Throughout the pandemic, music has been my escape from the hell I’ve dealt physically, mentally, emotionally, professionally and personally.

As if my musical tastes weren’t bizarre enough, it was validated this year in 2020.

Some are greater than others, but one thing remained the same. Each song left a tremendous impact on me and I truly began understanding why having different tastes is common ground.

PREVIOUS LISTS: 2018 | 2019

I’ve made two blogs looking back at 100 songs I “felt the vibe,” focusing on both 2018 and 2019. There are nine songs that were in either or both lists, and it’ll be indicated below the song.

Not only that, I actually want to start off with seven songs that aren’t on Spotify (my only criteria on making my Top 100 list), but enjoyed quite a lot and I hope those who read this do as well.

Lisa Lougheed – Run With Us (1986)

The only song that would’ve likely cracked the Top 50 comes from the Canadian show The Raccoons. Such a moving, 80s AF tune I listened early in the year.

For some wicked reason, this song flows well with the final minutes of Days of Thunder (“This one’s for you, Harry!” scene). It’s a shame this song isn’t on streaming services because I just love this record.

How I caught wind of this song? B- Mask’s “The Sly Trilogy Retrospective” series. Notably, his chapter on Sly 2: Honor Band of Thieves.

Fleetwood Mac – Dragonfly (1971)

Can someone explain to me why most pre-Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac are hard to find on streaming services?

I just want to listen to this gem on the road without requiring myself to go on YouTube and go through the bullshit ads! This song is so damn enriching and quite the psychedelic jam.

Would’ve come in handy when I took the long bus ride from Sacramento to Los Angeles in late October.

Emiko Furakawa and Mie Shimizu – Alone But At Ease (1997)

I can’t stress this enough because it’s been said by just about everyone who’ve seen this cult horror classic, Perfect Blue is a lot to digest and ponder.

I’m far from an anime guy, but this movie was one of the most memorable I’ve seen this year. Maybe, top-10 most mind blowing flicks ever.

This song is quintessential 90s, which is why I just dig it despite the scene being psychologically sad. If you haven’t seen the movie, do so at your own discretion. It can get bloody!

Ray Conniff – La Gota Fria (1995)

A childhood favorite of mine and my go-to French Fry song. Don’t ask me why, but that’s what I thought when I was just a kid from San Jose.

All these years later, it’s a really enjoyable song I pop on every now and then. I wish the 40th Anniversary album would come out so people can listen to this captivating track opener.

1919 – A Hymn to the Night (2017)

For the second straight year, a song that had a decent chance of making my Top 100 didn’t due to my only rule.

I call it a real rare song that doesn’t get talked about in general from this group, considering they’ve been around for a real long time. It has everything that I like from recent songs, that 80s vibe and rather dark tone. Give it a listen!

John Pratt – Out (1996)

Dark and in your face! Straight from the 1996 classic No One Would Tell starring Fred Savage and Candace Cameron Bure from The Wonder Years and Full House fame respectively.

It’s one of those made for TV tracks that sounds so bad ass, but the context of this song when played in the movie is far from bad ass. Despite not being the greatest video quality, the full film can be seen online. Holds up real well on what not to do in a relationship.

Widowspeak – Plum (2020)

This simple and soothing song was originally going to be No. 99 on my 2020 playlist, but one song ID later and it had to be bumped unfortunately.

Who knew a song about a fruit and color (not purple, Angus) would stand out? Guess there’s a first for everything, but one song about food did make the cut for those who love song subjects related to such thing.

Hope you guys enjoyed those songs, but let’s really dive into the songs that resonated to me most.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the 100 songs I enjoyed most with every clip having a backstory.

100) Capone – Streets Favorite (Oh No) (2005)

“The only CNN I trust” – Hip-hop fans in a nutshell because Capone-N-Noreaga is often abbreviated as CNN. Anyways, I’m going to make this very clear. I despise TikTok and what it stands for!

Call me an old fart, but I can’t get behind the app aside from a handful of clips (ex. The “Dreams” guy from Idaho)! But dammit, Ryan Vargas’ scheme of that company is boss though.

Okay, you’ve seen the videos with the instrumental, but it’s an actual rap record. However, I didn’t hear it from the app, it was from my good friend Emerson’s video on the WET AF Turkish Grand Prix. You’re welcome!

The origins of the sample comes from The Shangri-Las’ 1964 single “Remember (Walking in the Sand).” Pass it along!

99) Metallica – Wherever I May Roam (1991)

2019 RANKING: NO. 72
My lunchtime anthem during my mundane non-media job days! It’s the first of nine songs that were in either last year’s or the year before and even now, this song just kicks ass.

More so, when you travel around the West Coast like I’ve done so far in my journeyman motorsports media career. The road is indeed my bride for the time being, but someday I’d love to find “the one.”

98) Sim Dane – Africa (2020)

Every now and then, I love me some parodies! While I still associate this song to the girl I once loved (on-and-off), “Africa” is still a beauty.

At least I can associate the Toto original with this F1 parody about the African GP needing to happen to legit match the billing of a “World Championship.”

The FIA requires tracks to hold a Grade 1 License to host a grand prix, something the continent doesn’t have right now.

97) Silva Hound – Addict (2020)

This adulterated club record showcasing Hazbin Hotel, is quite a banger. It reminds me of my high school days when songs like this were the vibe. While the days of dubstep aren’t my cup of tea any longer, it can be an ideal mood.

96) Jack Stauber – Buttercup (2017)

I’m in this Facebook group where people shitpost about Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, and some guy put this song when Billy Loomer was dancing in the hallway.

It’s a really weird record, but my taste was already weird. Naturally, I found out the name of the song and it was too damn catchy to ignore. May have mimicked the chorus in the shower, I don’t know. Gotta love random songs!

95) ZZ Ward – Blue Eyes Blind (2012)

The last major event I went before the pandemic was both the dreadful Seattle Dragons XFL game (the crowd even booed them) and the much more pleasant ZZ Ward concert.

As the closing track to the show, it was an amazing vibe when things were quote-on-quote “normal.” I’ll forever associate this song as a time period where things were promising, aside from 2/16/20 of course.

94) The Pharcyde – Passin’ Me By (1992)

The quote-on-quote OG SIMP anthem! I said on my 2018 blog that Joe feat. Mystikal’s “Stutter” doesn’t hold a candle to “Passin’ Me By.”

Why? It’s a more relatable because many men have simped for ladies that were out of their leagues.

Personally, I saw it a smooth AF rap jam that goes under the radar in a timer period where most West Coast rappers were talking about gangs, sex, drugs and murders.

93) The Sisters of Mercy – Never Land (1987)

This nearly 12-minute song got me through the month of June quite well because it felt long yet didn’t mind it. Perfect for a late night escape from reality.

It’s right up there with “Afterhours” when it comes to songs that are meant to be heard deep into the night. Dark, mysterious and unknown vibes is where the group thrives.

92) Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar (2019)

Really, NBC? Why you gotta put this record when talking about Ross Chastain? Okay, I’ll give Harry Styles credit right here. It’s a catchy song that may have little to do with watermelons.

I see right through it and know it’s sexual themed. One of the only good number-one hits from this year by the way.

91) Soul II Soul – In the Heat of the Night (1990)

You know it’s early 90s AF the moment you hear the opening beat. It had its rap flow and section, the romantic tale with smooth delivery I couldn’t ignore.

This one was an elusive find because I first heard it from Classic Game Room’s Sega Rally Championship review at around 2009. Too bad I can’t find that particular version with the electric guitar and Casio keyboard though. Maybe someday.

90) The Reticent – Losing My Religion (2012)

Not going to lie, but this version is miles better than R.E.M.’s 1991 classic. It’s more impacting, hollow and relatable because I often feel this way with some of my relationships. It’s unfortunate, but that’s part of life.

How I found this cover? Well, a random Beverly Hills, 90210 video highlighting the infamous relationship between Brenda Walsh (played by Shannen Doherty) and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) of course!

89) Creed – What If (1999)

Forget the actual version from Human Clay! This practice performance at South Florida’s (USF) Sun Dome (starts at 2:20) is beast AF! I know, I need help that a Creed song made the Top 100 in 2020!

Nothing wrong with the actual version, but this one is a whole different energy and shows Scott Stapp’s powerful voice. As the saying goes, live renditions can be better than what’s recorded in the studio.

88) VÉRITÉ – Blackout Christmas (2020)

Over the past few months, I’ve been such a sucker for the New York performer. I haven’t felt that way since first hearing Lana Del Rey back in 2012.

I’m not the biggest novelty song kind of guy because it’s just not my cup of coffee, but VÉRITÉ didn’t pull any punches on her memoir song.

87) Above the Law – Murder Rap (1990)

What happens when you have a gangsta rap group sampling Quincy Jones’ “Ironside”? Greatness!

One of the more underrated songs of its time that’s gotten plenty of love because of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and rightfully so. That game and GTA IV really grew on me this year and I can see why it’s extremely beloved by fans of the once superb franchise.

86) Eddie Money – Two Tickets to Paradise (1977)

It’s weird that Eddie Money passed away last September. That in mind, this late 70s hit gets me thinking why that decade is slept by people. Doesn’t help when it’s in between arguably two of the greatest decades in music history, but songs like this is why I feel this way.

85) Anna Calvi feat. David Byrne – Strange Weather (2014)

Thanks, Sky Sports F1! Had me in an emotional mood when you put this song highlighting the first half of the 2020 Formula One season. There’s a word called angst and if there’s a song that fits that bill, this would be it, chief.

Such a raw and sad record I often felt it struck a nerve when life was bringing me down throughout the latter half of 2020. Real damn good duet record from the 2010s are rare and it’s usually done right.

84) School of Seven Bells – Music Takes Me (2016)

Prior to this year, this was the only song I’ve ever heard from School of Seven Bells. It’s techno vibe and dream pop lyric delivery by Alejandra Deheza is empowering.

I gravitated to this song for a strong period of time and it’s sad the group split after the passing of Benjamin Curtis in 2013.

83) Metallica – Frantic (Live) (2019)

Hear me out on this one! This live performance makes me wonder if this is what the infamous 2003 album St. Anger was meant to sound like. At the same time, I love the original.

Yes, Lars Ulrich’s pot pans and everything makes it such a guilty pleasure single! Remember this, I’m a guy who put Creed on this list and enjoys Limp Bizkit. Sorry, not sorry!

82) The 1975 – If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) (2020)

I’ll admit, The 1975 was a group I’ve heard people raving about, but didn’t care listening. That all changed in 2020 and I can sort of see why they’re a popular band. It’s a group that provides the 80s sound I love dearly.

Catchy and lyrically alarming as there’s some truth in its message which is why I find it so intriguing. Great storytelling and well done layered track.

81) Beach Bunny – Rearview (2020)

Another reason why I could use some help with music taste was a result of discovering Beach Bunny’s catalog. I only know two people that listen to this group and I see why they’re amazing.

How I understood this song was relating to a breakup with some feelings remaining. To the point where anxiety kicks in where apologies and regret are the two main words. The ending is where it’s loud and clear as to why this song is well structured.

80) Ozzy Osbourne – Bark at the Moon (1983)

Okay, back to my main musical taste! METAL! Another song I frequently listened during the first half of 2020 before my days at the mundane non-media job were over.

I find this song miles better than “Crazy Train” if you ask me. Might be bias because it’s featured on the original copies of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Fun going full speed when this song plays on V-Rock.

79) Chris Isaak – Wicked Game (1990)

2019 RANKING: NO. 59
When I left Daytona International Speedway and headed back to my Airbnb place during the first half of Speedweeks, I kept listening to this song. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, but I felt like hearing it some more in Florida.

I didn’t met anyone that made me fall in love, but for some strange reason that love was shooting photos and writing about racing. Something I miss doing at full capacity since 2/16/20.

78) Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness (2012)

It’s been a minute since I listened Lana Del Rey’s 2012 album Born to Die, and I couldn’t help but reminisce on that glorious summer. Being in California for a month changed me, thinking how senior year of high school would be like.

Needless to say, my expectations and fantasies clashed, resulting in a disappointing school year. Guess the sadness was real as the song intended to be. Oh well!

Fast forward to 2020, I heard an 80s remix of this song and just loved it. Like it brought a whole new life to an already amazing hit.

77) SATV Music – Fight (2018)

Disclaimer: The instrumental of this song is miles powerful!

I heard this track at the end of Race to Perfection where Formula One drivers past and present reflected on the first 70 years of motorsports’ premiere discipline.

What a record to wrap-up the documentary and hearing the instrumental throughout my time in Sacramento, Roseville, Los Angeles and Bakersfield, it brought raw emotions. I just got to keep fighting to make 2021 better. I got no other choice at this rate.

76) K. Flay – High Enough (2017)

Don’t ask me how and why I found this record! However, it was on a playlist which included nothing but lustful and adulterated tracks.

I’ve only heard one K. Flay song called “FML” back at Idaho in 2016, so I gave this 2017 song a shot. Let’s just say raw AF isn’t the right term and call it a day.

75) Prodigy – Breathe (1997)

It’s 1997 and ECW is on whatever public access TV network it aired. Say it’s the first time watching the promotion and saw a bunch of wild fans at the ECW Arena jamming to this song, shaking back and forth a styrofoam head. What would be your response?

Whatever it may be, Al Snow got the “Head” gimmick over and the crowd were chanting for the mannequin called “Head.” The 90s were something else.

74) The Pretenders – Middle of the Road (1984)

Music for the road (literally) that’ll never get old. You can easily hear and concentrate each instrument being played. Each being boss which is why it’s arguably my favorite song from the group.

Might be a neat idea to create a video, but the college days are over, so forget that of ever happening.

73) Evanescene – Going Under (2003)

As if I didn’t enjoy songs from 2003 enough, this one proves it. I still stand it’s the last great year for mainstream music and there’s no way people can change my mind. Such an intimidating song that holds up well 17 years later.

72) Queen – One Vision (1986)

Like several of 80s songs, the music video version of the song is better than the studio record. The case for this underrated record that people think it’s about fried chicken is how much an extended solo (from 3:58 onwards) makes a huge difference.

It hit different this summer and I sure hope when things get back to normal, I can play this while riding on a bicycle at some beach. Time will tell, but the way things are going, 2022 may be that summer.

71) Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation) (1995)

The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy.”

I didn’t first hear that song from the 1999 film, but in a YouTube video back in 2006 which highlighted the ill-fated 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

While that video has been long gone, I do feel like I’m either a part of the system or in the matrix.

70) Bronski Beat – Hit That Perfect Beat (1985)

Dammit, Metallica! Jason Newsted replaced a word while Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich are dancing like dorks to this song. Not a bad record, but when you change certain words, it royally messes your mind up. Then again, new wave were made fun of at the time.

69) Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion – WAP (2020)

I might’ve put this song at this particular number on purpose, but let me explain this carefully. Aside from them sampling Frank Ski’s 1993 song “Whores in This House,” “WAP” is a new club anthem.

Problem is that it’s 2020 and people can’t fully shout their lungs out to this song. Unless, it’s in Asia and the one place I stayed near Hollywood in October. You won’t catch me rapping to this because it would be so wrong and honestly bad!

At least with this number-one hit, it’s not too repetitive where it’s just the chorus. There’s actual verses which is rare in my book with mainstream music. From that point of view, I don’t mind this raunchy AF song. Again, not one to blast outside of parties.

68) KRS-One – Step Into A World (Rapper’s Delight) (1997)

A lot of things became “personal” in 2020, but this song inspired by Blondie’s number-one hit “Rapture” (1981) wasn’t one of those instances. Never heard this one until The Last Dance and it slaps. My world is different from others, which is what this song is all about.

67) System of A Down – Aerials (2001)

I associate this song with airports and planes. Not so much with waterfalls, but it damn sure feels like I’m going into one. A waterfall of people from around the world surrounding airports and planes.

At least the enjoyable part of flights is the aerial views. I’m a window guy for that very reason, my trips should be enjoyable as possible.

66) Black Sabbath – Iron Man (1970)

The studio version from Paranoid is excruciatingly weak! It didn’t help that I heard this version before the actual recording back in 2008. I’ve always said it’s the best live song ever because it’s sounds rough, raw, aggressive and ever so mean. Especially, the solos!

While it’s totally not related to the Marvel superhero, there’s one relatability factor. People aren’t wanted from time-to-time. However, there’s always a comeuppance to look forward to.

65) Metallica – 2×4 (1996)

Again, you may be asking yourself. Why is there a song from Load on this list?

For some strange reason, when the pandemic began, I dug this song so much. I felt like it belonged on the custom radio station in Grand Theft Auto IV. Hell, I used to think that game was what Metallica fans felt about both Load and ReLoad.

These days, GTA IV is the equivalent of …And Justice For All. Extremely underrated and at times overlooked because the album fell in between Master of Puppets and Metallica (GTA IV was between San Andreas and GTA V as far as main games). In fact, GTA and Metallica go hand-in-hand when you really think about it.

64) björk – Army of Me (1995)

Before Billie Eilish, björk put out some odd ball music videos. Accompanied by John Bonham’s drum sample, this song embodied the mood I had in August.

It was such a complicated time period that I don’t really like looking back on. Solid song nonetheless.

63) Mike Jones feat. Slim Thug and Paul Wall – Still Tippin’ (2004)

2019 RANKING: NO. 70
This is the Mike Jones I first think of! Even more than the St. Louis Rams linebacker who sealed the deal for the team in Super Bowl XXXIV (2000). Despite not caring for Paul Wall’s verse, this song is lit and comedic. Why comedic? The “Back Then” line is just hilariously true!

62) Van Halen – Poundcake (1991)

You see right here! “Van Hagar” did put on some beast records! The great debate was what girls are truly made of? I’ll leave it up to you guys.

Not often you see someone use a power drill as a guitar pick to create one of a kind sounds. It proves the genius of Eddie Van Halen and the legacy he left behind. Rest in power, EVH!

61) Gary Glitter – Rock and Roll Pt. 2 (1972)

For a period of time, this song was associated to sporting events (ex. Chicago Bulls), but after Glitter’s awful acts as a human being, it became a song of dreadful infamy.

Thanks to both The Office and Joker, this song can be about getting sugared up on Pretzel Day and dancing on stairsteps. It’s probably for the best in this day in age.

60) The Human Beinz – Nobody But Me (1967)

For a long time, I didn’t thought much of this 60s hit. I even made fun of the song that should’ve been played during the first season of Full House (1987) for great measure.

Then the pandemic hit and I suddenly enjoyed hearing this on the Season 7 opener of The Office. You know that cold opener, so I don’t need to add a link here. Do yourselves a favor, don’t fall behind in life! Stanley would appreciate it!

59) Shanks Mansell & Martha Bean – Love Is Contagious (2016)

After watching Yes, God, Yes a couple weeks ago, the Fierce trailer caught my attention. After watching it, this song sounded so glorious that I had to figure out the song ID. It didn’t took me long and spent the next few days hearing regularly.

While I’ve yet to be in a serious relationship, I’m aware that love can be both dangerous and contagious. Kind of going through that right now, so it explains why I heavily dig this.

58) Curtis Mayfield – Little Child Runnin’ Wild (1972)

Curtis Mayfield’s songs is ever so mellow and thought provoking. This song from 48 years ago being a prime example. The entire record is a trip filled with well crafted solos and amazing lyrical abilities.

I could play this for an hour and each time hearing it sets a different mood without fail. You’ll hear this song on Friday before the big climax unfolds.

57) Pantera – Cemetery Gates (1990)

Everything about this song kicks ass! It’s a great mixture of ballad and heavy metal madness that makes this time period so unique. There’s something about this song that’s aged amazing, but I can’t really put my finger as to why it’s more relevant than ever. I guess it’s my mood swings being all over the place.

56) System of A Down – Toxicity (2001)

A “Conversion Software Version 7.0” sounds intriguing. Joke aside, another pandemic jam I really enjoyed hearing.

Lyrically, it’s an evergreen because those issues are still being dealt with. The pace is appropriate where it just kept building and building, ending on a maddening tone. It’s left me asking for more, but I like it the way it is.

55) Metallica – Sad But True (1991)

This song will constantly be played in my house. Doesn’t matter the time period because it can be heard at anytime of the day. If a song does that to me, you bet your ass it’s awesome.

Besides, “sad but true” is a phrase I commonly use. Rather than posting the studio version in this blog, here’s a live performance from Oakland nearly 30 years ago.

54) Daughter – New Ways (2016)

Cold, dark and emotionally raw. It’s how I described this record when I first hear at KUOI-FM. Why has this song stuck around with me since my college days?

I always try to finding different ways to escape from the pain and agony life provides. At the same time, every way has its pros and cons where I must keep myself relevant.

Just got to keep finding new ways to waste proper time without consequences which is easier said than done.

53) Opus – Live is Life (1986)

“The Maradona Song” is one of those I hear it once, I end my day hearing it probably 20 times. Although Pele is my GOAT in soccer, my father and millions of people would say Maradona is the GOAT.

Unlike LeBron James (MJ is the GOAT), Maradona actually rivaled Pele to be considered as such in my book. The story behind this video is also unique if you want to read about it online.

52) Tool – Ænema (1996)

Another song that screams “2020 in a nutshell!” I heard this being played a lot during Speedweeks on SiriusXM and was hooked from there.

The message about LA and certain folks needing to swim came to life with one person who tried to be a media member so hard in March. It’s known as the infamous “MRI/Las Vegas Fiasco” in the world of NASCAR. For whatever reason, this song was the first thing I thought of.

Looking back and now knowing how that hack was a massive creep, I wasn’t wrong feeling that way. Aside from that event, the song itself rules ass.

51) Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome (1984)

2018 RANKING: NO. 2
2019 RANKING: NO. 7
Only two songs have made my Top 100 list for three straight years. This was one of the because I really enjoy hearing this song.

There’s a lot pleasures in this world (different from this video by the way) and glad WW84 utilized this song the way I’ve always envisioned it. Physical attraction, not what people felt about the group in the 80s.

While I’ve given up certain pleasures, there’s still some fun to be had away from home. Not right now, but soon. This song is among the top-10 I heavily affiliate with the decade.

50) björk – Human Behaviour (1993)

Here’s another compelling song accompanied with an odd ball music video. There aren’t many like björk out there in the world of music and quite frankly, ahead of her time.

It honestly doesn’t sound too dated either because of its lyrics and amazing sound. Quite an interesting single from the 90s I didn’t mind listening a lot this year.

49) Inner Circle – Bad Boys (1987)

I purchased a few GTA games on the PC and wanted to add this song on the custom radio stations so I can raise hell. No other reason as to why I frequently played this song.

48) Enigma – Sadeness (1990)

Thanks, Dave Chappelle! I’ve heard the song plenty of times, but after seeing that skit where this was featured, I played it for most of July.

There’s something about the year 1990 having so many bangers and gems. Enigma’s signature hit being no different. One of those “escape from reality” records I play at night that’s for sure.

47) Bolier, Arem Ozguc, Arman Aydin and NBLM – Imagine (2017)

A deadly fantasy song from Turkey. Who’d a thunk it? The song is self explanatory, so I’ll spare you the talk for this one.

The beat is so moving that I often forget the context of the song. Might explain most songs of this current time period where the beat is my main takeaway than the message of the track.

46) Dum Dum Girls – Bedroom Eyes (2011)

I found out recently the group aren’t together anymore which is a bit sad, but songs like this are enough for me. Incredibly catchy chorus and you can easily tell how heavily their influences scream the 1960s. Instant admiration!

45) Oingo Boingo – Weird Science (1985)

I could honestly give two fucks about Oingo Boingo as far their popularity and countless teen flicks their songs popped up.

However, this is one of those I don’t mind at the slightest! Fun, catchy and worth listening in the state of Florida back in February. As for the movie itself, classic!

44) Republica – Ready to Go (1997)

2018 RANKING: NO. 3
2019 RANKING: NO. 13
This year, I came to the realization that whoever was in charge of putting songs during ABC’s CART and SPEED’s Formula One coverage had great taste in music. It’s why this late 90s jam makes my list for the third straight year.

43) The Aces – Touch (2017)

The first of musical act leading five songs to make my list. Such a killer chorus and energetic song structure as a whole! I think it’s the best way to describe “Touch.” Kind of reminds me of The Go-Go’s in a way which is never a bad thing.

42) Metallica – Enter Sandman (Live) (1992)

I know, it’s a cop out song! However, this live version of their biggest commercial hit adds a different layer than what you hear at just about every sporting venue.

Jason Newsted being a backup vocalist really amped up the band’s live performances and quite frankly, his biggest contribution. This too was another record I played when I was away from my mundane non-media job.

41) Pantera – Primal Concrete Sledge (1990)

Fast! Fury! Rage! Three words to describe this quick Pantera record from their Cowboys from Hell album.

The bass/drum combination is so contagious, I can’t help myself when I head bang to it. No way to escape from it because “Primal Concrete Sledge” is such an addicting thrash masterpiece.

40) The Aces – 801 (2020)

This song focuses on the state of Utah. Better yet, the area code of Salt Lake City. Such a beautiful mysterious flow where “escaping reality” is personified, especially in the verses.

Now, I only lived there in 2000 (Taylorsville, UT to be exact), but the vibes I get from “The Beehive State” still grows by the year. It’ll happen when you know a few friends that either studied or lived there. I’d love to hear from those folks if this song sums up the mood down there, but I’ll probably never know.

39) The Aces – Just Like That (2018)

I don’t know why I decided to make this my jam to keep myself calm during both the written and skills test. There are a lot of songs that could’ve done that, but I chose this one.

What I like about The Aces is their storytelling where I can see it from both sides. “Just Like That” is one of those records. Do I plan of playing this when I try the test again? Perhaps, but time will tell.

38) David Bowie – Fascination (1975)

Deep tracks are often the better songs from classic albums. “Fascination” being a prime example and during my visit at Ellensburg in June, I played the ever living hell out of the song.

I visualize myself dancing with a partner like it’s some damn 70s flick. No, not Saturday Night Fever style! My own style where the crowd are watching and are in awe of our chemistry. What a dream that was. I’d rather have unrealistic dreams than ones involving death and embarrassingly hysterical tears!

37) Neil Diamond – Crunchy Granola Suite (Live) (1972)

I was beyond ecstatic when finally found out the name of the song used during CBS’ opener of the 1985 Daytona 500. An incredible breakfast song wasn’t something I’d be enjoying, but here we are. I later found out last month that it was used three years prior when NBC played this for their opener of the 1982 Michigan 500.

Now, the reason why it ranks so high on my list is because I played this during my trip to Evergreen Speedway in August. It was my first event I shot photos since the pandemic began and felt like playing it. I love the adrenaline rush Neil provided and why I liked the song in the first place back in 2014 when I first heard it from that ’85 coverage.

36) Manuel Turizo, Rauw Alejandro and Myke Towers – La Nota (2020)

Reggaetón isn’t my main go-to genre by any means unless it’s a damn vibe! It helped that it has a similar mood to “Te Bote” when I first heard it a few months back. It’s the beat that I vibe heavily, but it’s catchy to a degree as well.

35) Eddie Murphy – Party All the Time (1985)

No bullshit, I’d play this one-hit wonder at full volume if I wanted to. I’d get an amazing sound of it. Yes, this is not a drill! Eddie Murphy actually had a Top 40 hit as a singer.

He was mad over (popular) in that time period and with help by Rick James, it’s actually a helluva good song. Dated AF, but it’s what makes the 80s flashy in my eye.

34) Guns ‘N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle (1987)

You sure this didn’t come out in 2020? It damn sure feels like GNR are from the future when they put out this madhouse anthem 37 years ago. Kicked ass then, kicks ass now, and it’ll kick ass forever.

33) Lil Troy – Wanna Be A Baller (1998)

Lil factoid: Lil Troy wasn’t even in this song! Didn’t wrote it either!

Probably for the better since just about everyone in this Houston rap classic are dead. Fat Pat was already dead when the song was released, so it’s a cursed record.

Aside from the dark tale, I just fucks with it. Another one those “hits different” songs that’s come to define 2020. Especially, when I hear it past 1am PST.

32) The Aces – Going Home (2020)

If there’s a song I totally feel the mood when going back home from a long day or trip, it came at a perfect time. It’s quite frankly my favorite song from their latest album Under My Influence. Hard to choose one because there’s several bangers, but this one’s my personal favorite.

31) Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down A Dream (1989)

Aside from “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Runnin’ Down A Dream” is the second song I totally associate with NASCAR.

You can thank NBC by playing ZZ Ward’s cover. Not only that, but both ESPN and FOX used this then and there. Naturally, it was going to make my list in some capacity and in 2020, it was the time it most resonated with me.

30) Meg Myers – Running Up That Hill (2019)

Meg Myers >>>> Kate Bush <<<< Placebo.

Myers’ cover is a prime example where its miles better than the original. I find Bush’s version extremely overrated and just not enjoyable.

This version was the first song I genuinely loved starting off the year. I can actually understand the context of the song in a vibrant and colorful way that neither Bush nor Placebo could’ve accomplish.

29) Sade – No Ordinary Love (1992)

During my SoCal trip in October, I was deleting a lot of stuff from my phone. I looked at the screenshots of songs I liked, so I can add them to my Spotify playlists. This was one of the many songs and perhaps the best one out of the bunch.

It’s honestly a fantasy mood and an easy track to fall asleep when everything else doesn’t work. This record also symbolizes the end of one love process and the start of a new one. Hits different when I’m not at home. So different, it made the Top 30.

28) Roxette – The Look (1988)

Both the song and group became an overnight sensation as a result of an exchange student demanding this song to be played in Minneapolis. It eventually hit number-one in ’88.

I love this record for its catchy nature and amazing chemistry between the late Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle. There’s a few people I totally see fit the bill of having such a look. Maybe someday, I may have to convince a partner to own the karaoke competition with this song. That being said, “X for Doubt!”

27) School of Seven Bells – Signals (2016)

Another record for the custom radio station in GTA IV because why the hell not? Sounds pretty boss when flying on a helicopter, shooting missiles in Liberty City.

This was the third song I’ve heard from the group and it had an action 80s tone, but harsh reality lyrics. When you feel for someone, but when the magic is gone, it can be awkward. Guess that’s how love works sometimes.

26) Aaron Johnson, Jesse Murphy and Avi Bortnick – The Ballad of Gay Tony Theme (Downtempo Mix) (2009)

What bothers me about PC games sometimes are certain songs being removed. Worse, when it’s a song from the damn game itself! That’s the case with the pause menu music from Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony.

The first time I heard this smooth and chilling song was in an video highlighting why GTA IV is better than GTA V. It’s true by the way! Found the song and it blew me away. An amazing mix of dreamy and funky that gives me some hope for a better tomorrow.

Like, today might’ve sucked, but there’s always something positive that lies ahead. It’s a song that pops in my head when thinking about a crush, so there’s more than just optimism.

25) 2 Unlimited – Get Ready for This (1991)

I highly recommend playing this at 1.25 playback speed. Sounds fast AF and I like that way. Following a few videos of Beavis and Butt-Head, including this one where they thought it sucked and were watching Telemundo, I played this song nonstop. Throughout the entire Month of May to be exact!

I prefer the vocal version than the instrumental you hear a lot more since it came out in ’91. Like, a whole lot more! Fun to listen on the road as well.

24) VÉRITÉ – Save Up (2020)

I explained this in greater detail when I looked back on my Phoenix trip last November. Lyrically alarming about a time period where I let certain vices run me dry. For what? To see some dance?

The chorus in particular symbolizes that demonic time period. No desire of going back to those nights and that’s okay. I can let it go and focus on greener pastures. When songs hit a nerve, then I know it’s flawless in my eye so kudos to VÉRITÉ.

23) The Aces – Physical (2017)

I Don’t Like Being Honest from start-to-finish has such a guilty pleasure for its hooks and choruses. “Physical” is the best out of the bunch due to that reason and results my heart feeling volcanic (I shall leave now for punning an album title from them).

22) Within Temptation feat. Tarja – Paradise (What About Us?) (2013)

I love adventurous songs where the path is challenging from a storytelling point of view. Two styles of music join forces where it was indeed enough to create a killer record!

Riffs reeks of awesomeness and both Sharon den Adel and Tarja’s vocal range really shine bright here! I can’t believe I didn’t hear this song until this year because I would’ve loved playing it back in my KUOI days.

21) Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine (1988)

An addictive jam about love being a basket case full of joy and trouble. What else is new? If the song kicks all sorts of ass, more often than not, I’ll play it a lot throughout my daily life. Typically, Bon Jovi don’t miss and this ’88 hit was no exception.

20) Beach Bunny – Painkiller (2018)

Guess “sad girl” is a musical style, but hey! I like hearing that kind of crap. Except it’s not crap in my book! I call it indie pop/rock genius and a fair way to comprehend what people go through from afar.

Not often a song name dropping Tylenol can be so damn fascinating. The solo in particular, my god it’s so fun hearing it due to its surf nature. Despite the meaning of the song being quite angst and in your face.

19) The Weeknd – Blinding Lights (2019)

Let me tell you right now, I can’t wait to see what The Weeknd has cookin’ for the Super Bowl LV halftime show. This is the only song I’m willing to give 5 out of 5 in my Hot 100 number-one single ratings since 2009.

Not even Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” got that rating, so I consider it as a perfect record by today’s standards! It’s an 80s vibe masterpiece, putting him at a higher pedestal among today’s top musical acts. Lyrics are unique that’ll stand the test of time as the Double 20s is in its infancy.

He’s grown on me from being a rather boring act (“Can’t See My Face”) at first to now an potential elite performer for what I hope is a transcending decade in mainstream music.

18) Kacey Musgraves – High Horse (2018)

The only quote-on-quote modern day country act I fully tolerate spiced things up with this disco laced track. Low key, this song is an obvious shade towards some money lover, but that’s besides the point.

We all have that one person who we’d love to see leave and never come back. I’m no different because I do wish some people can take their high horse and buzz off. It’s how I feel about most people since I graduated from college in 2016.

17A) Culture Beat – I Like You (London Mix) (1990)

You’re not being fooled! You’re indeed hearing N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton” on a house mix! Found this song from a random early 90s Brazilian show and rather than focusing on the video, I was drawn to the song. Indeed, a hip-hop dance jam I’ve been listening all month.

I consider it a rare song because if you weren’t alive in the late 80s and early 90s, you probably might not understand (including myself) why this genre is beloved and inspired many of today’s acts from Europe. Great question to ask your parents if you’re in the 25-40 age demo. Besides that, the ideal way is reading the YouTube comments section to get the vibe.

17B) Culture Beat – I Like You (1990)

Both the London Mix and the main jam are equal to me. That’s why there’s an A and B on a ranked song. It’s become a tradition at this point as the honor also went to Billie Eilish’s “COPYCAT” (studio and acoustic) in 2018 and La Ley’s “El Duelo” (studio and Unplugged) last year.

16) Queen – Dragon Attack (1980)

2018 RANKING: NO. 20
I’m a sucker for some boss ass bass lines. It might be among my favorite non-metal bass tracks ever! Just about everything about this Queen record is criminally underrated!

I detect zero flaws because the whole group was on top of their game when they made “Dragon Attack.”

15) Prince & The Revolution – I Would Die 4 U (1984)

This can interpreted as both a love song and a religious song. For some strange reason, this timeless classic got me through the hellacious time period where everything felt wrong.

Society was falling apart due to the unrests and pandemic, my life and career was in shambles. I just needed something to avoid those low points. Prince came to the rescue and it came at a perfect time.

Powerful isn’t the right word to describe this song and the synth is a whole different kind of energy. So addicting!

14) VÉRITÉ – younger women (2020)

“Blinding Lights” is my favorite 2020 single, but since the song came out in late 2019, I can’t technically give the honor for “Best Record from 2020.” That goes to this rather sexual love/hate tale.

What an emotional pop roller coaster “younger women” is! Especially, the ending of the song where her chorus delivery is heart throbbing.

13) Cinderella – Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone) (1988)

Thanks, South Park! “Raisins” is probably my favorite episode and this Cinderella hit made it even better. Sucks for Stan though! Then again, Wendy gonna Wendy.

Months later, this song became personal because I had to cope with the fact I must move on from a past secret love. #MissingRing

I also found out this was played in an AEW video package about Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page. Funny, considering I literally had to “turn the page” (pun intended).

12) Genesis – Mama (1983)

2019 RANKING: NO. 54
While watching Perfect Blue, I wanted to create an AMV about the 1997 anime film with this classic. Never got around to finish the side project.

Anyways, this song just keeps getting better each year. So sinister, dark and bone chilling this hit is! Love can be cruel, especially when it’s so one-sided and unrealistic from the eye of the person lusting for “mama.”

11) Megadeth – Hangar 18 (1991)

Dave Mustaine’s finest hour! Okay, Megadeth is solid thrash metal band. Comment aside, “Hangar 18” screams driving around the Tulsa Expo Center or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at full speed. Especially, the camera showing the driver jerking the steering wheel around the corners with dirt and rubber all over the helmet respectively.

Why is this song not used in racing compilations or video packages?

The whole second half alone should get the average viewer amped up for a race! Hell, this song screams destruction more than Area 51. Awesome metal record! Beast AF solos all around, so what more do you want from Megadeth?

10) Metallica – Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (1986)

2018 RANKING: NO. 49
Stand up for my COVID-19 Pandemic anthem! As soon as the first wave of cancellations kicked in, all I thought about was this song. Nothing else!

Even when I had to risk my life by working with unruly people, this song was on my mind 24/7. Felt like I was walking inside a hell in a cell, knowing I’ll leave mangled.

Thankfully, my health has been great and I should be thankful for that. I know 2020 sucks, but if there’s one definite positive, that would be it!

9) Casper, Nio García, Darell, Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna – Te Bote (Remix) (2018)

Breaking up is hard to do! There’s a Billboard article explaining this club banger and it’s translated.

I don’t fuck with Latin records these days, but I must make a total exemption here. I wish I could tell you how the vibe would be if I hear this song at a club, but that chapter is over. I’m too old for that lifestyle!

There’s some truth to the song regarding what I was mentally going through. Probably why I played this for much of 2020 because I got nothing better to do.

8) Faith No More – Midlife Crisis (1992)

Mike Patton’s grouchy verses is a fucking mood! There’s a wild theory that the song is about Madonna. Not sure if I fully buy it, but if and when that biopic come out, I better hear Faith No More at some point!

At 26, it damn sure feels like a midlife crisis and I fear when that time period legitimately happens. Glad I don’t have to worry about it right now, so I can enjoy this in your face track.

7) Jon Bon Jovi – Blaze of Glory (1991)

A good fair of the early 90s number-one hits are hogwash! Wilson Phillips and Amy Grant were being shoved down people’s throats (like BTS today). Acts like Timmy T and P.M. Dawn just weren’t good! Thank god for Jon Bon Jovi, the 1990-91 MVP!

“Blaze of Glory” oozes the Western lifestyle and being on the road. It’s a living mood when I really thinking about it. My life (more so with my media career) feels like a damn Western movie where I must survive, otherwise I’d lose the battle. If the latter happens, it damn sure better be when I felt like I’ve accomplished a lot and look back with zero regrets.

6) VÉRITÉ – Somebody Else (2016)

One Instagram story posted this in their “30 Day Music Challenge” for what I believe was a great cover song. VÉRITÉ made The 1975 original a whole different identity where I clearly like it better than the original.

Some say Nonpoint’s rendition of “In The Air Tonight” is better than Phil Collins’ (I don’t fully agree with it, but I like both), “Somebody Else” is that example for me. I tried to comprehend what this song was all about, but I finally got it!

There are times where I’m okay moving on, but seeing that person in a new relationship is frustrating. Again, love is such a cruel mindfuck.

5) Kacey Musgraves – Slow Burn (2018)

Going to Daytona International Speedway, I wanted to play another Kacey Musgraves song that wasn’t “Golden Hour” like I did at Phoenix. “Slow Burn” was that song when I arrived and left the track via walking.

Yes, I walked to the track and found a way to make it work. People just don’t understand the sacrifices I’ve made to get from Point A to Point B! Someday, they’ll realize my commitment to this profession known as motorsports media.

While the song was based on an LSD trip, it’s quite the tune. Amazing opener to the 2019 Grammy Album of the Year and it’s an album I really enjoy.

4) Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized (1983)

2019 RANKING: NO. 9
Aside from “What In Carnation,” Mike Muir has to be the biggest advocate for Pepsi! Hell, it’s my go-to soda thanks to this song I first heard last August! I’m not (legit) crazy!

Yeah, my taste in music and soda can be questioned, but it doesn’t warrant batshit insanity.

The moment this song plays on my playlist, I don’t skip it. All I do is turn the song up to 11 and shout the lyrics.

3) ‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry (1985)

Two years ago, the music video was recommended to me on YouTube – “Eh, it’s alright.” Last year, it was recommended again – “Not bad of an 80s record, still alright tough.” This year, recommended once more – “Hush, hush, keep it down now, voices carry!

Before Aimee Mann became a critically acclaimed songwriter in film, she co-wrote this top-10 hit. Finally, I understood why it’s such a powerful 80s new wave single. The lyrics are raw and authentic that still holds up well.

There are toxic relationships in this world and ‘Til Tuesday weren’t blunt about it and that’s why I admire this song today.

2) School of Seven Bells – Ablaze (2016)

An ode to a fallen member, the track opener to the group’s final album (SVIIB) was real clear about a void left behind when Benjamin Curtis’ died in 2013.

It’s both uplifting and a tad gloomy because the lyrics implied the impact he left on Alejandra Deheza’s life. Beautiful retrospective song accompanied with an unforgettable tune.

We simply have that one person that “set it all ablaze” in our lives where there’s an amazing connection. Often, greater than others which was my main takeaway from this extraordinary song.

1) Mazzy Star – Fade Into You (1993)

Saturday, February 22, 2020. A day I’ll never forget.

This beautiful, soothing and an emotional shipwreck of a song played at the Shake ‘n Stake in downtown Seattle, and there was no looking back. I quickly fell in love with this 90s gem.

Honestly, it became a no-brainer that “Fade Into You” was going to be my favorite song this year. I do feel like a person in my life doesn’t know how I feel about her. It’s rather strange she doesn’t know right now and probably never will.

Feelings aside, this song is perfectly crafted thanks to vocalist Hope Sandoval and guitarist David Roback, who died two days after first hearing the song.

I might’ve even tried avoiding shedding a tear one night because of hearing it in the super relatable and inspiring 1995 film Angus. Everything about the dance scene was right. It’s the kind of nervousness I pictured when I thought about the lyrics. It’s the kind of escape from reality people want to have in a relationship. Even a simple interaction can make a difference.

I’ll admit one more thing, while binge watching The Office for the first time ever from start-to-finish, I called “Fade Into You” as the Jim and Pam song. Don’t ask me why I labeled it as their song! I can’t explain it! Anyways, this song is an all-time favorite of mine. Time period be damned!

There you have it! Another music blog is in the books. I sure hope you’ve discovered new tracks to put on your playlist.

My tastes are all over the damn place, but that’s how I roll. Hope 2021 can provide even more findings and memories because it can only get better from here.

Until we meet again, doubt me if you insist, prove me wrong if I give consent.

Published by Luis Torres

University of Idaho graduate that's currently pursuing the dream of becoming a motorsports media personnel.

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