In 2020, each of us is a strange combination of shut-in and overexposed, rendering inner peace a luxury few, if any, can afford. So our humble hope is that even one of the songs spotlit below bowls you the hell over, only to bring you right back for more. To be clear, we’re confident they will—of the thousands of new songs we heard in 2020, and the hundreds voted on by the Paste Music team, we painstakingly whittled our list down to the 50 tracks we simply couldn’t live without. These songwriters spun gold out of sadness and loss, fear and yearning, a trip to Japan and the J.F.K. assassination. They overwhelmed us with walls of sound and stunned us with little more than their unadorned voices. They laughed in genre’s face, conjuring up funk, art-pop, Americana, emo, blues-rock, jazz, trip-hop, post-punk and the utterly unclassifiable—often in the space of a single song. Some of these tracks appear on albums we tapped as 2020’s best, and some don’t, but each one is worth every moment you’ll spend with it.