There are so many incredible albums to look forward to this year—Lana Del Rey's Norman Fucking Rockwell out this month, Chance the Rapper's first (yes, first) that was just released, Rihanna's somewhat-confirmed-but-TBD-masterpiece—and artists across the board have 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 2019...so far.
"The Bones" - Maren Morris
For those of you sleeping on Maren Morris, don't. The 29-year-old country singer's second album, Girl, released in March is filled with empowering singles ("GIRL") and non-sappy love songs ("The Bones") that give fans a perfect mix of emotional reflection and "I'm doin' me" attitude that's very much needed right now.
"Ballin Flossin" - Chance the Rapper ft. Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes is having a moment, considering he's on everyone's radar...including Chance the Rapper's. After dropping his very first album (!), Chance released "Ballin Flossin" with the "Señorita" singer. If it sounds like nothing you've ever heard before, you're absolutely right. With lyrics like "Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat / Peanut butter jelly with a, peanut butter jelly / Y'all ain't ready for this jelly, it'll break y'all back" it's a refreshing mix of joy and ridiculousness. It's also a bit of a Bar Mitzvah jam? Sorry.
"Money In The Grave" - Drake
Is it even summer if Drake doesn't drop new music? (You might recall last summer's "Scorpion" release or 2016's "Views" drop at the end of April, thus paving the way for "One Dance" to claim its 2016 Song of the Summer title.) Drake and Rick Ross released "Money In The Grave" right in time to hype you up for your vacation pregames after the Toronto Raptors' NBA Championship win in June. At first listen, you'll probably mistake it for old Drake, and that's exactly the point.
"Doin Time" - Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey is finally gearing up for the release of her sixth studio album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, on August 30, which includes "Doin Time"—a dreamy cover of Sublime's original 1996 single. Put that, "Mariner's Apartment Complex," "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for Woman Like Me to Have—but I Have It," and 11 other new Lana songs together and you'll never have to worry about surviving Mercury Retrograde again.
"BROWN SKIN GIRL" - Beyoncé, SAINt JHN & Wizkid ft. Blue Ivy Carter
Not only did we receive the gift of a Lion King remake, Beyoncé created an entire album to exist alongside it called The Lion King: The Gift, and it's everything and more. One of the more popular singles titled "BROWN SKIN GIRL"—an ode to Afircan American women everywhere—features none other than Bey's daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, who has now officially made her first Billboard Top 100 debut. She's seven years old, in case you needed a reminder.
"The 1975" - The 1975
Speaking of young prodigies, the opening track on The 1975's new album Notes on a Conditional Form features a four-minute monologue from none other than 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Thunberg urgently expresses the environmental crisis our world is facing, and what we need to do to save ourselves with lines like, "We can no longer save the world by playing by the rules because the rules have changed. Everything needs to change and it has to start today." Take one listen, then share it with everyone you know.
"Cool" - Jonas Brothers
Perhaps the best thing that has come out of 2019 is the Jonas Brothers' resurrection. (Yeah, I said it.) "Cool" is the top single on their Happiness Begins album with its feel-good, windows down lyrics that we'll
want need to play on repeat when winter rolls around. In other words, the Jonas Brothers are just out here doing God's work.
"Bad Guy" - Billie Eilish
"Bad Guy" is one of those rare songs that's so inexplicably good, thanks to the genius Billie Eilish (more on her incredible talent later). It will remind you that you're the sh*t, and after one listen will convince your friends to come out with you on a Monday night. Ten out of 10 recommend putting it on your workout playlist too.
"Old Town Road" - Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
I would apologize for putting "Old Town Road" on this list, but I wouldn't mean it. Lil Nas X's remixed single featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, which now has 244 million views on YouTube, is that good. Unclear if it's the unprecedented mix of country and trap music, or the fact that Billy Ray Cyrus loved it so much that he thought he needed to be apart of it. Nobody can believe how much the world loves it—not even Lil Nas X himself.
"Tempo" - Lizzo ft. Missy Elliot
Moving forward, there will be no more questions like, "What song should I put on?" at the pregame. The go-to will be Lizzo's "Tempo" featuring Missy Elliot from her new album, Cuz I Love You. She. Did. That.
"Make It Better" - Anderson .Paak ft. Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson's soothing vocals add the perfect touch to Anderson .Paak's "Make It Better" from his fourth studio album, Ventura. The sultry single is the epitome of soul music's evolution, and a reminder that you can do it successfully in 2019.
"Past Life" - Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers' "Past Life" brings out a certain kind of nostalgia from your teens you didn't think you could feel again, but this time it feels different—that maybe things weren't so bad then, and you're ready to embrace whatever comes next.
"Oh, maybe there's a past life coming out inside of me / Maybe it's the song I'm singing' / Maybe everything's just turnin' / Out how it should be / Maybe there's a past life comin' out inside of me / Oh, maybe there's a past life comin' out inside, inside of me."
"Dancing With a Stranger" - Sam Smith and Normani
If there was any question about whether or not Normani's talent could flourish without the association of former girl group Fifth Harmony, "Dancing With a Stranger" is the answer. A chance encounter with Sam Smith led to a reminder of the 22-year-old's incredible vocals...and that you can find love in the club.
"Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" - Ariana Grande
What's more iconic than Ariana Grande saying the words we've all been thinking since your crush got in a relationship with a person who's...well...not you? "Break Up With Your Girlfriend" makes itself a home on Thank U, Next, released in February.
"I Can't Get Enough" - benny blanco, Tainy, Selena Gomez, J Balvin
Selena Gomez fans will be pleased to know she's slowly making her way back to the music scene after last summer's jam, "Back to You," with her Benny Blanco, Tainy, and J Balvin collaboration, "I Can't Get Enough." If it's any indication of what's next for Gomez, expect sexy songs that will be impossible not to jam to in the office.
"Dreams" - Solange
Solange is done asking for a seat at the table—she brought her own. Her fourth studio album, When I Get Home, is a follow-up to her 2016 album, A Seat at the Table, and the home of "Dreams"—a gentle-but-haunting reminder of the struggles women of color still face despite society's so-called progression.
"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 MarieClaire.com 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 recently changed with Wasteland, Baby! (a very appropriate album name coming off of 2018). "Almost (Sweet Music)," the first song from the album, feels a lot lighter than Hozier's previous work and isn't that just what we all need?
"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.
"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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