Las Aves - "Worth It"
"Parisian pop-powerhouses Las Aves bring the glossiest of glossy pop to the world. Shiny, shimmery and all things glittery, this trio's album is a pure highlight of the year imo." Paige Sims, Contributing Writer
Ms. Lauryn Hill - "Guarding The Gates"
"Ms. Lauryn Hill's "Guarding The Gates," which was on the soundtrack of 'Queen & Slim," was another favorite track of 2019. This track brings love to life through heavenly vocals. It makes you feel something beautiful. It reminds you that life isn't easy, but love (and also Hill's iconic vocal range) will heal you anyway." Margarite Camaj, Contributing Writer
Litany - "My Dude"
"Litany is perhaps most known for this single. Like myself, many people likely discovered Litany by primarily discovering "My Dude," which has popped up on various Spotify playlists. The song is off her second studio EP 'Single Player Mode' and remains to have the greatest number of Spotify streams out of all the tracks on the EP." Ashley Johnson, Contributing Writer
Little Brother - "Right On Time"
"With all the label drama and recurring inner turmoil within the group, Little Brother eventually came through for the fans and gave us that good old nostalgic-drenched hip-hop laced with grown man commentary. The only sad part is the exclusion of 9th Wonder and it seems that chapter is done with but regardless Phonte and Pooh promised and delivered on all levels." Tayo Odutola, Staff Writer
Local Natives - "When Am I Gonna Lose You"
"I feel this is a definitive track in the already prestigious catalog of the Local Natives. It's the first visible pivot from the slow, melancholic sound they've originally created into a more encompassing and lively arrangement. And one that I personally kept playing in a loop for a very long time." Valeria Kolomiets, Contributing Writer
Lorraine James - "Glitch Bitch"
The whole of this album (For You And I) is a brilliant web of static electronics and jagged dance music, but the project opens with this sputtery single, pulsating with sharp synths and glitchy techno rhythms. You can see why Hyperdub have snapped her up for this one!" Bryony Holdsworth, Contributing Writer
Mac DeMarco - "Preoccupied"
"On "Preoccupied," Mac continues to do what he does so well and speaks for a generation of people who feel forgotten by their preoccupied parents and/or peers. With sounds of birds chirping and percussion sprinkled throughout to compliment the mellow guitar, this is one of DeMarco's all-time best." Aaron Schimdke, Contributing Writer
Maggie Rogers - "Light On"
'"Light On" has always worked to uplift me and give me confidence. With an undeniably addicting rhythm and a chorus that's impossible not to dance along to, Rogers' lilting voice is beautifully hopeful in this track - a feeling we all need from time to time. Rogers herself is a free spirit and that is reflected in her work. "Light On" is a stand out track that will stay on my playlist for years to come." Rachel Hammermueller, Contributing Writer
Mahalia - "What You Did" feat. Ella Mai
"Mahalia doubled down and released probably one of the best R&B projects of 2019. With its nostalgic vibe, Love and Compromise was a project I have constantly come back to over and over throughout the year." McKenzii Webster, Contributing Writer
Mallrat - "Charlie"
"In modern hipster fashion, I discovered Mallrat immediately after James Corden. Late to join her massively growing cult following, I still like to pat my back whenever I play "Charlie" for anyone who hasn't been converted yet. Mallrat's syncopated vocals and lack of structure make you listen closer and feel deeper." Meghan O'Neill, Contributing Writer
The Japanese House - "Maybe You're The Reason"
"Despite this being ethereal synth-pop, Amber Bain has written one of the most personally memorable guitar riffs of the year. It was love at first pitch bend, and the tip of the iceberg of a sensational album." Robin Fulton, Contributing Writer
Megan Thee Stallion - "Realer"
"Hot Girl Meg is the MVP of the summer and "Realer" is the spark that set the season ablaze. This wasn't a female rapper trying to find her way into the business on the intro, this was a Queen letting every man know that she is the business… and she WILL out-rap anyone who thinks otherwise." Kalen Murphy, Contributing Writer
"Megan Thee Stallion's Fever was one of the most contagious bodies of work I have seen in a while. Every girl from age 10 to 65 was screaming "Hot Girl Summer" because of Megan. Fever does not need to be argued because Megan put herself on the map with this one." Vicky Inoyo, Staff Writer
Mereba - "Sandstorm" feat. JID
"Some songs require a few listens before you get into them, and this isn't one of them. The moment I hit play on "Sandstorm," I knew it was a classic, and every single time I've played it for anyone else, they've almost unconsciously pulled out their phones to Shazam it. It's that good. JID and Mereba hold such a delicate back and forth balance and play off of each other so well; it makes you wonder if they actually are in love. I can (and do) listen to this nonstop, and have since it dropped in February." James Schiff, Contributing Writer
Mike Posner - "Nothing is Wrong"
"Mike Posner has truly grown as both an individual and an artist over the years. This is reflected in the music he makes and especially, in his 2019 release, Keep Going. The single "Nothing is Wrong" delivers deeper messages of self-love that come from a very honest place. Posner is a storyteller and a deep thinker. His vivid lyricism in tracks like these is why fans can so easily connect with his music." Tommy Monroe, Contributing Writer
Mount Eerie - "Belief" feat. Julie Doiron
"Phil Elverum has always been a vitally important figure in 21st-century songwriting, whether with The Microphones or now as Mount Eerie. This album, his third following the death of his wife in 2016, is yet another masterclass in introspection and poetic songwriting. "Belief" paints the picture of a man struggling to reconcile the beauty of life with the eternal pain of a life without his partner—the song lives on the page as much as it does in the music, and it is a truly essential work for anyone who craves beautiful, truly unique lyricism and delivery." Nick Benson, Contributing Writer
Mustard - "Pure Water"
"Grammy-nominated producer Mustard had typically been in the shadows of other rappers until the release of his own album this year. Perfect Ten has all the club bangers with songs like "Pure Water" and "Ballin" and finally puts the true talent of the producer center stage. Mustard's features on this album were also impeccable including verses and hooks by acts like Nipsey Hussle, Migos, Nav, A$AP Ferg, Future, YG, and other veteran rap superstars." Vicky Inoyo, Contributing Writer
Mysie - "Rocking Chair"
"This was the first track I heard from South London's Mysie and her debut release is beautifully cathartic. Her African heritage ripples through her soundscapes and the accompanying visuals are rich and textured - personal narratives woven deeply into every release she puts out." Bryony Holdsworth, Contributing Writer
Nate Curry - "Temporary Fix"
"Sacramento legend-in-the-making Nate Curry, fresh off touring with Hobo Johnson, dropped this ditty earlier this year and I'm pretty sure it's terminally stuck in my head. Listen to "Temporary Fix" and try not to lose control of your whole goddamn body." Mark Gavigan, Contributing Writer
Nelson Dialect - "Don't Trip"
"Nelson is an Australian rapper hailing from Adelaide, whilst Australia hasn't seen his worth yet, Nelson's lyrical flow is one for the books. His music is timeless and one that I'd put up there with all the Golden Era greats. He just need a little bit more time, 2020 is his year." Margaret Tra, Contributing Writer
No Rome, Dijon - "Trust3000" feat. Dijon
'"Trust 3000" is a dream collab. This track somehow has such a feeling of a bright future tucked inside of it, which is something I think we all need at the moment..!" Jess Bartlet, Editor
One-Man Show - "Zico" feat. Sik-K
"The closer to Korean R&B singer Zico's contemplative EP, THINKING Part 1. is fraught with urgency as Zico grapples with a frustrating, shallow relationship. But the heaviness implicit in its message is softened and lifted by the singer's beautiful range and the energetic, spitfire raps of Sik-K." Natalie Morin, Contributing Writer
PAX - "Pass the Bottle"
"I had a number of bass house tracks I wanted to include, but I think I have to go with the newcomer PAX and his 2019 entry, "Pass the Bottle." If we're being honest, the bass house genre has definitely stagnated a bit. Acts like Claude's DirtyBird and AC Slater's Nightbass are trying to rekindle the bass house spark, but their output just hasn't been the same. Well, look no more: with guys like Dom Dolla and labelmate PAX still dropping that bass house fire. "Pass the Bottle" in particular is a real highlight, with a sexy, sultry female vocal paired with an even sexier bassline that just seems to growl at you with every passing. The song goes off every time, and quite frankly I can't imagine my 2019 club life without it." Rylan Smith, Electronic Editor
Polo G - "Through Da Storm"
"On "Through Da Storm," one of the year's breakout rappers is at the top of his game. Chicago rapper Polo G delivers melodic bars with pure emotion seeping through every lyric." Jack Steindorf, Contributing Writer
Popcaan - "Billions" feat. Quada
"This 2019 release from legendary Jamaican dancehall deejay Popcaan just makes me want to grind harder every time I'm listening to it. An inescapably catchy rhythm that can fire up any dance floor." Warren Kagombe, Contributing Writer
Priests - "Jesus' Son"
"When you first hear the fuzzed-out bass of this killer track by Washington D.C group Priests, you know things will get heavy and fast. Sexy, flawed, and vulnerable, "Jesus' Son" is humanity exposed: instinctive emotions and calculated history examined to the furious pace of punk rock." Rene Cobar, Contributing Writer
Psychic Love - "One & Two"
"Los Angeles' dream-grunge artist Laura Peters left the world too soon at the start of 2019 and bittersweetly gifted listeners with new cuts and an album, Stranger Every Day. Psychic Love's "One & Two" evoked the duality of light by Peters' ethereal vocals to only manifest the artist's notorious, weightless existence which grappled unanswered concepts. The track took quiet and poignant turns, oddly meshing brass and minor surf riffs, for a liberating tone greater than previous releases that sweetly honors the late artist's spirit." Janette Ayub, Contributing Writer
Purple Mountains - "All My Happiness Is Gone"
"Much can and has been said about the late singer-songwriter David Berman. It's hard to encapsulate all the complex emotions of an embattled poet fraught with so much history and grief and it's best to let the words speak for themselves. On "All My Happiness is Gone" Berman reflects on his life, the importance of friends and the creeping depression that he can't seem to shake. It's easy to judge in hindsight, but the honesty, skepticism, and wittiness with which Berman delivers his final will and testament will live on even if the poet will not. While it may be extremely sad that Berman won't get to see the turn of another decade, it's comforting to have his final battle cry as a remembrance for the past and a light for the future." George Chammas, Contributing Writer
Purple Pilgrims - "Sensing Me"
"Sensing Me" is a celestial and enchanting single by Purple Pilgrims, a sister duo from New Zealand. The track is from their sophomore album, Perfumed Earth, released via Flying Nun. "Sensing Me" is intensely hypnotic with washes of their ethereal vocals. It could easily be mistaken for a witch's love spell. Jess Fu, Contributing Writer
Ramriddlz - "Niagra"
"The Egyptian-Canadian R&B artist provided nothing but peaceful good vibes with this one. Ramriddlz is a genius at intertwining smooth melodic rhythms and tropical dance beats." Warren Kagombe, Contributing Writer
Rikhter - "Phiom Enhah"
"Potentially one of the most talked-about techno releases this year. After Kobosil dropped it at Unpolished back in March, it was the track on everyone's lips until it's release on Kobosil's R Label Group was announced. As part of Rikhter's first release, this track propelled him straight to the top of the game, and put 140 BPM techno back into the top of the Beatport charts. With some of the most recognisable vocals from possibly any techno track ever, "Phiom Enhah" was a truly special release for 2019." Beth Taylor, Contributing Writer
Rosie Carney - "Thousand" feat. Lisa Hannigan
"This young artist has gone through a lot in her career, and her debut full-length album Bare sees her finally comfortable in her sound and herself. Album highlights are "Thousand (feat. Lisa Hannigan)," and "Awake Me" Tanis Smith, Indie Editor
Rosie Lowe - "YU"
"With a catalog of impressive releases already under her belt, Rosie Lowe's latest album YU is a breathtaking work that has raised the bar of her artistry. Lush soundscapes, striking vocal melodies, and an honest approach to writing let these tracks provide a perspective on life and love in a way only Lowe could. Guest appearances from Jay Electronica, Jordan Rakei, Jamie Lidell, Kwabs, and collaboration with Dave Okumu help take YU to another stratosphere." Evan Crandell, Contributing Writer