The Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)

Design by Morgan McMullen

There are so many incredible albums to look forward to this year—Lana Del Rey's Norman Fucking Rockwell, Maggie Rogers' Heard It in a Past Life, Rihanna's somewhat-confirmed-but-TBD-masterpiece—and artists across the board have already been dropping singles left and right. Thank god for that because 2019 isn't shaping up to be any easier than 2018, and we'll need all the great music we can get. Throughout the year, we'll be listening to (and judging) every new tune and collecting the ones we love the most here. Be sure to check back often.

Here, the best songs of far.

"Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have—But I Have It" - Lana Del Rey

The eerily beautiful third single from Lana Del Rey's upcoming album Norman Fucking Rockwell is as dark ("I've been tearing around in my fucking nightgown / 24/7 Sylvia Plath / Writing in blood on the walls") as it is relatable for anyone yearning to release their demons. Del Rey is proof it's possible.

"Nights Like This" - Kehlani ft. Ty Dolla $ign

We can expect a mixtape and album from Kehlani later in 2019, but first comes a nostalgic love song featuring Ty Dolla $ign. Since her 2017 major label debut album SexySweetSavage, Kehlani has become a queer pop icon that no longer needs an introduction to mainstream fans.

"I've been making music about women my whole career, but I never felt the need to write 'she,' necessarily. Now I've seen how people reacted to my song 'Honey,' or when I've used the correct pronouns and put women in my music videos," the 23-year-old told Fader last year. "Just seeing how much people felt like they needed that representation or how much it inspired them definitely encouraged me to step into this new phase of making music."

"More Than That" - Lauren Jauregui

When Jauregui became the final Fifth Harmony member to go solo, nobody knew what to expect from the 22-year-old. She told her debut single, "Expectations," "encompassed the whole idea of coming out of a career people have expectations about—how I’m going to be, what sound I’m going to have, and where I’m going to go with my new power." Only a few months later, "More Than That" fully embraces The New Lauren—a powerful reminder that she (and the music she makes) doesn't belong to anybody.

"Almost (Sweet Music)" - Hozier

The "Take Me to Church" singer hasn't released an album in four years, but that's about to change with Wasteland, Baby! (a very appropriate album name coming off of 2018). "Almost (Sweet Music)," the first song from the highly-anticipated March album, feels a lot lighter than Hozier's previous work and isn't that just what we all need to carry us through winter to spring?

"When I Was Older" - Billie Eilish

"When I Was Older" is soft and dreamy, dark and intense—it gives off Lana Del Rey vibes with an electronic pop touch. Eilish and her brother were selected by director Alfonso Cuarón to compose a song for the album Music Inspired By Roma (his most recent critically acclaimed film), and the haunting single is what they created, affirming Billie Eilish's unofficial title as best young vocalist of our time. She's 17.

"No Place" - Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys may or may not have purposely reinvented themselves with "No Place," a far departure from their star status–cementing 1999 album, Millennium. Instead of sounding old and washed up, they actually sound like an emerging boy band you hate to love. In other words, it's great.

"Juice" - Lizzo

Melissa Jefferson, a.k.a. Lizzo, gives no fucks in "Juice"—the energy we should all be carrying through 2019. The 30-year-old hip-hop artist has, as Paper perfectly notes, "made a career out of writing bops," which is the best way to describe the feel-good songs Lizzo has been blessing us with since 2013, and this single is no different.

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