It’s that time of year again, I’m going to spend the next week looking back on this year. It’ll be a mix of personal stuff and lists of favourites, much as I’ve done in years past. It’s always a fun way of going back over the year and the best way to kick it off is with my annual playlist.
For those who don’t know, every year I make a playlist of songs that I’m listening to a lot, that are resinating with me at the time or that I just feel nail a time and a place.
This is my annotated 2019 playlist. Enjoy.
TLC - Creep
I’d been listening to this a fair bit in 2018 and throughout December it had started taking on new life for me. TLC are one of the best girl groups, no, one of the best r&b groups regardless of gender, of all time and this song was the first thing I added to my playlist when I was in a shitty place at the start of the year.
The Beatles - Ticket To Ride
You can listen to a song for your entire life and then its meaning can change in your mind or it finally clicks into place with you at the drop of a hat. That happened to me with this classic from The Beatles.
The Cardigans - Erase/Rewind
I was really struggling at the start of this year and this nineties banger hit home with me. A bunch of these songs from the start of the year I tend to skip over now, this one I don’t though. It’s just so damn good.
Post Malone - Sunflower
I love the soundtrack to Into The Spider-Verse, it’s one of the best hip hop albums of recent memory. This song was inescapable, once I’d finally seen the flick I heard it everywhere and it’s catchy as hell. There are better songs that I’d choose to listen to from the album now, but this made the playlist at the time.
The Black Keys - Tighten Up
This is the point in todays blog post where I get to mention The Expanse. I rewatched the first three seasons after reading the latest book and had totally forgotten that in the pilot episode there is a ‘Belter’ version of this awesome rock’n’roll song. There was a few others in season three, it’s a cool bit of world building that show does.
The Black Keys just ooze cool.
HAIM - Little of Your Love (Bloodpop remix)
These three sisters are one of the best pop groups I’ve heard in a long time. I really like their stuff and this remix was on the soundtrack to a video game I was playing at the time. It’s a really nice, lively track.
Papa Roach - Not the Only One
Who knew Papa Roach were still releasing music?! I didn’t until this came up on my ‘new music’ list on a Friday. It’s different from their old nu metal roots, but I like the bit more acoustic section and the subject matter felt very appropriate, not just for me but for the world in 2019.
Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
I still clearly wasn’t great yet by the time I added this to the playlist, but it is a classic and so influential to so many bands that followed.
Yo La Tengo - I’ll Be Around
Beautiful indie song from an amazing band. I added this after rewatching Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, one of my favourite movies, and remembering what an amazing soundtrack it has. It has a real ‘driving down a long empty road feel’ like Ventura Highway by America.
Blind Melon - Change
I mentioned this on my decade playlist a couple of weeks ago. It’s one of my top five, if not top three, songs ever. It’s perfect and every word and note hits home with me. Shannon Hoon will never be held in the same ranks as Cobain, Joplin or Hendrix because he was a year older than them when he died at 28, but he damn well deserves to be. Perfect song.
Tycho - Jetty
I discovered Tycho last year when I was on a real synth wave kick and he has become a big favourite of mine. I’m glad I found this single as it didn’t appear on the album that was also released this year. Super cool music to chill out and write to.
Everything Everything - Cough Cough
These guys like doubling up on words huh? I can’t remember why I added this? It’s a fun indie track from a few years ago with a good hook. Maybe it came on a shuffle and I was enjoying it enough at the time to add it.
Nas - If I Ruled The World
This one got added in a roundabout way. I was listening to Fugees - The Score which led me to listening to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which led me to this awesome hip hop track from the late nineties. These guys had something to say, the opening line is interesting now though, “Imagine smoking weed in the streets without cops harassing.” Well Mr Nas, now you can do exactly that in many states!
Polyenso - Happy
Half shoe gazy dream pop, half bassy synthwave indie. Very melancholy and it was probably exactly what I was wanting to hear at the time.
Battle Tapes - Belgrade
This tune is so rad! One of my favourite discoveries of the year for sure. It was used as the opening theme for Rooster Teeth’s latest animated show GenLock. That snare beat throughout and the effect peddle laden guitar hook drive this one and you can’t help by want to get up and move whenever it comes on.
half-alive - arrow
A band that apparently don’t believe in capital letters. I discovered these guys last year and I’m still waiting for them to break big. This song sounds like exactly the sort of thing that would be a radio friendly hit, at least among the uni crowds, if it got the right sort of exposure. It’s cool.
Childish Gambino - L.E.S.
It wouldn’t be a playlist of mine without an appearance of Donald Glover would it? I could listen to this whole album, Camp, start to finish at any point and be happy. I was just starting to go out on dates when I added this, I think Ed and I were both doing that and comparing notes drunkenly while playing video games with Sam. Something about the lyrics in this track about nightlife in NY resonated.
Alkaline Trio - Mercy Me
I’ve really enjoyed the latest couple of Blink 182 albums since the addition of the dude from Alkaline Trio and it made me go back to this song I’d not ever really listened to despite playing it every Friday night for about two years straight when it was first released.
DJ Shadow - Nobody Speak (ft. Run the Jewels)
This song took over the world for a hot second when it was released. DJ Shadow came back with his typical amazing production looping in old sounds and songs that you would never normally hear on a rap record into an amazing beat which Run the Jewels provide vocals over and audibly attack the leaders of the free world in very cleaver ways.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - Buzz
They feel like an early Arctic Monkeys clone who’ll will be a flash in the pan at most, but I’d gone from never hearing of these guys to finding out they were playing in town, to knowing someone who went to the gig to hearing them on Mitchell’s radio show (he also had no idea who they were) all within forty eight hours. This is typical high energy indie, it’s a bit of fun.
The Prodigy - Breathe
Man, losing Kieth Flynt this year sucked. I should have gone with Firestarter to honour him more but Breathe is the way better song from this album that you could not avoid in ’98. Be at peace you mad bastard.
Family of the Year - Hero
Maybe I’d already added Yo La Tengo to the playlist when I rewatched Boyhood because I’m distinctly remembering adding this when it popped up in the film. Lovely song. Another song about a break up? Imagine that?!
Pharoahe Monch - Simon Says
This has been a favourite for years but never on Apple Music until this summer. I listened to it a lot when it popped up on the service. It’s the kind of song that you’d think you’d get sick of but whenever it came on in the car when anyone else was with me you just find yourself bouncing and rapping along.
Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
Does anything else really need to be said about anything from Rumours at this point? It’s a masterpiece and this is my favourite track on the album. I think I added this after seeing a video of them performing it just after Stevie Nicks had joined the band and kind of transformed them. I’ve just seen that Neil Finn from Crowded House is now playing with them and boy would I love to see that live!
Beck - Saw Lightning
I loved Beck’s 2016 album and when this single released in advance of the latest LP I had hopes that I’d really like it to. Unfortunately, the every other album tradition seems to be holding as I’ve not really dug the rest of it too much. This feels more like a leftover from the release a few years ago.
Modest Mouse - Poison the Well
I was pleasantly surprised to see new Modest Mouse this year. It’s nothing ground breaking for the band, but if you like their earlier work you’ll probably still dig this track.
The Midnight - America Online
I introduced The Midnight to a few (more) people this year and this was a track that someone picked out that they particularly liked. It’s a super cool song from my favourite band of the moment.
HDBNG Club - David Grimason
A wrestling entrance theme has made the list this year. It’s a filthy grimy dubsteppy loop that has been used since the wrestler in question has turned heel and joined one of the biggest stables in the business. The fact that I kind of know the guy a bit now helps but this is just fun more than it is good.
Metric - Black Sheep
Meeting the real life Ramona Flowers had me listening to the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack (as well as my personal playlist I made for the comics years earlier) a lot this summer and Metric rock anyway, so this song is a standout.
Electric Youth - Modern Fears
If you know, you know.
Louis The Child - World On Fire
This one came up on my yoga app, it’s very ‘cocktail lounge’ and reminds me a lot of Zero 7. I like when a soulful slightly dancey track actually has a good message.
Poolside - Harvest Moon
Another discovery from the Downdog Yoga musical choices. Still super chill as you’d expect but with a bit more of a beat. It took me a while to find it in my brain but the beat reminded me of a song that will be coming up in a bit.
Childish Gambino - 3005
Second appearance on this years playlist and this time with a song only six years ago. I love this track so much and it always hits home.
"Sorry, I'm just scared of the future, till 3005 I got your back, we can do this, hold up."
Pinback - ROJI
I was so excited to see new Pinback music after they said they were most likely done a few years ago. It’s a bit too slow and quiet to listen to a lot but they’ve got such a cool unique sound I’m excited that there may be more in the future.
Plague Vendor - New Comedown
Another track from my ‘new music’ list that gets updated every Friday. This is a driving rock track with a bit of punk energy to it.
Save Ferris - Angry Situation
Added this after booking tickets to the show they had just been added to. Theres not many of my favourite ska punk bands from the nineties I’d never seen, but they were one of them. They didn’t disappoint and this album holds up so much.
mogan willis & Ena Man Media - Low on Love
Weird that one of them doesn’t believe in capitals but the other does? Just a cool synth track.
Kupek - Son Of A Gun
This is that one I mentioned earlier with a very similar beat. I was happy when I remembered it. Kupek is the name that Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley recorded a few albums under and put up online for free. This cover is fun.
Jianetti - Let You Know
You ever discover a song you know is never going to get big and you’re kind of happy about that because it feels so personal to you? No? Just me? Okay, well this is one of those. It’s not my normal kind of taste and I qualified it like that earlier because it sounds like it wants to be something popular but will just get lost in the shuffle. The lyrics feel so poignant and personal to a relationship I’ve had this year though that I fucking love this song.
Baron, Snoop Dogg & Warren G - Swagger Rich
A friend put this on my radar, it’s one of those collaborations that Snoop likes to do that just has such a cool energy to it.
Pixies - On Graveyard Hill
I thought this was an old Pixies track I’d missed when I first heard it but no, they released a new album this year and its fucking great.
Tiny Moving Parts - Medicine
If you’d told me that this pop punk tune was from 2001 I wouldn’t have bat an eyelid. It’s kind of fun to know that these guys were probably barely starting school when similar tracks were big.
She/Her/hers - The Space In-Between
I could have sworn this was AJJ or at least the same vocalist but apparently it’s not. It’s surprisingly hard to find out information about two obscure small aggressive voiced indie folk punk bands.
M.I.A. - Paper Planes
I don’t know why this popped into my head but it got lodged in there for a couple of days straight so had to get added to the playlist. I don’t care if you think its awful or amazing, it took me about ten years to appreciate it but now I love it. No one on the corner had swagger like this.
Baldocaster - New Horizon
Deep dark synth that sounds like its right out of a Blade Runner inspired video game. It makes me want to jack into a terminal and make a run on the main server.
Descendents - I’m the One
Another band from my youth making a resurgence on this years list. This punk rock jam is just so so damn good.
R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
When two words can trigger a song in your mind… thats what happened here. I was hanging out with a friend who sighed and said, “Oh, life.” From then I had the rest of this song in my head for the rest of the day.
The Offspring - Next to You
I heard the original by The Police on a shuffled playlist for the first time in ages and it made me curious if this was one of the rare tracks where I prefer the cover. The Offspring don’t change it up all that much from Sting’s version but I think I prefer the faster pace and slightly more aggressive vocals on this one. Both are great though.
El Michels Affair - C.R.E.A.M.
Another cover of Wu Tang Clan’s classic. I think I had one on last years list too, from the Westworld soundtrack. Well this one I heard on the Chef soundtrack and really like it. The whole album, a cover of 36 Chambers done in this more laid back style, is super jazzy and cool.
Hope you enjoyed this longer form post. Looking back at it, it's definitely an eclectic mix of styles and genres. I'm pretty happy about that. I don't like it when there is too much of the same thing.
I encourage you to check out everything on this playlist. If you’re on Apple Music I have made it publicly viewable. Just search for me? I don’t know how that all works.