After bigging up as much music as possible over the last twelve months, it’s time for list week! The most wonderful time of the year for music fans, and this week kicks off with Sounds Good’s Favourite Singles of 2019! Much like every other music-related publication out there, Sounds Good will be listing its favourite singles, EPs and albums of the year. I’ll be doing things a little different and will simply name my favourite singles rather than attempt to decide on the BEST, as that would drive me insane.
Thank you to every artist, PR person and record label who has submitted music to Sounds Good this year. Without them, this would be the quietest music blog around. Please note that it was hard to cut down each list to an acceptable number, and that the releases featured were some that have remained in constant rotation on my listening this year.
Each listing will contain links to the review of each song as well as the song, so that you too can listen to the singles that helped shape my 2019. Sounds Good will be taking a break over the holidays and will return in January, so make sure to check it out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you won’t miss out! With all that said, let’s get underway!
SOUNDS GOOD’S FAVOURITE SINGLES OF 2019
J.R. / “BE MY MAN“
This little dose of energy might clock in at less than two minutes, but it’s got all the riffage, harmonies and melodies needed to make a lasting impact. It’s a pocket-sized demolition job determined to bash away your skull, and you cannot deny that the drum fill intro isn’t the coolest intro in the world.
HOLLY REES / “BETTER”
Holly Rees enjoyed a proper eventful 2019. She embarked on a journey to Canada to deliver a mammoth tour, travelling by herself in a campervan named Bear. One of the many fruits of this labour was “Text Me When You Get There”, a live EP of her final performance in Newcastle before she headed off on her overseas expedition. The lead single from that was “Better”, a track that showcased a new found energy from its live setting while also ensuring Holly’s ability to tear at the heart remained the focal point.
HALF WOLF / “CIGARETTE SMOKE”
Hannah Westerholm burst onto the scene this year with a series of singles that made me an immediate fan, but none of them hit as hard as “Cigarette Smoke”. Written about a tumultuous relationship, there’s not another song out there that speaks with as much honesty as this one. The simple acoustic chords paired with drums creates an effective instrumental, but it’s Hannah’s vocals that really shine here.
SKYE WALLACE / “COAL IN YOUR WINDOW”
Skye Wallace produced one of my favourite records this year and it all began with this song. At the time I described it as having the power of a “Gorilla piledriving a Shark” and you know, that sentiment still remains. Massive guitars tear through the airwaves as lead guitar shreds like a pure badass. It’s a song that really gets you pumped up, and ready to punch that Gorilla in the face.
ARIZA (FT. EMILY C. BROWNING, WHY THE FACE) / “DISTRACTED”
LA artist Ariza maintained a high level of productivity this year, with the crowning jewel being “Distracted”. Featuring Emily C. Browning and Why The Face, this collaborative effort offered some of the jankiest instrumentals around. Fusing together hints of Funk and Jazz, it was extremely difficult to not have this song stuck in your head.
MAKE FRIENDS / “DROP NAKED”
Another band that made their debut this year. Make Friends got us all hot and bothered with “Drop Naked”. This single was my introduction to Make Friends and not only was I impressed, it also made me need a cold shower afterwards. Oh boy.
LAZYBONES / “FASHION VICTIM”
There aren’t many things that beat nailing a first impression, and Brighton’s Lazybones immediately became my new best friend with theirs. “Fashion Victim” is a hellacious listen, complete with screeching vocals, thunderous guitars and all the tools needed to turn your brain to mush. Yummy, yummy mush.
THE VEGAN LEATHER / “FRENCH EXIT”
With a punchy guitar riff that bashes its way into the hips, “French Exit” is a track that does not mess around when it comes to the dancefloor. Having followed up with the release of their excellent album Poor Girls / Broken Boys, The Vegan Leather became another band who dominated my listening this year but “French Exit” was my first love.
SAM SETTON / “GUM”
Sam Setton whisked me off my feet this year, and it was done rather easily (what can I say? I’m a slut) with the release of “Gum”. Causing me to admit that listening to the song made me “so erect rn”; you can already imagine how much game this track has. Breathy vocals, sensual harmonies and a vibe that urged you to move in closer, you can’t resist this smooth mofo.
ROSIE SHAW / “IN BLOOM”
If I was attempting to rank each of these songs, Rosie Shaw’s “In Bloom” would be number one. It’s a song that continues to blow me away even after repeated listens, purely because every element of it is perfect. The production, the piano chords, the drums and – the real highlight – Rosie’s vocals are all sublime, and it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in general, not just this year.
LAURENT BOURQUE / “MATADOR”
With warm acoustic chords sinking us into chilled vibes, Laurent Bourque’s “Matador” soon descends a soundscape that dabbles in groove and strikes us with composed nature. Tiny blips of synth line up with rigid drums to inject little strikes of funk into the hips, enabling a swing that’s hard to ignore. This is the one of the best-rounded songs of 2019.
CIVILIANA / “MELT”
CIVILIANA quenched my thirst for more QOTSA with the release of “Melt”, and a large reason why is because of its bassline. Good lord, that bass is (as they’d say) dummy thicc, and the tempo is just good enough to make you feel like a badass when you’re walking down the street.
ANGIE MCMAHON / “PASTA”
Pasta remains one of my favourite foods, and Angie McMahon did it justice with this fantastic song. It’s the ultimate lazy song and not only does it embrace its laziness, as well as any pending fears, it invites you to do the same. I haven’t showered in a week because of it.
VANDEBILT / “PUSHING THROUGH”
Vandebilt burst onto the scene in a big way this year and “Pushing Through” became my go-to song for needing a little extra spring in my step. It’s jangly rhythm and slightly hurried tempo makes everything seem okay.
TOBY CHARLES / “RATHER BE (WITH YOU)”
Toby Charles is one of a few artists who have continued to remain on the Sounds Good radar over the years, and this year he delivered big with the superb Spaces in Between EP and this song. “Rather Be (With You)” is the ultimate summer love song and reminds me of fonder times in the sun. Up the tobes.
CRAWFORD / “RED WINE”
“Red Wine” is the debut single from Crawford. Written about confessing feelings of love after having a little too much wine, this song is a fantastic introduction to the LA-based artist. We’ve all confessed feelings whilst drunk. I once made the mistake of texting a former lover about how much I miss them and still thought about them but they never replied. I was heartbroken but then again, I don’t know how I managed to get Pizza Hut’s number in the first place. Considering this is a DEBUT SINGLE, this is incredible.
LAURAN HIBBERD / “SWEAT PATCH”
Lauran Hibberd is my favourite discovery of 2019. There, I said it. With a series of strong singles paired with excellent music videos and an EP that’s *spoiler alert* sure to appear on our EP list, you can’t argue that Lauran has had a brilliant year. “Sweat Patch” is the latest single to be released and it’s a song that pairs her humour with solid, crunchy guitars.
THOUGHTS / “TETHERED”
Thoughts also made their debut this year and “Thoughts” became a song I played continuously in the summer. It’s laid back instrumental dazzles with funky drums and scatty guitars that immediately bring good vibes to the ears. The vocals sink their way through the layers and out of the airwaves to deliver a set of harmonies that always go down smooth, and the chorus? Oh man, what a sensual little bastard it is.
HALIA JACK / “WAITED LONG ENOUGH”
A song that blends Jazz, RnB and Neo-Soul together, “Waited Long Enough” is a heartache that introduced the world to Halia Jack. Broad synthesisers create a vacuum for further synths to produce melodies that swirl into the atmosphere, bubbling basslines that add texture and groove to the mix, subdued drums that subtly build upon the groove and Halia’s vocals that dance amongst the layers beautifully.
TALLSAINT / “WARM SKIN”
“Warm Skin” is a song that probably would sum up 2019 for me. It was the first song that truly enveloped me in its sound and dazzled my mind with its chorus, which remains one of my favourites of the year. It has this ability to put a smile on you, akin to the lyricism in the song, and you can’t ignore it. It’s wonderful.