I’ve been doing some year-end/decade-end self reflection lately. When I first started doing this blog, my mindset was a lot different than it is now. I was a lot more pessimistic and I based my writing style off of Nostalgia Critic and A Dose Of Buckley. It’s why I hate a lot of my old stuff and I thrive to move forward instead of backwards. Over the years, I switched platforms, rebranded, met and befriended like-minded people who also reviewed music, I came across other content creators who inspired me to expand my writing style, and I’ve made efforts to balance things out and do new things in order to avoid monotony. I started this blog as a way to vent about things that were on my mind, now, I use it to talk about things that I enjoy. I started doing movie reviews in 2016 and anime review last year, but since I started off talking about music, those remain my most popular posts, especially the lists because everyone loves lists. As much as I enjoy doing this, it does have a shelf life. I’m 5 years away from my 30s and I know I won’t be doing this forever. Don’t worry, that’s not happening anytime soon, but you’ll know when I’m ready to hang up the jersey. I’ve rambled on long enough, let’s get into the topic of the list. Like I said in the last list, 2019 was pretty average in terms of quality where most of the bad songs weren’t terrible. This also applies to the good songs as well. In a stronger year, most of the songs that would make my honorable mentions here wouldn’t even make the final cut. So let’s begin. These are the top ten best songs of 2019.
Before we begin, here are our first 5 honorable mentions.
HONORABLE MENTIONS I
You’re gonna see some songs that grew on me in this list and Sunflower is one of them. Maybe it’s because of repeated viewings of Into The Spider-Verse, but I don’t mind the song that much. It is a basic ass pop song that doesn’t have the best writing and no connection to Spider-Man whatsoever, but the bright, sunny production generates nothing but good vibes and the sticky hook makes for a memorable song. Gotta give it to Post Malone and Swae Lee for this one, this is good actually. And if you haven’t watched Into The Spider-Verse, watch it now. It’s one of the best animated movies ever.
2019 was the breakout year for one Billie Eilish, whose gothic introverted style of music made waves in the industry. bad guy became a number one hit and it’s one of Billie’s more accessible tracks thanks to the groovy production and the playful nature of the writing. It’s an instant hit, just avoid the Justin Bieber remix that no one asked for. Meanwhile, when the party’s over is the tonal opposite as a somber piano number about a relationship going down the drain. Both of these songs are great and this won’t be the last time you’ll see Billie Eilish on this list.
Just because I was disappointed in Thank U, Next doesn’t mean there weren’t songs that I liked from it. Take the title track from that album. The dreamy production matches the sweet, yet somber delivery from Ariana Grnade as she reflects on past relationships and her growth from said relationships. What makes this song work is the maturity that it has as Ariana Grande is willing to move on. This is some real potent material that shows off her strengths and why she’s a cut above most of her contemporaries. To borrow a line from this song, thank u, next.
From that, we move on to Ava Max with Sweet But Psycho. This song was huge internationally, hitting number one everywhere but Australia and the US (where it peaked at number 10) and it’s easy to see why. The flashy synths mix well with the trap percussion, making this song easy to dance too. The hook also sticks the landing along with Ava Max’s performance. Granted, the writing is the weakest part of the song as she portrays herself as a psycho and that bridge doesn’t really work that well. I completely understand others who are lukewarm to the song, but this is all my opinion and I think the song is good enough.
It took a while, but this grew on me big time. Of all the trap rappers out there, DaBaby has been one of the more interesting artists in the subgenre, mainly because he has personality and his videos are legitimately entertaining. His breakout single is Suge, named after Suge Knight. This song is packed with punchlines for days, a loose flow from DaBaby, and is set to an off-kilter beat that matches the tone. Still, there’s those annoying rap cliches like selling drugs and killing people, which is why this song isn’t on the list proper. Still, if we’re gonna have someone be the new successor of Ludacris, DaBaby ain’t a bad choice. Let’s see where he goes.
Onto the list.
We start off with number 10 with one of the better country hits out there. This isn’t the best song from this particular artist, but damn it, it’s here for a reason.
Luke Combs has always been one of the better mainstream country artists as I find myself liking most of the songs he’s put out, with Beautiful Crazy being no exception to the rule. I love that the backing music leans into the organic sounds of country music with the use of the fiddle and pedal steels. It’s matched up with a rich, gravely performance from Luke Comb who brings the same warmth to the song as the production. The writing is a simple love song about all the things Luke Combs likes about this woman, though I wouldn’t say calling her crazy is a positive thing. That little nitpick doesn’t ruin the rest of the song for me. So, yeah. I really like this. Check it out if you haven’t.
Number 9 is going to the biggest song of 2019. Yeah, I don’t think I need to explain more.
It’s the song that broke down the genre barriers and became such a huge phenomenon that started debates on the net thanks to Billboard removing it from the country charts. Lil Nas X has managed to accomplish a lot with Old Town Road, staying at the top of the charts for 19 consecutive weeks. And it was well-deserved. This song took a Nine Inch Nails sample and morphed it into a country trap fusion where Lil Nas X lives it up like a Western outlaw and lives life to his own pace. The song becomes even better thanks to the remix with Billy Ray Cyrus, of all people, putting on his best performance he’s ever done. How hilarious is it that with all the times Miley has tried to adopt hip-hop styles in an attempt to be cool, she got outdone by her own father who just hopped on a remix to a popular song and gets invited to perform at the BET Awards. This is one of those songs that will be remembered years later when people look back to the 2010s. Giddy up, cowboy.
And while we’re on the subject of country rap, here’s the number 8 song on the list.
Look, we all have something we enjoy that’s goofy as hell and The Git Up is one of those goofy things that I enjoy. There’s not much in this song in terms of lyrical content, it’s just dance instructions. No, what draws me to this song is the production, which managed to utilize the steel pedals and acoustic guitars of country with the bass-heavy beats of rap to make a musical Reese’s. Also, Blanco Brown’s twangy performance sells it. It’s so silly, yet I can’t help but love it. Like I said before, I welcome these country rap fusions because it’s something different and unique that’s needed on the charts. If we can get more songs like this and Old Town Road going into 2020, I would be perfectly fine with that. Please make that happen.
The number 7 song was released in late 2017, but didn’t blow up until this year thanks to TikTok and an appearance on a Netflix movie. It also put this artist on the mainstream map. Ladies and gentlemen, Lizzo.
It’s easy to be critical of Lizzo, especially with some of the things she say on Twitter and the things she does. But I’m not talking about Lizzo the person because I don’t know her like that. No, I’m more focused on Lizzo the artist and she is one hell of an artist. Seriously, her last album is pretty good. While Truth Hurts isn’t her best song, it does show the talents that she has. Over an infectious piano and trap drums, she offers a kiss off to an ex and not letting past relationships drag her down from accomplishing her goals. It’s the confidence and her “I don’t give a fuck” attitude she exudes that makes this song work the most. She captures every type of emotion that could be associated with this type of song: anger, sadness, happiness, etc. I wish Juice was the big hit from her, but I’ll settle with Truth Hurts since it’s still great and I look forward to talking about Good As Hell next year (wink, wink).
Funny enough that the number 6 song goes to an artist who not only made the worst list on this exact same spot, but this exact song is currently the sixth biggest song of the year. I swear this is just a coincidence.
Of all the songs that Marshmello has ever made, Happier is one that I will always defend. First off, Bastille is here and I’m glad to hear from Bastille after a long while. Yeah, the production sounds nothing like anything a band would make thanks to the wiry synths, the snaps and claps of the percussion, and the signature Marshmello drop that doesn’t pack much punch. But it’s still some of Marshmello’s better production work and Dan Smith’s performance carries the song as we have a guy reflecting on a relationship that went wrong who acknowledges that it was the best for both parties. I’m probably in the minority for liking this song, but that’s never stopped me before. This is my list. I wouldn’t put this at the same level as, say, Pompeii or Silence, but Happier is a pretty good addition to both Marshmello and Bastille’s discography.
And now for the final 5 honorable mentions.
HONORABLE MENTIONS II
As time goes by, I’ve been less fond of Senorita, a song that I thought was just okay. I found it bland and Shawn Mendes had no chemistry with Camila Cabello on that track. I’ve always been more fond of If I Can’t Have You, even if I have cooled down on it, mainly thanks to the writing being a bit too clingy when it comes to that special someone in your life. But I still like the pop rock production, especially in the chorus, and Shawn Mendes sounds good. Yeah, it’s not as great as I thought it was, but I still like it.
I know there’s people who don’t like this song and I get it. Please Me is an obvious follow-up to Finesse, the other Bruno Mars/Cardi B collaboration that was huge last year. While that song is a fun new jack swing throwback, Please Me is a throwback 90s sex jam set with a Jodeci sample, solid verses from Cardi, and Bruno on the hook and bridge. Yes, it’s an attempt at re-capturing lightning in a bottle and it isn’t as good as Finesse, but it’s still a good song to me and I can think of worse attempts at recreating big hits out there.
I’m no 21 Savage fan. I think his monotone flow sounds like he’s bored and rather be somewhere else and the content of a lot of his music doesn’t interest me that much. But every once in a while, he can make something that’s legitimately good, which brings us to A Lot, where 21 Savage raps about the ups and downs of his entire life and for once, he doesn’t sound half-asleep. The production is also pretty good, built around a soul sample, and J Cole delivers a show-stealing verse, though I’m not feeling his sympathy towards 6ix9ine. Still, this is a good song that I wasn’t kind enough to when I initially talked about it.
Beautiful People is basically the better version of I Don’t Care. I know that doesn’t make sense, but let me explain. It’s about being yourself and not model yourself after the “beautiful people” a.k.a. celebrities. I would call out the irony in this since Ed Sheeran and Khalid have collaborated with a lot of singers who could be considered beautiful people: Ed Sheeran has songs with Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber and Khalid worked with Halsey and Shawn Mendes. Setting that aside, I like the production with the swelling synths and having Khalid on this type of track makes more sense than Bieber. It’s not the best that both men have done, but it works fine enough for me.
Look, this is only here because Big Ole Freak didn’t make the Year-End chart. Still, Cash Shit shows off why Megan Thee Stallion became such a prominent name this year. Over a minimalist beat, Megan gives us bars full of confidence and swagger with more hits than misses. DaBaby also brings in an entertaining verse that compliments the vibe of the song. Yeah, it’s more money and sex talk, but these two bring enough heat to draw me back in every time, more so than Hot Girl Summer. That’s just me.
So number 5 is a duet. No, not that one. The other one.
On the one hand, we have Sam Smith, whose songs are good, but not great, and who came out as non-binary this year. On the other hand, we have Normani of Fifth Harmony, who’s probably the best singer out of that entire group. So what do you get when you put these two on a song together? You get Dancing With A Stranger. The production has an 80s disco feel to it thanks to the airy synths, the punchy drums, and the liquid guitars. Sam Smith sounds great and they have good chemistry with Normani, who also sounds great. Both address moving on from an ex and looking for someone new to get with. Great song from both artists and I look forward to seeing what else they have to offer. How Do You Sleep just missed making the honorable mentions cut and Motivation should have been a much bigger hit.
And here’s the obligatory indie song that makes my list and I’m pretty glad it’s this one. It’s my number 4 pick.
There’s no way I was going to miss out on this one. Most people have probably heard this song thanks to a Macbook Air commercial from last year because that’s how these type of songs become hits these days. Anyways, Trampoline by SHAED. The whole vibe of the entire song makes you feel like you’re jumping on a trampoline. The production has a weightless aura to it thanks to the shimmering synths, space keys, and snappy drums, plus, whistling on the bridge. Chelsea Lee delivers a huskier performance that matches the atmosphere created. The writing is exactly about jumping on a trampoline and comparing that to dreams. This song is just so soothing and calm, like all of life’s worries are lifted off of your shoulders and you’re floating in space. In case you couldn’t tell, I really like this song. Check it out if you haven’t.
You all remember A Star Is Born, right? It starred Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and it was one of the best movies of last year. Well, guess what? A song from that movie is number 3 on my list. Guess which one.
It won all the awards, including an Oscar for Best Original Song, and gave an actor/director a number one hit. This is Shallow. I’m not calling the song shallow, that’s just the name of the song. Anyways, Shallow is the extension and peak of the amazing chemistry that both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga had in A Star Is Born (2018) as they portray their respective characters in the film rolling the dice in terms of falling in love with one another. Musically, it’s a country rock ballad with the lush acoustic guitars and pianos that concludes with an explosive final chorus. If Bradley Cooper decided to start a music career, I think he could knock it out of the park depending on the material he’s given. As for Lady Gaga? Bro, I don’t have enough words to describe how amazing she sounds here, especially in the final chorus. It’s one of her best performances throughout her entire career, period. She shined like a star.
Ignoring that horrible pun, Shallow is a great song that was truly worthy of all the awards it won.
You know? I kinda felt bad about going hard on this artist when I was making my Worst list, so I thought a good way to make up for that is to put this song at number 2. So let’s get to it. This is my sorta-apology to Ariana Grande.
This became one of my favorite songs from Ariana Grande through time and I was ecstatic that it made the Year End chart. Breathin is easily Top 5 in terms of her best songs and it’s one of her more relatable songs. It’s about just breathing in order to deal with overwhelming anxiety, something that Ariana Grande had to deal with considering everything she went through these past couple of years. You can definitely hear it in her performance as she aims to push forward and not let anxiety get to her. Recording this song had to be therapeutic for her. There’s also the production, which has the glassy synths and tense percussion that creates a meditative atmosphere. There’s always going to be moments in your life where everything is closing in on you and you’re ready to erupt like a volcano. The best thing to do is take a pause and just breathe. It won’t solve all of your problems, but it’s a start. I honestly wish the best for Ariana Grande because she deserves a break from the bullshit.
And now we’ve finally reached number one-it’s Billie Eilish.
This should not be a surprise to anyone. Billie Eilish pretty much conquered the year as the best successor of Lorde. I was having a hard time which of her songs to put at the top, but then I stop thinking too hard and went with bury a friend, which I believe is a perfect encapsulation of who Billie Eilish is as an artist. The minimalist beat with the creeping synths, rumbling bass, and the accented screams make for a sound that is unlike anything you’re used to hearing on pop radio. It’s like Billie listened to Yeezus and went, “I can do that sound better,” which she did. There’s also the unconventional mixing and Billie’s performance, which is delivered in an eerie fashion, purposely making for a dark, purposely uncomfortable vibe in a good way. This sounds like a song made for a horror movie. While we’re on the subject of horror, Billie is having a conversation with a monster under her bed in this song. Seriously. This song should be a Halloween staple because it has all the ingredients for creepy, spooky fun. If Wednesday Addams were to record a song, this is exactly how I imagine it would go down. bury a friend, the best hit song of 2019. Let’s hope we get more Billie Eilish in the 2020s, especially if she’s making music this great.
And those were the best songs that 2019 had to offer. We’re almost at the finish line. 2020 is just around the corner. Look forward to the UPDATES page next week after my Rise Of Skywalker review as I’m going to make some big announcements concerning the future of this blog and the content that I’ll be putting out. You don’t wanna miss out. Until then, have a happy holidays and a Happy New Year.
SONG OF THE WEEK
Mural Jr.-Lupe Fiasco