The 50 Best Songs of 2019 So Far
You'll want to hit "repeat" on this playlist.
From anthems about bad guys to late night summer jams, the best songs of 2019 have one thing in common—they've made us tune out the world and take a listen. From Ariana Grande's quickly-iconic breakup track to Bruce Springsteen's big return, these are the best songs of 2019—so far.
"Bad Guy" — Billie Eilish
The bad guys have officially found their go-to synth-soaked summer jam with 17-year-old newcomer Billie Eilish's hit song "Bad Guy," released earlier this year. After all, even villains need a theme song!
"Harmony Hall" — Vampire Weekend
The uncoolest cool guys are back. After a nearly six-year hiatus, Vampire Weekend released their fourth studio album, Father of the Bride, in 2019. It contains a number of catchy tunes, including the indie pop hit "Harmony Hall."
"7 Rings" — Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande's fifth studio album included the massive hit "7 Rings," which delivers quippy lyrics like "You like my hair? / Gee, thanks, just bought it," set to the tune of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things."
"Con Altura" — Rosalía featuring J Balvin and El Guincho
In Rolling Stone's review of Spanish singer Rosalía's hit song "Con Altura," they referred to the singer as "the champion of cross-cultural experimentation." If your genre of choice is reggae—or if you're open to a new sound with a spicy flair—then it's worth giving this Spanish song a listen.
"Burning" — Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers first made waves in the music industry in 2016 when, as a student at New York University, she presented a demo of her song "Alaska" to a visibly moved Pharrell Williams and a video of the moment instantly went viral. Flash forward to today, and Rogers's latest album, Heard It in a Past Life, is causing just as much commotion—especially thanks to "Burning," a ballad about finding yourself again.
"Nights Like This" — Kehlani featuring Ty Dolla $ign
With this ballad about love gone wrong, R&B singer Kehlani (with the help of Ty Dolla $ign) solidified her status as one of the best artists of the summer.
"If I Can't Have You" — Shawn Mendes
There isn't a person out there who listens to Shawn Mendes' "If I Can't Have You" and doesn't wish the song was about them. In the ballad, Mendes sings about wanting to reunite with a former flame—and he doesn't just want half of her, he wants "all the strings attached." It's just too sweet.
"I Don't Care" — Ed Sheeran featuring Justin Bieber
Just in time for summer, Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran released "I Don't Care," an anthem for all of those who don't fit in at the pool party (and quite frankly, don't want to).
"Boy With Luv" — BTS featuring Halsey
With One Direction on hiatus, South Korean boy band BTS is easily the most popular boy band worldwide. They proved their power once again this year with the release of their sixth studio album Map of the Soul: Persona, which featured international hits like "Boy With Luv."
"Red Bull & Hennessy" — Jenny Lewis
After parting ways with Rilo Kiley, singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis found her own success as a solo artist in the indie folk genre. Her fourth studio album, On the Line, is a further testament to that, seeing as it showed up on Billboard's Top Rock Albums, Billboard 200, and Top Alternative Albums charts. If you're only just giving this album a listen now, we suggest starting with "Red Bull & Hennessy," a catchy song about being in the mood for some good lovin'.
"I Think" — Tyler, the Creator featuring Solange
With the release of rapper Tyler, The Creator's fifth studio album, IGOR, fans got a rare glimpse into the musician's romantic life. His latest batch of tracks—ones like "I Think"—reveal a level of vulnerability and a softer side to the rapper that we hadn't heard from him before.
"Juice" — Lizzo
If you haven't already fallen in love with yourself (or with Lizzo), you surely will after hearing just one line of "Juice." As the fabulous singer clearly demonstrates in this fun anthem, self-love is the name of the game in 2019.
"Dylan Thomas" — Better Oblivion Community Center
Sometimes the most unlikely partnerships create the most beautiful, compelling music. Case in point: Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, a fledgling singer-songwriter and veteran composer, who, together, created the Better Oblivion Community Center. In early 2019, they released a number of carefully crafted acoustic hits, including the favorite "Dylan Thomas."
"Lo/Hi" — The Black Keys
For the first time since 2014, The Black Keys released a new album in 2019, fittingly titled Let's Rock. From one grungy rock anthem, like "Lo/Hi," to the next, The Black Keys have proven why they deserve a spot among rock n' roll royalty.
"Julien" — Carly Rae Jepsen
This one is dedicated to those who claimed that pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen was doomed to be a one-hit wonder. There's no hint of the bubblegum "Call Me Maybe" antics in "Julien," a quirky track from Jepsen's latest album, Dedicated.
"Seventeen" — Sharon Van Etten
Decidedly far removed from her folksier image, the new material released by singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten on her sixth studio album, Remind Me Tomorrow, makes you want to dance your way through life, particularly "Seventeen."
"Simon Says" — Megan Thee Stallion featuring Juicy J
Megan Thee Stallion's "Simon Says"—fresh from her first full-length project, Fever—is a fun, club-worthy take on the old children's game of the title. In her lyrics, the rapper instructs listeners to do as she says—and if you listen up, you're bound to have a great time.
"King James" — Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak is the full package. From rapping to singing to playing the electric guitar and drums with ease, the artist knows how to deliver a memorable performance. In "King James," a song from his latest studio album, Ventura, Paak delivers a subdued protest song that's making audiences stop and listen to what he has to say.
"Beer Never Broke My Heart" — Luke Combs
Finally, country singer Luke Combs has uttered the words that we've been thinking all along: "Beer Never Broke My Heart." The singer, who recently became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, lays out more than a few memorable lines in this chart-toppping song, including "It takes one hand to count the things I can count on / But I got one hand that's gripping down on a cold one." And with that, beer drinkers everywhere have their new anthem.
"Zora" — Jamila Woods
Poet Jamila Woods has set her famed lyrical prowess to music with her 2019 album, Legacy! Legacy! From Miles Davis to Eartha Kitt, each song on the album is named after and inspired by a legendary black artist. Woods' hit song "Zora" pays tribute to acclaimed novelist Zora Neale Hurston, who explored the vast complexities of black culture in her work. And with this track, Woods has managed to do the same.
"Almost (Sweet Music)" — Hozier
Irish musician Hozier's soulful baritone voice is gracing the top 40 charts yet again. With "Almost (Sweet Music)," the singer-songwriter has penned an intriguing ode to the jazz era. Throughout the track, he references other songs crafted by the likes of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane—idols that he has long looked up to.
"BMO" — Ari Lennox
Ari Lennox isn't afraid of speaking her truth. "Sometimes women are put in this box where we're only supposed to talk about certain things," she told Complex. "I want to be braver and riskier. I think people want to hear that kind of honesty and frankness." Armed with this need for honesty, the R&B singer crafted "BMO"—a summertime song about longing and desire.
"Old Town Road (Remix)" — Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
First released independently by rapper Lil Nas X in 2018, "Old Town Road" eventually gained enough popularity on the TikTok app to transform into a chart-topping success. Fast forward a year later, and the rapper is still profiting off the popularity of his hit single, recruiting retired country star Billy Ray Cyrus to join him for an equally-successful remix.
"Light Years" — The National
Just like every other album released by Americana rock band The National, lead singer Matt Berninger manages to sing about heartbreak in a way that everyone can relate to. Even if you aren't going through a transformative breakup, you might feel like you are as you listen to "Light Years," a song from the band's ninth studio album, titled I Am Easy to Find. In the song, Berninger recalls the moments leading up to a tough breakup—before he knew of all that was to come.
"Binz" — Solange
Despite being the younger sister of pop icon Beyoncé, Solange Knowles has experienced her own triumphs and successes. Since the debut of her third studio album, A Seat at the Table, Solange has been busy making critically-acclaimed R&B music. Now, from her fifth studio album, When I Get Home, we have "Binz," a playful summer song that dreams up a world filled with Saint Laurent and a "hundred thousand dollars on the fronts."
"Sucker" — the Jonas Brothers
After a nine-year hiatus, the Jonas Brothers finally returned to the music scene with their new album, Happiness Begins. And from that long-awaited release came the summer anthem "Sucker," a love song that reignited the group's popularity.
"Song 31" — Noname featuring Phoelix
Fatimah Nyeema Warner, better known by her stage name Noname, makes music and poetry that soulfully pays homage to her hometown of Chicago. Through her lyrical prose and staccato verses—especially in her latest venture, "Song 31"—Noname has made quite the name for herself.
"Gretel" — (Sandy) Alex G
Even if you've never heard of (Sandy) Alex G, you may have heard some of his musical stylings on Frank Ocean's sophomore album, Blonde. When he's not in the studio with Ocean, though, the indie musician is crafting his own music that sounds like a cross between folk and lo-fi bedroom pop. His latest release, "Gretel," a celebration of Americana and rural culture, has scored big with the cool crowd.
"Cellophane" — FKA Twigs
Early last year, FKA Twigs explained her recent absence from the music industry on Instagram, detailing the removal of six fibroid tumors from her body. Just one year after her surgery, however, the famed performance artist is back at it, offering stripped-down electronic music that artfully showcases her singing chops, as "Cellophane" clearly does.
"Hello Sunshine" — Bruce Springsteen
At long last, Bruce Springsteen is back. This time, with "Hello Sunshine," Springsteen beautifully sings of the compelling, but empty feeling of being on the road—revealing why he has chosen instead to take another step in the direction of home.
"This Time Around" — Jessica Pratt
Folk singer Jessica Pratt has been attracting fans to her otherworldly sound for the better part of a decade. "This Time Around," from her third studio album, Quiet Signs, transports listeners to another time and place altogether—one that looks something like a gloomy, but alluring '60s-style diner in a quiet beach town.
"Common" — Maren Morris featuring Brandi Carlile
Country music isn't always kind to female artists. And, with impeccable grace, country singer Maren Morris underscores this struggle in her latest song, "Common," featuring the musical talents of Brandi Carlile.
"Never Really Over" — Katy Perry
Despite attempts to remain relevant on the top 40 charts, pop icon Katy Perry seemed to fade from the limelight these past few years. However, in 2019, Perry finally staked her claim in the industry once again with her sing-a-long summer anthem "Never Really Over," a love song that's put the songstress back in business.
"Late Night Feelings" — Mark Ronson featuring Lykke Li
If you haven't heard of Mark Ronson, it's likely that you've heard at least some of his musical stylings on tracks written for other artists like Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse. For his foray back into the musical world as a solo artist, though, he recruited the help of Lykke Li to create an equally euphoric and heart-wrenching disco-style tune, "Late Night Feelings," which has become a true summer jam.
"Before I Let Go" — Beyoncé
First appearing as a bonus track on the soundtrack for Beyoncé's concert film Homecoming, "Before I Let Go" is a triumphant cover of a song first created by American R&B band Maze.
"Sanguine Paradise" — Lil Uzi Vert
Does your 9-to-5 job have you feeling down? If so, rapper Lil Uzi Vert's anthem about making money, "Sanguine Paradise," can perhaps put just a little bit of pep in your step on your morning commute.
"I'm So Tired" — Lauv featuring Troye Sivan
LGBT pop singers Lauv (pictured) and Troye Sivan have finally admitted to their hatred of love songs with their anti-romance track "I'm So Tired." Despite the fact that this pair obviously misses their previous significant others, they won't be pining after them with the help of a love song.
"R.I.P." — Sofía Reyes featuring Rita Ora and Anitta
Along with the help of Rita Ora and Brazilian singer Anitta, Mexican singer-songwriter Sofía Reyes fills "R.I.P." with powerful lyrics delivered in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Throughout the course of the empowering song—and no matter what language you speak—it's clear that these ladies are done with the drama and only want to focus on the positive.
"Please Me" — Cardi B featuring Bruno Mars
For the second time, Cardi B and Bruno Mars come together to craft a memorable song full of lofty beats and lyrics dripping with sexual tension. Unlike other coed collaborations, it's the woman who's in charge of this tune, making her male counterpart beg for just a look in his direction.
"Hurry on Home" — Sleater-Kinney
In early 2019, the music world was rocked by the announcement that feminist rock institution Sleater-Kinney would be releasing an album under the direction of fellow indie music darling St. Vincent. And, though the full-length album has yet to be released, fans at least have a taste of what's to come with "Hurry on Home," a love song packed with some serious grit.
"Easier" — 5 Seconds of Summer
"Easier," fresh from 5 Seconds of Summer's upcoming album, has topped charts all over the world. It details a failing relationship between two people who will never change, but it's still so fun to listen to.
"Tempo" — Lizzo featuring Missy Elliott
Due to the overwhelming popularity of Lizzo in 2019, it's only fitting that she makes yet another appearance on this list. With "Tempo," she captures a bit of early 2000s nostalgia by collaborating with the queen of the early aughts herself, Missy Elliott.
"Dancing With a Stranger" — Sam Smith featuring Normani
Singer Sam Smith approaches his usual theme of loneliness in "Dancing With a Stranger" in a more powerful, commanding way than ever before. Along with Normani, a former member of the girl group Fifth Harmony, Smith takes listeners on a journey of acceptance and heartbreak—one that inevitably earned the song a top spot on Billboard charts around the world.
"Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" — Ariana Grande
Yet again, Grande is saying what the rest of us are too scared to admit. She cemented her icon status with this frank ballad, proving she isn't looking to shy away from honesty anytime soon—no matter how uncomfortable it may make her exes.
"Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for Women Like Me to Have—But I Have It" — Lana Del Rey
Released in January of 2019, "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for Women Like Me to Have—But I Have It" is an incredibly intricate track from Lana Del Rey. It explores religion, family, troubled romance, alcoholism, and fame. Not only that, but the singer makes more than a couple of references to Sylvia Plath—the addition of which only adds depth and darkness to a track already brimming with emotion.
"Bags" — Clairo
Slated to appear on Clairo's debut album Immunity, "Bags" artfully displays the 20-year-old's pop appeal through a series of '80s-inspired synthesized beats and stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Despite its quiet sound, the song has proven to have some boisterous appeal.
"Bury a Friend" — Billie Eilish
Eilish sees herself as the monster under her own bed with her 2019 track "Bury a Friend." "If you put yourself in that mindset, what is this creature doing or feeling?" she told Variance Magazine. "I also confess that I'm this monster, because I'm my own worst enemy. I might be the monster under your bed too."
"Swan Song" — Dua Lipa
Despite the title of her latest release, Dua Lipa has no plans of slowing her climb to the top of the pop charts. This defiant anthem was made for the 2019 film Alita: Battle Angel, an American cyberpunk science fiction action film.
"You Need to Calm Down" — Taylor Swift
Though many critics don't consider "You Need to Calm Down" to be one of Taylor Swift's best songs, others feel like the manufactured LGBTQIA+ anthem is a nod to the importance of queer culture in mainstream media. Either way, true to Swift's form, she once again caused a commotion in 2019.
"Just Us" — DJ Khaled featuring SZA
This song by DJ Khaled and SZA feels like the perfect summer anthem, detailing the love story between a pair conquering the world—with the help of a sampling of Outkast's "Ms. Jackson." It's bound to get your head bobbing and your body rolling. And for more music facts you need to know, check out these 23 Songs That Were Secretly Written By Huge Stars.