Last year, I made a “20 favorite songs” list for 2018, but it was in a video format on YouTube, so unshockingly, it got removed. At this point, due to YouTube’s destructive nature, I’ve decided to make all my “top” lists for this year just articles. To start off my celebration of this arguably eventful year in the entertainment industry, I have here the 20 favorite songs that came out in 2019 that I personally fancied the most. These songs aren’t ranked, this article is simply just a collage of the most remarkable contributions to music that I got to listen to for the first time during the year of 2019.
King James – Anderson Paak
The first song on my list is additionally one of the first songs of 2019 that I really dug. King James is a light-hearted, throwback-y soul track that productively travels through quintessential landmarks in history while also explaining Anderson Paak’s current stance on Donald Trump’s desire to build a wall. Whether you agree or disagree with his statements on the matter, you can’t deny that King James is one hell of a groove!
Lark – Angel Olsen
If I could, I would put most of the tracks off of Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors onto this list, but that plainly wouldn’t be fair. So in a race against time, I narrowed down two Angel Olsen songs to place onto this list, one of them being Lark—her first released single off of All Mirrors. The symphony on this song is truly something beyond epic and Olsen’s emancipating vocal performance on here undoubtedly makes this track one of the finest of her entire career. It’s a six-minute track that goes by in a flash and I’ve gotten so much emotional fulfillment every time that I’ve listened to it. out of it
Spring – Angel Olsen
The second Angel Olsen track that I have on this list is Spring. Opposite to a track like Lark, Spring is one of Olsen’s more tame songs—which isn’t a bad thing. It’s soothing as hell, wavy, and the quintessential 2019 song to put on when you’re feeling like utter s***. I adore the simplistic drum work on it, the gloomy crooning from Olsen, and just the romantic vibes that it unintentionally gives off.
xanny – Billie Eilish
Time to call out the few people reading this that are most likely cringing in their seats, repulsed by this choice, acting out like they’re some intellectual music listener who can’t stand the exceedingly popular Billie Eilish—a Los Angeles talent who made her first LP when she was only 17 years old. I’ll admit, there are some tracks by the young artist that aren’t particularly for me, but her distinct musical style is such an uncanny departure for the Pop genre that it honestly makes her existence more refreshing than trendy. xanny is Billie Eilish’s best single of the year for many different reasons. From the intriguingly warped vocals to the blend of dismal lyrics and the old-timey “swing” genre, the track is arguably the greatest sign of maturity from the ever-evolving artist.
BOY BYE – BROCKHAMPTON
BROCKHAMPTON’s BOY BYE happens to be my most listened to song of the year. Of course, the strict two-minute runtime is certainly a player in the reason, but this is easily one of the most energetic and vibrant songs I’ve heard all year. It’s very easy to listen to, tons of fun to jam out to despite its serious lyrical content, and has a fantastic sample in it by Ejazeh.
La Mala Ordina – clipping., The Rita, Elcamino, Benny The Butcher
There was a great deal of outstanding clipping. tracks that the experimental hip-hop band released this year, but if I had to choose, gun to my head, my favorite of the singles, La Mala Ordina would proudly be my choice. Yes, the last two minutes of the song is pretentious distortion, but the first three minutes of it are devilishly good. Daveed Diggs is such a talented writer and he truly exemplifies his assets in the lyrical content of La Mala Ordina. From paralleling his knowledge of film structure to reality to savagely describing graphic events, La Mala Ordina is clipping. pushing forward a compelling story at a stunning peak. Marvelous song.
Move Together – Dessert Sessions
Queens of the Stone Age’s collaboration band is back and with some of the zaniness rock tracks I’ve heard all year. Move Together, a song off of Dessert Session’s newest LP Vols. 11 & 12, is a chaotically unbalanced blend of modern-day musical elements and classical rock characteristics. The drum work here is unexpected, the guitar inclusions are expressive, and even some of the electronic components are quite effective. It’s an experimentally delightful contribution from Queens of the Stone Age and company.
Typical Story – Hobo Johnson
Even though, I didn’t, as a whole, like Hobo Johnson’s new LP The Fall of Hobo Johnson, there were some tracks on the album that I found to be exceptional, one of them being Typical Story. This song is angsty alternative punk music done correctly and that’s a serious praise coming from me considering I’m not a huge fan when it comes to the genre (AKA, the whiny, “my life sucks; I wanna die” genre). Hobo Johnson is able to fully reinvent the fretful, heavy-hearted cliché into something lively and cleverly mocking. It’s definitely a 2019 banger and one that I’m sure most people can have a ball with.
Free the Frail – JPEGMAFIA, Helena Deland
Possibly JPEGMAFIA’s gateway into mainstream appeal, Free the Frail is strangely a very tender song by the vexed experimental rap artist. It’s got one of the catchiest hooks I’ve heard all year and some surprisingly peaceful musical elements that have me head over heels for it. Plus, the closing of the track is accompanied by some gorgeously charming vocals from Helena Deland.
Kenan Vs. Kel – JPEGMAFIA
Kenan Vs. Kel might be my favorite R&B track of the year. Its combination of rock and experimental rap is so perfectly implemented and the way it builds it up to that amazingly distorted grunge sound, it’s…yeah…f***ing awesome. It’s so instrumentally diverse but not too compacted with types. The song is holy original and somehow works flawlessly in its execution. Kenan Vs. Kel is a track that I hope heavily inspires more future hip-hop artists to come.
How to disappear – Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey had a batch of fantastic songs this year thanks to her new album Norman F****** Rockwell. The track that stood out to me the most, however, was undisputedly How to disappear. While some of her other singles like Norman f*****g Rockwell and The greatest certainly have a wide-range appeal for newcomers of Lana’s genre, I feel as if How to disappear was her love letter to her OG style. It’s very melodramatic yet instrumentally attractive, and while it does harken back to her older style, it seems as if she’s conflicted between her new line of happiness and falling back into her mentally stressful times—AKA, the moments when she first started making music. It’s the perfect amalgamation of “new Lana” and “old Lana.”
MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE – Lingua Ignota
Hey, it’s a fellow San Dieagan—one point for us! Lingua Ignota’s newest LP Caligula was experimental folk metal madness that made for a certainly haunting experience like no other, but the track that I took away the most from was undoubtedly MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE. Like a good handful of songs off of Caligula, Ignota takes us through a wide range of tonal changes, ultimately resulting in this hellish climax of repetition that only gets more and more unsettling as the song progresses. Particularly, though, I think Ignota’s wide range of beautiful vocal fluctuations on this track that cover a lot of the same lines just in different pitches is what makes it stand out from the crowd.
Numb – Men I Trust
Probably the track that I connected with the most on a personal level, Men I Trust’s Numb was an accurate descriptor of its title. This is possibly the band’s band’smost soothing and transcending track yet—a ballad of weirdly mocking synths and guitar work that all result in this heaven-like track that seems to want to put you straight into a coma.
Norton Commander (All We Need) – Men I Trust
Disturbing but at the same time relaxing, Men I Trust’s Norton Commander is a song that evokes two conflicting emotions every time I listen to it. I can’t quite decide if this track is supposed to be an optimistic interpretation of loving until the end or if it’s just a downright ridicule of giving your life away to someone you admire. Either way, it makes for one unforgettable dream-pop track.
BLOODMONEY is hands down one of the greatest tracks I’ve heard all year, and I never would’ve imagined saying something like that about a Poppy song. This is one of those tracks that you simply have to hear for yourself to understand the hype behind it. It’s vicious as hell, demandingly satanic, the EDM elements are hard-hitting and just outright insane, and it’s probably my favorite single that the artist has made in her entire career. Good job, Poppy.
Scary Mask (feat. FEVER 333) – Poppy
Scary Mask (feat. FEVER 333) is essentially the Bohemian Rhapsody of alternative metal. In a sense, the track desperately tries to cover all grounds that the genre can deliver through a convoluted structure of ups and downs, followed around by some of the most intricate instrumentals that I’ve heard all year. It’s a trip alright. Check it out.
The Hanging Man – Swans
I’m beginning to notice a pattern here in which a lot of my choices for “the best songs of 2019” happen to be extremely unnerving. And, if some of the past few tracks haven’t confirmed that for you, Swans newest single The Hanging Man surely will. I think it’s safe to say that this isn’t necessarily a song that is remotely pleasant to listen to, but it is one that summons a lot of varying sensations. The constantly unstable guitar riff and Michael Gira’s unrestrained yapping make for one of Swans’ most deranged singles yet.
Dawn Chorus – Thom Yorke
Yes, it’s a little unfair that this song is accompanied by one of the greatest music videos for an album I’ve ever seen directed by the filmmaking genius, Paul Thomas Anderson. Dawn Chorus is certainly the highlight of ANIMA. It fully embraces the album’s intentions to remind us of the mystery behind dreams. It sounds very robotic, sure, but the content that Thom Yorke creates here feels human. It’s a strange memoir of our unexplainable minds.
A BOY IS A GUN* – Tyler the Creator
Tyler the Creator truly killed it this year in my opinion. Not only did IGOR convert me into a diehard fan of the excessively creative individual, but it also convinced me to go back to Tyler’s predecessor Flower Boy and appreciate it more by a great deal. A BOY IS A GUN* is my favorite track off of IGOR for many reasons. Not only is the sampling and nostalgic instrumentals absolutely irresistible, but a lot of Tyler’s vocal commentary on the track is extremely moving. This is easily one of the greatest songs that I’ve heard of this entire decade, truly. This single is certainly going to be stuck on my playlist for years and years onward.
NEW MAGIC WAND – Tyler the Creator
Now, for my second favorite track off of IGOR, NEW MAGIC WAND. This is an extremely dirty and grimy single that in many cases, is quite an ugly song, but in a manner, that’s what creates the appeal of the track. This is Tyler fully embracing the IGOR (I am so gross and disgusting) mascot to a T. I love it, it’s uniquely compulsive, superbly assembled, and it’s one of Tyler’s greatest songs in my opinion.