CHIMP’s Top Songs of 2020: Chosen by Music Industry Professionals

We at Chicago Music Professionals (CHIMP) asked 26 music industry experts (from bookers and record store owners to label managers and publicists) from all corners of the country to offer up their top two songs of 2020. We are thrilled to share their collective 52 picks with you. Many expressed how difficult it was to narrow their lists to just two selections. Nothing like an abundance of good music to help get us all through an unimaginably challenging year. Thank you to our 26 colleagues who took the time to work with us to bring you this exciting and diverse playlist. We hope you enjoy these insider picks as much as we did. Happy Holidays from the crew at CHIMP.



Following are the music industry experts and their picks:

1. Dan Apodaca, Talent Buyer, Audiotree: “Afraid of Horses” by Half Gringa and “Best Life” by Cheekface

2. Josh Bloom, Publicist, Fanatic Promotion: “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga / Ariana Grande and “In A Large Room With No Light” (remastered) by Prince 

3. Joe Daly, Freelance Journalist, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, et al.: “In the Absence of  Matter” by Uada and “Fearless” by A.A. Williams

4. Steve Dixon, Senior Account Rep, Redeye Worldwide: “You were mine” by Tami Neilson and “Get Jealous” by Shitkid 

5. Behrad Emami, Production Manager, Live Nation Chicago, IL: “Instant History” by Biffy Clyro and “Break my Baby” by Kaleo 

6. Paul Epstein, Owner, Twist & Shout Records, Denver, CO: “Delta 88 Nightmare” by X and “Murder Most Foul” by Bob Dylan

7. Rob Gillis, Music Direct: “Truck On Tyke” (Mobile Fidelity reissue) by T. Rex and “Ordinary Man” by Ozzy Osbourne 

8. Parker Gispert, Recording Artist at Parker Gispert/ The Whigs: “False Prophet” by Bob Dylan and “Stay” by Valerie June

9. Matt Hickey, High Road Touring: “River Dreams” by Beverly Glenn-Copeland and “Neon Skyline” by Andy Shauf

10.  Micole Johnson, Music Director, WCSF FM: “Get Me Good” by Kai and “Kane Train” (ft Freddie Gibbs) by Machinedrum 

11. David Klotz, Co-Composer of The Prom, Music Editor for Game of Thrones, Stranger Things: “Unknown” by Even As We Speak and “2:22” by The Luxembourg Signal 

12. Marty Lennartz, On Air Personality, WXRT-FM: “How Lucky” by Kurt Vile / John Prine and “Ghosts” by Bruce Springsteen

13. Kevin Martin, Atmospheric Audiochair: “The Adults Are Talking” by the Strokes and
“Conversations” by Juice WRLD

14. Anthony Musiala, Minty Fresh Records: “Witching Hour” by TOPS and “Sucker” by Madeline Kenney

15. Paul Nixon, co-owner of Round Trip Records, Chicago, IL: “Everything’s Right” by Phish and
“The Natural” by Skeletons

16. Dan O’Conor, Owner, Dtox Designs: “Wakin’ Up” by Lucinda Williams and “Where Did the Night Go?” by Makaya McCraven & Gil Scott-Heron

17. Kirstin Osgood, Co-Founder, CHIMP : “Loner” by Dehd and “A Hymn” by Idles

18. Thomas Pace, Thomas Pace Band / Filmmaker: “False Prophet” by Bob Dylan and “Into the Light” by The Avett Brothers

19. Jason Roth, Associate Director, Communications, Pandora: “The Accidental Falls” by Eyelids and “Wildfires” by SAULT 

20. David Silbaugh, Talent Buyer & Production Supervisor, Summerfest: “Do You Think We’ll Last Forever” by Caroline Rose and “Simmer” by Hayley Williams

21. Josh Terry, Vice: “Glass Casket” by NNAMDÏ and “If It’s Not Me” by V.V. Lightbody’s

22. Patrick Vanwagoner, Talent Buyer, Audiotree Presents & Lincoln Hall: “Magic Mountain” by Hollow Ship and “Fight Like Ida B & Marsha P” by Ric Wilson

23. Jeep Ward,  Redeye distribution: “People On Sunday” by Domenique Dumont and “Second” by Tim Arndt 

24. Alex White, White Mystery, Chicago, IL: “Lucky” by Ganser and “We Human” by Ohmme

25. Biju Zimmerman, Booking/Promotor, Captain Pabst Pilot House, Milwaukee, WI: “Aries” by Gorillaz (ft. Peter Hook, Georgia) and “Ferris Wheel” by Sylvan Esso 

26. David Zuchowski, Recording Engineer, One Room Studio: “Prosthetic” by Haken and “Not Two but Twenty Orchestra” by Various Artists

Check out CHIMP’s Top Songs of 2020 Playlist on Spotify


Anthony Musiala, Dan O’Conor, and Kirstin Osgood are the founders of CHIMP and contributing editors at Esthetic Lens.