The main reason why I decided I had to make two lists of the best songs from 2019 was because of how much good music came out in the second half of the year. When I was initially trying to put together a list of favorite songs from 2019, there were so many from the second half of the year that I loved that I decided I would need to be able to write a whole list of them. In fact, there are quite a few songs from the second half of 2019 that I loved that I couldn’t even include; the last six months has produced so much awesome music. A few songs from the second half of the year that I would consider honorable mention for this list are ‘Say So’ by Doja Cat, ‘Walls Talking’ by Kevin Gates, ‘Midnight Hour’ by Boys Noize and Skrillex, and ‘Floor Seats’ by A$AP Ferg. With all of that being said, I hope that you enjoy this list and find a song is two from this year you may not have known that you love! Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!
RNP – YBN CORDAE FEAT. ANDERSON.PAAK
I thought I would start off the list with this funk banger to put us all into a happy and fun mood. I do not know if it is possible to listen to ‘RNP’ and not instantly get into a good mood, which was the lead single from YBN Cordae’s debut album which came out this year. ‘RNP’ features Anderson.Paak, was the lead single from YBN Cordae’s debut record, The Lost Boy. ‘RNP’ is pretty much a perfect song to play if you are trying to explain the respective styles of YBN Cordae and Anderson.Paak. The lyricism on this joint is very witty and sophisticated, which is what Cordae is known for, and the flow is so fun and light and just makes you want to dance. If you are into funky rap and like artists like Chance the Rapper, Goldlink, or Smino, I definitely think you will be into ‘RNP.’
TAMPA BAY BUSTDOWN – YUNG GRAVY AND Y2K FEAT. bbno$
Out of all of the music on this list, which features quite a bit of genre-bending and ultimately pretty crazy songs, there really is nothing stranger than ‘Tampa Bay Bustdown,’ and I mean that in the best way possible. In a year where so many artists tried to take advantage of the trend of mixing country and trap music because of the success achieved by Lil Nas X, this track is by far my favorite country-trap banger from 2019. First of all, the instrumental for this one goes pretty crazy, as the beat is hard as hell and the melody sounds like a backwoods country-folk song that you would literally only hear on the Bayou with some banjo players who do not have any teeth. The vocal performances on this track are just as weird and awesome as the instrumental. I do not think anyone had imagined a world where Chief Keef and Yung Gravy would be performing on the same track, and I do not think it could have worked more perfectly than it did on ‘Tampa Bay Bustdown.’
SOFTLY – CLAIRO
I think if there is one thing that I think can be learned about me personally from reading this list is that I have become a massive Clairo fan. I really could have picked quite a few other songs off of her album that I loved to add to this list, but I don’t think people would be very into an end of the year songs list with like 10 songs by the same artist. If you want to know which other Clairo songs I loved from this year, just browse through my ‘New Songs’ lists after you are done reading this and also check out my review of her new album Immunity. My favorite thing about ‘Softly’ is the cute sort of math-rock indie-funk riff that drives the melody of this track. It is just such a warm sounding song, and the vibe of it puts me in a really good mood. This song would be the perfect track to play while having a nice and cute dinner with your boo that you made. If you are searching for songs to play during the lovey-dovey moments of your life, you need to check out ‘Softly.’
SURF – YOUNG THUG FEAT. GUNNA
Literally, the toughest thing about writing this list for me is trying to pick my absolute favorite from my couple of top albums from this year. Similarly to Clairo’s Immunity and Charli XCX’s Charli, I honestly feel like I could pick like 8 songs for this list from Young Thug’s So Much Fun for this list. If you listen to ‘Surf’ after reading this and love it as I do, please go check out my review of So Much Fun after this. ‘Surf’ is another instance of Young Thug embracing the Caribbean calypso type of vibe that he has seemed to come to love over these years. This track straight up sounds like the melody was created by steel drums, and it is such a fun and light song. If you are a fan of songs like ‘pick up the phone’ or Lil Yachty’s Lil boat mixtapes, I guarantee that you will love the song ‘Surf.’
10% – KAYTRANADA FEAT. KALI UCHIS
If you read my review of Kaytranada’s album Bubba, you would know that this was one of the albums that I considered to have “ruined” my end of the year lists. That is because I actually had the content for these lists planned out for the most part by the end of the second week of December, and Kaytranada dropped this awesome dance record halfway through the month with no warning at all. ‘10%,’ which features one of the best new artists from last year, Kali Uchis, is definitely my favorite song from this new Kaytranada album. This track seems to have elements of every sound embraced on this album; ‘10%’ is sort of like a summary for all of the great types of instrumentals used on Bubba. This track is has a super old school funk tempo to it, and the melody has a sort of Caribbean vibe to it. This funky Caribbean instrumental works perfectly with the unique vocal patterns of Kali Uchis, and it makes ‘10%’ such an interesting and unique dance song. If you need something new to play at your weekly weekend party or need something upbeat and new to work out for, I think you will love ‘10%.’
POSE – YO GOTTI FEAT. LIL UZI VERT FEAT. MEGAN THEE STALLION
Out of the multitude of awesome trap bangers that have come out over the last year, there aren’t many that bang as hard as Yo Gotti’s ‘Pose.’ I do not even remember the last year where there was not at least one Yo Gotti song released that I loved; Yo Gotti has easily been one of the best and most prolific underground trap artists to emerge from the last decade. Along with his cold-ass vocal delivery and his killer flows, Yo Gotti has always been known for his dark and distorted instrumentals; ‘Pose’ contains all of these elements that make Yo Gotti so great. The other thing that makes this song so great is the features that were chosen. There are not many artists that can match the cold nature and strange energy that Yo Gotti possesses, but Lil Uzi Vert and Megan Thee Stallion are two artists that definitely can. Fans of this blog should already know how much I love Lil Uzi Vert, but I have to say, Megan really steals the show on this track. Her crisp flow and hard delivery sound perfect on this crazy and awesome instrumental. If you are a fan of trap music and somehow missed this track, tell me below in the comments how much you love it after you listen, because I know you will.
PROUD OF U – EARTHGANG FEAT. YOUNG THUG
One awesome thing about 2019 was that it was the first year that Earthgang started to get the love that they have deserved for years. These guys have been grinding for most of the 2010s, developing a sound that encompasses everything that Atlanta music is supposed to be. They seem to be taking elements from all types of Atlanta hip hop, whether it is old or new. They have music that will remind listeners just as much of OutKast as it reminds them of JID, and this diversity is what makes them so cool and unique. ‘Proud of U’ is a perfect example of a track that sounds equally as retro as it does modern; the melody of this song is so funky and gives me major 90s R&B vibes, but the beat makes it sound like a new trap song. One of my favorite things about this track is the chemistry that Earthgang has with Young Thug. The nostalgic vibe that Earthgang’s flows and vocals provide create a pretty great juxtaposition with the wacky vibe that Young Thug brings to the track. This song is totally unique and unlike a lot of other trap music that you will hear, so people who tend to think trap music is typically pretty stale should definitely check this song out.
BIG TIPPER – YOUNG THUG FEAT. LIL KEED
Although there are multiple other songs from Young Thug’s So Much Fun that I would love to write about for this article(I still bump ‘Ecstasy,’ ‘Sup Mate,’ and ‘What’s the Move’ regularly), I could not do an end of the year list for 2019 without talking about the masterpiece that is ‘Big Tipper,’ which features Young Thug’s prodigy, Lil Keed. ‘Big Tipper’s is pretty much the perfect Young Thug song. It has a Caribbean inspired melody(everyone should know by now that he loves those Latin melodies), the beat is hard as hell, and this track has some of my favorite flows from this album. The other best thing about this song is the harmonies between Lil Keed and Young Thug. I honestly can not wait to hear these two make more music together in the future because they match each other’s vocal ranges perfectly and are able to create some super cool and unique sounds. If you want to know what the perfect version of a typical Young Thug song, look no farther than ‘Big Tipper.’
I DON’T THINK I CAN DO THIS AGAIN – MURA MASA FEAT. CLAIRO
Clairo’s 2019 ended up being as big as anyone could have imagined. Not only did she drop the excellent album that is Immunity, but she also was featured on many awesome songs this year. Out of her multitude of 2019 features, my favorite one by far was this collaboration she did with Mura Masa. Mura Masa has been one of the more consistently innovative and different house artists to arrive out of Europe during the last few years, and songs like this one really show how diverse his sound can be. ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again’ has such a hard and awesome guitar riff that makes up the melody. During the verses, this riff is acoustic sounding and has a 90s indie-rock feeling to it; during the chorus, this riff is super distorted and has a lot more of a grungey Brit-Pop sound. Overall, this track sounds as retro as it does modern, and this eclectic combination of sounds makes ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again’ one of the coolest electronic tracks of the year.
SUNFLOWER VOL. 6 – HARRY STYLES
As I stated above when talking about Kaytranada, there were a couple of albums that came out at the end of 2019 that sort of messed up my end of the year lists, and Harry Styles’ Fine Line is the other album that falls into that category. One cool thing about this album is that it seems like everyone that is into it has a different favorite song. There seems to really be something for everyone on Harry Styles’ Fine Line, which really shows how diverse of an artist he is becoming. My favorite song from Fine Line is definitely ‘Sunflower.’ I really love the calypso style almost reggae vibe of the instrumental of this song. The melody sort of reminds me of a combination of 90s jam band rock and reggae-infused pop music, and it is just a really cool sound. Another thing I love about this song is just how sweet and sincere the lyrics in this song are. This sincere nature that the lyrics have match up so well with the warm nature of the instrumental, making ‘Sunflower’ a super sweet and cute track that I know I will be bumping well into 2020.
NEXT LEVEL CHARLI – CHARLI XCX
I know that I already said this about Clairo’s album and Young Thug’s album from 2019, but I really do feel like I could write about every song from Charli XCX’s Charli for this list of my favorite songs from 2019. In fact, as I am writing this I am still debating with myself whether I should take out ‘Next Level Charli’ and write about another track. I feel like I can not take out ‘Next Level Charli,’ though because I feel like it is just the perfect way that this album could have started out. ‘Next Level Charli’ has such a fun and chaotic energy that is reminiscent of her hits like ‘Boys’ and ‘Vroom Vroom,’ and I think this song perfectly captures the vibe that this roller coaster of an album possesses. If someone were to ask me to play a song that really shows off Charli’s personality as an artist and everything that makes her great, ‘Next Level Charli’ is probably the song that I would suggest.
DEAL WIV IT – MURA MASA FEAT. slowthai
I have to say, as great as so many albums that came out in 2019 were, a few singles that were released throughout the year have gotten me very excited for some records scheduled to come out in early 2020. One of those artists who had some killer singles in 2019 from an album coming out in 2020 is Mura Masa. I already wrote about one of those singles on this list, as ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again’ was the first single released from Mura Masa’s upcoming record R.Y.C. ‘Deal Wiv It,’ which features slowthai, who is easily one of 2019’s best new artists, is another single from this upcoming record that I think was one of the best songs from 2019. slowthai has as much of his signature punk-ass energy on this song as he does on any of the other music he was on in 2019(I am thinking about doing an article about some music that I consider to be honorable mention from last year, and if I do I will definitely be writing about slowthai), and this sound matches up perfectly with the brash hard rock nature of this instrumental. I never thought that 70s rock could be brought back in a dance music sort of way, but Mura Masa seems determined to make that happen, and I am all for that. If you love oldies or need a completely new and different sort of dance track to vibe to, make sure you listen to this awesome song.
SHE PLAYS BASS – BEABADOOBEE
I really did not want to write about the same artists over and over again for this list if I did not have to, but artists like Clairo, Charli XCX, Young Thug, and Mura Masa obviously have made that notion pretty impossible for me. Beabadoobee is another artist that had too many great songs come out last year for me to write about them just once, and they have easily become one of my favorite indie/punk rock acts. Beabadoobee has this ability to take some of the best punk and grunge sounds from the 80s and 90s and package them in a way that is still appealing to indie rock listeners in the 2010s. ‘She Plays Bass’ is a perfect example of this. I bet if I played this song for my uncle or anyone who loves 90s grunge and Brit Pop that they would think this song came out in the mid-90s; with that being said, I also bet I could play this for my cousins that love indie music and they would think it reminded them of The 1975. Beabadoobee has this incredible ability to toe the line between generations with the way their music sounds and this ability is definitely going to make them one of the biggest rock bands of the 2020s, I promise you that.
MAKE IT MINE – REI AMI
One of my favorite things about the music landscape right now is that anyone can blow up at any second if they are talented enough. Rei Ami is a perfect example of this. She does not even have five songs out online yet, as she literally just started making music last summer, but she is already one of my favorite rising pop-rap stars. ‘Make It Mine’ is such a fun bop and it goes so damn hard. The melody has a sort of old school Chicano rock sort of vibe to it but the beat goes hard as hell. This instrumental creates an awesome juxtaposition with Rei Ami’s vocal style, which is equally as cute as it is creepy. She sounds like the type of person who is typically chill but has a major temper or dark side; she does not seem like the kind of person I would want to piss off. This track just goes so hard and the sound of it is just so big and vibrant. I can not wait to see that Rei Ami has in store for us in the future, because I just know she will be a huge star, mark my words.
VIOLENCE – GRIMES
As I stated before, some of my favorite songs that came out in 2019 are actually singles from records coming out in 2020. Grimes is one of those artists that is supposed to be releasing a record early this year, and because of that the last half of 2019 was filmed with Grimes content. Out of all of the music and art she has released over the last year, the songs ‘4AM’ and ‘Violence’ are definitely my favorites. I chose to write about ‘Violence’ for multiple reasons; for one, it came out at the beginning of fall, so the people who would read this are more likely to have heard that this song than ‘4AM,’ which came out a couple of weeks ago. Also, this track has an excellent music video to go along with the track, and if you have heard Grimes talk about the content of her upcoming record, I feel like this video and the lyricism that this song provides gives us a better idea of what that album is going to be than the lyrical content of ‘4AM’ does. That being said, both songs are excellent so y’all should listen to ‘4AM’ after reading this regardless. The video and sound of ‘Violence’ possess this strange post-apocalyptic vibe that Grimes has said her new record will have as a whole. The sound of this song sounds just as futuristic as it does retro; it is like a strange post-modern version of Nine Inch Nails industrial-type music. If you are looking for some hard and metal-infused tunes to switch your playlist, you need to check out this track, because it is very strange and atmospheric and ultimately awesome.
BOP – DABABY
There is no way that I could have made through any sort of article about the best music from 2019 without talking about Dababy. I mean, he literally dropped two of the best and most popular albums of the year, one coming in the first quarter of the year, and the other coming in the last quarter. Out of all of the great songs on Dababy’s second chart-topping album from 2019, Kirk, ‘Bop’ has got to be my favorite. The title of this song is very fitting because ‘Bop’ is a compete bop. This track sort of feels like it is the sequel for he song ‘Baby on Baby;’ both of these songs are produced by JetsonMade, and they both have a similar cadence, tempo, and melody. The fact that ‘Bop’ is so similar to ‘Baby on Baby’ is obviously not a bad thing, as there is a reason that song was so popular. ‘Bop’ is probably exactly what you would expect a party trap track by Dababy to be, and if you love Dababy as I do, it should more than satisfy you.
I WISH I WAS STEPHEN MALKMUS – BEABADOOBEE
I could not make it to the end of this list without talking about my other favorite song by my new favorite band. ‘I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus’ is one of the songs that really blew up this year for Beabadoobee; the music video for this track went sort of viral because it is so bright and fun a colorful, and also Stephen Malkmus himself acknowledged it. How cool would it be to write a song about your music idol and have that idol tell you that they love your song about them. That has got to be the coolest feeling. Even though this song pays homage to an indie-punk legend, this song actually has a lot more of a grunge feeling to it than it does indie or punk. I love how distorted and epic the riffs are on this song; the instrumentation for this one makes me want to take a sledgehammer and break a bunch of stuff(in the best way, of course). If you are a fan of indie music or rock in general, I implore you to start listening to Beabadoobee, because they are truly the indie rock legends of the future.
BAGS – CLAIRO
If any of y’all were worried that this list would not include yet another song by Clairo, you can stop fretting, because it would be impossible for me to write this list without including the song ‘Bags.’ There is a reason that this song was included near the top of pretty much any music publication that does an end of the year list; in fact, there are people that love this song so much that it was even included in some end of the decade lists, even though it came out within five months of the end of the decade. Not only is ‘Bags’ a perfect love song, but it is also a perfect coming out song. My favorite thing about this track is how raw and pure the emotions exhibited in the song are. Clairo is one of those artists that can truly make you feel like she was writing the song with your own feelings in mind. The sentiment of this song is so beautiful and relatable and the sound of it is so pretty and calming. If you are into indie music and somehow did not hear ‘Bags’ in 2019, please comment below how much you love it after you give it a listen.
GONE – CHARLI XCX FEAT. CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS
If you have read any of my lists before, you should know by now how I feel about officially ranking music. I just think that everything is so subjective to the person and the time period that it is difficult for me to definitively say that any song or album is objectively the best from every given year. One’s opinion of music and art and directly impacted by their initial experience with it, and if something significant happened in your life around the time period that you loved a certain song, it will probably heavily affect the person’s opinion of that song. That being said, I honestly do think that ‘Gone’ by Charli XCX and Christine and the Queens is the best song that came out in 2019. At the very least, it is my favorite song off of my favorite album of the year, and it is easily one of the best singles of of year. I know for a fact that I am not alone in that thought, as this song was at the top of most end of the year lists from most of the top music publications in the country. ‘Gone’ is just such a perfect song. It has the weird sort of glitchy/distorted production that Charli has become known for in recent years, but still has a sweet pop melody and flow that is very fun and easy to listen to and sing a long to. Another awesome thing about ‘Gone’ is the message of the song. On this track, Charli and Christine are basically realizing that the people around them have been using them, and it is giving them bad anxiety. They are both longing to get out of the crappy situation they are in that is making them feel so uncomfortable. This song is so fun and danceable and unique and honest. I do not care what anyone says, ‘Gone’ is easily one the best if not the best single of 2019.