivid, “Independent” is energetic without being bubbly, animated and yet sombre, groovy with an edge, and a track we’ll never get tired of hearing.
5. Gardna and Omar – “Good Time Not a Long Time” (Watch The Ride Remix) (Gardna Music)
Another track we’ve been reaching for non-stop this year is this summery remix from Watch The Ride. Classic jungle beats pair with infectious vocals and all-around positive energy for this vibey number.
6. H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. – “Motive” (Right Good Records)
Released just at the start of lockdown, we’d be lying if we said this track wasn’t largely responsible for our sanity this past year. Transporting us to far away sunny beaches with tropical drink in hand and not a worry in the world, this radiant release has seen us groovin’ through the year, dishing out the sunshine when we need it most.
7. Monty – “Valid” (1985 Music)
One of our favorite ones to watch in recent years, Monty has certainly been making waves this year, and “Valid” is a strong indicator of the producer’s incredible growth and talent. Creating a completely immersive atmosphere with impressive ability, the track’s depth and intricacies are astounding, all the while still being irrefutably groovy and unique, making it an easy favorite this year.
8. Vorso – “Constellation” (Pilot)
Released right at the start of 2020, Vorso’s Wanderer EP has definitely been on repeat all year. Standing out for his technical ability and creative arrangements, Vorso has long been on our radar, and “Constellation” is one of those tracks that continues to blow us away, even now, nearly a year since its release – we just can’t get enough!
9. Shy FX ft. Sinead Harnett – “Too Shy” (Breakage Remix)
Taking an absolute classic and infusing it with plenty of old school jungle energy, this Breakage remix of “Too Shy” is nothing short of sensational. Enchanting vocals soar through the radio-friendly original before Breakage introduces his signature old school sounds into the mix – perfectly classic drum & bass.
10. Murdock ft. Roni Size – “Double Dutch” (AC13 Remix) (Viper Recordings)
AC13 has been rising through the ranks in recent years, cementing himself at the forefront of a new generation of drum & bass with his signature dancefloor destroying basslines and energetic mixes. Making his Viper debut with a mighty remix for Murdock & Roni Size this year, it seems almost criminal his take on “Double Dutch” hasn’t been able to be played in the rave this year; the resounding bass and shocking switch-ups just beg to played on the loudest of sound systems.
11. Monrroe – “As I Fall” feat. Sydney (Shogun Audio)
Another one of our favorites, Monrroe has had an absolutely incredible 2020 - “If I Fall” featuring Sydney being just one of many highlights. Combining elegant, luxurious vocals with soothing melodies and a dark and techy twist, this track is quintessential Monrroe and a strong display of his growth and success over the years.
12. Fox Stevenson – “Like That” (Pilot)
The king of feel-good bass music, Fox Stevenson made a positive imprint on 2020 with a slew of upbeat, vibrant singles, the most infectious of them all being “Like That.” Undeniably catchy and brimming with radiant energy, this cheerful bop (alongside quarantine-filmed music video) has been a much needed source of positive energy this year.
13. Mr. Joseph & Illmatika – “Already Know You” ft. Sherona Knight and Curmiah Lisette (Liquid V)
This jazzy number has been on heavy repeat since its release on V Recording’s sister label Liquid V this summer, full of an opulent mix of vocal talent, glistening piano melodies, and an infectious energy that is hard to beat – an enchanting ode to the summer of 2020.
14. IMANU – “Memento” (Vision)
The artist formerly known as Signal has had high point after high point this year with a steady stream of releases under his new moniker IMANU. He has been experimenting outside of any preconceived genre confinements and delivering a plethora of different sounds along the way. One of our favorites is the ominous and mysterious “Memento,” a cinematic record that creates an immersive atmosphere with a dark edge, a haunting call to adventure with flawless design.
15. DRS and Dynamite – “A Song For You” feat. DJ Marky (Hospital)
Fans worldwide were treated to a very special album this year from legendary MCs DRS and Dynamite, Playing In The Dark. Spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a favorite, one of the tracks that stands out the most is “A Song For You” featuring the legendary DJ Marky on production duties. Soothing and soulful, music like this is what has seen us through 2020.
Listen to the full playlist below or check out previous charts here - see you in 2021!