From pop comebacks to international acts finding crossover success to gorgeous ballads and irresistible dancefloor bait, was quite the year. Here are the songs we couldn't stop playing this year. Think the vulnerable voice of Nina Simone waxing poetic about the ills of millennial dating. Following in the footsteps of international kings like Burna Boy and WizKid, Rema's crisp, charming vocals float over a bouncy rhythm that blends Afropop and hip-hop to create three minutes and 15 seconds of sheer joy. Sex sells, but Rapsody has never been one to conform to hip-hop's misogynistic views of women. Angel Olsen's lush, throaty voice connects with an eerie, '80s-leaning production to create a musical masterpiece. One of the most ubiquitous songs of came from pop's newest power couple.
Songs by Lewis Capaldi, Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish were among the biggest of 2019.
The fact that The Highwomen even exists is impressive. They make that statement over an unabashedly pretty melody, going in and out of duets and harmonies with seamless, generous sweetness. Carly Rae Jepsen has built a cult following on the power of her brand of pure, heart-on-your-sleeve pop. Her widely-praised third album was even nakedly called Emotion. Bandana , the widely acclaimed album from rapper Freddie Gibbs and producer Madlib, was forged in trying circumstances: Gibbs says he wrote most of the record in an Austrian jail while awaiting his eventual acquittal from sexual assault charges. And that something is a propulsive, infectious disco sensibility. With a retro-sounding melody that resonates across generational tastes, the song has already become a dancefloor mainstay. The combination is potent and haunting, hinting at the diversity of Latin music and the creative future it is inevitably heading toward.
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Every summer is only as good as the song that defined it. This year had its work cut out for it. These are the songs—whether we chose them or not—that will be playing in the background of our memories of a specific time and place. As for who reigned supreme? Time will tell. You can listen to the full Songs of Summer playlist on our Spotify, too.
The past and the future combined in , a year of satisfying comebacks from veteran artists and exciting breakouts from newer ones. Read the list below, with a Spotify playlist of all at the bottom. An unlikely combination of three very different alt-leaning acts, "I've Been Waiting" is far more seamless than it has any right to be, finding common ground in the artists' shared pop sensibilities. As it toggles between vocals from all three, it's impossible to tell where the verses stop and the chorus starts -- it's all hooks, really, a song where every part feels like That Part. In a more just world , this would've been the song to get the late Lil Peep his first Hot top 40 hit. Now please, get off his lawn. There are a lot of "what ifs" when a relationship ends, but the title of Lady Antebellum's latest heart-wrenching hit has to be one of the scariest.