Let’s face it, 2020 wasn’t especially great was it? Luckily, the soundtrack was still awesome.
Below, in no particular order, is a selection of my picks for the best rock singles released in 2020. If you’d like to hear what they sound like then I’d heartily recommend popping over to Phoenix FM where I’ve curated them all into a special edition of my weekly rock sermon – The As Yet Untitled Rock Show of The Year: 2020.
- DAXX & ROXANNE – FAST LANE
The unmistakable sound of the sweetest thing out of Switzerland since Toblerone. Hard, fast and LOUD.
They’re back in black and powering up a new generation of school-age rockers. 100% classic AC/DC from the first chord to the last.
- BUFFALO SUMMER – HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
Foot-stomping coolness with punchy lyrics and a killer riff from this Welsh band’s cracking third album, Desolation Blue.
- ROYAL BLOOD – TROUBLE’S COMING
Shuffling in a new era for Royal Blood’s two piece, instantly recognisable sound – say hello to AC Disco.
- BOWLING FOR SOUP – ALEXA BLISS
Skater boy rock vibe staring WWE’s Alexa Bliss. Three minutes of reasons to love wrestling’s golden girl and Bowling For Soup.
- DEEP PURPLE – THROW MY BONES
Putting the deep back in the purple from the band’s new album Whoosh!
- THESE WICKED RIVERS – FLOYD
New wave classic rock from Derby’s foot-stomping, epically bearded four piece off their album Eden. Best played loud.
- BLACK STONE CHERRY – AGAIN
Bigger and louder than ever from the new album The Human Condition, bringing powerful choruses with reflective lyrics.
- LARKIN POE – SHE’S A SELF MADE MAN
Title track from one of two albums rock’s coolest sisters released this year. Bluesy, soulful with lots to say and some phenomenal fretwork.
One of Canada’s rising star’s. An anthem for the inner wild-child from debut album, Ruthless. Raw, unapologetic and very, very catchy.
- THE ROCKET DOLLS – THE GRIP
One of 2020’s most catchy choruses featuring a fantastic riff from Brighton rock trio with lyrics we could all relate to this year.
- THE ROLLING STONES – LIVING IN A GHOST STONE
A masterclass in why The Rolling Stones are still, after all these years, undisputed rock royalty with lyrics that utterly nailed lockdown life.
- BIFFY CLYRO – INSTANT HISTORY
From their storming album, A Celebration of Endings, Scotland’s iconic alt-rockers have never sounded bigger.
- BON JOVI – BROTHERS IN ARMS
Bon Jovi 2020 encapsulated our times in song but this track was packed with a feel-good, healing message and all the elements of classic Bon Jovi.
- KINGS COUNTY – BLEED THESE TEARS
Dark, heavy and very Ozzy Osbourne. First taste of forthcoming album 2 from hard-hitting American rockers.
Melodic, female fronted, foot-stomping awesomeness from one of the UK’s most exciting new bands destined for the big stage.
- RED LIGHT ACID TEST – LOSE MYSELF
Debut single from a British rock band with all the key ingredients to cook up something special with their forthcoming debut album.
- CALL OF THE KRAKEN – SEEING DOUBLE
An intro to melt your face and a chorus certain to ruin your Dry-January. Hereford’s brightest stars guaranteed to whip up a frenzy.
- WITHIN TEMPTATION – ENTERTAIN YOU
Heavy, feisty and hugely entertaining from a dutch symphonic metal band essential to a healthy playlist.
- THE DUST CODA – LIMBO MAN
An instant classic for cowbell enthusiasts and a riff to rock your socks clean off from London’s new wave classic rockers.
- THE BLUE STONES – LET IT RIDE
Just a taste of this rock duo’s forthcoming sophomore album with sumptuous riffs in abundance and shades of The Black Keys.
- DES ROCS – THIS IS OUR LIFE
A frenetic slice of this New York pizza maker’s formidable rock style topped with experimental flavours you’ll definitely order again.
- BOOTYARD BANDITS – HOBBY HORSE
The UK’s most wanted tongue-in-cheek bandits from wild wild Worcester launch a rockin’ campaign in favour of the Hobby Horse.
- THE DEAD DAISIES – UNSPOKEN
Lead single from forthcoming album Holy Ground that’ll leave you rocked, rolled and itching for more. Available in two sizes; Loud & VERY loud.
- REWS – TODAY WE’RE WARRIORS
From an album Royal Blood would be proud of, this fist pumping, anthemic track is guaranteed to heal 2020’s battle scars,
- INGLORIOUS – SHE WON’T LET YOU GO
First taste of forthcoming album 4 from a British rock band with riffs that’ll put hair on your chest and a dangerously infectious chorus.
- RUMRUNNERS – BURNING FOR YOU
This track combines a killer riff with spine-tingling vocals in a chorus that’ll set your stereo alight from Edinburgh’s answer to Nothing but Thieves.
With more hooks than a fishing lake and fretwork that’ll leave your fingers embarrassed you’ll probably never get enough of this track.
- EVANESCENCE – THE GAME IS OVER
Ahead of their forthcoming album Bitter Truth, this track showcases why Amy Lee remains the queen of gothic rock.
Brother and sister duo carving a unique sound out of alt-rock-pop with lyrics that connect and a chorus that could get anyone jumping.
- THE PRETTY RECKLESS – DEATH BY ROCK AND ROLL
Title track from the New York City rockers’ forthcoming album that’s every bit as hot, heavy and loud as Halestorm.
A punchy, power pop, indie anthem for your inner cynic from a band oozing fun in-between the chords.
Newcastle’s progressive pop punk rockers star in this blockbuster of a single with an A-list chorus.
- THE JACK FLETCHER BAND – CAROUSEL
A ride you won’t want to end and a heartfelt ballad from an indie-rock four piece featuring serious shades of Stereophonics.
- THE SLOW READERS CLUB – ALL I HEAR
One of several dark, moody, dance-inducing anthems off album 4, The Joy Of The Return from one of Manchester’s finest.
A thunderous debut single from a female-fronted, British rock band injecting meaty riffs into beautiful melodies ahead of their debut album in 2021.
- AMONGST LIARS – BURN THE VISION
Loud and proud from these alt-rock powerhouse rockers with huge fuzzy riffs and hooks that you’ll be hearing in your head for weeks.
- MASSIVE WAGONS – BANGIN ON YOUR STEREO
One of several bangers from the band’s latest album House of Noise. Riot inducing rock that does what it says on the tin.
- THUNDERMOTHER – DRIVING IN STYLE
AC/DC in female form. Taken from album 3, Heat Wave and packed with thunderous riffs, pounding beats and screaming vocals to drive you wild .
- ECHOBATS – SAVE ME FROM LOVING YOU
Debut single from newly formed, quarantine-inspired supergroup dubbed “the bats” and dripping with 70’s glam rock.
- THE SCREENS – THE BOY WHO WAVED AT TRAINS
Title track from the band’s concept album, an inspired blast of the 60’s that’s as cool and with as many layers as a viennetta.
- SCARLET REBELS – YOU TAKE MY BREATH AWAY
An intro, riff and solo to melt your face with a chorus that truly does take your breath away. Best served loud.
Mosh-pit inducing debut single with meaty riffs and lyrical chops from one of Edinburgh’s loudest.
- DEAD REYNOLDS – BY YOUR SIDE
Anthemic single destined for a euphoric live sing-along from a five piece alt-rock band who’ve been banging out big tunes all year.
Heavy, dark fuzzy riffs with haunting and delicate vocals. Absinthe inspired poetry that’d fit perfectly in a Killing Eve soundtrack.
- BLACK STAR RIDERS – CANDIDATE FOR HEARTBREAK
Massive production and sublime fretwork with a clever, loved-up, twisted lyric.
Feel-good by the bucket load with a memorable chorus, fist-pumping, singalong bridge and customary killer solo from her huge second album O.
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – GHOSTS
Another instant classic by The Boss from his latest album Letter To You. Wistful, nostalgic and a musical masterclass in layering.
Unapologetically loud with lyrics that pack a punch and a knockout chorus with screaming vocals guaranteed to lift the hairs on your neck.
- METALLICA – ALL WITHIN MY HANDS (LIVE FROM S&M2)
Snapshot of a phenomenal musical event that saw the masters of metal re-unite with their legendary orchestral friends. S&M all over again.
- APOCALYPTICA – TALK TO ME (FT LZZY HALE)
Apocalyptica assembled their cellos in attack formation and Lzzy Hale brings a ferocious vocal in an experiment that turned out to be a marriage made in hell.
- NOTHING BUT THIEVES – REAL LOVE SONG (FT BUCHAREST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA)
Bursting with everything there is to love about Southend’s Nothing But Thieves taken to stratospheric levels with orchestra.
- EMPYRE – ONLY WAY OUT (PIANO ACOUSTIC)
Acoustically reimagined from this stadium-worthy rock band’s debut album. Stripped to its bare bones it’ll blow you away instantly.
- JEFF BECK & JOHNNY DEPP – ISOLATION
Yeah, THAT Johnny Depp. Incredible vocal from a former pirate alongside Jeff Beck in his bluesy element. Just what 2020 ordered.
- HARRY DEVEREUX – STONE COLD HEART
A dark, moody debut single with red hot fretwork and a cool, complex tempo from an Essex based singer/songwriter.
- HIGH/LOW – SLOW MOTION RUNNER
One of a million mesmerising bangers bursting with fuzz from Southend’s most frequently rocking rockers. Every time you blink there’s a new single.
- OCEAN FLAWS – SPIRIT LEVEL
Another stunningly produced, spookily good belter with one foot in the 80s from Brentwood’s alt-pop, deep sea dreamers.
- SHOTGUN MISTRESS – SAVE ME FROM MYSELF
One of several hard, fast hits leaving tyre marks all over 2020 from these Aussie rockers ahead of their forthcoming debut album.
Taken from album 2, Extremely Dangerous and rammed with wild riffs and hard rock with 80’s influence from one Brazil’s brightest new stars.
- MADAME WHISKEY – EYE CONTACT
A supremely catchy and sunny single from four incredibly likeable Costa Rican rock and rollers.
- STANDING LIKE STATUES – STUPID LOVE
Alt-rock band storming out of Cambridge with another anthem in their arsenal from their cracking 2nd EP, Reality Checkpoint.
Huge ballad with heartfelt lyrics from a band returning to their own chart-topping sound.
- KING CREATURE – WISDOM TOLD
A truly epic single that builds into a masterpiece from this Cornish rock band’s phenomenal third album Set The World On Fire. It should.
- THE MIRROR PICTURES – 3 HOUR BLACKOUT
The type of sing-along chorus you don’t want to end and a guitar solo that transcends from the gods.
- MYSTERY JETS – SCREWDRIVER
From this beloved indie band’s protest-inspired album, A Billion Heartbeats featuring solid riffs and laced with lyrics to educate.
- THE METAL BYRDS – LIFE IN 20
All the fears and thoughts of our time captured in a rip-roaring power-pop rock case and laced with metal.
- NEVER APART – HOLD ON HOPE
A storming second single from these Coventry based rockers featuring punchy, driving guitars, pounding drums and a killer vocal.
- THE JADED HEARTS CLUB – REACH OUT I’LL BE THERE
One of a series of fantastically rocked up covers from a band putting the “super” into supergroup.
What were some of your favourites? Did you discover something new this year? Leave a comment and let us know!
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