Album: After Hours
Producers: The Weeknd, Max Martin 

Can we start with the obvious? The Weeknd was clearly snubbed by the Grammys—as the man himself has effectively declared—and his sensational album After Hours deserves every award under the sun. Its lead single “Blinding Lights,” with its propulsive '80s beat and sumptuous, sun-kissed synths, is one of Abel Tesfaye’s very best, completing his years-long transformation from melancholic R&B singer into one of the most gifted and dynamic pop stars since Michael Jackson. No song dominated the airwaves in 2020 quite like “Blinding Lights,” and throughout a year of turbulence, sickness, and uncertainty, the track lights up the night like a beacon in the sky, blazing with neon panache. It’s a cruel irony of a crazy year that the song came to us at a time without parties or nightclubs, where it practically demands to be heard. But you can be sure that when going out is safe again, “Blinding Lights” will have another moment to shine. —Calum Marsh