I’ve created one of these “best of the year” playlists almost every year since 2014 (something seems to have gone wrong with 2015’s playlist, which is just two rather mismatched songs — Transient by Synkro and Our Own House by Misterwives). Sometimes it’s been part of our New Year’s Eve programme, others it accompanies us on our travels. This year we listened to it while playing Codenames at home.

Best of 2019 playlist

Pharoah – Rosie Lowe, from the album Yu

Groovy is such an outdated word, but it fits this album and track especially. Dripping cool, name-dropping Egyptian gods, great dynamics: it’s not what I expected from someone from Devon, that’s for sure.

Come Home – Anderson .Paak feat. André 3000, from the album Ventura

I failed to finish this album many times last year, a shame given this assured opener which features a bizarre but sometimes brilliant guest spot from desperately romantic animal activist, André 3000.

Something More – Amber-Simone, from the EP For Those Moments

This or Strawberry Kisses, this or Strawberry Kisses… tough call. Good little EP this.

Remind Me – Emily King, from the album Scenery

Hey, this was on the playlist last year!
Yes it was: it was a single in 2018, and on the album in 2019, and deserved its place both times.

Gimme – BANKS, from the album III

I haven’t listened to III much at all, but often enough for this to catch my ear. Midnight city synths beneath a booty-call (“I let you lick it from the ground, ground/’Cause I’ve been drippin’ for your love, love”, and, because it’s a BANKS song, hooks everywhere.

Melt – JONES, from the album New Skin

Well, this one launched in 2016, but I discovered it in 2019 so it counts. It was hard to pick a single song from the album, as it’s all very much a muchness, but this was a standout.

Impossibly – Paige Bea, from the EP Burnout

The Impossibly music video features Paige’s parents and wedding videos. It’s cute. Bonus fun fact: In a September 2019 interview with Lock Mag, Paige named her biggest current musical inspiration as Rosie Lowe (from the beginning of this playlist!)

With You – Eryn Allen Kane, from the album a tree planted by water

I would have liked to have chosen one of the songs with a spoken word intro by Aja Monet, but felt this fit better. Great horns in the chorus.

After the Lord Mayor’s Show – The Divine Comedy, from the album Office Politics

Neil Hannon’s best album in about ten years: I completely skipped Foreverland, Bang Goes the Knighthood was inconsistent so 2006’s Victory… wins out. This song isn’t reflective of the album’s overall cheeky, eccentric tone (one song repeats “Philip and Steve’s furniture removal company” for about five minutes), but the piano Divine Comedy songs are often my favourites.

Single Player Mode – Litany, from the EP Single Player Mode

Beth, I’m really sorry. I honestly meant to listen to this a lot in 2019, but I forgot it came out, honestly. I’ve listened to it a lot over the last few days. I can hear the pain in this one, and the candour is gripping. Best vocal of the year.

Now That I Found You – Carly Rae Jepsen, from the album Dedicated

Ah, 2019; the year I discovered how amazing CRJ is. Overall Dedicated is a little below Emotion, but here’s a banger, with by far the most fun chorus of 2019.

Now That You Need Me – Taylor McFerrin, from the album Love’s Last Chance

The falling keys in the pre-chorus get me every time. And for a bit of ‘fun’ history: track one on my first “best of the year” playlist was Postpartum, the opening track from Taylor’s debut album, Early Riser.

Back in my Body – Maggie Rogers, from the album Heard It In A Past Life

I could have had a couple of Maggie tracks on this list, but this one – about presence, fear, alienation – always reached me.

Closing thoughts
It’s interesting to me that in past years, there’s been a single song that I’ve clung to, usually twisting the lyrics to represent whatever’s happening in my life. In 2018 it was I Can Change by Lake Street Dive, and later on, Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves. But in 2019, I evaded that behaviour, despite it not being a great year overall.

Music, I love you.

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