I broke down my end of year lists into two parts because I didn’t want the lesser known songs to get all mixed in with the ones you already know. Part 1 – the top 50 songs you may have missed – can be found by clicking here.
Rules the same as this post’s counterpart: maximum 3 songs per artist, and they had to come out this year in their final form – which basically means that Someone You Loved is inelligble, but [spoiler] Old Town Road is allowed because Billy Ray Cyrus hopped on it this year.
I don’t know if it’s been a ‘vintage’ year for music, but it’s been the first time in a long time I’ve listened to new music intensely, so for me every single one of these songs is excellent in it’s own right. How can you really judge a piano ballad that came out in January and you’ve more than overplayed with an EDM banger that dropped last month and you can’t get enough of right now? This is the problematic quality of the year end list, it’s a battle between your retrospective mind and you passionate current self.
Anyway! Here they are: the Iainsights Top 40 songs of 2019 (that you probably heard)
40. Ramin Djawadi – The Night King
The soundtrack to the most anticipated TV moment of the decade and Djawadi nailed it
39. Ed Sheeran – Beautiful People (feat. Khalid)
There was as much to hate as there was to love in Sheeran’s collaboration project – and this Khalid feature is a little slice of musical divinity that really shows he’s [eyes rolling into the back of my head] one of us.
38. Taylor Swift – You Need To Calm Down
This song is hot garbage and I loved every single second of it.
37. Lewis Capaldi – Forever
I could have picked one of about six Lewis Capaldi album tracks for this list, they all follow the same formula – slow build, massive chorus, even bigger bridge – and all of them work. Forever is the one I’m most attached to so here it is at no. 37.
36. Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
35. Jax Jones – Harder (with Bebe Rexha)
I cannot abide Bebe Rexha, but this is catchy as fuck. One jewel of many in Jax Jones’ crowning Snacks album.
34. Katy Perry – Never Really Over
Never has the word ‘over’ been used to mean so many things in such a short space of time. Perry is back and and she is soaring.
33. Jess Glynne + Jax Jones – One Touch
An excellent song for the ‘upbeat Jess Glynne tune’ slot in my running mix.
32. Lauv + Troye Sivan – i’m so tired…
“I’m so tired of love songs” and “I just wanna go home” are the only moods I can experience.
31. Lil Nas X – Old Town Road (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus)
Inescapable and actually a banger. I still think about the line in the Mason Ramsey remix almost daily when he sings “If you ain’t got no giddy up then giddy out my way”.
30. Ed Sheeran – South of the Border (feat. Camila Cabello & Cardi B)
I’m sure Ed Sheeran has used this exact rhythmic phrasing and the melody is a straight copy of Shape of You, but there’s just something so pleasing about when they goes “Te amo, mami, ah, te amo, mami” and it’s been rattling around my brain for weeks.
29. Tones and I – Dance Monkey
It’s not even her best song! Go listen to her The Kids Are Coming EP, it’s perfect.
28. Zara Larsson – Don’t Worry Bout Me
When will we stop robbing Zara Larsson of the success she deserves? One of the best pop songs for years.
27. Lizzo – Juice
Bruno Mars has been trying to write this song for a decade.
26. Katy Perry – Small Talk
Some awful yet captivating lyrics in Katy Perry’s best song in ages.
25. Harry Styles – Treat People With Kindness
So bad it’s good, so good it’s bad. The kind of song someone who should have retired years ago – I’m looking at you, Paul McCartney – is releasing in an attempt to seem still cool and fun.
24. Billie Eilish – wish you were gay
The only person we’re going to allow to sing a song that goes “I just kinda wish you were gay” is Billie Eilish. Theatrical and fun.
23. Bastille – Joy
Bastille have forgotten that they wrote Good Grief and simply wrote it again and called it Joy and I am a sucker who has fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.
22. Camila Cabello – Living Proof
I’ve just realised that Cabello features for times in this top 40 which is against my own rules, but they gifted her with a load of good songs this year so what can you do? That toxic falsetto is so good.
21. Jax Jones + Ella Henderson – This Is Real
Welcome back Ella Henderson!
20. Dua Lipa – Don’t Start Now
The incredible full stop that this funk-pop wave desperately needs to come to.
19. Sigala + Becky Hill – Wish You Well
Every time Becky Hill sings “cos honestly your loyalties, insecurities, and prioties ain’t the same” I touch nirvana.
18. Jonas Brothers – Cool
Is this irony? Parody? Self deprecation? A song I’ve listened to a hundred times? That’s right – it’s all of the above.
17. Camila Cabello – Liar
Oh no there she goes, putting out a[nother] banger.
16. Ed Sheeran – Remember The Name (feat. Eminem + 50 Cent)
We didn’t want it to happen like this, but we can’t be that upset about it. Eminem and 50 Cent’s verses are pure perfection. Did you know that Ed Sheeran was a weird kid from a small town? He’s never mentioned it before.
15. HAIM – Now I’m In It
It’s ok to like HAIM again. Their second best song ever.
14. Taylor Swift – ME! (feat. Brendon Urie)
If a rainbow was a song. Shocked and disgusted that they have removed the “hey kids, spelling is fun!” line from the version on Spotify. How will they kids know now?
13. Shawn Mendes + Camila Cabello – Senorita
Remember that time these guys licked each others faces for the internet? Disgustin.
12. Lewis Capaldi – Before You Go
Someone You Loved came out last year, which makes Before You Go Lewis Capaldi’s best song this year. That “little by little by little” gets me every time.
11. Billie Eilish – bad guy
If you don’t listen to the last thirty seconds of this then you are a coward.
10. Tiesto, Jonas Blue + Rita Ora – Ritual
An undeniable banger that I can’t believe slipped through my net when it first came out. Makes you want to dance in a thunderstorm.
09. AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
The first rap song I’ve been compelled to learn the lyrics to since 2015 and Jorja Smith’s finest contribution to music so far.
08. Taylor Swift – Lover (Remix) [feat. Shawn Mendes]
Still seething that I had to learn a whole new verse when the ‘remix’ came out.
07. Ed Sheeran – I Don’t Care (with Justin Bieber)
I first heard this song when I was walking around the streets of Milan and you can’t take that sunkissed moment away from me.
06. Billie Eilish – bury a friend
If horror was a musical genre. The moment I fell in love with Billie Eilish.
05. Lana Del Rey – hope is a dangerous things for a woman like me to have (but I have it
“I’ve been tearing around in my fucking nightgown/24/7 Sylvia Plath” is the lyric of the year.
04. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
A vocal performance that will go down in history. This year Lizzo demanded the world and we, quite rightly, gave it to her. A talent.
03. Jonas Brothers – Sucker
The clapping. The chorus. The Jonas Brothers. My most played song of 2019 and it’s not even close.
02. Ariana Grande – 7 Rings
Every time I hear the line “Yeah, my receipts, be lookin’ like phone numbers/If it ain’t money, then wrong number” I feel for a second that I, too, could be disgustingly rich.
01. Normani – Motivation
Iconic. I’m looking forward to the 2020s, or as we shall come to call the decade, “The Normanis”