(Some of the) Best Songs in 2019

Adhi Waluyo
4 min readJan 5, 2020

2019 is a quite good year in music, actually:

1. White Reaper - Real Long Time

The melodic guitar part in the intro is the highlight of this song, a straight influence from the 70’s rock scene. Moreover, the verse completely erases my thought that this song would be a boring one. Then, the verse sparks a joyride anthem or an opener to something interesting, filled with good guitar work and vocal harmony. This song, along with the album is different from their earlier work. Their 2015 hit, “Make Me Wanna Die” is a powerful bar-chord melody which not indicates their latest musical direction whatsoever. With this track, it feels like White Reaper will be getting more mainstream attention. They even played in Jimmy Kimmel last month, you should watch it!

2. Subject - Worried for Nothing

Beatlesque. That is the first thing that comes to my mind when I heard this song for the first time. He incorporates the jangly sound of Mac Demarco and the singing style of George Harrison’s psychedelic era. So many new bands with that musical direction, however, Subject can add some interesting parts such as melodic guitar rhythm and keyboard which make this song rich in melody. The song’s structure also simple yet it’s effective, combined with weirdness and audacious vibe.

3. Lana Del Rey - Doin’ Time

She’s definitely made this song hers. This song got a darker vibe than the original one but really, it makes the song better. Lana’s voice blend well along with the song’s slower tempo, also you can hear how the bassline is an integral part of this song. Lana mentioned that “Not a day goes by that I don’t listen to at least one Sublime song”, which indicates that she’s a big fan (even she didn’t choose Sublime’s bigger hits). To be honest, this song will be better, well, when you’re a little bit “hazed”.

4. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - A Dream Is All I Need to Get By

It’s one of the best songs in his solo career. You can hear 60’s rendition a lot, coming from its vocal harmony and the vibe. For me, his last great work in Oasis was “The Importance of Being Idle”, he might write another good song but still not touching that par. However, this song proves that Noel still got it, he combined catchy melody along with a great bassline. Too bad he didn’t release this song as a single.

5. Los Retros - Someone to Spend Time With

Another bedroom musician who made it to the indie scene. Nevertheless, he successfully made a good romantic ballad with unique guitar licks. It’s just a simple song with a constant drumbeat but it’s good. The addition of a girl’s vocal made this song more relatable, it will make you feel the same as the song’s theme. He’s only 19 years old when he released this song, surely there will be a great future ahead for his music. Until now, there are more than 2 million views for this song on youtube.

6. Foals - 10,000 Feet

I‘m mesmerized after all of the instruments came in. Yannis’s voice is as impressive as it should be, suits with the “haunting” theme which the song creates. Even the album contains many great songs, I still think this is the standout one since it’s different than any Foals’ song. This song has a slow build-up, however, the chorus consists of loud guitar riff and drum fills which will please your ears.

7. Jirapah - Bekerja

It’s like an Indonesian old pop song but this one’s richer in melody. The chord progression played a big part in this song, the transition from the verse to another part of the song is smooth. The guitar work is a great one, its chord-based melody in low and high note embarks the song to another level. There aren’t many Indonesian songs like this, Jirapah has made an instant classic easily.

8. The Voidz - Did My Best

Julian Casablancas’ voice is authentic. In “Did My Best”, he passionately sings about, probably, his situation that he encountered in the past. It’s still using the classic Strokes formula, which he’ll be singing with more power in the last chorus/outro in a certain song. One of the producers in this song is Mac Demarco, which I heard a bit of his influence on the guitar and the song’s mixing and those blend well.

9. Alexandra Savior - Crying All the Time

The “James Bond” vibe is strong on this one. Savior a fan of a vintage sound, you can hear it, especially on the drums. She channels sadness in her voice, however, that’s the key part of the song since its title also suitable. The verse is addictive, also the transition to the chorus is well made. Try to listen to this song while driving, I don’t know why but it makes me like I’m being chased by… myself.

10. The Black Keys - Go

They are genius in creating riff-based song but that’s not the main point here. When Auerbach starts singing, I immediately know that this song will stuck in my head for months. The chorus is a catchy one, moreover, the part which got me hooked was the interlude. They add another guitar riff and slowing the tempo a little bit which makes the part distinctive. It’s also like an homage to what they are started: a rock and roll duo with only guitar and drums to jam the shit out.