Top 25 Songs of 2019 (So Far)

These are the songs we just can't get enough of so far this year

Top 25 Songs of 2019 (So Far)

    As our Mid-Year Report continues, today we reveal The Top 25 Songs of 2019 (So Far).

    I fall into the same habit year after year. Right around the time we start rounding up contenders for our mid-year reports, I catch myself trying to figure out whether a given year has thus far been an “albums” or a “songs” year. I have no idea if that’s a distinction anyone else makes. The other determination I try to make is whether or not this year’s “anthem” has dropped yet. You know, this year’s “Royals” or “Alright” or “Freedom”, the song that’ll transcend barriers, break through demographics, and be on everyone’s lips and stuck in everyone’s heads until 2019 fades … and maybe longer. Then again, if you have to ask, it hasn’t happened yet, right?

    (Read: The Top 25 Albums of 2019 (So Far))

    Where am I at so far in 2019? More or less stuck. The albums I love most so far are packed with the songs I love most. That doesn’t always happen. Usually, more diamonds fall from rougher places. This year, they seem mostly clumped together. Does that make it an “albums year?” Maybe, but I’m not sure. For instance, I can’t necessarily tell you if Sharon Van Etten’s “Seventeen” is a better song than her Remind Me Tomorrow is an album. Again, maybe we’re not supposed to think this way.

    But putting my idiosyncrasies aside, I do know that there isn’t a song on this list that doesn’t do something for me. Whether it’s a twerking session with Lizzo, a history lesson with Jamila Woods, or a heartbroken late-night drive with Tyler, the Creator, I never find myself pressing <skip>. And that tells me all I really need to know. Now, press <play>.

    –Matt Melis
    Editorial Director


    Head to Consequence of Sound Radio on TuneIn to listen to all our favorite music released this year!

    25. The National – “Light Years”

    I Am Easy to Find

    Sounds Like: Love echoing in the insurmountable distance between two people

    Key Lyric: “Everyone was lighting up in the shadows alone/ You could’ve been right there next to me, and I’d have never known”

    Why It Matters: The National can break a heart like nobody’s business. As soon as Aaron Dessner’s fingers tumble over the keys on this closing track to I Am Easy to Find, the cracks start to form. Then in comes Matt Berninger, his voice an even more restrained hush than usual, and it’s like the organ just falls apart in your chest. There’s something so simple about the phrase “I will always be light years away from you” that almost feels like it’s not cerebral enough for a National cut, but it’s composed with such grace that it will make you cry like the best of their repertoire. –Ben Kaye


    Song in a GIF:

    Calvin and Hobbes


    24. Denzel Curry – “Ricky”


    Sounds Like: A Saturday morning cartoon set in South Florida and starring Uncle Phil

    Key Lyric: “Ricky used to take me to my first shows ever/ Would only drop jewels way before they dropped cheddar”

    Why It Matters: With a playful beat that slaps almost obnoxiously hard and with earnest sincerity in the lyrics, “Ricky” is the type of dichotomous rap track that would confuse the bow tie off a Fox News host. It feels grimy, the kind of dirty, noisy production that would make Laura Ingraham’s brows furrow in disgust. Though Denzel Curry practically bites through the lyrics, their homage to the advice and support of his parents make them actually rather sweet. Sure, the idea of your mom telling you to “use a rubber” is a bit shuddery, but the sentiment is profound. –Ben Kaye


    Song in a GIF:

    uncle phil

    23. James Blake – “Mile High”

    Assume Form

    Sounds Like: Looking out the window as your plane floats through a massive and hazy marshmallow cloud

    Key Lyric: “Watch the fan as it spins/ In my arms, wrapped in/ Don’t know where you stop/ And where I begin”


    Why It Matters: I don’t know what it’s like being a part of the “Mile High Club,” but James Blake, Travis Scott, and producer Metro Boomin sell the membership exceptionally well. The Assume Form single can be listened to with feet firmly planted on the ground, or thousands of feet above sea level, but the result is the same. You’re instantly transported to a place where slow-burning trap never sounded so sweet and yet so sad, where Blake channels Scott’s swagger and Scott manages to borrow a page from Blake’s sensitive choirboy handbook. –Lake Schatz

    Song in a GIF:

    James Blake - Spongebob

    22. Bruce Springsteen – “Hello Sunshine”

    Western Stars

    Sounds Like: The song playing in your head as you dramatically peer out of a car window in your 10-gallon hat, pretending to be in a movie or music video


    Key Lyric: “Had enough of heartbreak and pain/ I had a little sweet spot for the rain/ For the rain and skies of gray/ Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?”

    Why It Matters: There’s a comfort in being sad, but Bruce Springsteen is ready to break free. “Hello Sunshine” introduces us to The Boss as we’ve rarely seen him: reaching out to embrace contentedness in life and in music. A warm, pedal steel-drenched exercise in country folk’s supreme mellow, the nostalgic lead single off Springsteen’s first album in five years is a watershed moment driven by his richest song in over a decade. There are sunny days ahead for all of us if we choose to move out from underneath the rain cloud. –Irene Monokandilos

    Song in a GIF:

    Owen Wilson GIF

    21. Sego – “Neon Me Out”

    Sego Sucks


    Sounds Like: Literally getting pulled into an Instagram hole

    Key Lyric: “Took my life for granted till I saw myself in pixels/ All alone and lost for words, so take a thousand pictures”

    Why It Matters: Jagged bass and an absurdly beguiling explosion into the hook make “Neon Me Out” as addicting as the technological dependency it’s about. That’s the neat trick of the whole thing, as Sego make it feel somewhat ‘Gramable while simultaneously wrestling with the very concept. Even when it gets a little on-the-nose on the bridge, the criticism that is the song’s conceit feels well considered, cogent, and catchy as hell. It’s all the sort of puckish charm that’s made Sego a band to watch this year, ignoring modish rock norms while taking faddism to task. –Ben Kaye

    Song in a GIF:

    Sego's Gif

    20. Anderson .Paak – “Make It Better” (feat. Smokey Robinson)


    Sounds Like: A hot summer night, a bottle, a fire escape, and “The Tracks of My Tears” wafting through the alley

    Key Lyric: “And it’s easier to walk away/ Than to look for what would make you stay.”


    Why It Matters: It’s not like something was really broken when Anderson .Paak dropped Oxnard last year. The album just seemed slight — despite some banging singles — when caught in the long shadow cast by Malibu two years prior. Fast-forward a few months, and Ventura has made most fans forget about that temporary disappointment. Incidentally, the album that mended .Paak’s streak of excellent records features a standout all about fixing a broken relationship. With his signature drums leading the way, .Paak turns to the old-school and guest vocals of legend Smokey Robinson to help rekindle a relationship that’s all but burned out. The track is such soulful gold that it makes you wonder why Robinson and other veterans don’t get more phone calls to guest and bring the old school back. –Matt Melis

    Song in a GIF:

    holding hand

    19. Stella Donnelly – “Old Man”

    Beware of the Dogs

    Sounds Like: A pink p*ssy hat giving the middle finger to a piece-of-shit MAGA hat

    Key Lyric: “Your personality traits don’t count/ If you put your dick in someone’s face”


    Why It Matters: In a time when our president — a man with more sexual misconduct accusers than can be counted on three hands — proclaims the #MeToo era to be a very dangerous time for men of privilege, Stella Donnelly couldn’t bring herself to mince words. “Oh, are you scared of me old man,” she taunts on “Old Man”, adopting a sweet, angelic voice, “or are you scared of what I’ll do?” The song’s an unflinching middle finger to both perpetrators of sex crimes and those around them who rationalize away such despicable behavior. As long as moral cowardice rules the day, we need artists like Donnelly to remind these sick fucks that their days are numbered. –Matt Melis

    Song in a GIF:

    Stella Donnelly Gif

    18. BLACKPINK – “Kill This Love”


    Sounds Like: A marching band where the sousaphone is just the sound of your heart exploding

    Key Lyric: “Got me all messed up, his love is my favorite/ But you plus me sadly can be dangerous”


    Why It Matters: K-pop is meant to be big and bombastic at its best, and good Lord is “Kill This Love” big. Dropping right before BLACKPINK’s much publicized Coachella appearance, the track was like a siren call daring attendees to miss their performance. However, underneath all that maximalist pop is some truly masterful songwriting. The fact that it doesn’t simply crumble under the weight of all those horns is impressive enough, but listen to how the quartet dexterously hops between languages. Writing lyrics that fit together in one language is enough of a challenge, yet here English slips into Korean and back again like it’s all Esperanto. If the glory of pop music is found in how sounds weave together to create an earworm, there’s not much more glorious than “Kill This Love”. –Ben Kaye

    Song in a GIF:

    exploding rose

    17. Julia Jacklin – “Pressure to Party”


    Sounds Like: The song heard on repeat through your roommate’s wall during a party to which they were not invited


    Key Lyric: “I know I’ve locked myself in my room/ But I’ll open up the door and try to love again soon”

    Why It Matters: Sometimes, the worst kind of friends are the well-intentioned ones. That’s what Australia’s Julia Jacklin is dealing with on “Pressure to Party”, which pits her mates’ obsession with post-break-up self-care with Jacklin’s own desire to wallow just a little longer. The most vigorous track on Jacklin’s sophomore record, Crushing, also draws power from reclaiming the autonomy and agency of singledom after a period of being paired up. Though the song, like the rest of the record, feels intensely personal, it also serves as another reminder of something we could all do well to internalize: it’s okay to not be okay. –Tyler Clark

    Song in a GIF:

    Bored Party - Julia Jacklin

    16. Faye Webster – “Kingston”

    Atlanta Millionaires Club 


    Sounds Like: A sigh while floating down a lazy river with your daydreams being projected on the clouds

    Key Lyric: “The day that I met you I started dreaming”

    Why It Matters: Like Billie Eilish (who you also might find on this list), Faye Webster has an uncanny knack for taking a narrow musical swath and demonstrating just how much can be done in that seemingly limited space. On “Kingston”, she leans in over soft horns, beats, and pedal steel to dreamily reflect on the one she’s fallen for (or perhaps once fell for). It’s a deceptively simple song and easy to dismiss until you realize she’s gotten you to hit <repeat> again and again and you start to lose yourself in your own daydreams. –Matt Melis

    Song in a GIF:

    carrie brownstein

    15. Tame Impala – “Patience”



    Sounds Like: Going to the beach while unemployed

    Key Lyric: “We’re growin’ up in stages/ And I’m runnin’ out of pages”

    Why It Matters: Idleness, or the perception thereof, suits Kevin Parker; as Tame Impala, he’s produced some of the most easy-going (and easily obsessed-over) psych rock of his generation. Still. You can only float for so long before you have to come down and see what kind of distance you’ve actually covered. Parker uses his time on “Patience” to take stock and, in the process, delivers the spiritual sequel to “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, only one that trades hazy guitars for a beachy, house-ready piano bent on single-handedly kicking off a new Balearic revival. When the music sounds this good, why worry at all? –Tyler Clark

    Song in a GIF:

    Tame Impala - Patience

    14. Flying Lotus and Anderson .Paak – “More”



    Sounds Like: A revelation after relishing three jazz club cocktails

    Key Lyric: “Kinda like a dream the way it all happened/ When all the laws of attraction/ Break all the walls I was trapped in”

    Why It Matters: On this Flamagra track, Flying Lotus and Anderson .Paak seek to achieve “More” out of life. FlyLo, also known as Steven Ellison, already does this on the regular, though, through his music. He’s so much more than just a wizard producer behind the boards; he’s an expert bandleader, too, curating talented guests that not only complement his music, but also help transform it into a whole different beast. Consider how .Paak’s suave signature vocals melt right into FlyLo’s zigzagging, jazzy tapestry. You almost forget the two components, on their own, are total contrasts, and yet here they are working in near harmony. Striving for “More” doesn’t always necessarily have to be about changing the world per se; count every bit of betterment — even within a song — as a win. –Lake Schatz

    Song in a GIF:

    Anderson Paak - GIF

    13. Solange – “Almeda”

    When I Get Home


    Sounds Like: A tour guide who goes off-script to give you the real experience

    Key Lyric: “Black faith still can’t be washed away/ Not even in that Florida water”

    Why It Matters: It’s good to have a Knowles repping your hometown, and Solange is no exception. And, of course, she does it as only a native Houstonian can. On “Almeda”, not only does Solange catalog black experience in the southwest Houston community, but she uses the language of her hometown (the chopped and screwed sounds of Houston rap) in doing so. It’s a love letter to the people and places that helped make her the person she is today, and by acknowledging Houston’s legacy, she helps secure her own. –Matt Melis

    Song in a GIF:

    Solange Top 25 Songs of 2019 (So Far)

    12. Little Simz – “Selfish”

    GREY Area


    Sounds Like: Cashing a check you know your ass earned

    Key Lyric: “No validation, no applause/ You don’t have to prove you got it when you know it’s yours”

    Why It Matters: Hip-hop has always gone hand-in-hand with the idea of escaping harsh circumstances. Those who overcome adversity and make it to the top of the game, in theory, earn respect. However, female British rapper Little Simz finds herself facing a double-standard on her hit track “Selfish”. After pulling herself up from a humble upbringing, she catches flack rather than praise for the new lifestyle she’s earned. Coupled with a gorgeous pop chorus by Cleo Sol, Simz reminds herself that haters are going to hate and that nobody has the right to question what she’s earned through her own sweat and creativity. If that’s being “selfish,” fuck ’em. –Matt Melis

    Song in a GIF:

    Little Simz

    11. Better Oblivion Community Center – “Big Black Heart”

    Better Oblivion Community Center


    Sounds Like: Staring into a TV’s snowy “no signal” screen with the static noise cranked up to eleven

    Key Lyric: “Alright, alright for now/ I’ll wrap my head around it/ Make room for something else”

    Why It Matters: There’s a sonic monster hiding in plain sight on Better Oblivion Community Center’s self-titled debut, and it’s here to make listeners swallow the toughest of pills: Love is a neurochemical con job. “Big Black Heart” is a searing melodrama about the incessant struggle between logic and emotion. In romance, everything (and everyone) is not as it seems. The track exemplifies what Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst do best: Practice sobering honesty with ourselves even when it’s soul crushing to do so. Oh, and let’s not forget the blistering and brilliant guitar work. –Irene Monokandilos


    Song in a GIF:

    Game of Thrones

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