More about: 101 Best Tracks of 2019
A year in which Foals released two entire albums could never have been a bad one for music. And it wasn't. In 2019, we had a fuck lot of Very Good LPs land in our ears. But what about the tracks? Gems taken from perfect albums; saving graces taken from bad ones. And of course, those singles from artists who didn't release a full-length in 2019 - or are so new they don't even have one yet.
We wrote about 101 of them, and why they're our Best Tracks of 2019. Here's part three...
Words by: Shannon Cotton, Jessie Atkinson, Elli Chappelhow, Alex Mills, Lorenzo Ottone, Grace Almond, Matty Pywell, Michelle Lloyd, Zach Hughes, Emily Fortune and Martin Sharman.
60. Fur - 'Nothing (Until Something Comes Along)'
(Exquisite) mid-tempo indie pop. That’s the genre that should be coined to describe Fur. Hailing inspiration from mid-60s French female pop à-la Francoise Hardy and France Gall, Fur blend their inspirations with tremendously catchy indie hooks without getting stuck in sterile retromania. A timeless number. (LO)
59. Tyler, The Creator - 'EARFQUAKE'
What a brilliant heartbreak anthem from Tyler, The Creator. A huge, electronic, brassy piano instrumental is the perfect backdrop for his pleading lyrics. It’s the lead single on IGOR, and distinctively different from the rest of the album, incorporating features from Playboi Carti, Charlie Wilson and Jessy Wilson. (GA)
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58. Lazy Day - 'Real Feel'
A bittersweet anthem for escaping the past, this one blends pop with sad-girl folk for an amazing sugar high that blasts winter blues out of the water. In its glow, there’s a definite comparability to the moment of hope that can come in the midst of mental anguish. (JA)
57. Jerkcurb - 'Shadowshow'
A delicate acoustic opener that highlights the sonic maturation of Jacob Read on his new material. Harmonies flicker and curl around an understated drum beat, with glimmering guitars that sound like they could soundtrack the changing of the seasons. (EC)
56. Fat White Family - 'Fringe Runner'
If there’s one thing Fat Whites do better than any other band, it’s giving life to soundscapes. In ‘Fringe Runner’ the Family evoke unsettling atmospheres with haunting drumbeats and smart references. It’s the tribal ‘Whitest Boy on the Beach’. (LO)
55. Declan McKenna - 'British Bombs'
Frequently forthright and the ever so socially conscious Declan McKenna took time out from working on his second album to deliver one of the most impassioned outbursts of the year. This track attacks British foreign policy in terms of selling arms with a suitable detonation of debris-propelling indie rock. (MP)
54. JAWS - 'Fear'
Propulsive electronic percussion propels this number from JAWS, taken from their most ambitious album to date, The Ceiling. ‘Fear’ is a five minute, atmospheric and immersive track that manages to swim around your consciousness long after it’s finished. “I’ve got nothing to fear,” laments vocalist and guitarist Connor Schofield, and in an increasingly tumultuous world, for 312 seconds we believe him. (SC)
53. Of Monsters and Men - 'Alligator'
Four years after their last album Beneath The Skin, Fever Dream was a brave redirection for the band’s sound. ‘Alligator’ led this trajectory: it’s a fierce rock anthem that follows empowering lyrics. The chance to hear Of Monsters And Men reinvent their music was well worth the wait. (GA)
52. Black Country, New Road - 'Sunglasses'
This arresting, nearly-nine-minute track is worth every second of your valuable time. Almost two songs for the price of one, a slowly swelling, skronky spasm of post-punk-adjacent jazz-rock cuts out to a killer riff which then ambles into a seemingly different track altogether. Virtuosity never felt so…current. (EC)
51. Matt Maltese - 'Curl Up & Die'
Matt Maltese made a triumphant yet agonising return with this delicate piano-led ballad that perused the incongruousness of love and its all consuming nature. Whilst notably melodramatic and self effacing in places, his ability to remain wry kept it from being self-indulgent. Finally someone was brave enough to examine the obsessive and deviating thoughts that often go hand in hand with heartbreak. (ML)
50. The S.L.P. - 'Nobody Else'
Many were surprised earlier in the year when Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno announced the release of his self-titled solo album, The S.L.P. Leaving behind his trademark of searing guitar riffs, this uplifting track explores a hazy forest of trippy piano-trance and thumping bass, becoming an unexpected but very welcome summer banger. (ZH)
49. Lizzo - 'Juice'
Drawn from one of the most joyful albums of the year, Lizzo’s strengths burst through on ‘Juice’. It’s a self-love anthem on 80s-inspired acid; proof that “self love isn’t selfish, it’s contagious.” This single dances on from the themes that belated hit ‘Truth Hurts’ introduced in 2017: lightness and joy, simple but effective melodies and a whole load of self-belief. (JA)
48. Steam Down - 'Free My Skin'
The Deptford-formed jazz collective made their official debut with this beautifully, self-asserted single. The group offers a unique sound with the track’s upbeat-tempo combined with it’s teeth-gritting, soulful feel. With the distinctive single being performed by a group of incredible musicians, this introduction is setting them apart from the rest of the scene. (EF)
47. Do Nothing - 'Gangs'
A unique stab at adding to the overflowing post-punk rolodex, ‘Gangs’ is one of the most interesting statements of the year. Manchester band Talk Show described their sound as “intricate instrumental grooves pump[ing] underneath a joyfully cynical stream of spoken word” and that is certainly true of this special cut. (JA)
46. Nilüfer Yanya - 'Paralysed'
With the best melody from a plentiful bunch, ‘Paralysed’ follows ‘In Your Head’ on debut album Miss Universe for an amazing one-two punch of gorgeous indie rock. This track’s ebb and flow proves that guitars ’n’ drums needn’t make the same old noises they always have; mastery with synth add a modern, pop edge. (JA)
45. M.T. Hadley - 'Private Eye'
A sweet, scathing love song that’s not as it first seems, ‘Private Eye’ is a standout new contribution from nihilistic songwriter M.T. Hadley. It imagines a private investigator falling in love with the object of his assignment, though its chorus is universally-relatable - and hugely infectious. (JA)
44. Mark Ronson - 'Nothing Breaks Like A Heart (feat. Miley Cyrus)'
When diva-magnet Ronson collaborated with bondage-loving child star Cyrus, the results were never going to be less than spectacular. The public agreed: ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’’s mashup of plaintive country ballad and nightclub-friendly beats went platinum in five countries, confirming that we all secretly love a bit of country inflected disco. (MS)
43. Yak - 'Am I A Good Man'
Swooning in all the right places, ‘Am I A Good Man’, brings sensory-psych feels of floating through a Super Mario clouded-kingdom of croon whilst on a perceptually-purple-hazed high. Yak, you make us want to wrap up in synthy-silk and shelter from the world’s chaos. (AM)
42. Liz Lawrence - 'None Of My Friends'
A blunt, microscopic and raw account of being in your twenties in 2019, Liz Lawrence hits the nail on the head with tongue-in-cheek lyrics like “I call you up just to cancel our plans, you’re not put out you were hoping to cancel too,” with wispy synths and dial-up internet samples. (SC)
41. Arlo Parks - 'Angel’s Song'
With several singles to choose from in a year that announced Arlo Parks as one of the UK’s most promising new talents, late entry ‘Angel’s Song’ shows off this “Generation Z Poet Laureate”’s talent beautifully. Lo-fi, sad and with a riff and melody extraordinary in their simplicity, this is a lullaby made enthralling by Parks’ delicate, affecting poetry. (JA)
More about: 101 Best Tracks of 2019