Top 30 Songs for August 14-20, 2022

Lizzo remains at #1 for a second week on my latest Weekly Top 30 with her infectious dance song “About Damn Time”, while The Frontier‘s delightful “Closer” and YUNGBLUD‘s wonderfully frantic “The Funeral” both move up a notch to #2 and #3. respectively. Climbing four spots to enter the top 10 at #10 is the darkly beautiful “Failure to Comply” by MISSIO. Some big upward movers this week include “Lemon Tree” by Mt. Joy, which jumps eight spots to #12, “Viva Las Vengeance” by Panic! At the Disco, climbing seven spots to #17, and “Break My Soul” by Beyoncé, which leaps 10 spots to #18. Making their debut this week are terrific new songs by three great pop-rock bands: “Here to Forever” by Death Cab For Cutie, “Part of the Band” by The 1975, and “Seasick” by The Rare Occasions, which enter at #s 28, 29 and 30.

  1. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (1)
  2. CLOSER – The Frontier (3)
  4. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (5)
  5. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (6)
  6. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (2)
  8. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (10)
  9. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (7)
  11. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (8)
  12. LEMON TREE – Mt. Joy (20)
  13. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (11)
  14. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (16)
  15. BONES – Imagine Dragons (17)
  16. DESPERATELY WANTING – The Star Crumbles (15)
  17. VIVA LAS VENGEANCE – Panic! At the Disco (24)
  18. BREAK MY SOUL – Beyoncé (28)
  19. TEK IT – Cafuné (21)
  20. GREY – Holy Coves (22)
  21. SIDELINES – Phoebe Bridgers (26)
  22. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (12)
  23. COMPLIANCE – Muse (27)
  24. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (13)
  25. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (19)
  26. WHAT’S THE TRICK? – Jack White (29)
  27. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (30)
  28. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab For Cutie (N)
  29. PART OF THE BAND – The 1975 (N)
  30. SEASICK – The Rare Occasions (N)

Top 30 Songs for August 7-13, 2022

I’m thrilled to place Lizzo‘s infectious feel-good single “About Damn Time” at #1 on my latest Weekly Top 30. I love a good dance song, and with its funky bass-driven groove, “About Damn Time” fits the bill quite nicely. From her fourth album Special, it’s her first song to top my chart, and her second to top the Billboard Hot 100. Born Melissa Jefferson in Detroit, the 34-year-old singer has already had an interesting life. After moving with her family to Houston when she was 10, Lizzo began studying the flute with renowned music teacher Claudia Momen. She also started rapping in her early teens, and formed a musical group called Cornrow Clique with her friends, at which time she acquired the nickname “Lizzo”. After graduating from high school, she studied classical music with a concentration on flute at the University of Houston, but by 21, was living out of her car for a year while trying to break into the music industry. She released two studio albums, Lizzobangers in 2013 and Big Grrrl Small World in 2015, but neither charted. Lizzo finally achieved breakthrough success in 2019 with her single “Truth Hurts” after it was featured in the Netflix film Someone Great. The song became a viral sleeper hit, reaching #1 two years after its initial release. Lizzo’s life-long struggles with her weight have led her to become a fearless advocate for body positivity and self-love.

In other chart highlights, “Closer” by The Frontier and “The Funeral” by YUNGBLUD, hold at #3 and #4, and “Mistakes” by Sharon Van Etten climbs four spots to #5. Entering the top 10 are “Until I Found You” by Stephen Sanchez, which jumps six spots to #6, “Broken Record” by NAVE, up seven spots to #9, and “SUPERMODEL” by Måneskin, which leaps 10 spots to #10.

I wanted to add at least six new songs to my chart this week, but had room for only these three, each of which could not be more different from one another: “BREAK MY SOUL” by Beyoncé, “What’s the Trick?” by Jack White, and “Please Write Responsibly” by British artist Granfalloon, the music project of talented singer-songwriter Richard Lomax, making his first appearance on my chart.

  1. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (2)
  2. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (1)
  3. CLOSER – The Frontier (3)
  5. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (9)
  6. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (12)
  7. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (7)
  8. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (8)
  10. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (20)
  11. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (10)
  12. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (5)
  13. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (6)
  15. DESPERATELY WANTING – The Star Crumbles (17)
  16. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (18)
  17. BONES – Imagine Dragons (22)
  18. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (11)
  19. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (14)
  20. LEMON TREE – Mt. Joy (24)
  21. TEK IT – Cafuné (25)
  22. GREY – Holy Coves (23)
  23. BELIEVE – Caamp (13)
  24. VIVA LAS VENGEANCE – Panic! At the Disco (28)
  25. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (15)
  26. SIDELINES – Phoebe Bridgers (30)
  27. COMPLIANCE – Muse (29)
  28. BREAK MY SOUL – Beyoncé (N)
  29. WHAT’S THE TRICK? – Jack White (N)
  30. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 31-August 6, 2022

Photo by María José Govea

While the top two songs on my latest Weekly Top 30 – Arcade Fire‘s “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” and Lizzo‘s “About Damn Time” – remain in place for a second week, there are lots of changes to the rest of the list. Several songs fall out of the top 10, including Harry Styles‘ “As It Was” after a 15-week run in that rarefied group, clearing the way for a newer crop of songs to move up. Jumping seven spots to #3 is “Closer”, by The Frontier (the music project of the very gracious, funny and talented Northern Virginia-based Jake Mimikos). We’ve followed one another on social media for over six years, and I’m quite fond of both him and his music. Entering the top 10 are: “The Funeral” by YUNGBLUD, which leaps eight spots to #4, “In the Mirror” by The Interrupters, climbing five spots to #8, “Mistakes” by Sharon Van Etten, up six spots to #9, and “Warning Signs” by Band of Horses, which moves up four spots to #10.

Other big movers this week are Stephen Sanchez, with his stunning retro love ballad “Until I Found You”, which leaps 10 spots to #12, and British artist NAVE, whose hauntingly beautiful “Broken Record” climbs five spots to #16. Two songs make their debut this week, “Viva Las Vengeance” by Panic! At the Disco (which recently spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, and took a while to click with me) at #28, and “Sidelines” by Phoebe Bridgers, which enters at #30.

  1. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (1)
  2. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (2)
  3. CLOSER – The Frontier (10)
  5. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (3)
  6. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (5)
  7. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (8)
  8. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (13)
  9. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (15)
  10. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (14)
  11. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (5)
  12. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (22)
  13. BELIEVE – Caamp (6)
  14. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (7)
  15. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (9)
  17. DESPERATELY WANTING – The Star Crumbles (18)
  18. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (19)
  20. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (23)
  21. LONELY – Sea Girls (11)
  22. BONES – Imagine Dragons (24)
  23. GREY – Holy Coves (25)
  24. LEMON TREE – Mt. Joy (28)
  25. TEK IT – Cafuné (29)
  26. 2am – Foals (16)
  27. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (17)
  28. VIVA LAS VENGEANCE – Panic! At the Disco (N)
  29. COMPLIANCE – Muse (30)
  30. SIDELINES – Phoebe Bridgers (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 24-30, 2022

Photo by María José Govea

My new favorite song this week is the uplifting and poignant “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid” by Canadian art-rock band Arcade Fire. Released in late April, it’s the second single from their sixth studio album WE. About the song, band front man Win Butler told Pitchfork‘Lookout Kid’” is a reminder, a lullaby for the end times, sung to my son, but for everyone…. Trust your heart, trust your mind, trust your body, trust your soul. Shit is going to get worse before it gets better, but it always gets better, and no one’s perfect.” The video, produced by Ben Matheny and Nathan Harrison, and directed by Benh Zeitlin, is delightful.

Singer-songwriter and rapper Lizzo advances to #2 with her feel-good dance song “About Damn Time”. Debuting this week at #s 28-30 are “Lemon Tree” by L.A.-based alternative/indie folk rock band Mt. Joy“, “Tek It” by Brooklyn-based electro-pop duo Cafuné, and “Compliance” by British alt-rock band Muse.

  1. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (2)
  2. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (3)
  3. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (1)
  4. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (6)
  5. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (4)
  6. BELIEVE – Caamp (5)
  7. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (8)
  8. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (10)
  9. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (11)
  10. CLOSER – The Frontier (12)
  11. LONELY – Sea Girls (13)
  13. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (15)
  14. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (16)
  15. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (17)
  16. 2am – Foals (7)
  17. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (9)
  18. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (20)
  19. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (21)
  22. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (25)
  23. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (26)
  24. BONES – Imagine Dragons (29)
  25. GREY – Holy Coves (30)
  26. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (19)
  27. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (18) 20th week on list
  28. LEMON TREE – Mt. Joy (N)
  29. TEK IT – Cafuné (N)
  30. COMPLIANCE – Muse (N)

Top 30 Songs for March 6-12, 2022

After a long, steady climb, the wonderfully ebullient “Two Car Family” by Leeds five-piece Apollo Junction has reached the pinnacle of my Weekly Top 30. The song is from their latest album All In, which is so full of great songs, I could just as easily have chosen some of its other tracks to place at the top of my list. I love their melodic, high-energy brand of electro pop-rock, and so do thousands of adoring fans. I’m so happy to see their star continue to rise.

In other major chart developments this week, the captivating song of unrequited love “Caviar”, by my favorite artist Two Feet, leaps 10 spots to #10. I love the sultry vibe and gorgeous Latin-flavored guitars. Counting both his solo tracks and collaborations with SubUrban and grandson, Two Feet has continuously had a song on my Weekly Top 30 every single week since early November of 2020! Portugal. The Man‘s “What Me Worry?” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ “Black Summer” both climb six spots to #21 and #22, respectively. Finally, there’s so much great new music out now, I wanted to add at least eight new tracks this week. But that would have required dropping eight from my list, which I just could not do. So, I had to settle for only three stellar new additions: “Broken Horses” by Brandi Carlisle, “Once Twice Melody” by Beach House, and “Cheer Up Baby” by Inhaler.

  1. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (3)
  2. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (1)
  3. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (4)
  6. WAKE ME UP – Foals (5)
  7. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (2)
  8. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (7)
  9. OH MY GOD – Adele (10)
  10. CAVIAR – Two Feet (20)
  11. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (11)
  12. JUST LIKE ALWAYS – Oli Barton & the Movement & Maella (13)
  13. REDCHURCH STREET BLUES – Philip Morgan Lewis (14)
  14. I’LL CALL YOU MINE – girl in red (16)
  15. BROKEN HEARTS – Ships Have Sailed (17)
  16. B-SIDE – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (19)
  17. SOMETHING FROM NOTHING/POINTS OF LIGHT – Secret Postal Society (18)
  18. MAGNIFICENT HURT – Elvis Costello & the Imposters (15)
  19. LOVE DIES YOUNG – Foo Fighters (21)
  20. GIVE A LITTLE LOVIN’ – Jamie Alimorad (22)
  21. WHAT, ME WORRY? – Portugal. The Man (27)
  22. BLACK SUMMER – Red Hot Chili Peppers (28)
  23. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (9) 19th week on chart
  24. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (12)
  25. IF YOU EVER LEAVE, I’M COMING WITH YOU – The Wombats (26)
  26. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (29)
  27. BROKEN HORSES – Brandi Carlisle (N)
  28. ONCE TWICE MELODY – Beach House (N)
  29. WON’T STAND DOWN – Muse (30)
  30. CHEER UP BABY – Inhaler (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 27-March 5, 2022

Though they’ve been around since the mid 1990s, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I didn’t come to fully appreciate the music of Spoon until 2017, with the release of their fantastic album Hot Thoughts. I love their distinctive sound that incorporates elements of rock’n’roll, art rock, post-punk revival and experimental rock, not to mention the raspy vocals of frontman Britt Daniel, who at 50 is still going strong. The Austin-based rock band’s gnarly stomper “The Hardest Cut” has been around awhile, and finally reaches the top of my Weekly Top 30. The song is from their 10th and latest album Lucifer on the Sofa, which was written by Daniel during lockdown.

Adele’s “Oh My God” enters the top 10, and both “B-Side” by Khruangbin & Leon Bridges and “Caviar” by Two Feet leap eight spots to #19 and #20, respectively. Three new songs debut this week: “Black Summer” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Love Brand New” by Bob Moses, and “Won’t Stand Down” by Muse. Though I really like Muse, most of their songs take a while to grow on me. I often dislike them upon the first few listens, but almost always end up liking or even loving them, and “Won’t Stand Down” is no exception.

  1. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (2)
  2. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (1)
  3. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (4)
  4. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (6)
  5. WAKE ME UP – Foals (7)
  7. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (9)
  8. THE ONLY HEARTBREAKER – Mitski (10)
  9. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (3)
  10. OH MY GOD – Adele (14)
  11. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (13)
  12. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (5)
  13. JUST LIKE ALWAYS – Oli Barton & the Movement & Maella (15)
  14. REDCHURCH STREET BLUES – Philip Morgan Lewis (16)
  15. MAGNIFICENT HURT – Elvis Costello & The Imposters (17)
  16. I’LL CALL YOU MINE – girl in red (22)
  17. BROKEN HEARTS – Ships Have Sailed (20)
  18. SOMETHING FROM NOTHING/POINTS OF LIGHT – Secret Postal Society (21)
  19. B-SIDE – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (27)
  20. CAVIAR – Two Feet (28)
  21. LOVE DIES YOUNG – Foo Fighters (24)
  22. GIVE A LITTLE LOVIN’ – Jamie Alimorad (26)
  23. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (11)
  24. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (12)
  25. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War On Drugs feat. Lucius (18)
  26. IF YOU EVER LEAVE, I’M COMING WITH YOU – The Wombats (29)
  27. WHAT, ME WORRY? – Portugal. The Man (30)
  28. BLACK SUMMER – Red Hot Chili Peppers (N)
  29. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (N)
  30. WON’T STAND DOWN – Muse (N)

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #83: “Madness” by Muse

The song at #83 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Madness” by British alternative/art rock band Muse. Like “Thrift Shop”, this was another song I loathed the first couple of times I heard it. At the time of its release in 2012, I wasn’t very familiar with Muse or their music; the opening lines “Ma ma ma ma ma ma madness” nearly drove me to the point of madness until one day the song suddenly clicked for me, and I fell madly in love with it – as well as Muse, who is now one of my favorite bands.

Formed in 1994 while they were in high school, Muse is comprised of the immensely talented Matt Bellamy on lead vocals, guitar and keyboards, Chris Wolstenholme on bass and backing vocals (who I think is one of the finest bassists around today), and Dominic Howard on drums. “Madness” is from their sixth studio album 2nd Law, and was inspired by a fight Matt Bellamy had with his then girlfriend Kate Hudson. He later said in an interview that the song was also an attempt to strip down the sound of the album.

To me, the song seems to be somewhat in the Bolero style, starting off slowly with Wolstenholme’s pulsating, almost wobbly double bass-driven melody that creates a sensual vibe, perfectly complementing Bellamy’s breathy vocals and chants of “Ma ma ma ma ma ma madness“. The music gradually builds to a dramatic crescendo, highlighted by Bellamy’s phenomenal guitar work and enthralling vocals that soar to the heavens, covering me in goosebumps. “Madness” was a modest hit, peaking at #25 in the UK and #45 on the Billboard Hot 100, however it spent an astonishing 19 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Alternative chart.

Fun fact: Bellamy’s father George was the rhythm guitarist of the 1960s British pop group The Tornados, who had a #1 hit in 1962 with “Telstar”.

Rather than the official video, I’m sharing one of their electrifying live performance of the song at their triumphant 2013 concert at Rome Olympic Stadium.

Top 100 Songs of 2019

MISSIO Album ArtLana_Del_Rey_-_Doin'_TimeCage_the_Elephant_Social_CuesBillie Eilish albumTrench_Twenty_One_PilotsYoung-the-GiantSHAEDVox Eagle album art

2019 was another great year for music, with so much of it being released that even the most avid music junkie couldn’t possibly keep up with it all. With all the digital music applications and software available today, as well as music platforms like Soundcloud, Reverbnation and Bandcamp, it’s easier than ever for aspiring artists to create music from their bedroom and get it out there for public consumption, and I’ve written about quite a few of them. In fact, this year a third of the songs on my Top 100 list are by indie or unsigned artists.

As a music blogger, I’m exposed to a tremendous amount of music. I receive 5-10 submissions a day from artists, PR reps and labels wanting me to review their music, so I listen to A LOT of it in the course of a year. Nevertheless, I realize I’ve heard only a fraction of all the singles and albums released in 2019. Consequently, my list includes only songs I know, and I’m certain there are some great ones that should be on this list, except that I’ve never heard them! That said, there were so many outstanding songs in 2019, and it frustrates me to have to cull them down to only 100, omitting scores of tracks I really like. And a song ranked at #40 isn’t necessarily better than one at #60.

Music tastes are very subjective, so it’s guaranteed that not a single person reading this will agree with my song choices or their rankings. My list contains my favorite songs of the year, not necessarily songs that were ‘popular’ or influential. I’m now late middle-aged, so my song picks are going to reflect that, though I do still have my guilty pleasures. But you won’t find the tiresome “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus (which was the longest-running #1 song ever on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and the #1 song of 2019) on this list.

Many bloggers and critics list songs in the year they were released, while Billboard and other charts generally place them in the year they were ‘hits,’ which is what I prefer. Most of the songs on this list were released in 2019, however, a number of them were released in 2018. Because there are always a few songs that overlap from one year to the next, I include those songs on lists for both years if they spent enough time on the charts in each year. The songs in this Top 100 that also appeared on my Top 100 Songs of 2018 are indicated with an *. I’ve created a Spotify playlist for this list, which is included at the end of the post. Hopefully you’ll find some of your own personal favorites on this list. Let me know what songs were your favorites of 2019.

It’s not often that I love an entire album at first listen, but that was exactly the case with The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man by Austin, Texas-based duo MISSIO. (Read my review here). Comprised of singer-songwriter/producer Matthew Brue and songwriter/producer and instrumentalist David Butler, MISSIO’s unique, eclectic sound is a glorious mashup of alternative electronic rock, hip hop and dream pop. In 2017, they released their outstanding debut album Loner, which generated several singles, two of which – “Middle Fingers” and the mesmerizing “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea” – ended up on my Top 100 Songs of 2017 list. Their follow-up album The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man is equally superb; three of its songs are included among my Top 100 Songs of 2019. “I See You” was the third single from the album, and it’s my favorite song of the year. This was confirmed by my Spotify Wrapped report, which identified it as my most-streamed song of 2019.

And what a gorgeous song it is, at once sad yet hopeful, and brimming with emotional intensity and sweeping instrumentals. Brue’s beautiful, stirring vocals bring chills as he sings the poignant lyrics that can be interpreted as being directed either to a loved one or to oneself, reassuring the intended that they are understood, supported and loved despite their shortcomings. “I’m alone with you, you’re alone with me. What a mess you’ve made of everything. I’m alone with you, you’re alone with me. And I’m hoping that you will see yourself like I see you.”

2. DOIN’ TIME – Lana Del Rey
One of the most delectable songs of 2019 is “Doin’ Time” by Lana Del Rey, from her stunning and critically-acclaimed album Norman Fucking Rockwell, which she co-produced with Jack Antonoff. It’s a cover of the song originally recorded by the ska punk band Sublime, which itself samples the great classic “Summertime” from the musical Porgy and Bess, written in 1934 by George and Ira Gerwshin, with lyrics by DuBose Heyward. Del Rey’s version is faithful to Sublime’s ska vibe, but her beautiful, seductive vocals and dreamy instrumentals take the song to a whole new level, as well as capturing the languid, sultry feel of the original “Summertime”. I love that she kept the lyrics and pronouns exactly as written by Sublime, which describe a cheating girlfriend whose infidelities and poor treatment of her lover makes him feel like he’s in prison. “Me and my girl, we got this relationship. I love her so bad, but she treats me like shit. On lockdown, like a penitentiary. She spreads her lovin’ all over, and when she gets home, there’s none left for me.

3. SOCIAL CUES – Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant are one of my favorite bands of the past decade, with a long string of consistently great singles. The title track from their fifth studio album Social Cues, this song now ranks among my top favorites of their many songs. The bouncy tempo is incredibly catchy, and those chirpy synths are irresistible, but what I love most of all are Matt Shultz’s wonderful vocals that always sound so genuine. The rather poignant lyrics speak to the anxieties and insecurities of being a rock star: “Hide me in the back room, tell me when it’s over. Don’t know if I can play this part much longer. I don’t know if it is right to live this way, yeah. I’ll be in the back room, tell me when it’s over. People always say, ‘Man, at least you’re on the radio’.” The song’s production and arrangement are flawless.

4. BAD GUY – Billie Eilish
2019 was a huge year for the insanely talented young Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Billie Eilish (her full birth name is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell). With the meteoric success of her ground-breaking debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, one of the biggest-selling albums of 2019, she became a superstar. I was blown away by her riveting performance at this year’s Coachella Music Festival, when she was only 17 years old. “Bad Guy” reached #1 on numerous music charts in the U.S. (where it thankfully ended the 19-week run at #1 of “Old Town Road”) and around the world, including Australia, Canada, Mexico, Greece, Hungary, Norway and the Czech Republic. Musically, the song has an unusual minimalist bass-driven melody that pulls us headlong into a thumping, ominous soundscape. Eilish’s clipped, breathy vocals have a seductive, almost menacing quality as she sings the provocative lyrics that seem beyond her tender years, yet she makes them believable. “I’m that bad type. Make your mama sad type. Make your girlfriend mad tight. Might seduce your dad type. I’m the bad guy, duh.” It’s brilliant!

Indie dream-pop band SHAED is based in Washington, D.C., and consists of lead vocalist Chelsea Lee and multi-instrumentalists and twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst. After struggling for several years to gain traction in the music business, they struck gold with their haunting breakthrough single “Trampoline”. The song was originally released back in May 2018, but got little airplay until it was featured in an Apple MacBook Air commercial that October, and the song quickly took off. The song debuted on the Billboard Alternative Chart in early December 2018, and as I write this one year later, it’s still in the Top 10! The gorgeous track was named the #1 song of 2019 on the Alternative Chart, and finishes at #5 on my list. SHAED’s inspiration for the song came one night as the trio sat together watching old family videos of Spencer and Max jumping on a trampoline as small children. The song’s meaning has been the subject of debate, ranging from death to suicide to drug addiction, but SHAED simply wanted to write a great song loosely based on the idea of the Stranger Things alternative dimension “Upside Down”.( This is artfully captured in the beautiful and stylish video for the song.

6. CHLORINE – twenty øne piløts
As far as I’m concerned, twenty øne piløts can do no wrong, and are one of my favorite bands of all time. Incorporating too many different genres to mention, and a vast array of instruments and synth sounds, they combine them with intricate, complex melodies, brilliant lyrics and Tyler Joseph’s amazing vocals to create truly unique and spectacular music. “Chlorine” is the third single from their monumental concept album Trench, and their seventh single to reach #1 on my Weekly Top 30. The song was co-written by Joseph and MUTEMATH frontman Paul Meany, who produced Trench, and whose voice we hear in the opening lines. They’ve stated the lyrics address how creativity can cleanse dark impulses, but also cause pain. Like many of the tracks on Trench, the song has a complex melodic structure, and shows a growing maturity in twenty one pilots’ sound and music style. I love the sweeping, spacey synths, Josh Dun’s sharp percussion and Joseph’s haunting layered vocals.  The wonderful little twinkling piano riff adds a slightly menacing vibe to the track. It’s a dark and stunning song, and Joseph’s plaintive vocals in the final chorus are exquisite as he laments “I’m so sorry I forgot you. Let me catch you up to speed. I’ve been tested like the ends of a weathered flag that’s by the sea. Can you build my house with pieces? I’m just a chemical.”

7. SUPERPOSITION – Young the Giant
Alt-rock band Young the Giant has an instantly recognizable sound unlike no other, thanks to their brilliant instrumentation and front man Sameer Gadhia’s distinctive vocals. Formed in Orange County, California in late 2009, they just celebrated their 10th anniversary as a band, and I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert this past August. “Superposition” is the second single from their fourth studio album Mirror Master, and one of their most beautiful songs. Starting with a deep bass line and a rhythmic toe-tapping drumbeat, the band layers moody synths, delicate piano keys and an enchanting ukelele riff to create a gorgeous backdrop for Gadhia’s captivating vocals, which are in turn backed by lovely vocal harmonies. The term ‘superposition’ is used in physics to describe how things or items in nature overlap or interact. For the song, Young the Giant uses the term to describe the strong pull or connection we feel to those we love, and how fate and inexplicable events can bring us together, which they artfully express in the lyrics: “Superposition aims with imprecision. But when things can’t be explained – superposition. In any universe you are my dark star. I want you to want me. Why don’t we rely on chemistry? Why don’t we collide the spaces that divide us?

8.  WANDER – Vox Eagle*
Vox Eagle is the music project of Australian-born and now Colorado-based singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Andy Crosby, an indie artist I’ve featured numerous times on this blog over the past three years. One of the tracks from his outstanding 2018 album TriumAvium, “Wander” is the highest ranking song from an indie artist on this year’s list. It’s an enchanting mashup of melodic dream rock and hip hop, and when those magical keyboard and string synths wash over us like a shower of tiny diamonds, I’m covered with goosebumps. Eventually, a trip hop beat ensues as Andy freestyles about how communication has broken down in his relationship, his vocals going from sultry to falsetto as he sings: “We don’t talk no more, baby girl, we just wander.” Guest vocalist Pierre Fontaine’s smooth rap vocals take over for the last third of the track, adding another element of texture as he freestyles “We don’t try hard no more. / Where we all gon’ go, where we all gon’ go? We just wander, we just wander.” I love this spectacular song so much I’ve probably listened to it five hundred times.

9. THE HYPE – twenty øne piløts
I love every song by twenty øne piløts, and “The Hype” is no exception. The fourth consecutive single from Trench to reach #1 on both my and the Billboard Alternative charts, it topped the charts more than a year after “Jumpsuit”, a testament to the album’s high quality and staying power. “The Hype” is a beautiful and compelling song about remaining hopeful through difficult times, both mentally and physically. Tyler Joseph told Coup de Main magazine that the lyrics are told from the point of view of a younger version of himself. “Nice to know my kind will be on my side. I don’t believe the hype. And you know you’re a terrible sight, but you’ll be just fine. Just don’t believe the hype.”

Australian dream rock band Crystal Cities have come a long way over the past three years, from a garage in Sydney to Abbey Road Studios in London, where they recorded their extraordinary debut album Under the Cold Light of the Moon. The gorgeous, similarly titled lead single is my #10 song of 2019. Crystal Cities consists of Geoff Rana (Vocals, Guitars), Jared King (JK) (Bass, Backing Vocals) and Daniel Conte (Drums). The song was inspired by the courageous North Korean girl Yeonmi Park, who bravely escaped North Korea in search of freedom. After seeing her moving speech at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland, where she told the audience “When I was crossing the Gobi desert, scared of dying, I thought nobody in this world cared. It seemed that only the stars were with me. But you have listened to my story. You have cared. Thank you very much”, Rana felt compelled to interpret her story through a song. The uplifting track features vibrant, layered guitars, driving bass and galloping percussion that conjure up dramatic images of Park escaping on horseback. The addition of lush orchestral strings create a stirring, cinematic wall of sound that does justice to Park’s epic tale of survival. The beautiful animated video tells the adventure of her harrowing nighttime escape.

11. READY TO LET GO – Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant are back with their second song on this year’s list, “Ready to Let Go”. The track was the first single from Social Cues, and reached #1 on both the Billboard Alternative and Adult Alternative charts, as well as my Weekly Top 30. The song has a slower, bluesy melody, with a strong thumping drumbeat, deep bass groove and terrific guitar work. The lyrics speak to the realization that their relationship is broken beyond repair and the time has come to end it: “Don’t you worry, baby, no sense trying to change it. I’ma strike these matches, never had control. I’m ready to let go, no, was I fooling myself? I’ma spread these ashes, never had control. I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready to let go.”

12. CIRCLES – Post Malone
Post Malone (born Austin Richard Post) is one of the biggest music artists today, churning out hit after hit since exploding onto the music scene five years ago with “White Iverson”. His wonderfully eclectic sound draws from hip hop, rap, R&B, rock, pop, grunge and country, and Malone himself has referred to his music as “genre-less.” “Circles” is the fourth single from his phenomenal, critically-acclaimed third album Hollywood Bleeding. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a huge hit worldwide, reaching #1 in Iceland, Malaysia and New Zealand. I’ve seen a few complaints that it’s too ‘pop’, but I love it, and it’s my favorite of his many songs. The sweetly strummed guitars, deep bass, keyboards and thumping drums are all exquisite, and set to an infectious, hauntingly beautiful melody. Malone’s impassioned vocals lament of a relationship in which the flame has gone out: “Seasons change and our love went cold. Feed the flame ’cause we can’t let go. Run away, but we’re running in circles. Run away, run away.” It’s perfection from start to finish.

British electro-rock band IAMWARFACE are one of the best indie bands in the UK right now. Based in Brighton and London, their aggressive name is a fitting metaphor for their bombastic groove-based sound, and I’ve been thrilled to feature them on this blog many times. From the moment I first heard their debut single “Say My Name” in 2016 – which I likened to being hit by an atomic blast – I’ve been a devoted fan. Since their debut, they’ve continued to deliver one incredible song after another; three of their singles – “Say My Name”, “Closer” and “Fear the Future” – have reached #1 on my Weekly Top 30 chart. “Fear the Future” is a scathing attack on all the banal music and entertainment, bullshit and fear-mongering being fed to the masses in a pernicious attempt to dumb-down and divide us, making us more willing to be controlled. Musically, the song features the band’s signature explosive instrumentation and massive, driving rhythms, making for a incredibly exhilarating song that slams us against the wall. Front man Matt Warneford has a commanding powerhouse singing voice, and raises our adrenaline with his dramatic impassioned vocals. The disturbing video brilliantly brings the dark lyrics to life.

14. GO – The Black Keys
What can I say about The Black Keys other than that they’re fucking awesome! Friends since childhood, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been putting out fantastic blues/garage rock for almost 20 years. “Go” is from their ninth album “Let’s Rock”, and saw The Black Keys return to their roots after a three year long hiatus that had some speculating they had, or were considering, splitting up. It was their first release since their previous album Turn Blue in 2014, marking the longest gap between studio albums in their career. The two were simply burned out from touring, and Carney had also seriously injured his shoulder in a swimming accident, which took longer to recover than anticipated. During their hiatus, they were involved in numerous projects of their own or with other artists, including Auerbach’s band The Arcs, with whom he released an album in 2015.

After collaborating with producer Danger Mouse for their previous four albums, the duo decided to self-produce “Let’s Rock”, scrapping the keyboards in favor of just guitar, drums, and vocals. The guys got together at a recording studio in September 2018 to begin working on “Let’s Rock”, and within a few minutes, they were playing together as if no time had passed. “Go” is a short song, running only two and a half minutes, and features fairly sparse lyrics about getting out of one’s rut and hitting the open road. But man, Auerbach’s blazing riffs in the bridge are positively spine-tingling! The hilarious video pokes fun at the rumor they hated each other.

15. DARK PLACES – The Frontier
I realize I’m sounding like a broken record as I keep describing so many of the songs on this list as “gorgeous”, but dammit, the term applies to “Dark Places” by Virginia indie pop/rock band The Frontier in spades. I’ve followed The Frontier for several years, and am immensely proud of them for producing such a wonderful track as this. As the title implies, the song is dark, but also quite stunning, with a captivating sensual melody and shimmery synths, accompanied by subtle guitars, thumping bass and crisp percussion. Front man Jake Mimikos’ smooth, ardent vocals are enthralling as he sings of the internal struggles many of us experience with our darker side, and the attendant fears, anxieties, anger and even bad thoughts we must grapple with: “I’ve been to dark places in my mind. Seeing shadows in the night. It gets a little lonely when I’m in dark places in my mind, falling further from the light.” Jake stated that he was inspired to write the song by a show he watched on Netflix about serial killers.

16. COMING UP FOR AIR – Mars Motel
Mars Motel is an immensely talented alternative dream rock band hailing from Brooklyn, New York, and they make some of the most captivating music of any band I’ve heard. Their single “Coming Up for Air” is a real stunner of a tune, with swirling riffs of chiming guitars backed by shimmery synths and a pleasing rhythm section of gentle bass and thumping drumbeats. They all meld into a lush, sweeping backdrop for lead singer Sarik Kumar’s beautiful soaring vocals. He explained “This song is about an android-like being longing to be human and attempting an alteration. It captures the universal need for connection and the loneliness one can feel in being viewed as an outsider.”

I’ve already gushed about how much I love MISSIO and their album The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man, and another of my favorite tracks from that album is “Underground“. The song instantly hooked me with its irresistible hip hop beat, trippy vibes and deliriously catchy melody. MISSIO combines an array of synthesizers, instruments and textures to create a dense, almost psychedelic sound, and I love Matthew Brue’s distinctive vocal style that registers in the higher range, just below a falsetto. He fervently croons of his frustration that success and money haven’t brought the happiness and peace of mind he expected: “I’m down. I should be on top, but I’m always underground. Things are lookin’ up, but I’m making myself drown. High anxiety that money just compounds. I’ll be right here, just waiting underground.”

18. YOU? – Two Feet
Ever since first hearing his dark and sultry “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” early in 2018, I’ve had a huge man crush on Two Feet. Based in New York City and born Zachary William “Bill” Dess, Two Feet is a soulful singer-songwriter who’s become one of the finest blues guitarists today. His songs are slow burns, characterized by scorching bluesy riffs and intense, booming basslines that cut straight to the core. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in Los Angeles in November 2018 (you can read my review here), and he spent the first few months of 2019 touring with Panic! At the Disco, which exposed him to a whole new audience who hadn’t heard of him previously. I relished all the tweets from fans who’d gone to see PATD, and came away excited new fans of Two Feet. In the fall of 2019, he began releasing new singles in advance of his forthcoming album Pink. One of those singles is “You?”, which is fucking incredible, and his guitar work and vocals sound better than ever. He had an official video made for the song, but I like this live performance better, as it features a killer extended guitar solo that really showcases his guitar skills. You can hear the original version on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

19. ESCAPE – Ships Have Sailed
Los Angeles-based duo Ships Have Sailed have built a huge following over the past several years with their pleasing style of alternative pop-rock, characterized by infectious melodies, uplifting lyrics, and sublime instrumentation. This past February, they released their deeply moving anthem “Escape”, which I loved so much it spent five months on my Weekly Top 30, going all the way to #1. Vocalist Will Carpenter has a beautiful voice with an impressive range. As the music intensifies in the third verse, with drummer Art Andranikyan’s crashing cymbals and assertive drumbeats adding drama to the track, Will’s vocals rise to the occasion, becoming raw and impassioned, and raising goosebumps on the back of my neck. “Escape” is about a person struggling with personal demons and addiction. About the song, Will explained “Born as the stark expression of an especially trying year, ‘Escape’ represents a shift from what we’ve become best known for, exposing a more vulnerable angle. It represents musical honesty in its most raw form, and we truly hope it makes you feel something.” It certainly resonated with me.

20. FALLING WITH STYLE – Heist At Five
Heist At Five is a wickedly talented and undeniably charismatic electro-rock band based in London, but with an international pedigree. Band front man and lead vocalist Oskar Abrahamsson is from Sweden, bassist Marco “Fuzz” Paone is from Italy, guitarist Jozef Veselsky is from Slovakia, and drummer Josh Needham is from England. Together, they play an aggressive, innovative style of alternative rock that borders on experimental, with complex melodies, intricate chord progressions and spine-tingling electronic and guitar-heavy instrumentation. I’ve featured them a number of times on this blog, most recently when I reviewed their magnificent single “Falling With Style”. The band states that the song “is about fully embracing the idea of failure and finding comfort in it.” The imaginative and surreal video tells the story of a young woman who sees moments of her life in flashbacks, which ends up changing her perspective about life, and in the process breaks her old pattern of decision making.

21. GUIDING LIGHT – Mumford & Sons*
22. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo
23. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar
24. POWER OVER ME – Dermot Kennedy
25. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen
26. BURY A FRIEND – Billie Eilish
27. SOMEONE YOU LOVED – Lewis Capaldi
29. SUNFLOWER – Post Malone, Swae Lee
31. DELTA BLUES – Jetstream
32. HIGH HOPES – Panic! At the Disco
33. MISSED CONNECTION – The Head and the Heart
34. ALLIGATOR – Of Monsters and Men
35. 3 NIGHTS – Dominic Fike
36. DISSOLVE – Absofacto
37. WHEN AM I GONNA LOSE YOU – Local Natives
38. IN THE WATER – The Underground Vault
39. HURT – Oliver Tree
40. CRINGE – Matt Maeson
41. ROOM TO BREATHE – Made of Eyes
42. LOVE IT IF WE MADE IT – The 1975
43. VOLCANO – Feather Weight
44. STILL FEEL. – half-alive
45. CHANGE – The Revivalists
46. ASSUME FORM – James Blake
47. YOU’RE SOMEBODY ELSE – flora cash*
48. BACK DOWN – Bob Moses
49. FIGHTER – Joseph
50. UNDER THESE SCARS – Falling Into Red featuring Dev
51. OLD MAN’S WAR – Roadkeeper
52. STAY HIGH – Brittany Howard
53. RAGGED TOWN – Second Player Score
54. SEVENTEEN – Sharon Van Etten
55. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper
56. THE MIDDLE – Agency Panic
57. S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun) – The Glorious Sons
58. HARMONY HALL – Vampire Weekend
60. HOME – morgxn featuring WALK THE MOON
61. PATIENCE – Tame Impala
62. TWILIGHT – Anderson .Paak
63. APOCALIPSTICK – Lazy Queen
64. THESE ARE MY FRIENDS – lovelytheband
65. TIME – Morosity
66. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze
67. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools
68. HEAT OF THE SUMMER – Young the Giant
69. FAST TALK – Houses
70. BELOVED – Mumford & Sons
71. I’LL BE AROUND – Morning Fuzz
72. PRESSURE – Muse
73. NORTHERN LIGHTS – Death Cab for Cutie
74. LOVE CRAZY – Karolina Rose
75. “99” – Barns Courtney
76. FOUR WINDS – Unquiet Nights
77. GOODBYES – Post Malone featuring Young Thug
78. OBSESSION – Joywave
79. LONELY – Secret American
80. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn
81. SECRETS – The Million Reasons
82. EXITS – Foals
84. WANNACRY – Darksoft
85. MOVEMENT – Hozier
86. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates
87. REWARD – Paul Iwan
88. LIGHT ON – Maggie Rogers
89. HERE WE GO – Ben Priory & Charlie Pereira
90. THIS LIFE – Vampire Weekend
91. THANK U, NEXT – Ariana Grande
92. GENERATION Y – Guide Dog
94. 16 – Highly Suspect
96. STORM WILL COME – Morgendust
97. LO/HI – The Black Keys
99. BROTHERS – Harroland
100. SPAZTIC ROBOT – Spaztic Robot

Top 30 Songs for March 17-23, 2019

1. SUPERPOSITION – Young the Giant (2)
2. DELTA BLUES – Jetstream (1)
3. READY TO LET GO – Cage the Elephant (14)
4. LOVE IT IF WE MADE IT – The 1975 (5)
5. NORTHERN LIGHTS – Death Cab for Cutie (6)
6. CHANGE – The Revivalists (7)
7. POWER OVER ME – Dermot Kennedy (8)
8. S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun) – The Glorious Sons (9)
9. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo (10)
10. VOLCANO – Feather Weight (12)
12. SUNFLOWER – Post Malone & Swae Lee (3)
13. HOME – morgxn featuring WALK THE MOON (15)
14. IN THE WATER – The Underground Vault (4) 19th week on chart
15. ASSUME FORM – James Blake (20)
16. MOVEMENT – Hozier (17)
17. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen (18)
18. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar (19)
19. EXITS – Foals (21)
20. CHLORINE – twenty one pilots (26)
21. WANDER – Vox Eagle with Pierre Fontaine (11) 19th week on chart
22. SALVATION – The Strumbellas (24)
24. HARMONY HALL – Vampire Weekend (28)
26. DARK PLACES – The Frontier (30)
27. YOU’RE THE ONE – Greta Van Fleet (23)
28. PRESSURE – Muse (16)
29. APOCALIPSTICK – Lazy Queen (22)
30. TIME – Morosity (N)

Top 30 Songs for March 10-16, 2019

1. DELTA BLUES – Jetstream (1)
2. SUPERPOSITION – Young the Giant (3)
3. SUNFLOWER – Post Malone & Swae Lee (4)
4. IN THE WATER – The Underground Vault (2)
5. LOVE IT IF WE MADE IT – The 1975 (7)
6. NORTHERN LIGHTS – Death Cab for Cutie (8)
7. CHANGE – The Revivalists (9)
8. POWER OVER ME – Dermot Kennedy (10)
9. S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun) – The Glorious Sons (13)
10. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo (12)
11. WANDER – Vox Eagle with Pierre Fontaine (5)
12. VOLCANO – Feather Weight (14)
14. READY TO LET GO – Cage the Elephant (19)
15. HOME – morgxn featuring WALK THE MOON (16)
16. PRESSURE – Muse (6)
17. MOVEMENT – Hozier (20)
18. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen (21)
19. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar (22)
20. ASSUME FORM – James Blake (25)
21. EXITS – Foals (23)
22. APOCALIPSTICK – Lazy Queen (11)
23. YOU’RE THE ONE – Greta Van Fleet (24)
24. SALVATION – The Strumbellas (26)
26. CHLORINE – twenty one pilots (30)
27. HIGH HOPES – Panic! At the Disco (17)
28. HARMONY HALL – Vampire Weekend (N)
30. DARK PLACES – The Frontier (N)