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The 100 best songs of 2019

The 100 best songs of 2019

2019 Best of | Best international albums | Best Songs | Best Irish albums | Best Irish songs | Guest selections


Here we are my 100 favourite tracks of the year with a Spotify playlist. Words by Luke Sharkey, Kelly Doherty and Niall.

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100.

Whitney

Rhododendron

A delicate brass-toned instrumental highlight from the Chicago band’s second album.

99.

Toro Y Moi

Freelance

Chaz Bundick extols the virtues of a multi-faceted creative work life with this slippery funk dance track.

98.

Noname

Song 31

Noname’s jazzy ‘Song 31’ puts her rap chops to the front with a rhythmically challenging flow and her exceedingly buttery voice. It’s an understated number that showcases Noname’s versatility and charms with its unorthodox approach to rap.

97.

Talos

The Light Upon Us

Eoin French takes up his calling card cinematic indie on the superb ‘The Light Upon Us’. Listening to the chorus, there can be little doubt that French is among the best vocalists in the nation right now.

96.

Model Man

Clarity

Euphoric piano-lead house track from a UK duo on Alan Fitzpatrick’s Apex Faction imprint. Late night last tune on the stereo before you go home vibes.

95.

Steve Lacy

Like Me

A 9-minute bisexual anthem from The Internet musician’s solo album Apollo XXI.

94.

Strawberry Guy

Mrs Magic

Welsh native Strawberry Guy channels early Mac Demarco and vintage Japanese city pop artists like Shintaro Sakamoto on this dreamy slacker pop tune. Not reinventing the wheel but having a ton of fun with it.

93.

Octavian

Take It Easy ft. Smokepurpp

Octavian employs the help of US rapper Smokepurpp on the braggadocious, dark flow of ‘Take It Easy’. The British rapper’s distinct vocals lend a raspy quality to this syrupy trap cut that bounces between cocky statements about drugs, violence, sex and money with such a cartoonish quality that it eventually forces you to suspend your reservations to just join in on the party.

92.

Sudan Archives

Confessions

There’s so much going on here musically, that golden-era Hollywood fiddle melody and Brittney Denise Parks’ nu-R&B vocal delivery.

91.

Denise Chaila

Copper Bullet

A storming mission statement from one of Ireland’s most promising MCs, ‘Copper Bullet’ sees Chaila putting the world to rights. Stripped back production takes a back seat to some of the best Irish hip-hop lyrics of the year with a song that immediately asserted Chaila as a bright new rap talent.

90.

Rachael Lavelle

Perpetual Party

The most striking avant-garde pop tune made and released in Ireland this year. Lavelle’s shrill, sometimes ghoulish vocal is perfectly accompanied by a minimalist synth arrangement.

89.

Cate Le Bon

Home To You

Wales’ finest had a standout year and there was no finer song from Le Bon than this one.

88.

Pusha T

Sociopath

‘Sociopath’ is an unnervingly unorthodox love song. Pusha T’s captures the spirit of the all scamming, money-loving apple of his eye in this sinister lyrical beast that flips the script on gender roles in hip-hop.

87.

SOAK

Maybe

Invoking 80s pop aesthetics, ‘Maybe’ sees SOAK flexing her pop chops with a huge chorus and a youthful sense of euphoria. Grim Town was a joy from start to finish and ‘Maybe’ is its landmark moment.

86.

Uly

Redlight

The sort of bassline the sun dreams of setting to from Rafino Murphy, on a song with smudged lo-fi pop falsetto vibes.

85.

Sworn Virgins

Lazer Beam

Signed to DEEWEE (of Soulwax), Sworn Virgins are a bit of a mystery. Nobody knows much about the hard disco act, though rumours of Paranoid London being involved are ripe. All that aside, ‘Lazer Beam’ melted faces across the city throughout the later half of the year. Undulating, unabashed disco genius.

84.

AA Bondy

Diamond Skulls

From the Birmingham Alabama singer-songwriter’s first album in eight years. “Ooh la la / Swastika / Say Old Glory / Happy birthday / I seem my name / Spelled out in cocaine,” he sings. It’s dark but the music reels you in.

83.

Rapsody

Ibitihaj ft. D’Angelo & GZA

It’s always a treat to get an encounter with D’Angelo and Rapsody is at her best on this tribute to US Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Muslim woman to wear a hijab whilst competing. Sampling GZA’s ‘Liquid Swords’, ‘Ibtihaj’ is buoyed by Rapsody’s irresistible flows and an overall timeless feel. Produced by another legend in 9th Wonder, ‘Ibtihaj’ is an essential hip-hop track.

82.

Kate Tempest

People’s Faces

Kate Tempest’s final breaths on her latest album address the seemingly staggering divisions within Brexit England with poignant empathy. ‘People’s Faces’ loves the British, even in their worst moments.

81.

Nealo, Molly Sterling, Innrspace

Just My Luck

Nealo’s first single release following ‘October Year’ heard the Dublin MC headed in far more soulful, jazzy direction arrangement wise. Aided in no small part by guest vocals from Molly Sterling, instrumentation from INNRSPACE and the memorable use of expletives in the call and response hook.

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