Top 25 Tracks of 2019

Music has been good this year! Each week, I tried to sample at least a song from each new single, EP, or album. As I did so, I created a playlist, and that playlist exceeded 250 tracks by the end of the year. I took the top 10% and made a list. I didn’t discriminate – I listened to everything. For example, Scarypoolparty, who I had no idea was an American Idol contestant this year, came close to cracking the list. I probably would’ve automatically dismissed him in the past. That being said, there were some things I missed. There is too. much. music. Please don’t be offended if your favorite song or band isn’t represented. But check out the songs – there’s enough diversity here that you’re bound to find something you like!

#25

Right On Dynamite
“Fast Blood”
Atlantic Records [2019]

Technically a cover, but one of the highlights from the collection of covers of Frightened Rabbit’s Midnight Organ Fight. The cover album celebrated the album’s tenth anniversary and promoted awareness of mental health and suicide after the death of Scott Hutchinson.

Hear it: “Fast Blood”
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#24

Young Guv
“Patterns Prevail”
Run For Cover Records [2019]

Young Guv put out a great power pop album and this is a great example of it.



Hear It: “Patterns Prevail”
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#23

Tame Impala
“Patience”
Universal Music [2019]

A taste of what’s to come in 2020 from Kevin Parker. Very reminiscent of Currents.



Hear It: “Patience”
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#22

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
“Sail On”
Universal Music [2019]

A mostly acoustic, bright, melodic single from Noel Gallagher and his mates.



Hear It: “Sail On”
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#21

Mondo Cozmo
“Generator”
Last Gang [2019]

A throwback – it sounds like it should be playing at an 80’s prom.



Hear It: “Generator”
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#20

Crumb
“Ghostride”
Crumb Records [2019]

Dreamy and chill, its ebbs and flows keep you listening.



Hear It: “Ghostride”
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#19

Catfish and the Bottlemen
“2all”
Universal/Island Records [2019]

Probably the most mainstream of rock songs on the list. Its change in tempo one minute in brings an interesting twist to the anthemic sound.


Hear It: “2all”
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#18

Bleached
“Hard To Kill”
Dead Oceans [2019]

A killer of chorus with soaring vocals and a nasty guitar riff.



Hear It: “Hard To Kill”
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#17

Jeff Rosenstock and Laura Stevenson
“Harvest Moon”
Polyvinyl Records [2019]

Rosenstock is one of the best unhinged rockers out there, so it was a big surprise to hear this one. It’s slow, reserved, with an emphasis on vocals that lets you see another side of Rosenstock. Stevenson’s sweet voice is a nice complement to his.

Hear It: “Harvest Moon”
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#16

Yuno
“Sunlight”
Sub Pop Records [2019]

A track that lives up to its name. Bright, dreamy, and summery. Definitely a welcome sound in the middle of winter.


Hear It: “Sunlight”
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#15

URF
“Solitude”
Someone Great [2019]

Moody and exacting in its poignance, it’s a nice counter to the previous song on this list.



Hear It: “Solitude”
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#14

Illiterate Light
“Better Than I Used To”
Atlantic Records [2019]

This one reminded me so much of My Morning Jacket, I had to check to make sure the band wasn’t composed of any MMJ members. It’s not, but the song is still big and southern-fried.

Hear It: “Better Than I Used To”
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#13

Wilderado
“Surefire”
Bright Antenna Records [2019]

A song so agreeable and pleasant that it grew on me as the year progressed.



Hear It: “Surefire”
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#12

Haim
“Summer Girl”
Columbia Records [2019]

Reminiscent of Lou Reed’s “Take A Walk On The Wild Side” in its hooks and subdued guitar. A welcome departure from the guitar pop of Haim that shows another side to the band.


Hear It: “Summer Girl”
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#11

Rex Orange County
“Face To Face”
Self-Released [2019]

A heartfelt, catchy pop song in the vein of Frank Ocean.



Hear It: “Face To Face”
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#10

SONTALK
“Baby I’m Gone”
Masterworks [2019]

Aggressively emotional, or emotionally aggressive? Either way it’s a powerful song.



Hear It: “Baby I’m Gone”
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#9

Khruangbin
“With All The World”
Dead Oceans [2019]

Immediately sets tone and mood, with incredible work on the bass.



Hear It: “With All The World”
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#8

(Sandy) Alex G
“Hope”
Domino Records [2019]

Full of harmony with an acerbic vibe, it finds a perfect balance between bitter and sweet.



Hear It: “Hope”
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#7

Greys
“These Things Happen”
Carpark Records [2019]

A badass rock song.



Hear It: “These Things Happen”
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#6

J.S. Ondara
“Saying Goodbye”
Verve Forcast [2019]

One of the best vocal performances of the year.



Hear It: “Saying Goodbye”
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#5

Mating Ritual
“Good God Regina It’s A Bomb”
Smooth Jaws [2019]

Or, the song without a chorus. On about the 97th time I listened to it, it finally dawned on me: It’s stream of consciousness with amps. And irresistible.


Hear It: “Good God Regina It’s A Bomb”
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#4

Missio
“Rad Drugz”
RCA Records [2019]

It’s probably foolish to endorse a song with the line “Everybody does drugs, can’t get enough,” but what the hell. It’s a great song that is fun to sing along to with your kids. Explicit content be damned.

Hear It: “Rad Drugz”
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#3

Honey Lung
“Nothing”
Self-Released [2019]

It taps right into my love of 90’s alternative music.



Hear It: “Nothing”
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#2

Local Natives
“Magaton Mile”
Loma Vista Recordings [2019]

The first time I heard this song it grabbed me by the lapels and slapped me across the face. I’ll admit that as Local Natives has leaned into more anthemic rock, the results have been uneven. But this song…it’s groovy and brash, while being incredibly impressionistic.

Hear It: “Megaton Mile”
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#1

Jay Som
“Superbike”
Polyvinyl Records [2019]

It didn’t seem like the previous song would be unseated until “Superbike” came along. Too many riffs and hooks that became instant earworms. Impossible to not love.


Hear It: “Superbike”

– Top Track list by Matt Heiner

Matthew Heiner

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Author: Matthew Heiner

I appreciate being able to write for The Fire Note, as it gives me an excuse to keep up with what's happening in new music. By day I am a dad and a psychologist; I often use music as a way to connect with both my kids and my clients. One of my proudest moments as a father was when my 12-year-old daughter told me of her undying love for Radiohead.

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