The Beths – Out of Sight
Pop Smoke – Make It Rain (ft. Rowdy Rebel)
Teyana Taylor – Wake Up Love (ft. IMAN)
The Beths – Out of Sight
Pop Smoke – Make It Rain (ft. Rowdy Rebel)
Teyana Taylor – Wake Up Love (ft. IMAN)
Aluna – Warrior (ft. SG Lewis)
Black Pumas – Fast Car (Tracy Chapman cover)
DaBaby – ROCKSTAR (BLM Remix ft. Roddy Ricch)
Amine – Riri
Baby Goth – I Do
Hatchie & The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Sometimes Always
Death Valley Girls – Breakthrough
Juice WRLD – Tell Me U Luv Me (ft. Trippie Redd)
Protomartyr – Michigan Hammers
100 gecs – stupid horse (Remix ft. GFOTY & Count Baldor)
Mariah the Scientist – RIP
Two Friends ft. Sam Vesso – Looking At You
Cal Maro – Juliet
Jadu Heart – Walk the Line
SHY Martin – Nobody Likes Moving On
At some point we’ll need to recognize the fact that TOPS is this generation’s version of Fleetwood Mac. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of our lives. You can hear another great one from those Canadians below, along with other highlights from Fat Tony & Taydex, plus Jhene Aiko. Cruise past the jump for more magic from the likes of ARMNHMR (ft. Nevve), Chloe Lilac, Ella Eyre, Gigi Masin, Grey (ft. Thutmose), The Jungle Giants, MYRY, nodisco., and Rich the Kid (ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again).
Fat Tony and Taydex – Magnifique
Jhené Aiko – Pussy Fairy (OTW)
TOPS – I Feel Alive
In the first extended edition of Pick Your Poison for 2020, I’m happy to present some lovely downloads from the likes of Blake Banks (ft. BIGBABYGUCCI), Jupiter Virus, Light FM, and Marion Belle. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, discvoer more music from Alec King, Blondage, Chelsea Cutler, Fredo Bang, Jen Starsinic, Kyle Watson (ft. Apple Gule), PEDRO, Pop Smoke, Slotface, Steve Aoki & Maluma, Surf Rock Is Dead, and Victoria Bigelow.
Cue drums. Cue fake drums. “Cue Synthesizer” gives us another taste of the upcoming album from Destroyer. If it remains true to Dan Bejar’s track record, the album should be excellent. The song sure is. So is the a new one from Gordi, which is being sold to help raise money for Australian Bushfire relief. Help out if you can, and definitely stream the track! Then there’s a very good song from Torres, off her Silver Tongue record that will be out at the end of this month. Beyond that, you’ll find more to like after the jump, including tracks from Accessory, Douglas Dare, Jai Wolf (ft. Wrabel), Jlin, Luna Shadows, Melody English, Polica, Pom Pom Squad (covering FKA twigs), and Salt Cathedral.
Destroyer – Cue Synthesizer
Gordi – The Cost
Torres – Dressing America
Get excited for the next 070 Shake record that’s out this week by previewing another track from it below. Then two up-and-coming superstars Megan Thee Stallion and Normani team up for a fresh track that will be on the upcoming Harley Quinn / Birds of Prey movie arriving next month. And I quite like this new one from Picture This, appropriately named after one of my favorite actresses. All just par for the course when it comes to Pick Your Poison. There’s even more music available after the jump from notable names like Baby Goth, CONNOR BVRNS, EDEN, ill Nicky, Leyla Blue, Norel, Quinn XCII, Shallou, and SOFI TUKKER (ft. Allday).
070 Shake – Guilty Conscience
Megan Thee Stallion & Normani – Diamonds
Picture This – Winona Ryder
After close to a month off for the holidays, Pick Your Poison returns with a vengeance in 2020! Well okay, we’re starting out at a relaxed pace because it’s better to ease into a new year. Definitely listen to at least a few of these songs if you get the chance though, no pressure or anything. Highlights come from Forever (ft. Just John), Mac Miller (RIP), and Mick Jenkins. After the jump you’ll discover fresh tracks from ARMNHMR (ft. Sunnie Williams), Bad Ambassadors, Conan Gray, J Hus, Kennebec, STROM, The Wants, World/Inferno Friendship Society, and youbet.
Forever – Make It Happen (ft. Just John)
Mac Miller – Good News
Mick Jenkins – Carefree
Before we get into the nitty gritty of this Top 50 Albums list, let’s first talk about the honorable mentions. This is the space reserved for 2019 albums I also loved, just not quite enough to include as part of the main list. If this had been a worse year for music, they probably would have made the cut. It runs the gamut from two of the biggest pop stars in the world all the way down to some tiny names you’ve probably never heard before. These 10 albums are ordered alphabetically by artist.
Ariana Grande – thank u, next
Bedouine – Bird Songs of a Killjoy
Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Black Belt Eagle Scout – At the Party With My Brown Friends
Caroline Polachek – Pang
Floating Points – Crush
Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel
Peaer – A Healthy Earth
Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
Wilco – Ode to Joy
As I was reflecting on the year in music and putting together draft after draft of this Top 50 Albums list, one of the main things I came to realize was that 2019 was a bit of a down year for hip hop. Familiar names like Drake, Jay-Z, and Kendrick Lamar took the year off for the most part, only dropping in with an occasional guest verse. Some of the established names that did put out records, such as Kanye West and Chance the Rapper, didn’t quite live up to their creative peaks. To a degree, that left room for others to step up and fill the voids left by these superstars. We were lucky enough to get some great introductions to names like DaBaby and Megan Thee Stallion in 2019, and it was refreshing to add their voices to the mix (though only one of those two is represented below). Other rappers managed to show significant growth and put out some of their best material to date. Shout out to Polo G, Rapsody, and Little Simz. Overall though, there are less rap albums in this year’s Top 50 than in previous years, and that’s a bit of a shame. I guess they can’t all be great, and given how much the hip hop scene has grown overall in the past decade we’re lucky to have reached this point. I’m excited to hear what the next 10 years will bring!
Beyond the scope of hip hop, there’s been plenty of music to love in 2019. It goes well beyond just songs too, because even though we continue to live in the era of the single, it takes a true talent to stretch beyond one or two great tracks and instead turn in an entire album’s worth. The 50 highlighted below each brought me considerable joy and comfort throughout the year, and they’re the ones I turned to over and over again to soundtrack everything from driving around running errands to cleaning my apartment on a rainy day to throwing a summer party to laying in bed feeling depressed after a long day. There’s a little something to satisfy just about any mood or particular taste. Chances are you haven’t heard all of these records, and I encourage you to check them all out! Even if they’re not to your liking, I applaud you for at least attempting to discover something new outside of your comfort zone. One last thing before we jump right into it: I haven’t included any direct links to places where you can find these albums, but Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp are all your friends. Use their search functions and you’ll be fine. That said, here are my Top 50 Albums of 2019. Enjoy!
It seems like every year I comment about how challenging it is to put together a “Top Songs” list, because unlike albums, which are larger works meant to be taken as a whole, songs are fractions of that whole. There are multitudes more songs in the world than albums, so in essence it’s like splitting hairs. Imagine my surprise then, when this Top 50 Songs of 2019 list came together rather easily. Perhaps there were fewer standout tracks than normal to really catch my attention. It was a slightly “off” year for music, so that might have helped too. Color me clueless as to the actual reason, because all that matters is these are 50 songs I can say without a doubt are the ones I loved and in many cases listened to most this year. My sincerest apologies if your personal favorite didn’t make the cut. Everybody has their own unique tastes, and while I’d hope most of these songs will satisfy, you might feel differently. That’s okay! The songs on this list span across nearly every genre of music and range from dancefloor bangers to depressing bops and back again. My sincerest hope is that you’ll discover something new you haven’t heard before, and may even fall in love with it as much as I have. There are really only two rules I set when composing this list:
1. Songs must appear on an album, EP, or standalone single released in 2019 (so no new Tame Impala, Grimes, The 1975, etc. from 2020 LPs).
2. Only one song per artist, to help spread the love around (featured guest vocals don’t count).
Every song on this Top 50 is accompanied by a link to stream it (and in many cases watch the video) on YouTube. There’s also a Spotify playlist embedded below, organized just like this list, from #50-1. Please enjoy, and feel free to share your own opinions or lists in the comments!
We’ve arrived at the final Pick Your Poison for 2019! Don’t worry, I’m thrilled to share so many more songs with you in 2020, it’s just these last couple weeks of the year most of the focus will be on the holidays and year-end stuff. Speaking of which, I’ll have a Top Albums and Top Songs list for you coming up at some point before the end of the year! Hopefully you’ll like it. At some point I also hope to put together a “Best of the ’10s” retrospective, but that probably won’t arrive until January or February. Gotta give some time for the new decade to find its footing before reflecting back on the previous one. So let me tell you about the highlights in this set of songs. Fetty Wap, Lauren Sanderson, and Patio lead things off, and I hope you’ll give those tracks a listen. You’ll find even more after the jump from artists like Anson Seabra, Anthony Flammia, Bear Grillz (ft. rx Soul), Jose James (ft. Aloe Blacc), kenzie, keshi, KILLY, Mykki Blanco, and The Score (ft. XYLO).
Fetty Wap – Fresh N Clean
Lauren Sanderson – To the People I Hurt
Patio – Reality State
There are some fun ones in today’s Pick Your Poison, particularly the three tracks sitting right at the top of this set from 070 Shake, Hayley Kiyoko, and MIKE. Those may be the highlights, but you’ll find even more delights after the jump, including songs from Lolo Zouai, NLE Choppa, Souly Had, StayLoose & Last Heroes (ft. Soundr), THYLA, Tiesto (ft. Steve Appleton), Tycho, and The Voidz.
070 Shake – Under the Moon
Hayley Kiyoko – Runaway
MIKE – Numbered Dayz