NPR Music's Top 14 Songs Of April
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As the NPR Music staff continues to cover the pandemic and its effects on the music industry, we are still listening to new music. In fact, we started Press Pause and Hit Play, a new playlist updated daily, in an effort to catalog our favorites released during this time.
We did something different for April. Instead of long discussions over email and video chat to determine which songs would make our monthly list, each staff member was guaranteed their No. 1 pick. We don't always share our list-making process, but the results seen below reveal the music held closest to the chest, what gets repeat listens during quarantine.
Below you'll find an alphabetized list of NPR Music's top 14 songs of April 2020. Be sure to check out our top 14 albums from the month and, above, listen to the Best of April podcast from All Songs Considered.
Clarice Jensen, "Holy Mother"
The deepest of drone experiences, Jensen's jet stream waves of sound, cresting over oscillating organ-like figures, offer a view from within to contemplate the unfathomable vastness. — Tom Huizenga
Discovery Zone, "Blissful Morning Dream Interpretation Melody"
The electronic producer uses her equipment's store-bought settings as a means to explore our melancholic modern world. Turns out she's speaking in a language we all know by default. —Andrew Flanagan
The third single from Dornik's sophomore album marks a true return to form for the British singer-songwriter. Synths and harmonies hit from all directions on this one. — Bobby Carter
Fiona Apple, "Heavy Balloon"
As tangible a depiction of chronic emotional distress as you're likely to hear, with an atmospheric groove, a simmering verse and a raging, resolute chorus. — Nate Chinen, WBGO
Hamilton Leithauser, "The Garbage Men"
The stirring and singular harmonies of Hamilton Leithauser make the failed dreams, broken promises and anxiety in "The Garbage Men" feel like an uplifting fairy tale. — Robin Hilton
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, "Dreamsicle"
A slice-of-life story of a song, "Dreamsicle" may sound just as sweet as its namesake summertime treat, but there's heartrending depth in its delicate details. — Lyndsey McKenna
Laura Marling, "Strange Girl"
On the wind of a rolling rhythm and a guitar riff that turns the song into a magic carpet ride, England's finest folk-rocker sends a free-wheeling and compassionate love letter to her younger self. — Ann Powers
Megan Thee Stallion, "Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé)"
Two Texas music titans really just flipped the world on its head. Beyonce delivers ethereal horse neighing (you read that right) and cheeky, pop culture references in that smoky, lower "rapper-voice" register she assumes when it's time to bar up. — Sidney Madden
Moor Jewelry, "Look Alive"
Two Philly electronic music wizards return to their roots for absolute punk chaos. Moor Mother and Mental Jewelry improvise everything, leaving the scars and snarls in tact. — Lars Gotrich
Nate Smith, "Signs of Life: Secret Agents of Weathering"
The opening track from the versatile jazz drummer's absorbing Light and Shadow EP is a daily meditation. In a pandemic, we are all secret agents of weathering. — Lauren Onkey
Protomartyr, "Worm in Heaven"
Ultimate Success Today's closing track is a mournful look back on something painful for singer Joe Casey as he wonders if it was ever worth it at all. — Bob Boilen
Rita Indiana, "Como Un Dragón"
The first taste of La Montra's first album in 10 years, Mandinga Times, mixes metal with Dominican dembow and a righteous flex: "Pi pi, llegaron los camiones / A recoger la mierda que tu crees / Que son canciones." ("Beep beep, the trucks are here / to pick up the s*** you think / are songs.") — Stefanie Fernández
Young Dolph, "Sunshine"
What good is having new money if you can't pay the cost during a global pandemic?Just like everybody, Young Dolph's been quarantinin'. But coronavirus is nothing to a man who's survived 100 shots. — Rodney Carmichael
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