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NPR Music's Top 20 Songs Of February

Sharon Van Etten astride a horse for her "Beaten Down" video.
Sharon Van Etten astride a horse for her "Beaten Down" video.

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

Sharon Van Etten on a horse. That's it. That should be enough to watch the video for "Beaten Down," which is one of the best songs of the month alongside cuts by Young Nudy, Coriky and Sam Hunt.

Below you'll find an alphabetized list of NPR Music's top 20 songs of February 2020. Be sure to check out our top 10 albums from the month, too.

100 Gecs, "Ringtone (Remix) [feat. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito]"
Joined by two fellow rule-breaking compatriots, this post-everything duo dials up the electro-nonsense by about 10 gleeful gecs. — Cyrena Touros

Agnes Obel, "Camera's Rolling"
A transfixing, fairytale dance of felt piano, muted celesta and brooding strings as the Danish singer considers the illusions we believe just to get by. — Robin Hilton

Boldy James & Alchemist, "Scrape the Bowl (feat. Benny the Butcher)"
APPLE / SPOTIFY The Detroit/Buffalo connection is in full swing as Boldy and the Butcher trade bars over some eerie boom bap, courtesy of the Alchemist. — Bobby Carter

Cam, "Till There's Nothing Left"
APPLE / SPOTIFY The first single from Cam's sophomore record – matched by its apocalyptic video – is a powerful testament to losing yourself to love like there's no tomorrow. — Marissa Lorusso

Chara + Yuki, "Tanoshii Kenobi"
APPLE/ SPOTIFY Two powerhouses of '90s J-pop — and members of rock band Mean Machine — reunite to clink a rose-gold cocktail, lush with funk chill. — Lars Gotrich

Christine and the Queens, "People, I've been sad"
APPLE / SPOTIFY The laws of love have a certain reciprocity. "If you fall apart, then I'm falling behind you," Chris sings in this elastic ode to absence. — Cyrena Touros

Coriky, "Clean Kill"
BANDCAMPAnyone who writes about "Clean Kill" the first song from Joe Lally, Ian Mackaye and Amy Farina's new band and doesn't begin "If you loved Fugazi..." deserves a medal because, well... — Andrew Flanagan

Daughter of Swords, "Prairie Winter Wasteland"
APPLE / SPOTIFY Daughter of Swords breathes life into an austere, frozen landscape on this Jeff Tweedy-produced track, where sparse instrumentals signal the perseverance of energies both earthly and abstract through the Minnesotan winter. — Emma Bowers

Dogleg, "Kawasaki Backflip"
APPLE / SPOTIFY The opening track of Dogleg's forthcoming album Melee burns like a controlled blaze: With pummeling guitars, it's incendiary and explosive, but at just 2:30, it's also compact and purposeful. — Lyndsey McKenna

Grimes, "Delete Forever"
APPLE / SPOTIFY Miss Anthropocene's first ray of light goes down smooth; surrounded by ghosts, Grimes treats the numbness of loss with the bubblegum medicine of acoustic pop. — Cyrena Touros

Jon Hopkins, "Scene Suspended"
Despite releasing a disappointing album last year which was pitched as the fruit of a vision quest embarked upon over the preceding years Jon Hopkins clearly remains a brilliant pianist, with a gift for locating distant, galaxial melodies. — Andrew Flanagan

Lido Pimienta, "Eso Que Tu Haces"
APPLE / SPOTIFY A soaring celebration of Colombian Afro-Indigenous communities and a vindication for anyone whose oppression has been justified by "love." — Stefanie Fernández

Orishas & Beatriz Luengo, "Ojalá Pase"
APPLE / SPOTIFY The high priests of Cuban rap deliver their first explicit criticism of economic and political conditions in Cuba by way of a controversial Silvio Rodríguez redux; it challenges and reinvigorates the original's hope for change. — Stefanie Fernández

Roger Eno & Brian Eno, "Celeste"
APPLE / SPOTIFYFurther cementing the function of ambient music, a term coined by Brian Eno, "Celeste" both calms as background music and provokes thought in the foreground. — Bob Boilen

Sam Hunt, "Hard to Forget"
APPLE / SPOTIFY While the woman in question may be the one playing hard to forget, so's Mr. Hunt himself, with a Song of the Summer-contending singalong chorus and that sly "There Stands the Glass" sample. — Lyndsey McKenna

Sharon Van Etten, "Beaten Down"
APPLE / SPOTIFY Post-Remind Me Tomorrow, Sharon Van Etten digs deeper into brooding textures, championing the heart's resilience with its own slow-beating rhythm. — Cyrena Touros

Sign Libra, "Sea of Nectar"
APPLE / SPOTIFY The concepts animating Sign Libra's second album are too much to cover here; but these gorgeously layered, polyrhythmic '90s-synth rainforest vibes require no artist statement to appreciate. — Andrew Flanagan

William Prince, "Leave It By the Sea"
The country singer from Canada (Peguis First Nation) with the warm, velvety baritone offers a wistful meditation on both the power and problems of letting go. Tom Huizenga

Young Nudy, "Blue Cheese Salad"
APPLE / SPOTIFY With a taste for the weird, the East Atlanta rapper drawls and cackles over a trap beat that is somehow both hard and twee at once. — Lars Gotrich

Yves Tumor, "Gospel for a New Country"
The shapeshifter born Sean Bowie turns out a funky, horn-filled J Dilla groove that transforms into a slacker-rock anthem about a rocky relationship. — Lars Gotrich

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