The final end of year list for the ’10s is an absolute behemoth of a list. Just over 200 of the finest songs from 2019 to choose from, with numerous entries from 2 artists in particular. It’s been a pleasure and quite the task narrowing this list down, but it’s here in full numerical order from 201 all the way to our #1.
201. Anita Ramona – Travelling Light
The first of many amazing finds from What’s Good, the Romanian artist channelled a multitude of electronica sub-genres, colliding house beats together with ambient, chillwave tones, making for an eclectic display of harmonious electronic splendour.
200. Badison – Show You Things
Pop meets emo on ‘Show You Things’, as Düsseldorf’s Badison partners together jangly guitar hooks with the brooding lyricism of emo’s ’00s heroes, making for a pop song that would have been just as appreciated in 2003 as it was in 2019.
199. Phum Viphurit – Hello, Anxiety
Thai artist Phum Viphurit shot to online fame in 2018 thanks to his track ‘Lover Boy’, so it only makes sense that Phum continued to share with us all, his high calibre neo-soul, fused with the charm of R’n’B, transcending genres from across the globe.
198. Jolé – All I Need
An ode to healing fractured relationships, London’s Jolé filled ‘All I Need’ with sincerity and next-level storytelling. A calm, clear approach with a lack of complication helps strengthen the Londoner’s songwriting skills, as this hope-filled folk track marked a turn in the round for love-focused storytelling.
197. Shura – Religion (U Can Lay Your Hands On Me)
Nuns prancing around a proud Lesbian in all white, waving pride flags to one of the most unapologetically queer songs of the year, Shura assured herself a spot on this list with ‘Religion’.
196. Boniface – Keeping Up
A year with White Lies will do you some good, and clearly, Boniface has soaked up every minute they’ve had with the UK group. ‘Keeping Up’ released only in November is a slice of high energy pop music that will become a staple in Boniface’s live discography.
195. JayWood – Moon Cats
‘Moon Cats’ brings gentle, friendly vibes to Jaywood’s usual psych-funk sound, as electronic grooves get loose and dreamy, before transcending into a star-filled sky at the moment of supernova, bursting with colour and awe-inspiring sound.
194. Cage The Elephant – House Of Glass
Taken from their “Social Cues” LP, ‘House Of Glass’ co-directed by ‘Beck’, summouned an erratic sense of dysfunction from the Kentucky group, piecing together rolling bass with crunchy, agitated guitar riffs for some stellar indie rock.
193. Slyrydes – Out Patience
‘Out Patience’ centralised around the idea of running out of time, while your mental health is deteriorating. A barrage of stories that are a reality for many people across Ireland and the rest of the globe, Slyrydes provided an unapologetic kick in the teeth on ‘Out Patience’, telling you to kick up a fuss about the standards of living (which some people clearly didn’t get the message about).
192. Oddnesse – Lover’s Calling
The LA duo struck gold yet again with ‘Lover’s Calling’. With a gorgeous synth hook that runs throughout; Arango goes into her vivid storytelling mode, sharing her tales of numbness shifting into inspired reawakenings, crafting an illustrious display of pristine pop music that will never grow old.
191. Sea Girls – Damage Done
One of the years biggest acts to come out of the festival circuit, having their songs plastered all over every football match imaginable and generally securing fans with anyone who has listened to at least one Courtneers song, ‘Damage Done’ was one of several standout tracks from the group, but arguably edged above the rest.
190. Minor Poet – Tropic Of Cancer
“Hits like a wave again, a familiar sort of sadness”, the sombre lyricism of Minor Poet’s ‘Tropic Of Cancer’, hiding beneath the cheery, glistening synth hooks that instantly hook themselves to the repeat button, is reason enough for Minor Poet to have a place on this list.
189. FORCES – Stay On Me
An insatiable blast of funk-fuelled, synth-rock; FORCES combined the cool of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with the unstoppable energy of St. Vincent, to craft a staple indietronica track, one which any fan of the two mentioned artists, should immediately place on their playlists.
EPILEPSY WARNING FOR THIS VIDEO.
188. Skye Wallace – Coal In Your Window
It’s one of those songs that you could just scream FUCK IT to, and go completely nuts, run around until your lungs almost collapse or just generally go insane too. High, octane rock and roll at its absolute best; Skye Wallace wasn’t messing around when it came to ‘Coal In Your Window’.
187. L. D. Moses – Close As The Ceiling
The debut single from Leeds’ post-punk rockers brought back the sound of Eagulls and Hookworms, together with vocals similar to Jarvis Cocker. A melancholic wave of disgruntled croons, reflecting on failed relationships, all wrapped around a familiarity that feels brand new is reason enough as to why you should immediately take notice of L. D. Moses for the year ahead.
186. Sal Dulu – Buzzcut Ft. staHHr
A change in direction for the Irish producer, partnering up with Atlanta based staHHr on this step into anthemic, ambient R’n’B’ ‘Buzzbut’ demonstrated a producer whose ambition knows no limits. Layered with classical instrumentation to aid the ethereal edge of ‘Buzzcut’, Sal Dulu shared his best track yet on ‘Buzzcut’.
185. Kira – If It Makes You Feel Better
A front of moody, 80’s pop is something that everyone has been falling in love with for the past few years now, but London duo Kira rises tremendously as clear future trendsetters with ‘If It Makes You Feel Better’. Being able to make their music sound like a lost 80’s track is one thing, but Kira delivers a truly iconic moment on IIMYFB that I have no doubt, will stand the test of time.
184. Refs – Crying
The partnership between Zach and Rich has produced some sublime tracks across a truly stellar LP this year, nonetheless with the incomparable ‘Crying’. Unfiltered and raw yet velvety smooth, the standout track from their “Stories” LP is one to get lost in whether you need the tears to flow or the power behind Zach and Rich to get through.
183. Wildfront – Bloom
A beautifully dreamy piece of ’80s tinged synth-pop, carried away on a bed of synths that are begging to be played on repeat; there’s an endless supply of replayability on ‘Bloom’. Much like how love feels when that magical moment arises when simple attraction turns into something much more detailed and focused, ‘Bloom’s weightless pop sound is something to fall head over heels for.
182. Wyldest – Quiet Violet
Taken from their debut LP “Dream Chaos”, ‘Quiet Violet’ showed Wyldest at their best, rolling dream pop into busy waves of soul-filled post-funk, with a springy riff that’s an immediate pleaser. Simple and well structured, Wyldest manufactured a pop song that could happily fit into several genres and feel comfortably at home.
181. Butter – Darts
One of the best surprises of the year for me was hearing a Scottish group create surf-rock and doing so exceptionally. ‘Darts’ with its absurd lyricism and flamboyant style proved that you don’t need the sun to create surf-rock, just the notion that you never need to be too serious when it comes to music.
180. Beirut – Varieties Of Exile
Most people where I work will know this song now, largely due to my bellowing along with Zach Condon’s impressive swoons at 8am most mornings. ‘Varieties Of Exile’ carried with it an overwhelming essence of unfiltered joy, encouraging you to take a deep breathe and harmonise along.
179. The Drums – Body Chemistry
The Drums feel like a group who even with their favourable success, has never been able to escape their first album thanks to its timeless pop style. ‘Body Chemistry’ demonstrates the endless style and skill The Drums have in adapting their surf-pop to become the ’90s tinged, indie-house, pop megamix of ‘Body Chemistry’, which should have earnt them far more praise during 2019.
178. DIIV – Blankenship
DIIV’s step into the world of shoegaze fuelled rock on paper doesn’t sound like too much of a big leap from their drone, reverb filled indie-pop; yet ‘Blankenship’ proved that DIIV weren’t just adding a bit of ambience to their sound, but fully overloading the system with a charging juggernaut of shoegaze prowess.
177. Newcast – Alive
One of the best bands to come out of 2019, their entire “5” EP is a glorious display of dream-pop, littered with decades of pop influences and styles, with ‘Alive’ capturing those moments that to outsiders look like nothing, but for those involved will stay rooted as golden moments to relive forever.
176. Wild Nothing – Blue Wings
Layering dreamy, indie pop on top of hard riding, 80’s bass hooks, ‘Blue Wings’ glides majestically across the synth-plains of Wild Nothing’s never-ending chain of unstoppable talent, flying under the amber glow of nighttime streetlights.
175. Jackie Venson – Joy
Vying for the same standard that St. Vincent’s Annie Clark possesses with a guitar, Jackie Venson placed her notable guitar skills on a slight halt on ‘Joy’, instead, switching for bursting indie-pop, packed with a punch and nothing but good vibes.
174. Saltwater Sun – Mouth Breather
The first track from Saltwater Sun to make this, and purely because of it coming out later than their other tracks featured further down the list; ‘Mouth Breather’ is the obnoxious, no fucks are given, chunky indie rock monster that the Reading group have teased us with for some time. Now that they’ve gotten dirty, nothing will stop Saltwater Sun in the years to come.
173. PLAZA – Hold
The Hartlepool rockers talent for crafting indie rock tracks ready for stadiums and roaring festival crowds is undeniable, continued furthermore on ‘Hold’ as chilling lulls before their first chorus ignites the fire and passion felt on every release from the Hartlepool group to date.
172. Armors – Human Touch
Upbeat. Check. Popping synth hook. Check. An emphatic chorus that’s larger than life and grows even more so after each verse. Check. While still waiting on Armors eponymous debut LP, their EP from this year was filled with pop gems, with ‘Human Touch’ topping the pile with it’s cascading display of pristine pop.
171. Dos Floris – Starlight
Using ‘Starlight’ to experiment with orchestral sounds, amplifying her use of sharp ambient cuts, with the power of an ever expanding immersive experience; Dos Floris turns the ‘epic’ music behind documentaries into her own tangible weapon. Bringing the full force of science with her, ‘Starlight’ is an excellent reminder of the prowess that Dos Floris has always delivered.
170. GO DARK – Beautiful Bitch
A recommendation from Leeds’ Lending Room, which secured a new favourite group for me, Go Dark and their twisted style of electro-rock sounded like sublime ’00s gut-pop on ‘Beautiful Bitch’, a track that would have found itself at home on Channel 4, and will likely sit comfortably among future programming tracklists.
169. Kylie Spence – Walk Away
‘Walk Away’ is straight forward in narrative, making the decision to walk away from someone leading you on, but Spence’s warped house/EDM beats mirror that of Lorde during her early moments before exploding into the forefront of everyones mind.
168. Blaenavon – Skin Scream
Ben Gregory would have received a spot on this list whether or not Blaenavon had released a song this year, largely due to his struggles with mental health and his tremendous steps to recovery being an inspiration for absolutely everyone. Thankfully, Blaenavon released their second LP “Everything That Makes You Happy” this year, with ‘Skin Scream’ shining through as an agonisingly sombre pop track that will guide many through heartbreakingly lonely nights.
167. HAVVK – The Factory
Taken from their debut LP “Cause & Effect”, HAVVK drew back upon their shoegaze beginnings on ‘The Factory’, catching the moment before relationships become too much, bursting into sweet release as the choppy guitar riffs breathe in fresh air to one of HAVVK’s best tracks to date.
166. Xuan Rong – Lay Apart
Sometimes music doesn’t need to make any sense, it needs to simply be enjoyable, something to vibe along to, get the blood flowing or glitch out to even. Xuan Rong unearthed a monster with ‘Lay Apart’ a glitchy piece of erratic electro-pop that makes the chase sequence music in Crash Bandicoot sound like a serene walk in the park.
165. Dantevilles – Bloomin Flowers
A Manchester group that is standing out for the right reasons, with a not so classic-indie rock sound, ‘Bloomin Flowers’ summon up the intense nature of White Lies with the easy appeal of fellow Mancunians The Courteeners, making for a surreal display of finely crafted indie rock.
164. Charlotte Cornfield – Storm Clouds
With her own refrain usually halting the completion of her work, ‘Storm Clouds’ welcomed in an air of peace from Cornfield, uplifted in mood without any need to scream about it. “Storm clouds, elation, desire, mania, darkness”, ‘Storm Clouds’ traverses through the many roads of Cornfield’s mind, making it out into the beautiful plains of what her creativity can truly accomplish.
163. Crow – Go
Finally being in control of her creative outputs after years of dealing with pushy managers, releasing her past torture in a colourful explosion of synth heavy keys and harmonies, “Go” announces Crow as finally being free and ready to truly spread her wings with her illustrious neo-pop.
162. Heir – After Forever
The Leeds group are true hometown favourites and ‘After Forever’ with its choppy, light funk guitars further cemented this. With their funk-pop guitars gliding alongside a light wave of synth keys, riding away into a sea of pop benevolence, ‘After Forever’ sounded like the turning point of a band who are ready to go massive.
161. Spang Sisters – International Pussy
A revamp of their 2018 song, Spang Sisters delivered a charming take on ’80s dream pop with ‘International Pussy’. Lucid and chilled while equally energetic, Spang Sisters feel like the natural follow up to the late Hers on ‘International Pussy’.
160. Seazoo – Heading Out
There’s an air of nostalgia and unfiltered joy on ‘Heading Out’ with choppy riffs thrown at you throughout, warped within an inch of their life, as the ’90s get finely tuned through the carefree sound of 2010’s indie-pop from this Welsh group.
159. Belau – Essence ft. Sophie Barker
‘Essence’ delivers the scarcity of The xx’s early work, expanding into a gorgeous cacophony of light and playful pop. Carrying across this atmospheric sound throughout a plethora of xylophones and kaleidoscopic rhythms, guest vocalist Sophie Barker feels like a welcomed summer breeze, amplifying ‘Essence’ even further into being a completely unforgettable experience.
158. TARA – Wander
With it’s driving drum beat and an endless run of guitar hooks clashing together in a beautifully chaotic fashion, ‘Wander’ carried a gargantuan sense of importance similar to heavyweight hits ‘1998’ by Peace or Slowdive’s ‘Star Roving’, beautiful and ethereal in spirit.
157. COMA – Bits and Pieces
A silky, bass loaded treat of indietronica delights, ‘Bits and Pieces’ stood out from the Cologne duo’s “Voyage Voyage” LP, thanks to its gorgeous soundscapes and a personalised puzzle courtesy of German puzzle makers Ravensburger demonstrating the above and beyond mentality behind their work.
156. Jay Marwaha – Sitting In The Park
A cool and completely open track from Jay Marwaha, ‘Sitting In The Park’ found itself on repeat for most of the summer months on my Spotify, carelessly pining after love with little fear, aspiring to capture the most pivotal moments in romance, all while a steady drumbeat crafted one of the biggest earworms of the year.
155. Goth Babe – The Kingdom
Anything that feels even vaguely familiar to Million Young’s remix of Memoryhouse’s ‘To The Lighthouse’ is immediately on a winner for me. Goth Babe with his glittery, shimmering synth pop on ‘The Kingdom’ feels perfectly nostalgic with a late ’00s chillwave influenced style that will reminder listeners of the early days of YouTube, ‘discovering’ Tycho, Gold Panda and the ‘good side’ of the video platform.
154. Champs – Solid Action
‘Solid Action’ may not be the pop track that you’d expect to find anyone dancing to, but that’ll never stop Champs. The Champion brothers began 2019 strongly with ‘Solid Action’ being the first taste of their “The Hard Interchange” LP. Filled with melancholic folk-pop that we’ve come to love from Champs, it’s the nod to ’70s & ’80s pop that marked ‘Solid Action’ as a massive step forward for the Isle Of Wight brothers.
153. Slow Pulp – High
A steady opening of subdued vocals and dreary acoustics captures the want to escape and regain control when life seems pretty uncontrollable, before a destructive wall of distortion comes bursting through as overloaded guitar riffs and power chords as frontwoman Emily Massey, is turned into a reverb-drenched orchestra.
152. Dead Naked Hippies – Eyes Wide
A personal favourite, with a key focus on politics and mental health, both throughout their writing and online presence, Dead Naked Hippies delivered a snarling piece of rambunctious rock, on ‘Eyes Wide’. Lucy Jowett gives off a blazing display of her ferocious vocals, featuring a nod to the distorted rock of the ’90s, as the Leeds group set alight the path to 2020.
151. Russian Baths – Tracks
A hollowed-out guitar note opens up into an explosive feud of destruction and chaos, only to be contained by vocalist Jess Rees, swarmed by a merciless array of shoegaze and noise rock. Crafting monolithic industrial that would scare even Girl Band, ‘Tracks’ is an A-class in alternative music.