Part 1/2 of my 2019 wrap up brings you 50 excellent songs you may have missed last year. Part 2/2, containing the best -commercially popular- songs of 2019 will be coming tomorrow.
Rules for this year ending top 50: maximum of 3 songs per artist, must have debuted in 2019, must be relatively unknown. There are a couple of big, recognisable names in here, but they are present because the songs in question are lesser-known album tracks or they didn’t do particularly well commercially, or I’ve just assumed that you didn’t hear them.
I don’t like pitting my favourite songs against each other, I love these all and they are each perfect in their own way, but I’m a sucker for ranking things so here they are: the Iainsights Top 50 songs from 2019 you probably missed.
50. Lil Dicky – Earth
A ridiculous, fun, well-meaning song for Earth Day with so many feature artists is crazy – would have topped all the charts a decade ago but stalled at no.21 instead. The music industry is a hard business, kids.
49. beebadobee – Space Cadet
Nominated on the BBC Sound of and Brit’s Rising Star Award, get on board with this incredibly chill and universally transporting song. Listening feels like being turned into a cartoon and floating through a multicoloured outer space.
48. Mallrat – Charlie
A song that is essentially just the opening from Lorde’s Green Light, is about an idealistic crush, and is named after her dog.
47. New Hope Club – Permission
A catchy song with a risky, albeit innocent, hook that goes “we don’t need permission for nothin” from the boyband that’s as close to One Direction as we have at this point in time.
46. Kate Voegele – French
Breezy pop with a truly delightful chorus from one of my all time faves.
45. Blake Rose – Lost
The swell in this song is unstoppable, it’s adolescent love captured in sound form. That guitar line is nirvana.
44. Cecily – Thinking Bout Me
The most incredible debut pop song you might have missed hearing in 2019. Irreparably catchy, samples a lullaby, look out for this girl.
43. E^ST – TALK DEEP
I cannot stress how important it is to experience this song is with headphones. The point where the chorus hits is pure magic.
42. Annie Murphy – A Little Bit Alexis (From Schitt’s Creek)
I know this is a Work Bitch parody, but every single line in this song is iconic. My favourite? It’s a tie between “I’m a little bit go girl/when I touch myself” and “I’m a cute Huge Yacht”
41. Emeli Sandé – Shine
We don’t deserve Emeli Sandé after letting her disappear after her first album. Shine is a soul-cleansing blast of euphoria.
40. LÉON – You And I
Is this Miley Cyrus? Such a powerful chorus. Are there any songs called You And I that aren’t incredible?
39. CHARLOTTE – All My Life
A gorgeous ballad that grows and grows with every subsequent listen. CHARLOTTE’s voice is everything.
38. A R I Z O N A – Problems
Did I initially call this Chainsmokers-esque trash? Yes. Can I stop playing it? No.
37. Macklemore – Shadow (feat. IRO)
Songland should be banned, but this pacey piratey tune has an undeniable hook and Macklemore’s best verses in ages.
36. Love Fame Tragedy – Pills
A chorus that is in equal parts cringe-inducing and belt-able. Huge tune from the lead singer of The Wombats.
35. 220 KID – Don’t Need Love (with GRACEY)
A late entry for the year, but a firm contender for the biggest banger of 2019. That bass line is not fit for us mere mortals.
34. JUNG – i love you, i love you
I’m not crying at this enormous gut wrenching indie-edm tune, you are!
33. RAYE – Please Don’t Touch
Sultry and addictive. Don’t let this sadpop banger get lost, let it be the first slow-rising hit of the decade.
32.Call Me Loop – Silly Boy
Had this stuck in my head for six months. Give Call Me Loop, the best pop star we have that is single handedly reviving the sounds of Girls Aloud, what she deserves.
31. Rothwell – Quarter Life Crisis
What a build, what a chorus, what a story.
30. Becky Hill – Only You
Did you know that our country’s best EDM vocalist actually does cute early-00s sounding ballads? This is perfect and we don’t deserve her.
29. Robin Schulz – All This Love (feat. Harlœ)
A crybanger that has served my running playlist well all year.
28. Frank Turner – Jinny Bingham’s Ghost
A foot stomping folksy good time with a fun folk tale at its heart.
27. Julia Michaels – Anxiety (with Selena Gomez)
Sure, Selena Gomez is one of the most listened to artists ever, but did you hear this gentle singing-song Julia Michaels duet that is honest and cute and contains the iconic opening line “my friends they wannna take me to the movies/I tell them to fuck off I’m holding hands with my depression”?
26. Meghan Trainor – Evil Twin
A camp doo-wop pop song that is silly, fun, and catchy as hell. All About That Bass was 6 years ago guys, it’s time to give Meghan Trainor a chance.
25. Raye – Love Me Again (with Jess Glynne)
I groaned when Jess Glynne jumped on the rerelease of this soulpop banger, but their voices do something magic together. More female duets in the 2020s!
24. Taylor Swift – Cruel Summer
I know it’s the world’s most prolific pop star, but if you, like me, listened to Lover once and then forgot all the album tracks for months/ever, then can I interest you in revisiting this excellent piece of pop music that is pre-encore/concert opening song if I ever heard one. That bridge with the through-the-glass-sounding line “He looks up, grinning like a devil” takes me to heaven.
23. Rex Orange County – 10/10
Nostalgic indie hip hop that has me yearning for my youth.
22. Tones and I – Never Seen The Rain
Incredible that it is Dance Monkey and not Never Seen The Rain, a charming and perfect upbeat pop number that has dominated the charts the world over. Can’t wait to see this, and the rest of her perfect EP, in concert this year.
21. Noah Cyrus – Lonely
The more I listen to this, the more the lyrics become disjointed, but it’s such a good ballad to sing to and I spun it half a hundred times in quick succession.
20. Will Joseph Cook – Hey Brother
Charming, cheerful song with a chorus that really grows on you.
19. UPSAHL – All My Friends Are Rich
a SONG with a MESSAGE. Uber-rich people are toxic.
18. AJR – Don’t Throw Out My Legos
Don’t let the title of this song throw you, it’s huge, quirky anthem with as big a crescendo as you could ever hope for.
17. Alice Merton – Back To Berlin
Cannot stop listening to this theatrical pop-ballad. I live for Alice Merton.
16. Avril Lavigne – Dumb Blonde (feat. Nicki Minaj)
Disgusted that this, the fightpop song of the year where both of these women are doing what they are best known for, did so poorly. Just listen to the first 10 seconds. JUST LISTEN TO THEM. Avril Lavigne deserved better than you ignoring her like this.
15. CXLOE + gnash – SICK
Get this on a loop and inject it into my veins. Determined to hear an acoustic cover of this song in my lifetime.
14. Illy – Then What
This has a fun hook, steel drums, white-people-friendly rapping and contains the line “I’m Shania to it all, that shit don’t impress me much”. My 9th most listened to song of 2019.
13. Emily Burns – Is It Just Me?
Nobody sings about break ups like Emily Burns. The way she delivers her lyrics in her ballads is genuinely captivating. The whole chorus makes me want to cry until I shrivel.
12. Roman Lewis – Fool For You
Infectious, foot stomping fun.
11. Barny Fletcher – Found It
I still can’t understand a lot of these lyrics, but this is the funnest song of the year.
10. Sam Fender – Will We Talk?
Are you listening to Sam Fender yet? You should be. This morning-after song is is a Springsteen-worthy banger.
09. Moncrieff – Like I Do
The “I can feel your finger/running down my spine” gives me chills every single time I cast my ears on it.
08. The Veronicas – Think of Me
The perfect revenge-pop song with a chorus that should win awards: “Do you miss me in your sheets?/Do you miss me in your bed?/The way we talk all night, the way I give you head?”
07. X Ambassadors – OPTIMISTIC
I openly ridiculed this neo-Killers state-of-the-world tune when I first heard it, but I was truly wrong. “I cried m fucking eyes out/numbing the pain with a cold brew coffee” is an awful line but it’s delivered with the perfect bite of vitriol that eventually I realised it was being ironic. The rock song of the year.
06. Ben Platt – RAIN
If that titular song from Footloose were an 80s enormoballad. That broken-hoping-breaking-open repetition in the prechorus is iconic and we should give Ben Platt, the world’s greatest living human, absolutely everything.
05. James Bay – Peer Pressure (feat. Julia Michaels)
The light-grit and the harmonies in the vocals are so perfect I could throw up.
04. MUNA – Number One Fan
This BANGER of a song opens: “So I heard the bad news/nobody likes me and I’m going to die alone” what else is there to say?
03. Julia Michaels – Happy
The song that made me fall completely and utterly in love with Julia Michaels. “I just wanna be fucking happy” is the hook that defines a generation.
02. Taylor Swift – Paper Rings
Taylor Swift’s best song since 1989. If you want to know what being in love feels like, listen to this and you will feel like you are for a full 3.42 seconds. It really works! And it has second chorus in place of a bridge! And it’s done with a key change! Bliss.
01. Tim Chadwick – I Need To Know
The 80s inspired pop song people have been trying to write and failing at for a decade.