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


Toro Y Moi


Toro y Moi - "Freelance" (Official Music Video)

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



Song 31

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.



The Light Upon Us

Talos - The Light Upon Us (Lyric Video)

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.


Model Man


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.


Steve Lacy

Like Me

Steve Lacy - Like Me (Official Audio)

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


Strawberry Guy

Mrs Magic

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.



Take It Easy ft. Smokepurpp

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.


Sudan Archives


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.


Denise Chaila

Copper Bullet

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.


Rachael Lavelle

Perpetual Party

Perpetual Party - Rachael Lavelle

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.


Cate Le Bon

Home To You

Cate Le Bon - Home to You (Official Video)

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


Pusha T


Pusha T - Sociopath ft. Kash Doll (Official Audio)

‘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.




SOAK - Maybe (Live on KEXP)

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.




Uly - redlight (2019)

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


Sworn Virgins

Lazer Beam

Sworn Virgins - Lazer Beam - Video

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.


AA Bondy

Diamond Skulls

A.A. Bondy - Enderness - Diamond Skull

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.



Ibitihaj ft. D’Angelo & GZA

Rapsody - Ibtihaj 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.


Kate Tempest

People’s Faces

Kae Tempest - People's Faces (Audio)

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.


Nealo, Molly Sterling, Innrspace

Just My Luck

Just My Luck (feat. Molly Sterling & INNRSPACE)

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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