The 20 best singles of 2019
12 December 2019, 12:44 | Updated: 12 December 2019, 14:03
Billie Eilish? Ariana Grande? Normani? It's time to find out which artists released PopBuzz's 'Single of the Year' 2019...
2019 is drawing to a close and that can only mean one thing... lists. Every year we like to examine all the films, TV shows, music and memes we've enjoyed over the past 12 months and pick out what's best. Was Hustlers the standout cinematic event of the year? Did Stranger Things 3 live up to its previous seasons? Can we even remember what life was like before Kylie Jenner sang 'rise and shine'?
As for music, 2019 has been huge. We've seen Billie Eilish rise from an indie artist into one of the biggest stars on the planet, we've seen Ariana Grande create some of the best work of her career and we've seen Lil Nas X steal the hearts of everyone. Now the PopBuzz team have assembled a list of the best songs of the year for you to enjoy.
READ MORE: The 20 best TV shows of 2019
As always, there was a lot of disagreement. Some artists were robbed (Selena Gomez, Tinashe, Chloe x Halle - I apologise in advance), other artists snuck in at the final hour and rules mean that multiple appearances have been avoided where possible. Ultimately, though the list is non-stop bops.
So without further ado, here are PopBuzz's Top 20 singles of the year.
20) Pablo Vittar - 'Flash Pose' (feat. Charli XCX)
Pablo Vittar is a capital-S-star. After taking over the internet with her stunning music videos, the Brazillian legend decided to flex her skills on an English-language track this year and it slaps. Not only is 'Flash Pose' an undeniable banger but it's also exactly what you want to hear on a night out. Bonus points for featuring Charli XCX and for the queer as fuck visual.
19) 5 Seconds of Summer - 'Easier'
Let's face it. 5SOS have never released a bad single and 'Easier' is up there with their best work. After going down more of a pop lane on their third album Youngblood, the boys are now entering more experimental territory. 'Teeth' goes off but 'Easier' sees Luke show off his impeccable falsetto and we can't get enough of it. 2 minutes and 57 seconds of perfection.
18) Ciara - 'Thinkin Bout You'
Ciara never gets the respect she deserves. Ever since she first 1, 2 stepped onto the scene with 'Goodies' in the summer of 2004, she's blessed us all with countless gems. 'Thinkin Bout You' is just that. No bells, no whistles, it's just pure pop in its finest form and it's an instant mood changer. I defy you not to smile when the "early in the mornin" refrain kicks in.
17) Harry Styles - 'Watermelon Sugar'
Harry Styles. That's it. That's the sentence. Harry Styles has always possessed an unnatural amount of star power and his new Fine Line era sees him embrace that in full force. 'Lights Up' is psychedelic excellence and 'Watermelon Sugar' is as sweet as it sounds. The relaxed production, the fact that it's almost definitely about oral sex, his voice. More of this, please.
16) Lil Nas X - 'Panini'
It's hard to imagine life before Lil Nas X but a year ago almost all of us had no idea who he was. Fast-forward 12 months and he's now released one of the most successful songs of all time and received six Grammy nominations. 'Old Town Road' got him here but 'Panini' proved that he's not a one-hit-wonder. Bonus points for the DaBaby remix. Now that was a classic!
15) Taylor Swift - 'Lover'
Taylor Swift returned this year and she released a first dance song to end all first dance songs. 'Lover' is romantic. 'Lover' is dreamy. 'Lover' sounds like it’s already soundtracked about 50 different rom-coms. Like many Taylor Swift songs, 'Lover' is wildly dramatic and yet also relatable. Love is such a beautiful, precious thing and 'Lover' perfectly encapsulates that.
14) Lana Del Rey - 'Doin' Time'
Lana Del Rey is a lifestyle and we've been living it since we were first introduced to her back in 2011. From 'Video Games' to 'Love', it's hard not to be captivated by her voice. It's mesmerising. Most of Lana's most famous songs are sad girl anthems but 'Doin' Time' is cheerful. It's a cover but Lana makes it her own... actually. It's the sound of carefree summers gone by.
13) Ashley O - 'On a Roll'
If you told me in January that a fictional pop star played by Miley Cyrus would star on this list, I wouldn't have believed you. It shouldn't be surprising though. Miley is no stranger to releasing bangers in character (Hannah Montana hive let me hear y'all make some noise) and Black Mirror's Ashley O really delivered with 'On a Roll'. Going into 2020 with ambition and verve.
12) BTS - 'Boy with Luv (feat. Halsey)'
The biggest boyband in the world teaming up with one of music's most interesting artists? We love to see it. BTS have spent the past six years taking over the globe and 'Boy with Luv' saw them reach new heights. Not only did it break the YouTube record for the most viewed video in a day but the song is catchy as hell. Special mention to Halsey's 'I want it' ad-libs.
11) MUNA - 'Number One Fan'
MUNA have a way with creating perfectly crafted songs that you can't get out of your head and 'Number One Fan' may just be their best yet. It starts with the best opening lyric of the year ('So I heard the bad news / Nobody likes me and I'm gonna die') and it somehow turns into one of the greatest self-love anthems of all time without ever feeling preachy or reductive.
10) Stormzy - 'Vossi Bop'
Stormzy's debut album Gang Signs & Prayer established him as one of the most exciting and popular voices in British music and 'Vossi Bop' sees him build on that. More confident than ever, it seems him flex his wordplay and personality, over some of his best production to date. Also a Number 1 single with the line "Fuck the government and fuck Boris"? Iconique.
9) Ariana Grande - '7 rings'
Ariana Grande really dominated this year and it's safe to say that '7 rings' did what it had to do. After topping charts with the surprise release of 'thank u, next' in 2018, Ariana did it again with '7 rings'. Between the Sound of Music sample (we need a Julie Andrews remix) and the slick chorus (you need to hear this in an arena), we'll be playing this into 2020 and beyond.
8) King Princess - 'Hit the Back'
We knew that 'Hit the Back' would be amazing as soon as King Princess teased that she wrote it as an "anthem for bottoms everywhere”. True to her word, it is just that. It's literally about loving someone so much that you let them top you. What we weren't prepared for is how timeless and nostalgic it feels. Subtle yet also majestic. Bottoming never sounded this good.
7) Charli XCX and Christine & the Queens - 'Gone'
Wow. What a moment. A moment most pleasing to me in my career. Over the past few years, Charli XCX has proven multiple times that she is the queen of collaboration. She has a knack for pushing artists into new and experimental lanes and 'Gone' sees both her and Christine at the height of their powers. From the production to the video, this is pop culture at its best.
6) Sam Smith & Normani - 'Dancing with a Stranger'
'Dancing with a Stranger' was a pivotal moment for both Sam Smith and Normani. Until then, Sam had made a career out of lovelorn ballads and Normani only had one solo hit under her belt. 'Dancing with a Stranger' saw Sam prove that they could turn up the tempo on their own music and Normani prove that she is ready to take over the world. A duet for the ages.
5) Jonas Brothers - 'Sucker'
We love a reunion but a reunion is only a comeback if the music is any good. Thankfully, the Jonas Brothers had a banger on their hands. 'Sucker' is a rare beast in that it captures the essence that made the band so great when they started out in the 00s, while also sounding like a song that would top the charts in 2019... and it did just that. Jonas Sisters, where y'all at?
4) Miley Cyrus - 'Mother's Daughter'
There is so much noise around Miley Cyrus that it's easy to forget how talented she is. On her SHE IS COMING EP, Miley put her skills centre staged and honed in on what makes her such a brilliant artist. 'Mother's Daughter' is the highlight. It's bold, trippy and feminist. It shows off her voice without sacrificing any of her signature quirks. We can't wait to hear the album.
3) Lizzo - 'Juice'
2019 was the year that people finally paid attention to Lizzo and her old releases 'Truth Hurts' and 'Good as Hell' dominated the charts. It's easy to forget though that she kicked off January with the most joyful song in recent memory. 'Juice' is what we needed in the cold winter months and it's kept us hydrated all year long. Can't wait for this to be Number 1 in 2021.
2) Billie Eilish - 'bad guy'
Billie Eilish is the future. When she launched in 2015, the 17-year-old quickly began cultivating a loyal fanbase and 2019 saw her catapult into the mainstream. 'bad guy' is Billie at the peak of her powers. It hilariously pokes fun at her public persona ('might seduce your dad type'), while also showcasing how entrancing her voice is. We have no choice but to stan... duh.
1) Normani - 'Motivation'
Every single second of 'Motivation' is perfectly crafted. The harmonies on "Get you naked but I won't tell 'em'" in the second verse, the way she emphasises the last syllable of 'innovation' in the chorus, the horns in the bridge. The whole song is filled with little nuggets that keep you coming back for more but it's Normani's voice and confidence which hold it all together.
And that's not even mentioning the video. From the athleticism of the choreography to the way in which she pays homage to the performers who inspired her, it's impossible not to be mesmerised. It feels fun and effortless in spite of how intricate it is. Plus there are so many standout moments: the twerking on the fence, the basketball move, the gymnastics in the rain!
In an era of 'relatable' popstars, it's so refreshing and rare to see an artist release a single which unashamedly oozes star power and charisma. Like the greats before her, Normani is so talented that you want to be her. A star is born.