This year we saw Old Town Road, a hip-hop/pop/country hybrid, become the longest running US number one of all time. It was an untouchable, history-making single that continues to receive rightful acclaim, even into 2020.
While all else that followed clearly couldn’t quite reach the same heights, it’s still been a stellar year of musical output. Alongside Old Town Road, here we take a look at 2019’s 10 worst songs, and 25 best songs.
THE 10 WORST SONGS OF 2019
10. Chance The Rapper – Do You Remember (ft Death Cab for Cutie)
The less that’s said about Chance The Rapper’s long-awaited debut album the better. Besides being utterly uninteresting, The Big Day boasted shocking songwriting, horrible collaborations and all-out lazy songwriting. Do You Remember is perhaps the ‘best’ example of all these.
9. Yungblud – Original Me (ft Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons)
I don’t think any of us are sure what Yungblud is, or who he’s for, but it figures that his collaborative history boasts Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Barker and Imagine Dragons. Now it makes sense who he’s for.
8. Avril Lavigne – Dumb Blonde (ft Nicki Minaj)
Despite it being 2019, apparently Avril Lavigne still has it, and tickets for her shows have flown off the shelves. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about her new material, and shock, the recently-‘retired’ Minaj stops by for a feature.
7. Kanye West – Closed On Sunday
Kanye pushed it with those bleached asshole lines, then further with the whole poop/scoop shtick. But with those at least there was an air of irony and humour. Closed On Sunday however is serious, and supposedly legitimate lyricism, where as it’s realistically some of Kanye’s worst ever songwriting.
6. Tyga – Ayy Macarena
Since Rack City stormed the charts and the airwaves back in 2011, it’s been a never-ending plunge into the pitiful for Tyga. And a sample/cover of Macarena of all songs, could be his worst moment yet.
5. Miley Cyrus – Cattitude (ft RuPaul)
A simple case of Miley doing what Miley does best. Throwing obscenities in your face, and forcing vulgarity down your throat. And that’s probably exactly what she intended, for reasons we’ll never really know.
4. Logic – Lemon Drop
Supermarket was the first of two LPs from Logic this year, the first of two nobody asked for. It shone light on a different sound for Logic, one that attempted to emulate alternative rock and indie music. And yes, the results were as bad as you’d imagine.
3. 93PUNK, Vic Mensa & Travis Barker – 3 Years Sober
Oh Vic Mensa. When will it stop? What are you? What do you want to be? I don’t even think the man himself really knows. One thing is for sure though: 93PUNK, a full-length punk/rap project won’t be helping or benefiting anyone.
2. Marshmello – Room to Fall (ft Flux Pavilion & Elohim)
Room to Fall is forgettable; plain boring and completely uninteresting. It wouldn’t and shouldn’t hold your attention and there’s nothing to really report. But what Room to Fall does do, is encapsulate an entire medium of mediocrity.
Social media site TikTok blew up this year as the true successor to Vine. It gave vapid like-searching loners and vacuous attention-hungry morons a platform to spread their message and voice of nothing. Millions of hours of TikTok ‘content’ are soundtracked by a Room to Fall-esque sound; a horrific mix of trap, EDM and pop. It summarises all that’s wrong with our fake plastic tree world, a world dictated by likes, lies and little-to-no talent.
1. Lil Dicky – Earth
Lil Dicky’s Earth pushes the boundaries of what can be considered an attempt of a song.
The ‘message’ is warped; completely flawed and backed by greed and insincerity. The ‘lyrics’ are laughable; blurring the lines of nonsensical rambling, crass immaturity and downright bizarre. The feature list also contributes to this sad excuse of a song, from people you’d expect this from, to those who should really know better.
Earth is as strange, shameful and shuddering a pop song as you’ll see this decade. Besides its horror appearances from everyone involved, or its stick-thin content or concept, it’s Earth’s purpose that remains its most mystifying attribute. Who is this for? What is this for? And why?
THE 25 BEST SONGS OF 2019
25. The Streets – Weak Become Heroes (Royksopp’s Memory Lane Mix)
Mike Skinner and co. finally returned to the stage and the studio last year, bringing a special RSD b-sides LP with them.
24. Wiley, Stefflon Don & Sean Paul – Boasty (Remix ft Idris Elba)
Dancehall/hip-hop/pop hybrid. Oozes chemistry and is topped off with Idris Elba on the ‘remix ting’.
23. Kings of The Rollers – Guitar Track
Found on the dnb supergroup’s acclaimed debut album, recalls a Tarantino score cut dipped in drums.
22. Francis & The Lights – Take Me To The Light (ft Bon Iver & Kanye West)
The second of their triple pronged collabs, Take Me To The Light promises to be a worthy follow up to 2016’s Friends.
21. Shy FX – Original Nuttah 25 (Chase & Status Remix ft Irah)
A legendary piece of drum and bass/jungle like Original Nuttah can only be reworked by someone of equal ilk. Supported by Irah on vocals, Chase & Status were up to the task.
20. Stormzy – Vossi Bop
Capitalised on by a history-making headline set at Glastonbury, Vossi Bop started the ball rolling on a career-defining year for Stormzy.
19. Gerry Read – It’ll All Be Over Soon (DJ Koze Remix)
First it was Operator, then came Pick Up, at this point it’s only natural for a Koze release to receive the same rightful attention.
18. Clairo – Impossible
The lo-fi queen’s long-awaited debut LP proved to be worth the hype, with Impossible among the highlights.
17. Underworld – Listen to their No
Stand-out single from the legendary techno duo’s new Drift project. Punchy and percussive yet light and lifting.
16. Barrington Levy – Here I Come (Nu:Tone Remix)
The highlight of Hospital Records’ collaborative remix project with Jet Star, the legendary reggae record label.
15. Rosalia – Aute Culture
Snappy, spicy and dripping with glam, grandeur and Mediterranean magic, Rosalia’s sound continues to push the boundaries of Latin music.
14. AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove (Remix ft Novelist & General Levy)
Two-step garage meets grime, with Jorja Smith sample and snappy flow and hook. Support stars old and new meet on the remix for even better results.
13. Peggy Gou – Starry Night
Certainly the biggest female DJ right now, and perhaps the biggest DJ full stop. Gou continues her impressive release history with a worthy follow up to last year’s It Makes You Forget.
12. Loyle Carner – Loose Ends (ft Jorja Smith)
Never afraid of sentimentality, Loyle’s latest foray into fragile hip-hop is welcomely supported by Smith on the hook.
11. Kanye West – God Is
Much has been said about Jesus Is King and all that surrounds it. But production still remains Kanye’s biggest asset, as evidenced best on God Is.
Caribou – Home
Dan Snaith and co. finally returned to Caribou content with the release of Home this year, a riff-driven hybrid of electronica meets indie. Stay tuned for more, as a European tour kicks off in 2020, with a new album on the way too.
FKA Twigs – Holy Terrain (ft Future)
As with every Twigs project, the acclaim was once again astronomical. Holy Terrain was among Magdalene’s best moments, with support from Future, Skrillex and TDE’s Sounwave to name a few.
The Chemical Brothers – Got to Keep On
A welcomed return to form for The Chemical Brothers, Got To Keep On was one of the best Chems singles in years, on an album that was just as impressive.
Lil Nas X – Old Town Road (Remix ft Billy Rae Cyrus)
The longest running US number one of all time, a collision of country and hip-hop and undoubtedly one of the most important singles in modern music history.
Khruangbin – Texas Sun (ft Leon Bridges)
Soft and sleepy riff-riding chill from the experimental four-piece. Leon Bridges’s soulful vocals slot in for support, with minimal effort and maximum output.
The 1975 – Frail State of Mind
There’s really no telling just what The 1975 will venture into next, and this incredible take on Burial-esque pop is the last thing we expected. What we can expect though, is a new album and worldwide tour in 2020.
Tyler, The Creator – Are We Still Friends?
Densely layered and boasting intricate production and diverse instrumentation, Tyler does it again. Perhaps the album of the year, from an artist who continues to reevaluate his image and sound with every release.
Tame Impala – Patience
Fiery piano chords and nostalgic percussion compliment the trademark Parker crooning, and promises big things for the new Tame Impala project. Expect the new album, The Slow Rush, to arrive in February.
James Blake – Mile High (ft Travis Scott & Metro Boomin’)
The highlight and lead single to Blake’s fourth album, Boasting a sound that blurred the lines of percussive trap with delicate R&B. Blake highlighted Scott as one of the album’s inspirations, and Mile High was the best proof of this.
slowthai – Doorman
Genre: UK hip-hop/punk
Producer: Mura Masa
Project: Nothing Great About Britain
While officially released as a single towards the end of 2018, Doorman still found itself at home on slowthai’s 2019 album Nothing Great About Britain.
Gritty, hard-hitting and punchy, unrelenting, unforgiving and unbudging, Doorman is an encapsulation of all that slowthai and his debut album stands for. A hybrid of rap with punk and electronic influences, the best song of 2019 is draped in venom and distaste, and encompassed by protest and rage.
Like this list? Catch all 25 of the best songs of the year in a handy Spotify playlist below.