100 – Don’t Call Me Angel by Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Miley Cyrus
In music, I can count the number of women collaborations in recent years. So three of 2019’s biggest names joining forces is a big deal. Let’s admit the song’s impact is underwhelming, especially when compared to “Lady Marmalade” or “Bang Bang”. But just like “Beautiful Liar” or “Can’t Remember to Forget You”, time will be kind. Years from now, DJs will play this in gay bars and the crowd will go berserk.
99 – Raising Hell by Ke$ha featuring Big Freedia
Ke$ha has broken free from her abusive contractual and professional relationship with Dr. Luke. This change in her career is made evident with the significant infusion of country elements in her sound. This experiment would’ve probably never materialized under the supervision of a risk-averse pop hitmaker. While her genre is fluid, what’s constant is the trademark playfulness in her tone and singing, which I fell in love with.
98 – SOS by Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc
While I will never know what was running through Avicii’s mind during the last moments of his life, posthumously released songs serve as a proxy for what the thoughts could’ve been. The intervention each one of us can play in alleviating the human suffering is a nice departing message from the beloved DJ. I continue to find his music therapeutic and uplifting. I’m delighted I heard new music from the artist in 2019.
97 – Style by Foster the People
Foster the People may never recreate the connection they’ve built when “Pumped Up Kicks” broke the charts. But their colorful sound and fearless experimentation are exhibited by their first single for 2019. “Style” is a contrast from the Taylor Swift record of the same name. Mark Foster’s is eccentric, weird, bold and made for an alternative crowd.
96 – The Last Time by the Script
I’ve watched two concerts of the Script. If they come back to Southeast Asia, I’d see them again. Their music is reliable and predictable. And while reinvention is admirable, a formula that works isn’t bad either. Songs about broken promises and commitments will never get old. After all, these constructs are created every single day and are reimagined as often.
95 – Everyday Life by Coldplay
Chris Martin and the band have gone on a crusade of inspiring people they touch with their music to create a better world for all. This direction has bled to the music they create, similar to how Bono shaped U2’s catalog. In “Everyday Life”, the group is at their preachiest. But that shouldn’t be a problem because they’re not spreading misinformation or hatred. Like most people, I’m just uncomfortable with positivity.
94 – I Don’t Care by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
Both Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber are coming off the biggest albums of their careers – Divide and Purpose. Coming together seemed like a recipe for a worldwide smash. The song was a hit. But in no means was it the biggest one for 2019. While streaming, radio and my ears enjoyed what it heard, I believe the two did not live up to their potential. The songwriting and melody were both basic. But I’m basic so why am I complaining?
93 – ME! By Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie
When your mood goes as dark as “Look What You Made Me Do”, releasing a single like “ME!” can send confusing signals. Suddenly, her music is filled with perkiness, cheerfulness, and a lot of sunshine. I didn’t know what to feel at first. The line “Spelling is fun” still makes me cringe. But those words are now as iconic as “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now”. Overall, it’s a bop. But the song is far from Lover’s best.
92 – No Place by Backstreet Boys
Nowadays, listening to the Backstreet Boys is intended for indulging your nostalgia or preparing for an upcoming DNA Tour Concert. I’m guilty of the latter. But once I listened to “No Place”, I’ve come to understand why the reception is lukewarm. The demographic who consumes the most amount of new music are simply not in the life stage the group is at. I’m somewhere in between. Hence, I have perspective working for my appreciation.
91 – Can We Pretend by Pink featuring Cash Cash
Most artists who came out during the early 2000s struggle to get played on radio or streaming services. Pink is one of the exceptions. She’s managed to keep her sound current. At the same time, she’s avoided the limelight to avoid over saturating the public with her persona and her music. Venturing into EDM may be considered lazy. But her adaptability definitely paid off in keeping herself relevant in people’s taste buds.