During the latter half of November 2019 I’m going to be doing a little write up on my top 50 songs of 2019. This is just a draft for now really, and is more accurately my top 50 songs from December 2018-September 2019. I’m without a computer at the moment so have been unable to listen to the last 7 weeks of music, but once I have caught up I will post a final ‘Top 50 of 2019’ list, which will be much more accurate.
I’ll be doing this in 10 parts (with 5 songs each), with the first being Tuesday 19th, and another coming out each day for the following 2 weeks. So, with that said, read on, listen to some of the songs, and let me know what you think, hopefully you discover some songs you enjoy!
• Little Simz – Venom
Venom is a track from Little Simz’ GREY Area album, and is a fast paced, in your face barrage of solid bars and impressive flows over this glossy, majestic instrumental. Venom is my favourite song on a very strong album, and one of my top 5 songs of the year at the moment.
The instrumental does an excellent job at helping to set and change the pace of the song as it progresses. It’s made up mainly of these high pitched stringed instruments that sound like a villains theme song, or the sound you hear before something bad happens in a movie, and some low tempo percussion; mainly a cymbal and a clap. The beat sounds like live instrumentation and therefore has this real consistently clean sound throughout, and is just an overall beautifully made beat that Simz utilises to its full extent. The hook is not really much of a hook at all on this, with Simz just simply repeating the word ‘Venom’ 2-4 times between verses. Though short, it breaks up the song nicely, is catchy, and the transitions from this ‘hook’ to the verses are one of the best parts of the song, being quick and catching the listener off guard.
Where this song truely shines is Little Simz’ performance and how well she flows over the quite obscure beat. In the 2:30 song Simz has 3 full verses, and touches on a number of topics from drugs, to dealing with her inner demons and wanting to be alone, to the difficulties of being a female in the male dominated hip hop genre. All 3 verses are super impressive, with Simz delivering all these solid bars in a range of sporadic and frantic flows. The wordplay is amazing, her rhyme schemes are consistently great, and overall the way she sounds over the beat just sounds exceptional. This song probably has Simz best rapping on the album, and some of my favourite rapping of the year.
Overall this song really is incredibly impressive start to end, with an exciting beat and some amazing flows from Simz I find it hard not to stank face every time this comes on. The way the song is structured with these short hooks and the urgency from Simz to start each verse asap just makes the song so fun and such a breeze to get through. If you enjoyed this and haven’t heard anything else from Simz, I’d highly recommend her GREY Area album, lots of great songs and versatility showcased throughout.
• Tierra Whack – Only Child
Earlier in 2019 Tierra Whack released a number of random loosies to streaming, all of which were amazing in their own right. My favourite though happened to be the very first of the bunch, Only Child. I felt like Only Child was like Tierra had taken her 2018 project ‘Whack World’ and compacted it Down to a single song, with it showcasing her versatility excellently, with some impressive singing, rapping, and a whole bunch of catchiness.
The beat is quite simple, but also unique in a sense. It’s made up mainly of this distorted piano like synth and some low tempo percussion, as well as some hard hitting bass that comes in and out throughout the song. The hook is amazing, by far one of the most catchy hooks this year and maybe ever. It can be broken into 2 parts, the first being these melodically delivered bars with the real strange inflections that make literally every line catchy, and the second half being this sung ‘Darling Darling’ section, which is also insanely catchy. Only Child also features a refrain which acts almost as another chorus, appearing multiple times in the song. The refrain is quite short and simple, being just 2 bars which are then repeated, but the bars themselves are nice, with a solid little rhyme scheme, and overall the refrain too is super catchy. I really can’t emphasise enough the catchiness of this song, listen to it once or twice and there’s a good chance you’ll get something in your head.
As great as all these beautiful catchy hooks and refrains are, Tierra is a rapper first and foremost and she utilises the verses on Only Child to really prove how skilled she is as an MC. Throughout the 2 verses, Tierra changes up her delivery and flows consistently, while spitting some hilarious bars and maintaining solid rhyme schemes too. The first verse is delivered in more of a melodic rap fashion, the second verse starts out with a much more rap flow with solid wordplay, and then the second verse ends with a change of flow and some funny bars. Her verses do a great job at showcasing not only her versatility but her infectious personality, while also breaking up the song from sounding too poppy.
Overall this is an easy top 5 contender for me, I’d say it’s probably the most catchy song of the year, with like 5 totally different parts that get stuck in my head at times. Really there’s nothing in particular that’s impressive, it’s just Tierra has this incredible knack for knowing what is catchy, and this is good proof. Regardless, I love this song front to back, find it thoroughly enjoyable and think it’s a wonderful showcase of Tierra’s versatility and creativity, and if you enjoyed this you have to check out her ‘Whack World’ project, one of my favourite projects of all time.
• Tobi Lou – I Was Sad Last Night But I’m Okay Now
The number one standout among standouts for me from Tobi Lou’s incredible ‘Live On Ice’ album, ‘I Was Sad Last Night But I’m Okay Now’ is this funky, relatable, enjoyable piece of music that also showcases how creative Tobi can be musically, and how talented he is as an artist. From the literal first second to the very end of the song Tobi keeps listeners on their toes by changing up and playing around with the beat, his flows, and his deliveries.
The whole beat has this real funky, mellow vibe to it. The main feature of the beat initially is this funky bass line, which is combined with this simple drum beat and some subtle electric guitar sounds that appear subtly in the background at times. As the song progresses the beat undergoes a bunch of changes, incorporating some electric keyboard like synths, some more traditional piano melodies, some vocal vocoder samples, as well as numerous other subtle little synths. Overall this beat is super exciting, always changing up but keeping this overall vibe to it. The hook is spectacular in every way, it just sounds so good and is so damn catchy. Tobi flows amazingly, has this crisp little rhyme scheme, and continues on the theme of ‘I Was Sad Last Night But I’m Okay Now’. Honestly the whole thing is great, but the end part has a couple of my favourite bars in the entire track;
“I’m on the grind every day like pretty Ricky,
I want a house by the lake like Ricki Ricki,
I don’t really need much, I just need a couple bucks,
Man this broke shit suck like a hickey hickey”
Tobi’s first verse carries on the theme from the hook, using the ‘I Was Sad Last Night…’ Bar and rhyme scheme, and I think it’s done extremely effectively. Gives the first half of the song the real cohesion and helps it flow together nicely. His flow on this verse is addictive and fun to rap along to, and the bars are relatable, with Tobi rapping about being so broke he dreams about take out food. Before the second verse there is a super pleasant little bridge which has Tobi singing a few short lines with this vocal effect on, is a nice little change up to the song. The second verse is different in structure to the first verse and hook, but has Tobi changing up his flows and using some impressive wordplay, all while delivering more relatable and impressive bars. Tobi’s performance throughout this song from the hook, to the verses, to the little bridge is just crazy impressive and a great showcase of his versatility.
Overall this song is easily one of my favourite songs of the year, probably at number 3 if I had to actually rank them. I think one of the best things about this track is that it pulls you in from the very start, with a great beat and solid few bars to start the song off, so by the time things change up and the song gets slower you already love the song enough to pay attention to the rest of the song. I’ve always loved Tobi’s willingness to mix things up and this song is a good example of that. If you enjoy this song there is a good chance you will enjoy more of his album Live On Ice.
• Young Nudy & Pi’erre Bourne – Sunflower Seeds
Just to put it simply, I think Sunflower Seeds by Young Nudy and Pi’erre Bourne is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, and it’s easily my second favourite song of 2019. Each year I find there’s at least one song I absolutely love without really being able to describe why, and this is that song for 2019. I just think the beat is so so majestic, and Nudy glides over the beat with ease.
The beat is absolutely the standout part of this track, it’s really unlike anything I’ve heard in recent times. Produced by Pi’erre Bourne, the beat is made up of some low tempo drum beats, a rattling hi hat and these super angelic piano like synths, which combined give the beat this real hypnotic feel to it, it’s just crazy relaxing. The synths change up slightly during the hook but remain beautiful, and overall the beat just gives the whole song this calming, relaxing vibe.
The hook is long and repeated 3 times throughout the song, actually taking up a majority of the track. Fortunately the hook sounds outstanding, with Nudy just flowing with ease and delivering some solid bars with this beautiful calming delivery that fits the beat perfectly. There are also 2 verses which are also handled by Young Nudy, and although they aren’t really anything spectacular lyrically, they do an excellent job of carrying on the overall feel of the song laid out by the beat and the hook. As someone who had never liked a Young Nudy song before checking out this project, his performance on this track in particular really impressed me and put his on my radar, he does fantastically to not spoil the stunning instrumental.
Overall I’d say this is easily one of the best songs of the year to me, and one of the most beautiful beats I’ve actually ever heard. I think this track does a great job at showing Pi’erre’s versatility, with this beat being quite different than his usual banger. Nudy also does an amazing job at utilising the beat, and this was a great introduction to him for me personally.
• Brockhampton – NO HALO (ft. Deb Never)
Okay so here we have it, my favourite song of the year! NO HALO was a single from Brockhampton’s 2019 album Ginger, and was not only the clear standout from the album, but also my favourite song of 2019 for the last 6 or so months. It takes the beautiful production of ‘Sunflower Seeds’ and adds extra layers of excitement in the forms of beautiful harmonies, backing vocals, and even an amazing feature from female vocalist Deb Never.
No Halo features verses of sorts from 5 of Brockhampton’s members, with Matt Chanpion handling the first, Merlyn the second, Dom third, Joba fourth and finally Bearface. All five of the verses are extremely strong, and yet they all sound quite distinctly different. Matt’s verse is quite a hard hitting, wordplay heavy verse that speaks mainly on the topic of love. Merlyn has one of my favourite verses of the song, a short catchy little verse on the topic of depression. Dom raps on similar topics to Merlyn, but with a much more upbeat and high energy flow, incorporating some nice backing vocals towards the end of his verse. Joba delivers his verse with clarity and with a slick flow, followed by Bearface who has a melodic rap like verse to lead into the final hook. Overall there are just 5 amazing verses on the track which all bring something different but all add to the track as a whole.
The beat is what sets the tone for the entire track, with this majestic acoustic guitar tune being the main focus of the track. This simple guitar loop plays throughout a majority of the song, with this high tempo drum beat being apparent most of the track as well. There are certain sections of the track where the guitar changes up to this more upbeat, higher pitched tune which really breathes life into the track. The hook is also outstanding, easily one of my favourites of the year and the main thing that keeps me coming back to the song over and over. The hook is quite simple on paper, but in practice it’s one of the most beautiful hooks there is. It contains the same line repeated 4 times, then some backing vocals afterwards. What’s great is that the main line is delivered by Deb Never, a female vocalist who adds an amazing touch to the track, and then the backing vocals are handled by Merlyn and sound sensational, like his backing vocals are my favourite part of the track. The hook follows this formula for the first 2 lines, but then for the second set of 2 lines we see the main lines delivered by both Deb Never and Matt Champion who harmonise so so beautifully. If you’re confused, go check this song out it’s seriously superb. As well as all that, this song has this nice little pre-chorus bridge section, which is just this little harmony between Deb Never and Kevin Abstract, another nice little touch which takes this to the next level for me.
Overall I can honestly say I think this song is perfect from start to end, with an exceptional beat, hook, verses, as well as all the little touches like harmonies, backing vocals and transitions. The addition of a female vocalist to the ‘Boy Band’ was an amazing touch, and I think Deb Never did a fantastic job with her contribution. I love everything about this track, if you check out any one of the songs from this top 50 I’d highly recommend this one, such a gorgeous song.
Summary & Discussion
Spotify playlist of all songs here!
Apple Music of all songs here!
Have you heard any of these songs before? What are your opinions on them?
Do you have any recommendations for me based off these songs?
If you havn’t heard them before, I’d highly recommend giving them a listen and letting me know what you think!
– Shan –