The Best Songs I Heard in 2019, in Their Own Words

Here is a lyrics-forward presentation of my favorite songs I discovered this year (though not all of them were released in 2019).

Listen to the full selection of songs in the playlist on Spotify or Apple Music. See also my 2018 list.

Way down to the center of the earth and way out to the edge of the universe, your body is the world (What you need’s not what you believe) All around there is no other (I’m gonna fade out now, goodbye) You find out your body is the world.1

Love yourself. You are the one thing I needed. Share of yourself, show me the things that you believe in. Love, can you love yourself? Show me everything, every reason to believe in yourself.2

All my fears in a steam room stall. I sweat and sweat ‘til I’ve had enough. ‘Til I’m in forthright, ’til our horse comes out ahead and my chest is full. Blue wings to lift me up (heartbeat stops, you lift me up). Under the wire comes my love (heartbeat stops, you lift me up). There goes my life, there it goes.3

Life leads, eyes bless. I’ve got it, you need it, we want it, it’s love. I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it, I steal it, it’s death. We’re dying. Blinking in the bright light with you, I really have to believe that everyone and everything just shines for the one to find this is loss and just because.4

There was a punch-out happened at the take-out, a tweaker and a dog. It seems that the dog stole a blanket from the tweaker in the park. But cheapshots happen when thermometers are yellin’ one-o-four. Garage sale Sunday and I don’t know where I’m anymore. Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow where I’m anymore.5

Life is a maze spending your days. Truth is a haze punching your face. And time is a friend who outgrows you in the end, but it’s all right. To know there was a time you could have done something sublime, but I’m sorry! Once we get too old, toothless and all bald, there’s no turning back.6

Get a little closer, let fold. Cut open my sternum and pull my little ribs around you, the rungs of me be under you. That I might see with my chest and sink into the edges round you, into the lakes and quarries that brink on all the edges round you.7

We’re terrified of one another and terrified of what that means. When we get home we’re bigger strangers than we’ve ever been before. You sit in front of snowy television, suitcase on the floor. We’re too old. We’re not old, old at all. Just too old.8

If you got a lonely heart, I would be a lonely heart for you. If you’ll be my lonely girl, I would be a lonely boy for you. Always together with you.9

Even when I’m wide awake I keep turning back one page. I can’t find the plot and something else is taking shape. I know what it’s like to keep losing your place. When the lights are dim, in my window I have a twin. I’m always looking out and he’s always looking in. I know what it’s like starting over again. I know what it’s like to not feel love.10

Haven’t felt right in a week and I’m thinning out and it hurts bad. Hot head and dreamless sleep I could just slip down and on the wrong track. Sunlight on the back of my arms just thins me out to a different time. I wanna waste mine.11

Try my friend doing all the things we used to do. If you could color me, it would be darkest blue. Give me another chance, I’ll love you more than in the past.12

I don’t know how this is gonna go down, but you should know now darling I don’t fear it. It’s a verse and it’s a chorus laying out before us, and it only gets louder as we near it. Darling, can you hear it?13

Will somebody wear me to the fair? Will a lady pin me in her hair? Will a child find me by a stream? Kiss my petals and weave me through a dream. Throw off your fears let your heart beat freely at the sign that a new time is born.14

I’ve been cheating through this life and all its suffering. Oh Christ, am I good for nothing? I was told that war is how we landed on these shores. I just thought the drums of war beat louder warnings.15

Well, the best lack all conviction and the worst keep sharpening their claws. They’re peddling in their dark fictions. While what’s left of us, well, we just hem and we haw. And it feels like 1936 in Catalonia. Bloodless for now.16

There was a siren that was ringing in my head but I wasn’t listening. So I did do what I did. I’m sorry I was evil. I’m in trouble from before. Sometimes I feel like other people. I don’t remember anymore.17

We lose it all in time. From the moment of our being nothing’s as it seems. Still, it’s such a lovely time, a lovely lovely time with you.18

After we start over again we’ll start to feel safe in our skin. Maybe we’ll be wrinkled and grey or maybe we’ll get new plastic faces. We’ll finally find what we need some sunsick day.19

Pneuma. Reach out and beyond. Wake up, remember. We are born of one breath, one word. We are all one spark, eyes full of wonder.20


Hear all of the songs from the playlist on Spotify or Apple Music, or use the links to individual songs below. See also my 2018 list.

  1. Your Body Is The World - Mineral  

  2. Love Yourself - Sufjan Stevens  

  3. Blue Wings - Wild Nothing  

  4. 1972 - Broken Social Scene  

  5. Where I’m Anymore - Grandaddy  

  6. The Dreamers - Gold Celeste  

  7. Fineshrine - Purity Ring  

  8. Bear - The Antlers  

  9. Always Forgetting With You (The Bridge Song) - Spiritualized  

  10. I Know What It’s Like - Jeff Tweedy  

  11. Thinning - Snail Mail  

  12. In The Past - The Chocolate Watchband  

  13. Can You Hear It - Josiah and the Bonnevilles  

  14. Les Fleurs - Minnie Riperton  

  15. This Life - Vampire Weekend  

  16. Andrew Bird - Bloodless  

  17. Siren 042 - Lala Lala, Why?  

  18. Time - Sugar Candy Mountain  

  19. Some Sunsick Day - Morgan Delt  

  20. Pneuma - Tool