Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2019: Favorite Songs

2019 was a weird year for me, in terms of the music I enjoyed most. A lot of artists put out genuinely great singles, only to follow them up with lackluster albums, EPs as stopgaps between albums, or really nothing at all. It’s a good thing I was following all of my favorite artists on Spotify, as well as some newer ones I was curious to hear more from, or else I might have not heard a good quarter of this list until 2019, if ever. Usually the vast majority of my Top 100 songs for the year comes from my favorite albums released that year, with some spillover from the year before. While that’s still true in 2019, it’s worth noting that nearly a tenth of my list this time comes from EPs or compilations rather than albums, and close to another tenth of the list is made up of non-album singles, that have yet to be attached to a larger collection of songs (assuming that will ever happen at all). While this speaks to the ability of many of my favorite artists to strike while the iron is hot in terms of getting new music out, it also worries me slightly where the longevity of the album format is concerned. But that’s an issue to discuss when I get to my list of Favorite Albums for the year. My Favorite Songs list, while eclectic and probably whiplash-inducing at certain points, definitely required some tough decision-making because there were so many great songs that spoke to me this year. At the end of the day, whether a song is part of a larger narrative or not, that’s really all that matters – whether the song stands out to me as unique in some way, and makes me want to keep coming back to listen to it over and over again. And everything on this list passed that test with flying colors!

As I do each year, I’ll give some insight into my reasons for picking the Top 30, and you can assume after that point that the ordering is somewhat arbitrary. Many of these songs (limit one per artist) are collected in my 2019 in a Nutshell playlist over on Spotify.

1. “Harmony Hall”
Vampire Weekend
Father of the Bride
It was still January, and four months away from Father of the Bride‘s release date, when Vampire Weekend dropped their first new single in almost six years. Not only was it a great introduction to the springtime-y, seventies-inflected vibe of their new album, but it also felt like the band had stepped up their game in a huge way both instrumentally and lyrically. The acoustic arpeggio that opens the song seems almost impossible to play, and yet it was immediately infectious, and as the song unfolds, the various layers of piano and guitar reveal everything from the expected refined classical influences to hints that the band had been listening to some southern rock and jam bands. Over five minutes, with a lot of dense lyrics, and yet it’s got an incredibly sturdy chorus that is a blast to sing along to without being a mouthful, that makes a clever reference to “Finger Back” from their previous album Modern Vampires of the City, and that might even be a little bit self-effacing, wondering if it’s possible for us coastal liberal types, in our attempts to be well-read and woke, can simply end up living in an echo chamber where there’s no room whatsoever for healthy dissent or disagreement. Sometimes you just don’t see those insidious serpents slithering into your house until it’s too late.

2. “I Love You”
Billie Eilish
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
The 17-year-old wunderkind (who just this month celebrated/lamented her transition into adulthood) cemented my fandom when she slipped this heartfelt acoustic ballad into the penultimate slot of her debut LP. Up until that point, I’d found it difficult to determine whether she was just trolling concerned adults and tastemakers with some of her edgier lyrics and her hodgepodge of musical influences ranging from trap to electropop to torchy jazz to coffeehouse. As much as I enjoyed circling back to all that stuff, being impressed at how the DIY production helmed by her brother Finneas O’Connell put a unique stamp on it and ensured she wasn’t just a copycat, it was this vulnerable moment where the sonic trickery fell away and it was simply their two voices an a heart-rendingly beautiful set of acoustic guitar chords, that cemented my fandom. This lament for the kind of love you fall into with a person you’re probably better off not getting involved with because both of you are such damaged goods is the kind of song I wish I could have written when I was her age… or even twice her age! And while you might scoff at the throngs of teenage concertgoers being brought to tears by the live footage I’ve embedded below, or the odd image of a sister and brother performing the song in a bed together that gets lifted up into the air, I personally admire how this was meant to reflect the origins of the song, just Billie and Finneas in their home studio a.k.a. his bedroom, with the bed being the only place to sit and work out a tune together due to the growing stacks of production equipment that had taken over the already modest amount of space. I was absolutely flabbergasted when Billie chose this as her second song to perform on the Saturday Night Live season premiere this fall, probably revealing to a lot of folks who only knew her for “Bad Guy” up until that point that she had way more depth than they would have ever assumed. Listening to this song, I find myself hoping against all logic that this setup never changes, and that Billie resists the lure of fancy studios and lucrative production deals in order to keep making music this way, for so long as they both shall live.

3. “Empty Daydream”
Lovebites
Clockwork Immortality
I’m bummed that there isn’t move live footage of Lovebites available on YouTube, because it’s hard to explain to people that they’re an all-female metal band from Japan without having to ward off the assumption that they’re just a cute vocal front for the actual band, a la Babymetal. Nope, these five women are all the real deal, and they can pummel your ears with their blend of classic metal sounds and look hella good doing it, too. While some might disdain this track for being one of the poppier entries from their second album, it was the first one of theirs to really stick with me, and I think it’s the best showcase of their ability to incorporate such elements as keyboards and programming into a heavy, guitar-driven sound, and to pull off technically tricky moves such as subtle key changes and a thrilling extended breakdown/solo section while maintaining a killer chorus hook. Cheesy as some of the band’s lyrics can be, I really feel the pain lead singer Asami is trying to communicate here, as she feels trapped in a relationship where she’s reduced to pleading for love and attention from someone who routinely makes her feel worthless and invisible. This song is a bittersweet anthem that I would hope is taken as a statement of empowerment to anyone who feels stuck in such a situation – you’re better than that, and you shouldn’t have to live your life begging for scraps.

4. “Until I Fall”
Liam Singer
Finish Him
This song is the primary reason why I tend to think of this eccentric, piano-driven singer/songwriter/composer as a bit of a mad clockmaker. The precision timing with which he executes the rolling piano melodies in this song is an absolute thrill, but then he waves a story of mythical proportions into it, seeming to take the most tragic elements from characters like Pinocchio and Icarus, as he plays the role of a created life form who betrays his master and escapes his clutches, only to find out in the end that he can’t truly fly on his own. This seven-minute masterpiece is only the fourth track on a weird and wonderful fourteen-track album that somehow manages to keep the melancholy brilliance coming one song after the next (meaning you’ll be seeing Singer again in this list very soon).

5. “Native Tongue”
Switchfoot
Native Tongue
It really surprised me that I ended up loving the title track from Switchfoot’s latest album as much as I did. When it premiered in late 2018, I was initially among the chorus of naysayers who felt like it was a betrayal of their return to a more band-oriented sound on their previous record Where the Light Shines Through, and who made disparaging comparisons to groups like Imagine Dragons that it felt like they were trying to ride on the cottails of. For sure, the reliance on bouncy, programmed drums, outsized bass, and big “Whoa-oa-oa-oh!”s for the audience to sing along with might seem like an ill-advised attempt to cash in on a trend. But I’ve actually found this to be one of Jon Foreman’s most thoughtful (and cleverly catchy!) songs in recent years, reminding us of the value we place in speaking a language that is comfortable to us, and insisting that love be our first response rather than fear when we’re confronted with voices or viewpoints or cultures that we may be unfamiliar with. In 2019, when a lot of people who call themselves “Christians” in this country respond to foreigners with mistrust and prejudice, it’s refreshing to hear one of the most enduringly popular bands in Christian rock giving us a subtle reminder to lead with love even when the language barrier makes it tricky to communicate. (Oh yeah, and hearing the band play it live on their tour this spring was a good reminder that yes, everyone in the band was involved in making this song as delightfully upbeat and melodically twisty as it turned out to be.)

6. “Femme Fatale”
Coyote Kid
The Skeleton Man
It’s a beautiful night for a bloodbath, indeed! The band previously known as Marah in the Mainsail took a sizable risk by renaming themselves and releasing this aggressively catchy number this summer as our first glimpse into the vision of a wonderfully twisted world that they would end up exploring on their fan-funded full-length LP The Skeleton Man. Even without knowing what was gonna happen with the LP, I was taken aback by this song in the best possible way on first listen, as the voices of the band’s male and female singers played the roles of a hero and a villain who apparently had a history as lovers that ended violently. His mission is to cheat death; hers is to usurp it to power her inventions. And so the two end up doing a deadly dance full of fun little vocal exchanges between the two and grim metaphors that walk a very fine line between romance and violence. The deliberately low-budget, B-movie-esque music video only serves to take the whole thing up several notches – something tells me Quentin Tarantino would approve.

7. “Patience”
Tame Impala
(non-album single)
I knew of Tame Impala before they appeared on Saturday Night Live this spring, but that was really only due to the Punch Brothers covering their song “Let It Happen”, and me going back to compare it to the trippy, 8-minute original. That was the big single from a now 4-year-old album, and it looks like Kevin Parker and his backing band somehow managed to book the SNL gig without any concrete plans for a forthcoming album, debuting two brand new singles that night. I fell in love with the first one almost immediately – with the laid-back disco beat (complete with bongos!) and the syncopated piano leaning very heavily on minor and major seventh chords, of course my ears were going to perk up. This could be taken as a depressing song about a man feeling aimless, like his career is stalled out and he doesn’t know where to go next, and Parker may well have written it from that perspective. But he seems so chill about just waiting it out, letting the seasons change, and not having to compare his progress to everyone else’s – it’s like finding a moment of zen that suddenly obliterates the mid-life crisis you never thought you’d escape. This one had my hopes pretty high for Tame Impala to drop a full-length album later in the year, but setback after setback including a devastating studio fire rendered that unrealistic, until finally I read that that The Slow Rush had been announced for an early 2020 release… and then I go and find out “Patience” is the only one of the singles released thus far that won’t be on the album? What the hell, man?! Apparently I like this song way more than Tame Impala does.

8. “Still Life”
Liam Singer
Finish Him
Track 12 out of 14 on the formidably brilliant Finish Him is the track that I tend to think of as the true closer to that album, with the remaining two tracks serving as more of an epilogue. After unleashing his fair share of allegories about man raging against God and/or the Devil, and destruction being wrought on the Earth as a result, this beautiful, swelling anthem comes along that seems to exist in its own dreamlike state. It even repeats the line “I’ll see you in my dreams” as a sort of emotional hook for the rest of the lyrics to build around. It feels like a goal finally attained… until you realize that the man (or possibly god?) pining for the presence of the lover he’s been trying to win over all this time has failed yet again. I like to imagine that the dream state he’s slipping into is another universe he’s creating from scratch as a sort of cosmic do-over. Maybe this time he’ll get it right? Or is this one of those Inception-like endings where he finally gets what he wants, but we have to ask ourselves – if it happens in a dream that he never wakes up from, does any of it really matter?

9. “Basic”
Sigrid
Sucker Punch
This song came along at a time when I was feeling sympathy for friends who had to defend their love of “basic” pop music. As fun as it is to find twisty, turny songs with unexpected instrumentation that blend like three different genres together, sometimes an artist just comes up with the perfect, straight-down-the-middle pop tune, and it hits all the expected tropes of the most radio-friendly of genres and yet it just works. Norwegian singer/songwriter Sigrid found that perfect balance on her debut record with a song about being basic. It’s got one hell of a “na-na-na” hook and a danceable beat to go with it, but even if you strip those elements away, and zoom in more on the vocal harmonies and guitar chords underpinning it (as the stripped-down live persentation embedded below does), you’ve still got yourself a great song about potential young lovers yearning to stop all the playing hard to get and other mind games and just be real with each other. It’s such a compelling premise for a song even though I’m sure it’s been done a billion times before, because it handily articulates a frustration of mine from back when I was single – Can’t I just be myself and have someone actually like me for that? And it’s a value I try to encourage single friends nowadays to stick to when they’re feeling similarly discouraged. So yeah, this one was probably meant for an audience roughly half my age, but it really struck a chord with me.

10. “Death Stranding”
Chvrches
Death Stranding: Timefall
Video game tie-in songs generally aren’t where I’d expect to find strong songwriting – or heck, even any songwriting at all. When an artist I like gets commissioned to contribute a song to a game’s soundtrack, I generally figure it’ll either be incidental music meant to play during the game, or if it has lyrics, it’ll be so bogged down with mythology from the game that it won’t make sense out of context (see: Jonathan Coulton’s excellent contributions to the Portal series, which I’m sure must have been total head-scratchers to anyone not familiar with the games). But Chvrches came up with one hell of a compelling rumination on the looming end of life that we all have to face at one point or another, and the way it makes us feel compelled to hang on to the ones we love and enjoy what time we have left, in a way that sounds 100% true to their brand of high-octane synthpop and that doesn’t leave folks like me who are unfamiliar with the game Death Stranding feeling… well, stranded. One of the big themes in my life as 2019 draws to a close has been learning how to let go gracefully and be willing to adapt to a changing environment when some aspect of my life that I have loved dearly has run its course – such as close friends moving away, a social group deciding to disband, or a loved one being diagnosed with a non-terminal but certainly life-altering medical condition. This song has been hugely cathartic as I’ve tried to work through some of my thoughts and fears in that area. “Nothing lasts forever” is an easy statement to make, but a hard one to learn how to live with. But does the love you’ve shared survive even when those physical ties are severed? That’s what I think this song might be getting at.

11. “Sympathy”
Vampire Weekend
Father of the Bride
Vampire Weekend’s mix of a thumping club beat, flamenco guitar, choral samples, and a double bass breakdown at the end, is absolutely nuts. It’s also pretty brilliant, and a much-needed change of pace midway through Father of the Bride just when things were starting to get a bit sleepy. Good luck untangling all of Ezra Koenig’s musings on the uneasy relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the band slams their way through this one.

12. “Say Everything”
Global Genius
New Folk
It might be a stretch to call this a “folk song” in the traditional sense, given that the first thing you hear is an electric guitar. But the layers are carefully added like brush strokes in an elaborate painting here, deftly balancing interludes of violin and piano with the electric and acoustic guitars and Scott Denté’s heavily reverbed vocals. It’s a compellingly clever song about opening the floodgates and telling someone you’re in love with how you really feel without holding back.

13. “Singularity”
Darlingside
Extralife
This song was my first taste of the Boston based neo-folk quartet, whose sound is a curious blend of old-school instrumentation and vocal harmonies all sung around a single microphone, with occasional hints of the digital age like synths and processed guitar feedback sneaking their way in. I was so drawn in my the melodic goodness of this song that it took several listens to realize that the “singularity” they sang about here was the rapidly approaching end of human civilization. Rather than panic about it, they seem compelled to document the mundane aspects of modern life for any future historians who might stumble across it, and then welcome progress with open arms even if it means the end of our own consciousness.

14. “Synesthesia”
Polychrome
Polychrome
While I easily fell in love with Polychrome’s blend of retro synthpop sounds on their debut album, my introduction to the London-based duo was actually more of a “dream pop” type song, where the gentle piano chords, the driving guitar in the chorus, and the soothing, layered vocals from singer Vicky Harrison are all more dominant elements than the synths. It’s a song that tries to communicate what it’s like to taste colors and feel sounds and so forth, and even though I might not experience synesthesia myself in the strict sense, I do have a bit of a visual relationship with music where certain sounds will cause me to imagine certain colors or textures, and this song certainly brings a whole spectrum of ’em to mind.

15. “Nest of Nerves”
Liam Singer
Finish Him
The jittery opening track from Finish Him was yet another immediate highlight – pounding piano chords accentuated by either a harpsichord or dulcimer in a syncopated rhythm, accompanying Singer’s boastful lyrics that seem designed to mask fear and vulnerability by declaring that he’ll choose to dive into disaster rather than be a hapless sap to whom disaster merely happens.

16. “No Parachutes”
Owel
Paris
Also on the topic of taking a dive without fearing disaster – or at least a flight that could lead to said disaster – is this upbeat piano rocker from Owel’s third album, which describes the inherent risk of jumping into a relationship with both feet and no back up plan using the metaphor of of cobbling together a plane from spare parts and hoping it can hold together all the way across the Atlantic. The naive but charming optimism of this song is beautifully reflected in the video, in which various foods and kitchen implements are used to create a makeshift “band” that performs the song up until the all begin to fall apart or get squished into oblivion by the song’s end.

17. “Year of the Tiger”
Myles Kennedy
Year of the Tiger
With its acoustic strumming in minor key, upright bass, and a strong hint of folksy twang, the title track to Kennedy’s solo debut lets us know immediately that it’ll be a departure from Alter Bridge’s usual brand of fiery alt-metal. The premise for this song (and the album) is grim, as Kennedy recounts losing his father at a young age and having to look to his mother for protection and reassurance as she bravely soldiers on. But Kennedy consistently finds a way to reaffirm the value of life even as he wrestles with doubts and demons, reminding us here that “Love alone keeps us alive when we fear we can’t go on at all.”

18. “Congratulations”
Jimmy Eat World feat. Davey Havok
Surviving
I was already impressed with Jimmy Eat World’s follow-up to 2016’s Integrity Blues on my first listen, before I even got to its grand finale. This one gradually morphs from a rhythm-heavy and rather cynical anthem telling off a person who causes so much havoc (not Havok – that’s the lead singer of AFI who guests on vocals here) that they’re better off alone, to a thrilling coda that comes after a false ending, where the guitars seem to get heavier and heavier until the whole thing finally comes slamming to an end at around the six-minute mark. It’s the cherry on top of a rather delicious sundae of an album that makes up for in sheer quality what it may lack in new and intriguing flavors.

19. “Canary”
Joy Williams
Front Porch
While Williams’ decided move away from the pop/folk synthesis of Venus back to more traditional folk sounds on Front Porch didn’t really impress me overall, the opening track immediately drew me in with its ominous portents of danger, and Williams identifying herself as a songbird who would continue to make all the noise she could if it meant redirecting others away from mortal peril. Lyrically and vocally, it’s one of the absolute best things she’s ever come up with, and I’m including her stint in The Civil Wars when I say that.

20. “Bloodless”
Andrew Bird
My Finest Work Yet
Also warning us of impending danger, but with a wry bit of commentary on our false sense of security, is this brilliant track from Andrew Bird, which is a bit loungier and jazzier than his usual fare, but in the best possible way since it gives ample space for him to play squiggly solos on his signature instrument, the violin. His main argument here seems to be that past coups, rebellions, and hostile takeovers by repressive regimes were all preceded by a sort of calm before the storm in which citizens rationalized it wasn’t all that bad. When violence first started to become a way of life, it was all expressed through words and through creative mediums like films – poets were exploding like bombs in the figurative sense, but nobody was literally blowing themselves up yet, so what was the big deal? We can’t live in such a state for long before society either gets a hold of itself and puts more rational leaders in power, or else democracy collapses and fascists take over and we lose our chance.

21. “Spit It Out”
My Epic
Violence EP
My Epic struck the perfect balance between melodic and heavy rock again and again on their latest EP, to the point where I went back and forth several times on which track was actually my favorite. This song, with its intense drum rolls and its urgent demand for the truth even if suddenly ripping off that Band-Aid was gonna hurt, ultimately won out. Once again, I can’t help but gravitate toward songs that value honesty and dispense with the deceptive pleasantries, even in cases like this where that honesty’s bound to be rather brutal.

22. “Weather Report”
Owel
Paris
The opening track on Paris is such a great showcase for Jay Sekong’s voice. It starts off with his voice being the first thing you hear, a cautious near-whisper, as he watches the news and decides to steer clear of the possibility of natural disasters headed his way. He gradually builds toward an anguished cry as he realizes, despite his best attempts to live risk-free avoid all these things that the weather reports continually have him living in fear of, that the person he loves and admires most is out there living her life completely oblivious to these things, and he can’t help but long to join her.

23. “To the Ground”
Death Cab for Cutie
The Blue EP
With an immediately memorable drum cadence, a generously long run time, a surprising buildup of tension leading to a genuinely noisy guitar freakout in the bridge, and a rather grim meditation on a fatal road accident and the life that ultimately sprang forth from the forgotten wreckage, this is definitely a song that leaves an impact on the listener. It’s frustrating to think that Death Cab had this one in the can during the Thank You for Today sessions and ultimately decided to cut it from the record, as it’s easily stronger than a good 75% of the album. But I can see how it would have been difficult to fit it in pacing-wise, so I guess I should be glad we got to hear it on the companion EP released a year later.

24. “Sunflower”
Vampire Weekend feat. Steve Lacy
Father of the Bride
If you’re in the habit of singing along to catchy guitar riffs, then this groovy song is most definitely for you. It’s got such a relentlessly sunny vibe to it, complete with killer 70s-inspired vocal harmonies and some delicious fretwork, that it’s genuinely difficult for me to not sing along to both the guitar and vocal parts. When it was first released as the album’s second single, I might have been mildly annoyed at its short length and the way it slows down for the final chorus, but now I appreciate those little quirks as part of the song’s unique DNA. (And hey, if you want it to go on longer, you can always go dig up some live footage – they’ve been doing an excessively jammy version on their latest tour that runs a good seven or eight minutes.)

25. “The Long Way Home”
John Paul White
The Hurting Kind
White may prefer the road less travelled in his lyrics, but musically he found the perfect intersection between country and jangly folk/rock here, and the result is a zig-zagging song with an effortlessly singable melody that makes me want to immediately embark on a road trip along some lesser-known highway that runs through the middle of nowhere, just to see what’s there. At its core, this is actually a love song, but one that extols the virtue of having a little healthy space and time away from the person you love, so that you have some unique adventures to go back home and catch each other up on when you’re back together again. This man may wander from time to time, but he’s not looking for a permanent escape by any means.

26. “Alligator”
Of Monsters and Men
Fever Dream
This is the rare single that I think might be better off if it didn’t have an album attached. Not that I’m going to just dismiss everything else on Fever Dream, as some of the band’s experimentation with synthetic dream pop actually went over better than I was expecting it to. But the electric guitar-heavy, glammy opening track feels like it exists in its own worlds, with lead singer Nanna taking her nightmares by the reins and turning them into trippy lucid dreams that have no choice but to do her bidding. It was a bold move for a band that may never return to the expansive folk/rock sound that first made me fall in love with them, but who at least comes up with something fascinating like this from time to time as they go through each successive identity crisis.

27. “Yellow and Green”
Steven Delopoulos
(non-album single)
Even though it’s been 12 years since the last time Delopoulos put out a proper album, every once in a blue moon there will be rumors that he’s working on something new. Last time around that ended up turning into a new release by his band, Burlap to Cashmere. This year he managed to put out two solo singles despite neither one heralding the announcement of a new LP, and it’s frustrating because both easily rank among his best work, especially this delightfully pastoral tune that evokes all the colors and moods of a crisp, clear spring day. Steven often evokes classic singers like Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel, while being willing to change things up with the occasional non-sequitur lyric or whimsical musical flourish. I’ll happily eat up anything he releases as either band leader or solo artist, because songs like this effortlessly reaffirm why I still can’t get enough of this guy over 20 years after first hearing his voice on that first Burlap to Cashmere record.

28. “Pope”
Copeland
Blushing
While things got somewhat dreary and repetitive on some of the deep cuts from Copeland’s new record, the opening track and first single was a definite jaw-dropper, morphing its way from piano ballad to knotty, drum-heavy prog rock and back again. Like a lot of Copeland’s stuff, it wore its heart on its sleeve and the music had such a richness to it that it felt like the sound of falling into the most intimate kind of love that can possibly exist. And yet the lyrics and the eerie whispers from a lover telling Aaron Marsh to wake up and get going seemed to suggest that he was living in a dream state divorced from that blissful reality, as if he had the happy ending he’d always wanted but was too busy drowning in philosophical questions about the true nature of the universe to appreciate the blessings he could actually sense with his physical body.

29. “Rising”
Lovebites
Clockwork Immortality
Pure triumph seems to ring out from every note of this power metal anthem. It’s so incredibly cheesy in its attempt to pump up the listener and encourage them to rise up from whatever adversity has kept them down and keep on fighting that good fight – but as these ladies grind their axes, pound relentlessly on the drums and bass like it’s an advanced level in Guitar Hero, and even open up a bit of space for a surprising little piano break in the bridge, I’ll admit I can’t resist that feeling of wanting to take up my own battleaxe and fight the powers of darkness right alongside them. (And yes, we have actual music video footage for this one! I used this one to teach my three-year-old daughter the concept of “air guitar”, because I like to show her footage of kick-ass women making music in any genre whenever I get the chance.)

30. “High Horse”
Kacey Musgraves
Golden Hour
This one really should have been on my 2018 list, since the album and its popular singles were all released then – and for crying out loud, I even saw her perform this one on SNL back then and for some reason it didn’t register at the time. (That’s definitely not the first time I’ve heard a song on TV, forgotten it, and then heard it on the album later and realized I loved it.) I finally gave Golden Hour a chance thanks to the glowing recommendations of some friends whose tastes were very different from each other’s but who seemed to happily meet in the middle on this one, and while most of it was a bit too laid-back country-pop for my taste, I thought Kacey’s attempt at hybrid country/disco on this track was so audacious that it was actually perfect for the idea she was trying to communicate. If you’re gonna write a takedown of a macho alpha male who thinks he’s the hottest shit in town and never misses an opportunity to put people down to make sure they know who’s boss, then you’ve got to do something musically audacious to make sure you achieve the proper amount of sick burnage. Sure, this crazy cross-pollination of genres isn’t gonna be for everyone… but if you’re gonna badmouth this song to my face, then you can just giddy-up and take a solo ride right the hell out of town as far as I’m concerned.

31. “Marble Skies”
Django Django
Marble Skies

32. “The Dark Side”
Muse
Simulation Theory

33. “Offering”
Liam Singer
Finish Him

34. “Flower Moon”
Vampire Weekend feat. Steve Lacy & Danielle Haim
Father of the Bride

35. “Teenagers”
Meg & Dia
happysad

36. “Slow Burn”
Kacey Musgraves
Golden Hour

37. “Addicted”
Lovebites
Clockwork Immortality

38. “Bloody Angles”
My Epic
Violence EP

39. “Essentially”
Japanese Breakfast
(non-album single)

40. “Colossus of Rhodes”
The New Pornographers
In the Morse Code of Brake Lights

41. “Xanny”
Billie Eilish
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

42. “The Call”
Polychrome
Polychrome

43. “Fall into the Light”
Dream Theater
Distance Over Time

44. “Get Out Stay Out”
Owel
Paris

45. “Of Wilderness”
My Epic
Ultraviolet EP

46. “Sisyphus”
Andrew Bird
My Finest Work Yet

47. “Surface to Air”
Django Django feat. Self-Esteem
Marble Skies

48. “The Glow”
The Last Bison
SÜDA

49. “I Found U”
Passion Pit feat. Galantis
(non-album single)

50. “The Center Won’t Hold”
Sleater-Kinney
The Center Won’t Hold

51. “It’s a Trap!”
The Han Solo Project
Admiral Ackbar’s Lonely Limbs Club Band

52. “This Life”
Vampire Weekend feat. Danielle Haim
Father of the Bride

53. “Listen Before I Go”
Billie Eilish
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

54. “Devil Land”
Sucré
(non-album single)

55. “The Good Old Days”
John Paul White
The Hurting Kind

56. “The Rush”
Kings Kaleidoscope
ZEAL

57. “Algorithm”
Muse
Simulation Theory

58. “Wild Roses”
Of Monsters and Men
Fever Dream

59. “Dreaming About You”
Polychrome
Polychrome

60. “Quiet Loud”
My Brightest Diamond
(non-album single)

61. “Devil on the Wall”
Myles Kennedy
Year of the Tiger

62. “Dexter & Sinister”
Elbow feat. Jesca Hoop
Giants of All Sizes

63. “Real Gone”
Django Django
Marble Skies

64. “All Some Kind of Dream”
Josh Ritter
Fever Breaks

65. “Lune de Fiel”
M83
DSVII

66. “About to Break”
Kings Kaleidoscope
Zeal

67. “Sucker Punch”
Sigrid
Sucker Punch

68. “Ancient Names”
Lord Huron
Vide Noir

69. “In This Storm”
Thrice
Deeper Wells EP

70. “Red White and Black”
Jesca Hoop feat. Lucius
Stonechild

71. “Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile”
The New Pornographers
In the Morse Code of Brake Lights

72. “All the Way (Stay)”
Jimmy Eat World
Surviving

73. “Fear Inoculum”
Tool
Fear Inoculum

74. “Skeleton Man”
Coyote Kid
The Skeleton Man

75. “Happy”
Meg & Dia
happysad

76. “Bad Guy”
Billie Eilish
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

77. “Flicker”
Rina Sawayama
(non-album single)

78. “Cold Night”
The Last Bison
SÜDA

79. “LivWithoutU”
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Young Sick Camellia

80. “Kaleidoscope”
Mae
Multisensory Aesthetic Experience

81. “Symmetry”
Wye Oak
The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs

82. “Carnivorous”
Band of Skulls
Love Is All You Love

83. “One Nature”
Yoav
Multiverse

84. “You Seemed So Happy”
The Japanese House
Good at Falling

85. “Waste Some Time”
Polychrome
Polychrome

86. “Ecstatic Baby”
Yeasayer
Erotic Reruns

87. “Propaganda”
Muse
Simulation Theory

88. “Don’t Kill My Vibe”
Sigrid
Sucker Punch

89. “Sweet Remission”
Steven Delopoulos
(non-album single)

90. “With My Whole Heart”
Sufjan Stevens
Love Yourself / With My Whole Heart EP

91. “Leaving Earth”
Polychrome
Polychrome

92. “Tic Tac Toe”
Django Django
Marble Skies

93. “Ilomilo”
Billie Eilish
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

94. “Songbird”
Myles Kennedy
Year of the Tiger

95. “Orphans”
Coldplay
Everyday Life

96. “We’re Alive”
Band of Skulls
Love Is All You Love

97. “Futures”
Darlingside
Extralife

98. “Test Tone”
Liam Singer
Finish Him

99. “Black Light”
My Epic
Violence EP

100. “Emotional Girls”
Sawyer
Less Than More Than EP

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