More about: 101 Best Tracks of 2019
Words by: Shannon Cotton, Jessie Atkinson, Elli Chappelhow, Martin Sharman, Joe Connell, Emily Fortune, Lorenzo Ottone and Chris Horton.
101. Sophie and the Giants - ‘Runaway’
Power pop in the purest form, Sophie and the Giants never fail to impress us, from singer Sophie Scott’s impressive vocal prowess to the infectious riffs that weave their way through each of their tracks. ‘Runaway’ is a euphoric, hands-in-the-air moment as soon as the chorus kicks in that leaves you gasping for breath when it’s finished. (SC)
100. Johnny Marr - ‘Armatopia’
For some pure existentialism at the disco, Johnny Marr has the goods. The first follow-up to his latest album Call the Comet, the legendary guitarist served up intoxicated, anxious synths and a buffet of apocalyptic lyrics that said “fuck it let’s dance” with this bittersweet cut. (JA)
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99. Cagework - ‘Modesty’
A minute and a half of angst-ridden, raucous riffage courtesy of Cagework is enough to whet anyone’s appetite. “Well I love you ‘til I don’t and that’s the best that I can give” sings Sam Bedford amongst scuzzy, garage inflected guitars and a menacing drum beat. (SC)
98. Róisín Murphy - ‘Narcissus’
The Queen Of Neo-Disco returns with another slice of revivalist kitsch. A delicate, drum-less interlude can’t fool us - the vast four-to-the-floor kick, outrageous synth strings and unmistakable keening vocal are impossible to resist. If you can keep it up for nearly eight minutes, the perfect soundtrack to indulging in some 90s-style dancefloor shapes. (MS)
97. Dinosaur Pile-Up - 'K West'
For over a decade now Dinosaur Pile-Up have been churning out grunge belters by the boatload and ‘K West’ is no different. With driving guitars and a chorus that you will be singing to yourself all day, Matt Bigland and the boys have managed to encapsulate the feeling of summer and translate it into musical form. (JC)
96. Drug Store Romeos - 'Now You’re Moving'
A debut single with the confidence of a band far more established, ‘Now You’re Moving’ is the first dreamscape rendering from young band and Windmill alumni Drug Store Romeos. With elements of dream pop stitched through it and an air of devilish luxuriance, the star-spangled song is an expansive, unpredictable delight that billows with awesome use of bass, keys and drums. (JA)
95. Greentea Peng - 'Downers'
First released for her COLOURS session and dropped in the lead up to her sophomore EP, Rising, this emotionally-charged track brings out the best of what London’s Greentea Peng has to offer. Putting her vulnerability on top of industrial-infused, soulful instrumentals from lyricism to production, this track solidifies her distinctive sound. (EF)
94. Red Hearse - 'Half Love'
Jack Antonoff’s newest project reminded us how pop can sound: heart-bursting, ass-moving and glistening with synth, this cut from their eponymous debut has one of the best chorus melodies of this year in pop music. (JA)
93. IDLES - 'I Dream Guillotine'
Angrier and more hopeless than much of IDLES’ rallying, hopeful punk, this one-off single was a leftover from last year’s Joy As An Act of Resistance. Vocalist Joe Talbot grits his teeth to deliver an incandescent protest against the establishment and the painful monotony of the day-to-day. No wonder it didn’t make it onto Joy: this one finds no solutions among relentless drums and storms of guitar. (JA)
92. Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres - 'Paradise Is Under Your Nose'
An intimate, beautifully simple track from Pete Doherty’s latest venture with his ‘Puta Madres’, featuring Jack Jones of Trampolene on vocal duties. The harmonies on this duet are just stunning, and reveal a different side to Doherty, with more mellow folky sounds making an appearance, yet it’s still as poetically charged as his previous work. No longer the kid in the riot, eh Pete…(EC)
91. Tame Impala - 'Borderline'
Kevin Parker is back and this time he’s done it with a little help from his friends. Although 'Borderline' is the usual one-man job, its sound is profoundly influenced by the psych-disco explorations of Tame Impala’s side projects Pond and Gum. 'Borderline' sounds exactly like you’d expect Tame Impala to sound, however Parker is now subtly nodding to Italo Disco and Studio54. (LO)
90. Joy Crookes - 'Two Nights'
South London storyteller Joy Crookes has got soul by the bucketload. Trip-hop fuses with soulful R'n'B to create a sound as rich as her connection to the city, as she weaves an evocative narrative that is refreshingly candid and unapologetic: "pack my pride and shelve my libido". This year she’s proved her name as worthy of comparisons to the great female crooners, something that is elevated to new heights when she performs live. (EC)
89. Dry Cleaning - 'Magic Of Meghan'
Twangy Americana riffs introduce this angular post-punk banger, which features brilliantly quippy, deadpan vocals, about none other than Meghan Markle. The marriage of spoken word and post-punk have never sounded so good. (EC)
88. Saltwater Sun - 'Mouthbreather'
2019 saw Saltwater Sun showcase their bite with ‘Mouthbreather’ as they decided to “slide away from pristine pop” and instead dived “head first into rip-roaring rock, glued together with surging riffs and a chugging bassline”, and boy are we glad they did. (SC)
87. Baxter Dury - 'Slumlord'
Baxter Dury’s own brand of scummy, disco-flecked, electronic spoken word comes into its own on the lead single from next album The Night Chancers. Like Dury highlight 'Miami', this new cut benefits from abrupt, staccato guitar, bulging bass, naive backing vocals and, of course, a big slab of confessional Cockney swagger. (JA)
86. Snoh Aalegra - 'I Want You Around'
With a vocal style reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Snoh Alaegra croons her way through vulnerable emotions on this yearning track. It’s starry-eyed and lovestruck, with minimalist and contemporary R'n'B instrumentation that leaves enough space for her vocal to step into the spotlight. (EC)
85. China Bears - 'Sunday'
A slow-burner with a riff that wouldn’t seem out of place on Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head, this early effort from a new band is a strong one. Focusing on the helplessness of bad mental health days, ‘Sunday’ creeps towards a cathartic apogee that mimics well the desperation of being trapped inside your own head. (JA)
84. SWMRS - 'Lose, Lose, Lose'
Politically charged, energetic and a rallying call to arms, SWMRS proved they’re more than just a punk rock band with the release of their second album Berkeley’s On Fire. ‘Lose, Lose, Lose’ is a sonically wild and socially-conscious jaunt that sits at the heart of the record. For us it’s a win, win win. (SC)
83. Best Coast - 'For The First Time'
Four years on from the LA based duo’s sun drenched yet reflective third album, comeback single ‘For the First Time’ is an eighties synth pop affair with edge. Like wearing sunglasses at night...imagine it blaring out of Sam Goody’s in the Starcourt Mall in the middle of summer and you’re nearly there. (CH)
82. Weird Milk - 'Anything You Want'
Weird Milk fuse the suave fundamentals of rock & roll with fun theatrics and a wash of Wilson - Brian that is. ‘Anything You Want’ is a blistering slice of forward-thinking indie that nods to nostalgia as it hurtles towards the future with considered aplomb. (SC)
81. Beach Baby - 'Big School'
A stirring single from the now-disbanded Beach Baby, ‘Big School’ is how many of us wish Coldplay still sounded. A huge, blues-inspired guitar lick gives this soulful indie tune the power to hit big. (JA)
Check back tomorrow to see which tracks have made it to 80 - 61.
More about: 101 Best Tracks of 2019