Top 50 Tracks of 2019 (10-01)

10. The Exbats “Hercules”

Opening with charming “bah-bah-bahs” and lyrics professing her love for the Roman hero of the song title’s namesake, Inez McLain, one half of the father/daughter duo known as The Exbats, launches into this sincerely touching and catchy indie pop single. By the time the song’s tender bridge is reached, one can easily imagine a young woman promising her endless friendship, support, and empathy to a god. The song builds steadily to include bouncy drums and Inez exultingly repeating, “I got your backity back, back.” With “Hercules”, The Exbats create a near-cinematic listening experience that’s at once heartwarming and triumphant. – Andy Mascola

09. Fontaines D.C. “Boys in the Better Land”

Fontaines D.C. manages to exude eloquence with simplicity. “Boys In The Betterland” is them at their best. The dry vocals lay heavy on steady, driving riffs. There’s not many surprises here, but it’s all the better because of it. “Boys In The Betterland” is catchy and simple to pick up, but still feels grounded and real. – Jacob Holke

08. Gauche “Running”

Maybe it’s the universally relatable lyrics regarding the futility of working hard and not getting anywhere. Or maybe it’s the insanely danceable, subversively ska-esque, saxophone-infused rhythm and melody that makes Gauche’s “Running” so irresistible. Regardless, the Washington, D.C. post-punk supergroup, comprised of members of Priests and Downtown Boys, manages to push all the right sociopolitical and groove-centric buttons on “Running”. Although comparatively brief at just over two minutes, Gauche manages to create a moment that simultaneously feels both retro and timeless. – Andy Mascola

07. Purple Mountains “That’s Just the Way That I Feel”

Within the first fifteen seconds of the lead-off track on Purple Mountains’ self-titled full-length, the late David Berman sings, “Things have not been going well, this time I think I finally fucked myself.” And while these lines may read dire, the song’s jaunty melody and welcoming honky-tonk piano are immediately friendly and likable, making Berman’s lyrics feel more “aw shucks” than “oh shit”. Throughout the song, Berman’s dark humor and cautious optimism cleverly contrast the track’s instrumental buoyancy when he sings about almost losing his genitalia to an anthill before opining hopefully that “a setback can be a setup, for a comeback if you don’t let up.” “That’s Just the Way That I Feel” is a great start to one of the year’s best albums. – Andy Mascola

06. Selena Gomez “Lose You to Love Me”

The lead single from her upcoming third studio album, Rare was also Selena Gomez‘s first number-one song in the US. What makes “Lose You to Love Me” so powerful is the idea of being better on the other side of heart break. Unlike Gomez’ other high charting songs, “Good for You” & “Same Old Love,” there is very little production or even instruments to hide behind. It is a song where she is laid bare and the vulnerability she showed paid dividends. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

05. Lizzo “Juice”

Lizzo‘s “Juice” was the first new single I glommed on to in 2019; who would have known it was just the beginning for one of the biggest stars of the year? Like the female empowerment version of “Uptown Funk,” the track mixes funk-pop, soul, boogie, disco-pop and Minneapolis sound to create an infectious sound that introduced Lizzo and her body-positive message to a larger audience than ever before. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

04. Sharon Van Etten “Seventeen”

It is ironic that Sharon Van Etten‘s most Stevie Nicks sounding track is about being seventeen. Unlike Nick’s “Edge of Seventeen,” Van Etten’s is truly about being seventeen. She expresses the joy and the fragility of the age, being too young to enjoy it fully but understanding that it was enjoyed. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

03. Lizzo “Truth Hurts”

When you think about songs that have become memes, you might think of “Gangnam Style” or Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” The point is they generally aren’t very good. Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” became the year’s biggest musical meme and yet was a complete banger. Gaining new life by a tweet from Hillary Clinton and a thread as her “boys” as lizards, “Truth Hurts” was everywhere and deservedly so. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

02. Sleater-Kinney “Hurry On Home”

With the lyrics “you know I’m unfuckable, unlovable, unlistenable, unwatchable,” Carrie Brownstein and Sleater-Kinney hooks you into “Hurry On Home.” The track looks at how women are portrayed by Trump and his media pundits. It expresses how beaten down you can feel by it, how disconnected it can make you feel from society. Ultimately, it owns the portrayal if not because of just how tired we all are of it than to at least gain back some of the power. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

01. Billie Eilish “bad guy”

While Billie Eilish‘s meteoric rise started well before this year, it was cemented with her first number one single, “bad guy.” Somewhere between an ASMR video and lo-fi dance track, the song is understated, kooky, and sassy as all get out. Its lyrics sound like they were written to be quoted in AIM away messages while still giving a smile, wink, and nod to teenage angst in a way that only someone much older than 17 should be able to. Its an artful song by an unparalleled young talent. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

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