After celebrating the best music, film, and television of the decade in November, we now turn to celebrating 2019. Previously we shared our picks for 2019’s Top Albums; today continue today with our Top 50 Songs of 2019.
Welcome to 2019, where all the world’s a meme and all the songs are merely players in it.
Despite this truth, there were a mass of tracks this year that broke through the bullshit, made us feel human, and held us while we dropped our online personas, let our phones slip to their lock screens, and truly vibed out like no one was watching.
Those moments include Vampire Weekend coming back with “Harmony Hall”, complete with an all-grown-up Ezra Keonig officially vacating tales of a post-collegiate slump and sharing the keen observation that “every time a problem ends, another one begins” over an echoing guitar. Then there were love songs, like Local Natives‘ “Lose You”, that made you not only miss but welcome the pain of falling for someone. We were also beckoned to meditate on tracks like “Almeda”, where Solange revels in the mantra of “Black skin black braids” that can’t be washed away with Florida water. We were also pleasantly “led astray” to a teenage reverie with Sharon Van Etten’s “Seventeen”.
In defense of the meme-able, we should also mention that not all memes are created equal. Billie Eilish’s defiant “duh” might seem like a reply guy’s Twitter response, but in those three letters holds the self-actualization of someone defiantly aware of life on earth, someone who doesn’t mind playing the “bad guy” and making generations before her uncomfortable while doing it.
And yes, we can blame Lizzo’s “Juice” for the captions of countless Instagram thirst trap photos, which, indeed, may have caused someone’s man to get quote “lost in your DMs,” but it also rang of timeless funk, self-love, and unshakable confidence.
One of the most meme-able 2019 moments was brought by way of Megan Thee Stallion. As you may recall, the song and phrase “Hot Girl Summer” was not only co-opted by the headlines of every women’s site listicle but also by brands like Wendy’s, Maybelline, and even Forever 21. Thankfully, it was also co-opted by women with strong knees who were labeling themselves hot girls, whether or not society agreed.
As the year comes to a close and we venture out into a new decade of territory, it might be worth mentioning that there’s room for us all. So, whether you’re a hot girl, sad boy, defiant person, or anything and everything in between, there’s some life out there for you, and we hope this list is made up of more than enough relatable moments to serve as your soundtrack.