The 10 Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)


Style is useless; all hail the brand new masters of world, category-defying hits from artists previous and new. In 2019, the singles have been inventive and stunning, from the social-media-boosted country-trap chart success of Lil Nas X‘s “Old Town Road” to Latin-world collaborations that run the gamut of musical types. There’s room for extra conventional hip-hop and pop, too—welcome again, Jonas Brothers — however they’re joined by rising stars, like Lizzo, Rosalía and Cautious Clay, who’ve a lot to say in their very own approach.

Anitta, “Rosa” feat. Prince Royce

On her debut album Kisses, Anitta, Brazil’s largest pop star, reveals off her strengths as a trilingual artist—she sings in Spanish, Portuguese and English—able to swinging from Brazil’s hard-charging baile funk to tender bossa nova. However it’s on “Rosa” that she most comes into her personal: it’s a trap-pop observe boosted by the looks of bachata-R&B artist Prince Royce, on which Anitta makes probably the most of her alluring voice, singing in expressive Spanish that doesn’t want translation. With its moody synth layers and sensual duet construction, it’s a music that additionally efficiently locations conventional Latin rhythms in a contemporary up to date context. — Raisa Bruner

Cautious Clay, “Sidewinder”

“I don’t need it, I don’t want it,” Cautious Clay sings on “Sidewinder,” the primary music on his glorious EP “Table of Context.” However whereas the Brooklyn singer-songwriter’s lyrics could be apathetic, his craving vocal efficiency suggests in any other case. “Sidewinder” is a harrowing and apt illustration of affection within the digital age, through which need is commonly hid behind ambiguity and solitude. As Clay sings of sorrow, “closed hands” and “lost ties,” his elastic voice slips acrobatically between gravely lows and feathery highs, coalescing into one of many nice earworms of the 12 months. — Andrew R. Chow

FKA twigs, “Cellophane”

“Why don’t I do it for you?” wails the experimental British artist FKA twigs on the softly unsettling “Cellophane,” a music that lays heartbreak naked. Rendered in minimalist, twanging piano chords and tightly-wound vocals, it swings from breathy devastation to excessive notes of fastidiously managed keening. Twigs has all the time walked the tightrope of digital pop and off-kilter R&B; “Cellophane” marks one in all her most emotionally-charged releases up to now, a ballad that drips with raw-edged ache. It additionally marks her return after almost three years of absence from music, foreshadowing a brand new openness in work to come back. — R.B.

G-Eazy, Blueface, ALLBLACK & YG, “West Coast remix”

Whereas California hip-hop has witnessed a fearsome revival over the previous couple of years, its neighborhood was struck by tragedy when Nipsey Hussle, one in all its titans and fiercest advocates, was shot dead in Crenshaw in March. “West Coast,” a posse reduce that includes 4 of the state’s hungriest stars, is a present of resilience, a name to unity, and a robust indicator that this renaissance isn’t fading any time quickly. YG, one in all Nipsey’s shut associates and a Blood affiliate, proudly rhymes subsequent to the Crip-affiliate Blueface, who brings his signature squeaky absurdism. They’re joined by two Bay Space traditionalists: the suave, pop-minded G-Eazy, and ALLBLACK, who hypercharges the observe with freight prepare depth. — A.R.C.

Guaynaa, “Rebota”

You wouldn’t accuse “Rebota” of being advanced. Guaynaa, a rising Puerto Rican rapper, repeats the music’s title—which suggests “bounce” in Spanish—again and again, on high of a minimalistic reggaeton beat that hardly makes use of any tonal devices.

However “Rebota” succeeds wildly in its easy mission: to get our bodies transferring. The music distills reggaeton to its purest composite elements, with Guaynaa locking into an infectious stream and gliding over the difficult syllables with the convenience of an Olympic skier. The music’s ruthless single-mindedness has earned it a co-sign from Bad Bunny and a cool 148 million views on YouTube. — A.R.C.

Jonas Brothers, “Sucker”

Brothers Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas began off as Disney Channel stars in 2005. Fourteen years later—and 6 years after taking a brief hiatus from their group standing—they reunited with “Sucker,” the one that kicked off their new profession period. “Sucker” is a sly, nimble slice of pop, all handclap beats and whistle breaks, with vocals from the three brothers coming in exact falsetto layers. The result’s deeply infectious: “Sucker” is the Jonas Brothers’ first number-one single of their profession, and serves as a reminder of the timeless attraction of old-school boy band type. — R.B.

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road remix”

It appears too unusual to be true: an unknown teenager, sleeping on his sister’s floor, whips the nation right into a frenzy with a horse music, defeating Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran on the charts and throwing the supposed supremacy of long-established gatekeepers—from the Billboard charts to Nashville radio to main labels—into disarray.

Lil Nas X didn’t get right here by way of a random fluke, however by way of shrewd calculation. He fanned the flames of a web-based cowboy craze and boosted his attain with a social media fluency, a crafty humorousness, and a perfectly-chosen saddle associate in Billy Ray Cyrus. And maybe most significantly, he wrote the music’s undeniably monstrous hook, which is catchier than something the massive pop machine has churned out in latest reminiscence. He’s a brand new sort of renegade on a brand new sort of frontier. — A.R.C.

Lizzo, “Juice”

Lizzo perfects the artwork of the self-love dance anthem on “Juice,” the lead single off of her funk-filled, uplifting album Cuz I Love You. With “Juice,” the soulful singer, rapper and flutist delivers one of many 12 months’s most joyful, carefree tracks, a throwback tune that feels contemporary because of Lizzo’s playful supply and on-point lyrics. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, don’t say it, ’cause I know I’m cute,” she deadpans—turning that previous fairy story trope into an affirmation of confidence and independence. Lizzo has grow to be an envoy for all the things from physique positivity to genre-blending; it’s arduous to not purchase into her model of daring bounce when it is available in “Juice” type. — R.B.

Mark Ronson, “Late Night Feelings” feat. Lykke Li

DJ and producer Mark Ronson is one in all music’s extra high-profile collaborators these days, contributing to the Oscar-winning “Shallow” from A Star Is Born with Woman Gaga and dealing with artists like Miley Cyrus on “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” and Dua Lipa on “Electricity.” (He’s additionally one of many creators of the Bruno Mars smash hit “Uptown Funk.”) On “Late Night Feelings,” Ronson tapped the vocals of Swedish pop singer Lykke Li for a bittersweet dance observe; the place her sound naturally veers to the darkish facet, Ronson’s stays within the lane of bouncy jazz and funk. The ensuing mixture is refreshing and distinctive, Li’s voice floating frivolously above his heat composition as she muses about relatable late-night doubts. — R.B.

Rosalía & J Balvin, “Con Altura”

The Spanish artist Rosalía has proved herself chameleonic throughout her swift ascent over the past 12 months: she’s dealt with James Blake ballads, voluptuous dancehall anthems and mournful Justin Timberlake interpolations with equal aplomb. On “Con Altura,” she meets the reggaeton king J Balvin on his residence turf, buying and selling bars with him with an unflinching poise that borders on frigidity. “Con Altura” feels like dembow, hip-hop and flamenco, with center japanese influences sprinkled in. That’s to say, it feels like the way forward for international pop music. — A.R.C.

Write to Raisa Bruner at


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