Jark's Definitive Top 50 of 2019

Discussion in 'End Of Year Charts' started by Jark, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    20. Camila Cabello + Shawn Mendes 'Señorita'

    Not a collaboration anyone was begging for, but this coming together of a boy and a girl - one straight, one probably not, both hungry for fame and happy to market their fairytale romance to any paparazzo on the Getty Images payroll - instantly exploded to become the biggest pop single of 2019. And you know what? Unlike most years when a song claims that title, Señorita kind of deserves it. This is an effortlessly melodic slice of breezy, guitar-driven latin-pop that fulfils its brief of being sexy while still being just PG enough for little Becky to sing every word when it comes on the radio. That's actually not shade. Every part of this song, be it the verses or the chorus they flow so freely into, is a hook. Extra props for the fact that Shawn also sings the "I love it when you call me señorita" line underneath Camila's vocal. I'm sure he does.
     
  2. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    19. Kim Petras 'Sweet Spot'

    With pop's hitmakers du jour putting the feelers out for a disco comeback in 2020, it seems appropriate that my favourite Kim Petras track of the year - and she was nothing if not prolific in 2019, throwing out one and a half albums and a handful of singles beyond that - should be Sweet Spot, a delightfully shimmery floorfiller which clearly riffs on turn-of-the-century Daft Punk as well as the camp-as-tits brand of disco Kylie embraced with Light Years. Don't expect anything profound from Kim when it comes to lyrics - they exist solely to service the killer melodies she purrs over, although "see you dancin' like you're wantin' my attention / now your body's movin' into my direction" could easily be a classic Minogue couplet. Sadly not pushed a single, Sweet Spot nonetheless acts as an excellent blueprint for what Ms Petras is capable of and where she's headed.
     
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  3. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    18. Agnes 'Nothing Can Compare'

    I hesitated a touch about which of Agnes' two killer singles to place higher on this list - and while Limelight (#31) remains a total thrill, a masterpiece of dark, propulsive, shadowy house music, it's the song's sunnier little sister which takes me to a place of total joy. A more overtly pop, radio-ready disco throwback, Nothing Can Compare employs Agnes' falsetto vocal range - there's really very little I enjoy more in pop music than a falsetto to mime along to - to stunning effect, capturing a certain sense of effervescence in a bottle while also tapping into the requisite melancholy expected of any diva hitting the dancefloor. By the time the gigantic "I've made up my mind..." post-chorus comes along, the feeling of ecstasy is as delirious as it is complete.

    :disco: @ameraal
     
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  4. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    17. Lana Del Rey 'Love Song'

    Some songs have many components which come together to make them great; others have one party trick and execute it to perfection. Love Song, one of the clear highlights of Norman Fucking Rockwell!, hinges almost entirely on the sense of fragility built across its pared-back verses and cautiously head-over-heels chorus. "I believe that you see me for who I am, so spill my clothes on the floor of your new car / is it safe, is it safe to just be who we are?" Perhaps part of the resonance of this song is the way that lyric feels like a little nod to the gays, however it was intended. But perhaps it's just a case of Lana shedding all her cynicism, leaving that dangerously romantic idea of being hurt by her guy behind, and channeling all her vulnerability into something pure. This is a love letter to somebody who makes you feel enough for just being yourself. And that's beautiful.
     
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  5. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    16. Charli XCX ft. Christine & The Queens 'Gone'

    In a perfect world, Gone - along with Cross You Out - would've been the blueprint for Charli's self-titled "third" album. But we don't live in a perfect world, and Gone is so much better than almost everything around it on that album it's almost embarrassing. It's still kind of a nice problem to have, and for a hot minute in the middle of an underwhelming summer, Charli and Héloïse Letissier gave the gays everything they needed with this single. I distinctly remember my first listen, for which I snuck away from my friends at a bar on the water because I couldn't stand the idea of waiting another two hours - as the sound flooded my ears I probably looked something like this:
    [​IMG]
    On that night Gone felt like something wild and radical and insane, a totally ballsy move away from PC music and exactly the reinvention she needed. With time I think that sense of it being super out-there has waned, but it is undeniably a killer piece of pop music and it's a shame it's such an outlier on the album. Weirdly, it didn't do great on streaming - fucking Blame It On Your Love with Lizzo is significantly more popular. What an injustice!
     
  6. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    15. Calvin Harris ft. Rag'n'Bone Man 'Giant'

    It may be mildly 'Calvin Harris on autopilot' but, propelled by quite a glorious vocal from the very throaty Rag'n'Bone Man (I really have never heard anything else by him, but what a pair of lungs), Giant landed in January as the first song of 2019 I was truly obsessed with, and it reigned for several months during an early dry spell for new music. The video is weirdly great too (and god Calvin is tasty) although I haven't got a fucking clue what's going on. When the final chorus comes in with the vocal tracks layered over one another it's all really quite a triumph. Another deserved smash for the UK's most reliable popstar.
     
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  7. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    14. Camila Cabello 'Living Proof'

    One of the pleasures of Camila Cabello as a popstar is her determination to make every TV performance an event, all with a unique stage set-up and arrangement, and on the Ellen show she gave probably the ultimate rendition of Living Proof, robed in pink and backed by a choir. Her vocal runs near the end are simply fabulous. The song itself was given quite a push but didn't bother the charts, which is a real shame as this is comfortably my favourite Cabello moment since Havana - just a really great, uplifting pop song with a chorus sung entirely in a falsetto so high it feels like shades of early Mariah - and who would've ever said that about Camila in the Fifth Harmony days? A song, a star, a transformation.
     
  8. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    13. Vérité 'Gone'

    I had not heard of Vérité prior to discovering this song, at almost the exact same moment the other song of the summer titled Gone came out. It's a total slow-burn pleasure - the quiet storm of the ethereal, stripped-back verses, building slowly with Vérité's vocal until the synth-heavy chorus arrives in an explosion of bombast. The vocal acrobatics she performs when the second chorus hits are quite something. Sadly the rest of her second album is very light on production (and standout tracks) in contrast to this, making Gone comfortably the highlight, and one of the most enduring singles of a memorable summer.
     
  9. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    12. Shura 'religion (u can lay your hands on me)'

    Shura's second album is peppered with references to religion reimagined through a lens of sex, intimacy and overpowering love, a potentially-tired theme brought to life in thrilling fashion on religion (u can lay your hands on me). This song is as uptempo as Forevher gets - a loose, soulful throwback to '90s Janet (whose influence can be heard clearly at various moments across the record) which positively radiates jubilation and the pleasure of falling head-first. Shura makes "talking on the telephone for hours at night" sound like simultaneously the most innocent and most sinful of activities between lovers, and the simplicity of the chorus hook ("oh girl, don't stop / please / you can lay your hands on me") proves decidedly more catchy than any verse from the bible. This is my kind of religion.
     
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  10. Rita

    Rita User

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    Wait. You have not heard Human? It was inescapable here.
     
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  11. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    I didn't live in the UK at the time hun!
     
  12. Rita

    Rita User

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    I thought it was a Worldwide smash. It must be one of the most successful songs of the decade?
     
  13. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    11. Caroline Polachek 'So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings'

    Where to start? Some songs are simply undeniable - so good at what they do that demand attention. Nobody knows who Caroline Polachek is outside of a few gays on the internet who enjoyed the bouncy synth-pop of Chairlift, but somehow this song - a total throwback to synth-driven 80s power-pop which channels a little Whitney and a little Fleetwood Mac, and emerges from the blender in a cloud of absolute bliss and euphoria - has had decent Radio 1 airplay and seems to pop up just about everywhere. The melodies here are stadium-sized, but it's the little details which truly prove the cherry on top for So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings - like the gasp of breath prior to each chorus, which becomes more exaggerated each time it repeats, until the music drops out in the middle 8 and the final inhalation drips with drama, only for that warm chorus to come crashing back in as if nothing happened. This is the kind of song every pop artist would kill for - it's simply a dream.
     
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  14. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    I lived in Germany, where it was indeed #1. :D oops! I'll listen later.
     
  15. Pipo

    Pipo extra large & extra hard

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    I fucking hate Señorita BUT after I found out Clean Bandit was involved in the writing/production I've kind of warmed to it but not in a way I would actively spotify it :argh: surely this is Clean Bandit's biggest success in the US in like ever?

    Giant was my #2 of 2019 IIRC and I Agree, it's Rag´n´Bone Man who makes the song, what a voice. I do recommend giving Human a spin just like Rita mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
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  16. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    I mean, Rockabye is their biggest hit and went triple platinum in the US (WHAT A SONG!)

    I'd quite like some new Clean Bandit in 2020. I remember the rumour they'd made tracks with Elton John and Cher. Imagine!
     
  17. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    before we dive into the top 10, let's take a little BREAK to post some HOT STATS nobody cares about

    Jark's top 10 most-played artists of 2019
    01 Marina
    02 Lana Del Rey
    03 Grimes
    04 Ralph
    05 Shura
    06 MUNA
    07 Kim Petras
    08 Charli XCX
    09 Madonna
    10 Tove Lo

    and my most 15 played songs of last year released EARLIER than 2019 (because WHY NOT)
    134 Ralph - Gimme
    110 Ralph - Tease
    105 Ralph - Tables Have Turned
    091 Ralph - Long Distance Lover
    084 Grimes - Artangels
    081 MUNA - Loudspeaker
    079 Flume - Never Be Like You
    074 Empress Of - When I'm With Him
    072 Feder ft. Emmi - Blind
    071 Christine & The Queens - Doesn't Matter
    069 MUNA - Winterbreak
    068 Empress Of - I Don't Even Smoke Weed
    067 Christine & The Queens - The Walker
    066 Calvin Harris ft Sam Smith - Promises
    066 Christine & The Queens - Girlfriend
    066 TS Graye - Honestly

    :disco:
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
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  18. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    I will finish this by tomorrow, on the condition that we get some REACTION today please :oi:
     
  19. ameraal

    ameraal la loi de murphy

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    wow! now, this is one of the worst things i've ever seen/heard today. from the cringetastic lyrics to the generic backing track, her utter lack of taste or style, her try hard demeanour, not to mention the blatant miming! - just diabolically bad.

    jark, rethink this.
     
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  20. ameraal

    ameraal la loi de murphy

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    nothing more to add about so hot you're hurting my feelings or nothing can compare - both utter greats for the pop pantheon.

    so happy about your overdue ralph obsession and those empress of songs are great - perfume genius did a lovely (gay and depressing obviously) cover of when i'm with him if you ever find yourself in the mood.
     
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  21. ameraal

    ameraal la loi de murphy

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    i listen to a lot of my music on youtube so it really fucking bugs me when artists label songs as people and blogs because it doesn't go into my last.fm play count. as in the case of so hot you're hurting my feelings. how the fuck do i know how many times i've listened to it now, caroline polachek???
     
  22. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    how can you stand to use Youtube as your music destination of choice?! that is grave.

    I do like the Perfume Genius take on When I'm With Him, although the original remains supreme obv - one of the best pop songs of recent years, I adore it. very excited for new music from her.
     
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  23. ameraal

    ameraal la loi de murphy

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    i've become a youtube fiend - it's my go-to for everything from political commentary and news, to videos on social topics, to music. it's the one place where i actually enjoy the communal aspect - it's probably the only place with a decent comments section where you can find lyrics, anecdotes and really good jokes, and you can hide anything you want to never see again. sure, it has the usual algorithmic and echo chamber problems but it's a lot more personal than the purely mechanical spotify (which i detest) and last but definitely not least: adblocker works just fine *.*
     
  24. Ag

    Ag BRING BACK TAGS

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    YouTube has become such a go to page for me these days for so much. Who knew? But it's still very much Spotify for music for me.
     
  25. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    Let's go on.

    10. MUNA 'Motivation' (live at Spotify)

    When Normani released Motivation in August, literally tens of gays on the internet were convinced that it would be her breakout hit and establish her as the "new Beyoncé" - but, like, a version who doesn't take herself too seriously and still puts out hooky pop songs. After the VMAs it all fizzled, and after being slightly interested for a week or two I never played Motivation again - it really is just an OK song. Except that, actually, it isn't - it has the bones of something brilliant, buried under Ilya's bland R&B-pop production. Enter MUNA, the heroes we truly don't deserve, to give Motivation a total makeover. Brought into their musical wheelhouse, it suddenly transforms into something quite special. Katie Gavin's vocal finds quite an extraordinary amount of emotion in lines like "falling into the bed / why would we ever do something instead of falling into the bed right now?" - does anybody else tap into some imagined pain and make it sound so inviting in the way she does? Basically there are infinite quantities of joy and new life to be found in this cover version. Isn't that exactly what singing somebody else's song is all about?
     
  26. SDF

    SDF We're all Angles in Chainz

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    I gave the album a couple of listens, and this definitely is a stand out.
     
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  27. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    09. Lana Del Rey 'California'

    Honestly I quibbled about how many Lana tracks in this countdown was too many, but she made the album of the year so fuck it! What makes California such an extraordinary track to me, especially by her own post-Born to Die standards, is the way its hooks come so thick and fast - it's truly relentless, all the signature languidness of her delivery and her songwriting cast aside. It's in the way the introspective verses build into the more urgent bridge, which then rolls into that first, towering chorus, which then explodes into a second, her vocal building each time until she's full-on belting from the chest. Hearing her sing in that register, her voice wrapping around lines like "I'll pick up all of your Vogues and all of your Rolling Stones / your favourite liquor off the top shelf / I'll throw a paaaarty" like a deadly virus attaching itself to a host body, is a proper thrill. Lyrically, I'm not totally sure what California is about - she seems to reference an ex who battled with his demons ("I read it in your letter / you said to a friend that you wished you were doing better") and eventually left town, but then tells him to come back so they can pick up where they left off. Perhaps it's just a song about nostalgia, regret and trying to recall something into the present that's been lost in the ether.
     
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  28. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    08. Marina 'To Be Human'

    Marina's 2019 brand of armchair psychology (and her dip into love laugh live philosophy on Love + Fear) has already been the subject of much pisstakery online, some of it quite savage, so perhaps its no surprise that this song about travelling the world in search of meaning only to come home with that realisation that "I don't know what life means" has proven one of the most strongly divisive songs in Marina's newly diamond-free canon. People either love or loathe To Be Human - one of my best gay friends absolutely cannot with this song, and frequently cites the verse which lists the cities and countries she's passed through as a nadir. Personally, I love it (contrary, moi?), which I think is not hard to do once you let go of the lyrics (or at least stop picturing her looking for some deep universal meaning) and revel in everything else the song has to offer. My favourite moment is the "I want connection, I wanna feel human again" adlib sung in falsetto and delivered with total sincerity. Don't we all, babe?
     
  29. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    07. Dua Lipa 'Don't Start Now'

    There's something really delightfully old-school about Don't Start Now and the enormous promo campaign conceived to make it a hit via any means of penetration possible. But first, the song itself: I don't think anybody necessarily expected Dua Lipa to come back with something that pushed both her own sound and the sound of female pop at the turn of the decade forward (by travelling backward, into the warm embrace of disco) - her debut, solid and hit-packed as it was, put in precisely zero work on that score, instead riding the tail end of the tropi-pop wave, with the occasional moment of love-yourself Spotify algorithm pop. But somebody has to champion the evolution of a genre that too often stagnates, and maybe after the unimaginable omnipresence of New Rules, somebody somewhere felt Dua would be chasing diminishing returns if she didn't reinvent.

    Maybe that person was Dua herself - it's not as if her transformation on stage hasn't been a total revelation that speaks to some level of developing artistry. Watching her pop up on quite literally every show to push this single as if it was a Lisa Scott-Lee top-10-or-bust situation, throwing shapes in the post-chorus bit with free abandon, has been a total fucking pleasure. The VMAs were killer, but the super-festive Jimmy Fallon performance posted above, which she sells with the verve of an entertainer like Kylie who's been doing this for decades, is the best rendition of the song for my money. And what a song it is - the melodies pops with such ease and effervescence, the bounce of the chorus still an addictive sugar rush after months and countless plays. Truly this package feels like a moment just as New Rules did, and perhaps the point at which a good popstar tells the world she's now a really great one.
     
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  30. ameraal

    ameraal la loi de murphy

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    "omg am o really doing this???"

    *bangs the cymbal three times*

    bless her heart, she really should thank the stars for her charisma. for all the effort they've put in the live performances, you think they'd have managed a less generic video. i think that's the only part of the package i don't like. also: better than new rules.
     
  31. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    :D

    in the hands of anyone else it could be such a cringefest, but Dua cruises through on charm (and hot live vocals :disco:). and yes, it's (much) better than New Rules.
     
  32. Jark

    Jark apocalypse

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    me when I almost complete a countdown... and then decide to abandon it at 90% :disco:
     
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  33. ameraal

    ameraal la loi de murphy

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    i'm so proud of you, jark!
     
  34. Pipo

    Pipo extra large & extra hard

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    omg @ Gone by Charli xcx, I've been SCALPED!
     
  35. SDF

    SDF We're all Angles in Chainz

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    :D !
     
  36. SDF

    SDF We're all Angles in Chainz

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    Dua’s song really is one of the best songs of 2019. I didn’t really see her as an exciting pop star first time round but I’m looking forward to the new album.
     
  37. OutSynk

    OutSynk My name is Matilda.

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    And that's perfectly fine. We expect nothing more from you x
     
  38. OutSynk

    OutSynk My name is Matilda.

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    And for what it's worth Jark, I also very much enjoy that Marina track you've included in this soon to be aborted list. One of the highlights on the album for sure (yes, there are a few).

    Also nice to see Dua Lipa finally releasing a decent song.
     
  39. Pipo

    Pipo extra large & extra hard

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    oooh get you:enya:
     
  40. OutSynk

    OutSynk My name is Matilda.

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    All she's given me so far is BASIC but considering the avatar you're sporting I can understand why this wouldn't be a problem for you:enya:
     
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