This year’s list of songs didn’t turn out how I envisioned it even just a few short weeks ago. There were plenty of tracks off the top of my head that I thought would be certain to make an appearance, but when it came down to putting pen to paper and narrowing the list down they ended up not making the cut. Just goes to show how many amazing tracks we’ve been treated to in 2019.
10. Clairo – Bags
Probably the song that’s been stuck in my head the most over the past year. There’s just something hypnotic about it. Clairo’s dreamy vocals, and the way her simple yet striking lyrics resonate with you, just end up weaving a spell over you. Before you know it you’ll be singing it under your breath all afternoon.
9. Jaws – The Ceiling
The title track and unquestionable highlight of their new album. I’m not generally a playlist person, but I ended up making one just so I could add this song to it. ‘The Ceiling’ is so light and carefree, the kind of song you turn to for reassurance. Its calls of “just keep going” have been helpful words of encouragement on many a trying day.
8. Local Natives – When Am I Gonna Lose You
From now on when I need to show someone an example of the textbook lush California sound, this will be my first port of call. The understated groove, the sublime harmonies, the bright infectious melodies, the earworm chorus – it has ‘Hit’ written all over it. ‘When Am I Gonna Lose You’ was the centrepiece of our summer soundtrack.
7. Megan Dixon Hood – The Wishing Tree
With its fairytale storytelling, environmentalist message and powerful vocals, ‘The Wishing Tree’ very much felt like the song that 2019 needed. It’s an outpouring of grief for the death and destruction that surrounds us, as well as a war cry for change in the hope that a better world really is possible.
6. Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles
What a banger; the song that rightfully launched Sam Fender into the stratosphere. A tale of love against the backdrop of a world gone to hell, with war and corruption leading society to the brink of collapse. Channeling Springsteen at his very best, the moment the sax kicks in is pure euphoria. The biggest anthem of 2019, no doubt!
5. Moron Police – Beware The Blue Skies
On paper this song should not work. Lyrically it’s a scathing rebuke of America’s diabolical warmongering, but musically it is the most vibrant and whimsical feel-good bop of the year. I’m utterly baffled as to how they managed to pull off such polar opposites so well in the same song, and yet here we are! Pure brilliance from start to finish.
4. Vampire Weekend – This Life
‘This Life’ is like the musical lovechild of Paul Simon and The Grateful Dead. There’s so much to love here; the bright melodies, the old-school riffs. but most of all those glorious chunky bass lines. Everything about this track screams carefree summer fun, and I doubt I’ll ever get tired of the way it just warms my heart each time I hear it.
3. Michael McArthur – Elaine
I don’t think I’ve heard a song that captures true love the way this does. How it makes you feel lighter than air even when all else tries to drag you down. How all the struggles and hardship in the world no longer seems to matter, as you have something pure and true and eternal to light the way through the darkness.
2. Bear’s Den – Hiding Bottles
The music on this track alone makes it a contender for one of the best songs of 2019 – the shimmering synths, the soaring guitars, the emphatic propulsive drums. The lyrics then elevate ‘Hiding Bottles’ to something even greater. The song’s honest and outspoken take on alcoholism offers up something truly poignant and moving. Bear’s Den have really made something special here.
1. The Howl & The Hum – Hall of Fame
These Belwood favourites just go from strength to strength. From the opening barrage of percussion, through the stylish 80s synths and bright indie riffs, every second of ‘Hall of Fame’ is a delight. Perhaps the finest lyricism yet from a band we have long championed as the best up and coming songwriters around. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to sing out every last word at the top of your lungs from a mountaintop just so you can hear them echo back to you from the valley below.