The 15 Best Songs of September 2020

The artists who released our favorite songs from the past month literally range from A to Z. We’ve featured Anjimile’s “In Your Eyes,” Ziemba’s “(You Feel Like) Paradise,” and lots of great music in between. September saw the return of Fleet Foxes, SZA, Sault and more, plus a previously unreleased Women track and a Tré Burt protest song. Scroll down to check out the rest of our favorite tunes from September 2020.

1. Anjimile: “In Your Eyes”

Anjimile shared “In Your Eyes” as a single off his debut album Giver Taker, which arrived Sept. 18 via Father/Daughter. The song followed previously released singles “Maker” and “Baby No More.” “This is another song about grappling with homophobia and ultimately recognizing that I am what I am,” Anjimile said. —Paris Rosenthal

2. Badge Époque Ensemble: “Sing A Silent Gospel”

Canadian outfit Badge Époque Ensemble announced their second album Self Help, out on Nov. 20 via Telephone Explosion Records. They’ve also shared its lead single “Sing A Silent Gospel.” Earlier this year, Paste named the group one of 30 Canadian Artists You Need to Know in 2020, praising their “groove-centric, improvisational music built for the highest tier of psychedelic transcendence.” Though much of their music is instrumental, “Sing A Silent Gospel” features vocals from Dorothea Paas and Meg Remy of U.S. Girls. It’s a wonderful, mid-tempo odyssey of jazz-funk—breezy yet sophisticated, animated, but never too busy. —Lizzie Manno

3. Faye Webster: “Better Distractions”

Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Faye Webster shared a new single this month called “Better Distractions” along with a music video. Webster also announced a livestream titled “Live From Chase Park Transduction” on Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET via NoonChorus. —Paris Rosenthal

4. Field Medic: “i will not mourn who i was that has gone away”

After months of releasing one-off songs, Field Medic announced his new song collection Floral Prince. The announcement also came with a new song titled “i will not mourn who i was that has gone away.” Floral Prince, out on Oct. 2 via Run For Cover Records, includes prior singles and seven unreleased songs. A press release describes it as “part mixtape, part album, part collection, part musical patchwork quilt.” —Lexi Lane

5. Fleet Foxes: “Sunblind”

On Shore highlight “Sunblind” (which pleasantly bleeds together with “Wading In Waist-High Water’’ in the tracklisting), Robin Pecknold is forthright in dedicating the song to his late musical heroes: John Prine, David Berman, Bill Withers, Judee Still, Elliott Smith and Richard Swift are all called out by name, with the latter two providing the soundtrack to a weekend respite (“I’m going out for a weekend / I’m gonna borrow a Martin or Gibson / With Either/Or and The Hex for my Bookends / Carrying every text that you’ve given”). The list goes on as he namedrops Jeff Buckley and Arthur Russell, singing “I’m loud and alive / singing you all night,” as if to say “I won’t let anyone forget you” to each of those artists who left us too soon. —Ellen Johnson

6. Kevin Morby: “Campfire”

After his 2019 album Oh My God , Kevin Morby is back with a new album Sundowner, which will arrive on Oct. 16 via Dead Oceans. Morby has shared the first single and video from the album, “Campfire,” featuring his partner Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee. —Paris Rosenthal

7. Porridge Radio: “7 Seconds”

U.K. quartet Porridge Radio are back with a new song “7 Seconds.” The new single follows their album Every Bad from earlier this year. “7 Seconds” is a compelling synth track, elevated by Dana Margolin’s emotional vocal performance. “I can’t tell you that I’m wasted on you,” Margolin sings with passion before breaking down into a quieter, thoughtful ending. —Lexi Lane

8. Sault: “Fearless”

U.K. soul group Sault recently released their second album of the year with Untitled (Rise), the free-spirited follow-up to the defiant Untitled (Black Is). Track two “Fearless” unfolds as a subtle, percussive soul tune, but blooms into a disco epic with a crescendo of godlike strings and spirited vocals. —Lizzie Manno

9. Sweater Curse: “Close”

For their second EP Push/Pull, Sweater Curse really come out of their shell, amplifying their faint post-punk tinges and sky-high pop hooks. The EP was promoted with singles “All The Same” and “Close,” the band’s two best songs to date. While “All The Same” is a peek into their dynamic, sharper side, “Close” features tried-and-true, big-hearted indie rock. This is the meat and potatoes of any melancholy Australian indie rock band. But for a promising group like Sweater Curse, this is their victory lap. It’s a stunningly pretty, widescreen tune (written with the help of fellow Aussie indie rocker Alex Lahey), begging to be played a hundred times over, no matter how up or down you’re feeling. Vocally, Monica Sottile goes the extra mile, framing not just each line, but every word with the perfect, affecting cadence. —Lizzie Manno

10. Sylvan Esso: “Ring”

Sylvan Esso released their third studio album Free Love last week, and it’s as vibrant, slick and enjoyable as their first two. One highlight is “Ring,” a steady electro-pop song that captures the breathless feeling you get when a new relationship (or fling) is brewing. It begins as an exchange of suggestive glances in the vein of “Voulez-Vous” (“When I saw you from across the bar / It occurred to me that we could never be,” Amelia Meath sings.) but it eventually begins to track the cyclical nature of many things—life, love, touring and, most interestingly, tinnitus, aka the dull ringing many musicians hear in their ears (at least according to Meath). —Ellen Johnson

11. SZA: “Hit Different”

SZA dropped a new single, “Hit Different,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and produced by The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo). SZA made her directorial debut with an accompanying music video for the new track. SZA’s soulful voice is complemented nicely by Ty Dolla $ign’s equally soothing and distinct tone. —Paris Rosenthal

12. Told Slant: “Family Still”

Told Slant, the solo project of Brooklyn songwriter Felix Walworth, announced a new album Point the Flashlight and Walk, out on Nov. 13 via Double Double Whammy. It’s the follow-up to 2016’s Going By. Told Slant also unveiled two singles from the new album— “Family Still” and “No Backpack”—which come with lyric videos shot by Emily Sprague (Florist). “Family Still” is a poetic exploration of interpersonal dynamics. “Power isn’t taking / It’s making you give in freely / And I hope you don’t come home / and think it’s enough to be near me,” Walworth sings in a gentle tone. This layered acoustic track excels in its dissection of the complicated shades of intimacy: “What can be said of desire / when every longing instilled in my heart was instilled in such a violent world?” —Lizzie Manno

13. Tré Burt: “Under The Devil’s Knee”

Sacramento-based artist Tré Burt shared a new protest song called “Under The Devil’s Knee,” which features Our Native Daughter’s Allison Russel and Leyla McCalla, as well as L.A. songwriter Sunny War. Sept. 22 is historically significant because on that day in 1906, dozens of Black people were murdered in the streets of Atlanta by armed mobs of white Americans. The Black Lives Matter-inspired track was written about the murders of George Floyd, Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor. The racist violence that is ever-present today is precisely what Burt is calling to attention here. —Paris Rosenthal

14. Women: “Everyone is So in Love With You”

During this week in 2010, influential Canadian noise band Women released their second and final album Public Strain. For its 10th anniversary, the album will be reissued via Jagjaguwar and Flemish Eye on limited-edition clear vinyl. In addition, the band are releasing a rarities EP titled Rarities 2007-2010 on standard black vinyl, which features both rare and never before released material. This week, the band shared the first EP cut “Everyone Is So In Love With You,” which was previously unreleased. The downtempo track is imbued with gorgeous cello and tambourine, and the vocals bloom with an innocent sense of longing. It even has a dash of their wonky, droning guitars. —Lizzie Manno

15. Ziemba: “(You Feel Like) Paradise”

Ziemba’s True Romantic, out now via Sister Polygon, is the type of vocal powerhouse album that you just don’t hear every day. “(You Feel Like) Paradise,” in particular, runs the gamut from reserved vocal beauty to jaw-dropping, tear-jerking knockout. It has the old world charm of a ’60s pop standard and ’70s rock ballad, and its awe-inspiring melodic refrain will make you emotional on cue. —Lizzie Manno