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37 Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)

At the year’s halfway point, these are the top tunes

Tayla Parx Tyler The Creator Lauv mobile
Lauv and Tyler, the Creator / Randy Holmes/Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

So many songs, so little time. Out of the tens of thousands of tunes released in 2019, these 37 tunes stood out the most, sonically and lyrically, to ONE37pm’s team of editors and writers. Aside from listening below, you can head over to our Spotify playlist.

 

In no particular order, here are the best songs of the year, so far:

 

1. “Harmony Hall” // Vampire Weekend

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

It was worth the wait. After a six-year hiatus, Vampire Weekend gifted us with new music, including this standout single, which combines uplifting piano, acoustic guitars riffs and lyrics grappling with political corruption (“anger wants a voice, voices wanna sing”) and uncertainty (“anybody with a worried mind could never forgive the sight of wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified”).

2. “Juice” // Lizzo

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

This upbeat and retro-funk song is the anthem that landed Lizzo on music charts and playlists all around the world. The self-loving theme in her lyrics, music videos and tweets has resulted in a fanbase that puts her on a pedestal next to Beyoncé.

 

Also picked by Sarah Lynch

 

Like so much of Lizzo’s music, “Juice” is a high-powered hype song. She trumpets her own beauty and worth in a song worthy of any workout playlist or morning pick-me-up.

3. “I THINK” // Tyler The Creator

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

Like every other track on Igor, this song explores Tyler’s vulnerability in the early stages of falling in love with someone just for the situation to result in heartbreak. The song analyzes the questionable phase of whether you’re falling in love or not.

4. “Me vs. Us” // Tayla Parx

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

This Grammy-nominated songwriter has co-penned some of the biggest hits of the past year (Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings,” Panic at the Disco’s “High Hopes” and Khalid and Normani’s “Love Lies”)—and on her very own song “Me vs. Us” she continues to show off her lyrical prowess atop a catchy as hell beat. 

5. “GRoCERIES” // Chance the Rapper featuring TisaKorean & Murda Beatz

Picked by Conor Sheeran

 

What's better than a good Chance release full of food puns and a Malibu’s Most Wanted reference? Nothing, that’s what.

6. “Party Up the Street” // Miley Cyrus, Swae Lee and Mike WiLL Made-It

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

In a year full of unlikely collaborations (hooray for cross-genre pollination!), Miley Cyrus and Swae Lee teamed up for the first time ever on this hypnotic pre-party gem that revs the imagination (“you know what happens after dark”). Co-producer Mike WiLL Made-It, who has collaborated with both artists separately, brought these mid-20-somethings together, and we’re so damn happy he did.

7. “I’m So Tired (Stripped Live)” // Lauv and Troye Sivan

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

Los Angeles native Lauv and South African-born Australian singer Troye Sivan took their frenetic yet fantastic “I’m So Tired” original and catapulted it to another level by slowing it down for this stunning stripped-down live version that added a powerful bridge (“somebody cover up my ears, somebody save me from my heart, somebody take me far from here, and rip the speakers out my car”). We can’t “unmiss” this song. 

8. “Bad Guy” // Billie Ellish

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

This base-heavy, whimsical track reveals an annoyed Billie taunting her lover. The song has ranked number one on the UK’s Official Trending Chart.

9. “Suge” // DaBaby

Picked by Omari White

 

This dope emcee that hails from the same state as J.Cole has been buzzing quite some time thanks to his rather chill approach of standing up to the haters and clout chasers. But on wax, he’s another rising star who brought an endless amount of bars on a heavy bass, trap-influenced beat that signifies his swagger.

10. “Con Calma” // Daddy Yankee and Snow

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

“Con Calma,” Daddy Yankee’s bilingual remake of Snow’s ’90s classic “Informer,” joined the exclusive Billion Club, surpassing 1 billion YouTube views and once again highlighting the global appeal of Latin music (remember the Puerto Rican rapper’s 2017 smash collab “Despacito” with Luis Fonsi and its subsequent remix with Justin Bieber?). Now, a “Con Calma” remix featuring Katy Perry is steadily climbing the Billboard Hot 100, landing in the top 25 in the latest rankings.

11. “Beer Can’t Fix” // Thomas Rhett ft. Jon Pardi

Picked by Corban Goble

 

Instead of an open highway, or Jesus, our nation’s pop country hitmakers have been turning to beer. While that fact not exactly new terrain for country music, you can’t deny the increased thematic reps, speaking to the hole in the soul that beer can fill, temporarily. Here’s another beer song, one that I couldn’t get rid of if I tried.

12. “Big Ole Freak” // Megan Thee Stallion

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

This liberating and sexually-charged hit has paved the way for Megan Thee Stallion. Not only was the song Megan’s first charting tune, but more recently, it has gone gold, showing signs of longevity for this Houston rapper.

13. “Be Alright” // Dean Lewis

Picked by Madison Russell

 

I had the privilege of seeing Dean Lewis at Public Arts in New York, and he is a total gem. This gorgeous song hit number one on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 chart.

14. “Make It Better” // Anderson .Paak featuring Smokey Robinson

Picked by Conor Sheeran

 

This upbeat song, which ultimately tells a sad story, blends the smooth jazzy sounds of Anderson .Paak with the vocals of Motown legend Smokey Robinson. The song is guaranteed to hit right you right in your feelings, so best be prepared.

15. “Light On” // Maggie Rogers

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

The pre-chorus on “Light On” reveals how Maggie Rogers felt about her ascent into celebrity, from being discovered as an NYU college student by Pharrell in 2016 to being chosen to perform on Saturday Night Live years later: “Oh, I couldn’t stop it, tried to slow it all down; crying in the bathroom, had to figure it out, with everyone around me saying, ‘You must be so happy now.’” It’s introspective, but it eventually builds into an inspiring ode to finding self-confidence with help from life’s supporting players.

16. “MIDDLE CHILD” // J. Cole

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

Mixing sounds from both older and modern hip-hop, J. Cole is the middle child of rap. The track justifies that J. Cole continues to dominate and influence the rap game after speculation of opposing fans on social media.

17. “Play It Cool” // Steve Aoki and Monsta X

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

Need more reason to hop on the unstoppable K-pop train? Well, this blistering banger from South Korean group Monsta X and electronic music stalwart Steve Aoki (the famous son of Benihana founder Hiroyuki Aoki) could just be the song to convert you. Add it to your workout playlist and party playlist ASAP.

18. “Before I Let Go” // Beyoncé

Picked by Keith Nelson Jr.

 

Beyoncé took a timeless record of the same name from Frankie Beverly & Maze and made it more timeless, thus proving Beyoncé is not governed by the rules of time.

19. “Talk” // Khalid

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

In this smooth single, Khalid asks his lover to slow down and engage in an open discussion about their relationship. “Talk” is the leading track from Khalid’s sophomore album and has been remixed with features from Megan Thee Stallion and Yo Gotti.

20. “Blame It On Your Love” // Charli XCX and Lizzo

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

“I’m tryna catch millions, I ain’t tryna catch feelings (bitch).” Iconic. 

21. “EARFQUAKE” // Tyler The Creator

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

Tyler’s most streamed IGOR song on Spotify, “EARFQUAKE” is about depending on a love interest despite being in the wrong. The pleading lyrics, soft piano melody and warped drums are heard throughout, making this piece the perfect love ballad.

22. “Never Really Over” // Katy Perry

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

Though she never really left us, pop fans and critics are heralding this as Katy Perry’s return to top pop form, reminiscent of her Teenage Dream era when she became the first female and second artist in history to earn five No. 1 singles from one album. It has massive Song of the Summer potential. We’ll see. For now, try singing that post-chorus five times fast: “justbecauseitsoverdoesntmeanitsreallyover ...”

23. “Dancing with a Stranger (Acoustic)” // Sam Smith and Normani

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

Seductive, sensual, sexy. This stunner pairs Normani, the most underrated all-around pop performer (y’all need to stan), with English crooner Sam Smith. While the original is vocally strong, the beautiful acoustic version elevates the drama, transforming the lyrics into a haunting plea for emotional and physical affection. Saaaang it!

24. “Shea Butter Baby” // Ari Lennox featuring J. Cole

Picked by Keith Nelson Jr.

 

It's not every day that a song feels like its title. But Ari Lennox and J. Cole sultrily waxing poetics about the beauty of the female form sounds like being lathered by the smoothness and nourishment of shea butter.

25. “Wanted a Name” // FRENSHIP featuring Yoke Lore

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

FRENSHIP, the duo behind the 2016 breakout hit “Capsize,” gets candid about the repetitiveness of touring, the isolation after a tour ends and the subsequent drive to re-invigorate their creativity in this pounding yet ethereal collaboration with Yoke Lore. Love them like you used to—or for the first time if you’re new here. 

26. “Into You” // Julia Michaels

Picked by Sarah Lynch

 

Julia Michaels brings the same vulnerability that made her famous with “Issues” to this song. Michaels vocalizes the anxiety and hurt felt post-break up, worrying she will run into her ex wherever she goes.

27. “Do You Mean” // The Chainsmokers featuring Ty Dolla $ign & bülow

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

This moody bop serves as a confessional between two lovers—portrayed by Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers and bülow—who trade off divulging their relationship issues while pondering their future together: “Put you out like a cigarette. Put me out of my misery, yeah, it’s not you, it's me. Come on, seriously. Heard that once or twice before. You got that straight from a movie.”

28. “Golden Kids” // Ocean and the Waves

Picked by Madison Russell

 

A newcomer on the scene, Ocean and the Waves is indeed making waves. Get in on this goodness now so you can say you knew her when.

29. “Black on Black” // Greyson Chance

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

Nine years after his cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” went viral when he performed it on piano as a sixth-grader, Greyson Chance is all grown up. Since then, he’s found his own music style, proudly owning his sexuality in his 20s through his lyrics and overall openness in the public eye. In “Black on Black,” Greyson sings about how the type of person he once fantasized about from posters on his wall is now a reality in his life: “Let’s stay here for a while; you’ll snap some Polaroids ’cause, boy, that’s your style.”

30. “Act Up” // City Girls

Picked by Omari White

 

Picking up momentum they have built from their mixtape PERIOD and their platinum single “Twerk” featuring Cardi B, rap’s favorite girl group is ready to win the summer with this street anthem. This bouncy song is sure to bring the ratchet side out of anyone who is down to twerk or snatch someone’s wig off—let’s hope it doesn't get to that level.

31. “Weather the Storm” // DJ Khaled featuring Meek Mill and Lil Baby

Picked by Keith Nelson Jr.

 

No chorus, no hook, just soul-wrenching rapping? No problem, as Meek Mill and Lil Baby spend more than two minutes making their hardships visceral over gospel choirs sure to give you chills.

32. “Jerrod” // Solange

Picked by Keith Nelson Jr.

 

Solange is an angel with clouds for lungs and “Jerrod” is proof of that. If you ever need instant relaxation, listen to this song from the 2:05-2:25 mark as Solange bathes you in a wave of euphoria.

33. “Room Temperature” // Faye Webster

Picked by Corban Goble

 

Many popular artists now associated with the algorithm-smosh approach to pop music sound almost exactly like they’re described. That’s sort of the point. But while an omnivorous musical outlook (R&B, country, folk) definitely describes the music of Atlanta songwriter Faye Webster—who is a noted rap scene photographer in her hometown, as well as an occasional contributor to Awful Records releases—“Room Temperature” shows that Webster is funnier, weirder and more reflective than any easy categorization could communicate.

34. “Headlines” // DJ Premier featuring Conway, Westside Gunn and Benny

Picked by Keith Nelson Jr.

 

“Drake had Rihanna, Mike had Madonna, but I drove a few bricks through the Carolinas.” This match made in gangsta rap heaven is full of slick talk bars like that to keep your finger firmly on the rewind and repeat buttons.

35. “You Need to Calm Down” // Taylor Swift

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

Spread positivity instead of negativity is the mantra of Taylor Swift’s politically charged “You Need to Calm Down,” which skewers online keyboard critics and offline picketing haters. At the end of the music video, T. Swift urges fans to support the Equality Act via a petition she started: “Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally. Please sign my petition for Senate support of the Equality Act on Change.org.THIS is how to use your platform to effect change.

36. “Perfect” // Mike Posner

Picked by Brian Anthony Hernandez

 

This Mike Posner song is a beautiful tour de force of expressing stages of grief, following the deaths of his dad and his friend Avicii. In a year full of party songs, it’s refreshing to see an artist be this sincere and transparent about his mental health.

37. “Old Town Road” // Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus

Picked by Brianna Holt

 

There’s no doubt that “Old Town Road” has made a mark in pop culture history by being the first rap-country song to top the Billboard Country charts—and later taken down from the rankings in a polarizing decision by Billboard. Despite backlash from country music critics, the popular single has dominated Hot 100 for 11-consecutive weeks and counting.

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