Numbers 20 - 1 of what we’ve had on repeat this year...
12:00 13th December 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 the final part...

Words by: Shannon Cotton, Jessie Atkinson, Elli Chappelhow, Joe Connell, Matty Pywell, Grace Almond and Emily Fortune.

20. Collard - ‘Greyhound’

On an album that’s at once “rich and textured, soulful and smutty” newcomer Collard presents ‘Greyhound’. Disoriented by genre and pulsing with a disco chorus, this LP stand out is a groove-laden hit that dramatically displays Collard’s breathtaking, Prince-like falsetto and the masterful guitar work of collaborator Zach Nahome. (JA) 

19. Gia Ford - ‘Turbo Dreams’

A gleaming, groove-splashed R ’n’ B triumph, ‘Turbo Dreams’ sees seventies optimism and the impeccable production of modern-day studios get in bed together. The debut sounds from new Dirty Hit signee, this one is an early triumph. (JA)

18. Shura - ‘Religion (u can lay your hands on me)’ 

The perfect soundtrack to exhilarating new love, Shura’s glittering synth bop benefits from twists of funky guitar and bouncing bass. The whole thing soars on the back of clean, confessional vocals and is an irresistible pop song made for dancing embarrassingly to. (JA)

17. Lazarus Kane - ‘Narcissus’

‘Narcissus’ is a storming cut. A Talking Heads-esque bassline introduces this colossal track - it’s seductive, scathing, and swaggering, which renders it a very effective soundtrack to your daily commute. But, what does Mr. Kane (as he likes to be known) want people to take away from his music? “Firstly, merchandise sales. Secondly, jubilation. Finally, lingering regret.” (EC)

16. Bombay Bicycle Club - ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’

After a five year hiatus, the indie titans bounced back with an infectious reminder of why they are one of the best. Jack Steadman’s delicate refrain in the track’s chorus combined with subtle guitar nuances puts ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake’ right up there with the big hitters in their back catalogue. (JC)

15. Billie Eilish - ‘Bad Guy’

Another landmark on the incredible rise of Billie Eilish to international stardom. ‘Bad Guy’ is playfully sinister, Eilish taking on the role of the swaggering caricature bad boy type, her ASMR vocal technique creating a scintillating sense of dread that, when mixed with heavily dubbed bass, becomes curiously hypnotic. (MP)

14. Squid - ‘The Cleaner’

A seven-minute funk freakout about a cleaner might sound mad - and that’s because it is - but Squid manage to make this barmy combination work effortlessly. From the spiky synth leads puncturing the tracks verses to its gigantic chorus, ‘The Cleaner’ is a modern day post-punk masterpiece that showcases the quintet at their creative peak. (JC)

13. Michael Kiwanuka - ‘Hero’

‘Hero’ is a tribute to Kiwanuka’s musical heroes, including Marvin Gaye and Tupac. The track is complemented by a video focusing on politically-charged images, such as FBI wire-tapping and the contemporary black liberation movement. The entire album is a triumph, but ‘Hero’ naturally blends 60s rock with Kiwanuka’s style. (GA)

12. Spector - ‘I Won’t Wait’

A wonderfully witty return to form from Spector, ‘I Won’t Wait’ explores love in the digital age. “Why’s my contract so expensive if our talk’s so cheap?” Fred Macpherson questions as static synths and surging riffs fuzz in the background of this whirlwind indie banger. (SC) 

11. Foals - ‘In Degrees’

On Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1, Foals cranked up the electronic groove and the synths, and ‘In Degrees’ is the prime example of this new direction, where bright, flashy sounds are weighted down with a thumping bassline. Just as much at home on a squeaky-clean dancefloor as a muddy quagmire of a festival tent, Foals are flexing their versatility muscles, they’ve been distilled on this track. (EC)

10. Little Simz - ‘Selfish (feat. Cleo Sol)’

Simz’s narrative flows with innate dynamism on ‘Selfish’ - it’s an internal monologue, an introspective conflict about both needing time for herself and being independent, whilst also exploring feelings of guilt about doing so. Lifted by the introduction of strings and the soulful harmonies from fellow Londoner Cleo Sol, the song is underpinned by that classic, snappy beat, making for a track that will loop in your psyche. (EC)

9. Blaenavon - ‘I Want You’

You wait almost a year for a new Blaenavon song and then two come along at once. Ahead of the release of their second album Everything That Makes You Happy, the Hampshire trio released the delicate and self-aware ‘I Want You’ alongside ‘Fucking Up My Friends’. Wistful keys and strings create the dramatic soundbed for a track that confronts the all-encompassing feeling of falling in love as Ben Gregory demonstrates, “for love like ours, I’d swim through rivers and oceans of tar.” (SC)

8. The Murder Capital - ‘Don’t Cling To Life’

Triple-time drums, bass and guitars conjure a swirling storm around frontman James McGovern’s yearning vocals on a victory for contemporary post-punk. “Failing this let’s dance and cry” McGovern implores as the lean cut reaches its ecstatic climax. (JA)

7. Talk Show - ‘Fast and Loud’

This debut single from Talk Show proves the power of their dark, pre-apocalyptic, new wave punk, and had us by the throat from the get-go. Speckled with 80s influences, it is propelled into the very present with driving drums and a brooding bassline. The bleak and astute lyrics are punctuated with razor-edged guitars that cut through like barbed wire. (EC)

6. FKA Twigs - ‘Cellophane’

Shrink-wrapped in places, and cautiously blossoming in others, the returning single from FKA Twigs is earth-shattering in the most hushed of ways. Twigs’ feral vocals prickle with agony and hurt, then strengthen with resolve, before breaking with waves of pain anew. It’s a breathtaking interpretation of the nuances of human suffering. (JA)

5. Lucia & the Best Boys - ‘Good Girls Do Bad Things’

A reinterpretation of gargantuan proportion, this Glasgow band’s transformation into Lucia & the Best Boys debuted with a truly inspired dark pop song. With the heart of early Madonna and the libido of someone far less virginal, ‘Good Girls Do Bad Things’ sweats and writhes with lashings of guitar and skittering hi-hats. Captivating. (JA) 

4. Just Mustard - ‘Frank’

Eerie and urgent like a phone call in the middle of the night, the sounds on ‘Frank’ screech and swirl in the most beautifully dissonant manner, filling your head with swooping shoegaze and chainsaw guitars. Katie Ball’s enchanting vocals manage to keep the sound from getting pulled under by the churning undercurrent of intensely determined noise-rock. (EC)

3. Lana Del Rey - ‘Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it’

With only a gentle piano carousel to accompany her retro vocals, Lana Del Rey presented a third single in a perfect streak to announce this year’s Norman Fucking Rockwell! This quiet, defiant lullaby covered a series of Fitzgeraldian themes that artfully restated the Del Rey aesthetic of making bad things pretty and pretty people sinister. (JA)

2. Fontaines D.C. - ‘Big’

Dublin in the rain may be theirs, and after this year it appears to be theirs in all weather conditions too. Fontaines D.C.’s meteoric sonic assault with debut album Dogrel is punctuated and propelled with album opener ‘Big’. The classic story of trying to break out of your hometown and achieve bigger and better things has become a self-fulfilling prophecy for this Irish quintet. (SC)

1. Dave - ‘Black’

Haunting, ardent piano and mournful strings accompany a sure but pained verse from Dave, a man from whom we’ve come to expect no less than extraordinary. The most powerful and affecting release of the year - and with a stunning video depicting Black British communities - this song was a standout from the breathtaking, and Mercury Award winning, album Psychodrama. (JA)

Catch up with numbers 101 - 81 here80 - 61 here60 - 41 here and 40 - 21 here.

Are we missing something? Tell us who you think should be included in our tracks of the year over on Twitter or Facebook