Top 50 Tracks of 2019 (40-31)

40. Cursive “Black Hole Town”

With their newest album, Cursive is direct and to the point. From the opening riff, the instrumentation of “Black Hole Town” sounds almost as skeptical as the lyrics’ view of the town. “Black Hole Town” provides an opening for the realization that maybe everything isn’t going your way and you can change it. On top of the realization, it manages to stay catchy and upbeat through an energizing listen. – Jacob Holke

39. Hand Habits “Can’t Calm Down”

Hyperbole rarely serves anyone or anything terribly well but Meg Duffy’s sophomore release Placeholder and “Can’t Calm Down” in particular are absolutely stunning. This track is but an indication of the brilliant songwriting showcased throughout their follow album up to 2017’s Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void). – Greg Scranton

38. White Reaper “Might be Right”

An ultra-tight rhythm section, singer Tony Esposito at his strongest vocally, and dual soloing lead guitars make White Reaper’s “Might Be Right” 2019’s best shot at saving rock and roll. “And I always fall, a little short in front of you,” Esposito sings fervently before the band bursts gloriously into the song’s excellent chorus. One of White Reaper’s strengths has always been making exciting and emotionally charged rock, and “Might Be Right” is no exception. If you haven’t been paying attention to White Reaper’s output up to this point, “Might Be Right” is a perfect jumping-on point for the uninitiated. – Andy Mascola

37. Possible Humans “The Thumps”

With quick, light, and carefree instrumentation, “The Thumps” feels like summer without a care in the world. Possible Humans’ debut album managed to capture a feeling of a lost time. “The Thumps” has a quick drum beat, that together with the light guitar, manages to drive the song ever forward. – Jacob Holke

36. Clairo “Sofia”

Clairo gained many plaudits this year for writing pop music celebrating female relationship. On “Sofia,” she writes about her first crush on an older woman. Her lyrics show adoration and excitement while her voice maintains an austere quality similar to Lani Hall or Nico. Over the Strokes’ influences instrumental, it creates a unique sound in modern pop music with important lyrical content. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

35. Moon Duo “Lost Heads”

From the opening synth riff and driving drum beat of “Lost Heads”, you’ll be transported through a lunar portal that projects a sonic bridge between the music and your current reality. With a heady mix of Krautrock’s signature Motorik beat and shoegaze styled vocals from members Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada, Moon Duo craft their best work to date spanning 7 albums and the past decade. – Greg Scranton

34. Billie Eilish “Everything I Wanted”

Billie Eilish has been a bundle of contradictions in 2019. Despite blowing up and being one of the biggest pop stars of the year, there has always been something intimate and vulnerable about her music. In “everything i wanted,” Billie Eilish simultaneously offers a shocking look at herself while showing her range and stretching how far mainstream can be taken. Whispered vocals and melodic harmonies fill out this song making for an engaging listen. – Jacob Holke

33. Mike Krol “An Ambulance”

With a chugging beat and a clever, siren-like lead guitar, Mike Krol, the prince of modern garage punk, tears into the excellent “An Amublance.” Krol’s sublime songwriting is on full display as he dips into a thoughtful bridge before exploding into the song’s excellent chorus. “Can somebody call an ambulance, to save me from my self-offence?” Krol sings pleadingly. “An Ambulance” is at once catchy and deceptively affecting. – Andy Mascola

32. Russian Circles “Arluck”

The Chicago post-metal trio Russian Circles return with their seventh album and yet another impressive showing. While dabbling within the realm of post-rock “Arluck” pushes the sound beyond the realm of swelling crescendos and atmospheric guitar work with complex drum parts from Dave Turncrantz and stabbing guitar riffs from Mike Sullivan. In typical fashion “Arluck” tracks a massive 6+ minutes of syncopated drum beats and bass batters with top tone guitar spears reminiscent of the soundtrack to the classic NES game Contra. Visions of long-haired headbangers dance atop this epic romp through densely populated enemy territory only to arrive alone atop the mountain fortress victorious with the sign of the horns thrust high into the air. – Greg Scranton

31. Malibu Ken “Corn Maze”

The dynamic duo of Tobacco and Aesop Rock immediately pays dividends on their self-titled debut album. Their debut album’s opening track, “Corn Maze” features a bouncy instrumental that works as the perfect backdrop to Aes’ non-sequiturs. With references as wide and varied as Batchild, Frozen Charlotte, and Tetris, the song fines Aes at his finest.


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