It’s so hard ranking these and writing about them without rambling on and hating myself afterwards so I’m not gonna dance around it. Below are some honorable mentions, below that is the Top 15, and then, of course, the Top 10. Check out my favorite albums of 2019 if you haven’t yet. Thanks for reading!
“BOY BYE” -BROCKHAMPTON
“Watermelon Sugar” -Harry Styles
“Flower Moon” -Vampire Weekend
“Welcome to the Disco” -Yung Bae
“10/10” -Rex Orange County
“bad guy” -Billie Eilish
“It’s Not the Same Anymore” -Rex Orange County
“EARFQUAKE” -Tyler, the Creator
“What You Need” -Yung Bae (feat. Desired)
“U (Man Like)” -Bon Iver
“Sacrifices” -Dreamville (feat. Earthgang, J.Cole, Smino & Saba)
“That’s Life” -88 Keys & Mac Miller (feat. Sia)
“DHL” -Frank Ocean
“Drive Safe” -Rich Brian
“Circles” -Post Malone
“Say So” -Doja Cat
“Lover” -Taylor Swift
“Eternal” -Chance the Rapper (feat. Smino)
“Jesus Is the One (I Got Depression)” -Zack Fox & Kenny Beats
“Use This Gospel” – Kanye West (feat. Clipse and Kenny G)
“Make it Better” -Anderson .Paak (feat. Smokey Robinson)
“Don’t Start Now” -Dua Lipa
“Nice Guys” -Easy Life
“Playground” -Steve Lacy
15. “Down Bad” -Dreamville (feat. J.I.D., Bas, J.Cole, Earthgang, & Young Nudy).
Despite being the best rap album of 2019, Revenge of the Dreamers III didn’t really produce 1 stand out heater that got all the radio play and dominated, but I think this was the closest. Every track was fire in it’s own way but this is the one I kept going back to and being amazed by. Unbelievable flows from everyone involved and the beat goes so hard. I think had it not been surrounded by 15 other songs that were almost just as good as it it would’ve gotten even more shine. The double-edged sword of a great album.
14. “Baby Boy” -Kevin Abstract
I think this was originally a BROCKHAMPTON song but Kevin took it for himself on his solo album that dropped this year. This songs chorus is so great and so fitting for Kevin. It’s emotional but catchy, the high vocals are so money, and it’s the perfect mix of R&B and pop. I would always toss this on this year without really knowing why, but I think that’s a testament to how classic it is.
13. “Dollar” -Electric Guest
Every year my Top Ten songs are mostly ones I think the majority of people have heard. It would make sense that good songs get popular (despite what Maroon 5 may have you think), but this is one of the few that I think the masses didn’t pick up on that I absolutely loved. Electric Guest is the musical geniuses behind a lot of your favorite Lonely Island songs, but this project was a little more serious (but just a little). This song is so funky, and groovy, and catchy and I was really hoping it would’ve got more love than it did but sadly it didn’t hit the mainstream. So I’m putting it here because it deserves all the recognition for being a fun unique sounding jam unlike anything else you heard this year.
12. “Talk” -Khalid
I mean, come on. This song rules so hard. I know it was played constantly on every radio station for more than half of the year but it was for a reason: this song is HEAT. Tossing Khalid’s vocals and songwriting onto a Disclosure beat? Nuff said. Although I didn’t love his second album as much as his first, this single alone made up for all of that. This will be on the oldies stations 30 years from now and I’m looking forward to poorly singing the chorus in my hovercar while listening to it.
11. “Juicy” -Doja Cat (feat. Tyga)
I’ll be honest, I don’t have an answer for you on this one. I just loved this song. I was struck by it. Sure, the whole song is just about how she keeps her ass fat, but dammit it’s done in such a fun way. There was a time this summer where I would be at work and just put this on repeat for the last half hour of the day. Get me excited for the weekend activities. The beat is fun, her flow is so perfectly fitting and cocky, and Tyga even tosses down a surprisingly popping off verse. I really don’t have any other reason for putting this on my top 10 other than that I had a great time listening to it. I DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING OTHER THAN THAT TO YOU OK!?
10. “Overthinking IT” -Willow
This song is so sick and if you haven’t listened to Willow or her brother Jaden yet, do so now. They’re going to take over in the next few years. Willow is definitely still working on her sound but she’s found something really cool on this. It’s pyschadelic rock and more rock than any Imagine Dragons song that came out this decade that’s for sure. It’s heavy hitting with some loud drums, the chorus has some really cool lyrics and ideas and Willow is just belting her heart out. Especially at the end when she’s just scream-singing…amazing. I listened to this so many times in the car this year and had mini-rock out sessions with the windows down. It was very cathartic.
9. “Canyon Moon” -Harry Styles
You had to know Harry was gonna be on this list. Fine Line is full of great songs like “Lights Up”, “She” and “Cherry”, and, most of all, “Watermelon Sugar” was tough to not include in the Top 15, but this song rules. It’s got all the little flavors I enjoyed in music this year. It takes a lot of queues from popular songs decades ago. It’s a lighter song that paints a beautiful picture and on top of that has Harry laying down some sweet sweet repetitive harmonies. If the whole length of the song was just Harry singing “I’m going oh I’m going, I’m going oh I’m going” it woulda been A OK with me. This song is super fun and everyone can get behind it. I think it does a great job of summing up Fine Line too, it’s got Harry feeling young and excited and curious in a song I think almost everyone can enjoy without thinking about anything too hard. I think Harry’s direction following this album (pun intended) will be closer to this sound than anything else, and I’m looking forward to it.
8. “Harmony Hall” -Vampire Weekend
When this dropped as the first single to the new Vampire Weekend album I knew it was going to be fire. I knew if they were making money tracks like this the record had to be fire. This takes a lot of queues from one of my favorite bands, The Rolling Stones, (specifically You Can’t Always Get What You Want) and brings the same sound to 2019 while adding relevance to modern times. It’s got some of my favorite song writing of the year quite easily with it’s clever metaphors and abstract analogies. It’s something only Ezra Koenig could’ve done. It’s the little details in this song too that make it. The acoustic guitar riff, the piano breakdown/bridge, the bass solo, the shakers coming in, the backup vocals…I mean, it’s just impressive. You can’t be mad at VW for taking 6 years off when they come out with songs like this that really feel like it could’ve took that long to perfect.
7. “I THINK” -Tyler, The Creator
I loved IGOR, mostly because I think it works unbelievably as a cohesive album, but if someone said “play something off IGOR, not the whole album”, I’d go straight to this. The drums are infectious and upbeat, the chorus is catchy, it’s got some dope synths, and then there’s that sweet sweet bridge where it all gets broken down. I’ve said it multiple times that Tyler was flexing production skills on this album and he really did it with this song. Not to mention you can dance to it and it’s a Tyler song AND he himself does a fire dance to this when he performs on stage. It’s just so well put together and being from one of my favorite artists I’ve been following for years it’s awesome to see that in a 2019 he came out with one of my favorite songs in his whole discography.
6. “Pluto Projector” -Rex Orange County
I loved so many of the songs on Rex Orange County’s newest album, but this is the one that got me. What really made me love him in the first place were his more mellow sad boy songs and this is just the 2019 version of the stuff he was dropping in 2017 that caught my attention. The lyrics in this song are incredible, the music literally sounds like something Frank Ocean could’ve made for Blonde and then said “ya know what Rex you can have this man”, and having the end go into a full orchestra followed by his vocals being pitched down? Just shows how creative he is and how he knows how to craft a emotionally charged journey of a song. This was a great one to play at night in the car when you’re alone and wanna pretend like you’re in an emo teenage music video.
5. “Juice” -Lizzo
This song is like having your friend drunkenly gas you up in the bathroom in a bar for 3 minutes so that you have the courage to make a move on the person you like. There are a ton of songs that artists make that are like “believe in yourself! You’re awesome! Love yourself!” and they just come off so fake, but not this. You really feel like Lizzo is slapping you across the face and saying YOU ARE AMAZING. GO OUT INTO THE WORLD AND HAVE A GREAT TIME. I played this song to get me in a good mood instantly. Going to work and kinda tired? Juice. Just got out of work and heading to the beach for the weekend? Juice. Hanging out with friends before going to the bar? JUICE. It’s always a good time to play this song. As someone who doesn’t have single crumb of self-confidence, I needed this song this year. Thank you, Lizzo. Keep the bangers coming.
4. “Give A Little” -Maggie Rogers
To be honest, I don’t have an explanation for this one. This song is just cute as hell. It’s so simple, yet, beautiful? Like hey it doesn’t have to be a big thing let’s get to know each other, have some fun and maybe this will be a new cool thing? Cool? It’s a great example of why Maggie excites me as an artist. This song really doesn’t sound like anything else that came out this year because it has her signature sound and she shaped the song to her voice so well. When she does the “maybewecanget to know eachothaaa” it’s gets me GOING. It’s bubbly, it’s kinda hippie, it’s light. I really can’t describe why I love this song so much but whenever I didn’t know what song to put on this came to mind. There’s just nothing wrong with it. That’s what makes it dope.
3. “RaBi” -Bon Iver
This one got the water works going multiple times this year. Easily wins the award for most gorgeous song of 2019. I don’t think anyone matches lyrics and sounds better than Bon Iver. This song has such a complex message and idea of how hard life is but we can find solace and relief in strange places, and somehow, all of the sounds and instruments come together in this song to match that. There’s horns, and guitar, and piano, and background vocals echoing, it all comes together so perfectly to create a song only Bon Iver could possibly make. One of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had listening to a song was just lying in my bed with my eyes closed and really taking in the lyrics and meaning of this song. Something about it clicked for me and I was so moved. I love jamming out to bangers and having fun singing/rapping along with jams but every once in a while a song like this comes along and reminds me how powerful music can be and how an artist really can have the ability to connect deeply with something inside you. I’m just in awe of this song and it’s easily one of, if not, my favorite Bon Iver song.
2. “We Came To Boogie” -Yung Bae
Now in an absolute Tokyo Drift of a mood change, the number 2 song of the year is future funk banger with only 6 unique words in the entire thing. I know I just poured my soul out about how beautiful that Bon Iver song was but I played this song maybe twice as much as that one so I couldn’t rank it above. This song is too much fun. I would not have had as good of a year as I did without that song. That’s on god. I already gassed up Yung Bae’s Bae 5 in my Top Albums of the Year post, and described why I love this song. But I’ll happily do it again. This song GETS YOU GOING. I am a huge fan of disco music from the 80s and YB has captured that sound and added the elements of 2019 EDM to bring it up to speed. This song perfectly balances the 2 songs. It’s got an easy to learn chorus, a funky bass line, a bumping build up, and a song you can’t help but dance to. I played this song whenever I wanted to get my juices flowing this year. It fills you up with the best kind of energy. Makes you want to jump around all sweaty on a lit up dance floor (which I got to do when I saw Yung Bae live in October). What more can you ask for. THE FUTURE IS FUNK BABY.
1. “Sunflower” -Vampire Weekend
That’s right. Vampire Weekend has the top spot in both albums and songs this year. DEAL WITH IT. This song is one of those ones where when you first heard it you’re like “yeah it’s ok”, then after a few more listens you’re like “oh this is actually really cool”, then after like 2 weeks of listening you’re like “THIS SONG IS A FREAKIN VIBE MAN I WOULD DIE FOR THIS SONG ITS ICONIC AND WILL GO DOWN IN THE HISTORY BOOKS AS ONE OF THE BEST SONGS OF ALL TIME”. And that’s where I’m at. You got Steve Lacy with some guitar strums and helping out on vocals, a money little diddy guitar to get the song going, and then just an oddly incredible chorus and verses. Then they got Seinfeld to be in the music video that’s directed by Jonah Freaking Hill? Shut up. Shut it down. It’s too good.
What I also love about this song is that it was clearly written with a live performance in mind, and I was lucky enough to see them perform it live in September. But not the 2 and a half minute version you hear in that music video, no, the live version (affectionately dubbed “Stoneflower”) is a whole EIGHT MINUTES OF GLORY AND ROCK.
This video has 277 thousand views and 250 thousand of them are me. If I’m being honest this is the real best song of the year. The live version. It’s got a super jammy opening, leaves room for some gnarly solos, and it encompasses everything I love about Vampire Weekend. It’s got the bouncy fun parts, classic V Dubs lyrics, slows it down and then speeds it up. THEY ARE SHREDDING. THEY ARE SLAPPING. THEY ARE JAMMING. It’s like they took your 4 favorite Vampire songs and mashed it into one incredible ballad. Like I said when I made Father of the Bride my #1 album, Vampire Weekend is doing something BIG with their new direction. Something that I think will staple them as one of the most impactful bands of our generation. This song is the perfect demonstration of what I’m talking about. Give the full live version a listen and tell me you don’t think these guys are starting a global musical movement. You can’t.
There you have it y’all. Sorry this is a few days late, I get carried away writing these and end up hating how they turn out. So if you made it this far thank you for reading it means a lot. If I missed anything (I do every year) please let me know. Keep an eye out for the year long roundup with the results from the poll, if I ever get around to writing it. Peace.