Ranking songs each year is a subjective, arduous task that, in our case, is best summarized as a simple playlist. So, in lieu of some arbitrary review of songs that’ll just get lost in the year-end shuffle, I’ve put together a condensed list of songs released in 2019 that’ll hopefully be on repeat into 2020 and beyond. At the end of this post, be sure to check out the embedded Apple Music playlist to get the party started.
Thee Oh Sees
Like many music and arts blog tends to do, we’ve put together an end-of-year list, featuring a selection of top 20 songs. It’s a diverse variety of artists, ones that you probably won’t find on the Coachella 2018 line-up.
Bobby and I both agreed that Bowie unquestionably had best output of 2016, but having memorialized his unfortunate death earlier this year and giving “Lazarus” top honors for the best song of 2015. This year’s playlist has been curated to a different theme, mixing significant emerging talent with surprising comebacks from established rock / pop veterans. One pleasant common thread for 2016 is that we see a major dominance of talented female vocalists and musicians, featuring fantastic releases from The Kills, Warpaint, Bleached, Kino Kimono, GOAT, Sunflower Bean, Carla del Forno, etc. On a different note, being that this list is comprised of songs, versus albums, one notable ommission was the album, The Glowing Man, released by the reformed, eponymous group, Swans, led by Michael Gira. Given the controversy surrounding The Glowing Man and its conclusion of this particular iteration of the group, the expectations were high, but solely in terms of composition and songwriting the album is certainly worthy of acclaim, but its long-form structure is not really suitable for this list. However, condensing these songs to a narrower focus has resulted in an eclectic, high-energy mix to try inspire some semblance of hope in 2017, hopefully extinguishing the dumpster fire, 2016.
2015, a dynamically strong year in music, full of resonating sounds from decade-spanning legends and fresh talent alike. Just as we emerge into the new year, we see the rock n’ roll era shift and become forever altered.
While authoring this year-end list, it started to feel slightly foreshadowed and curated. Just as this post was about to be published, with Bowie appropriately topping the list of songs from 2015, news broke of his unfortunate passing, succumbing to an 18 month battle with cancer, which he kept under the wraps as he finished his “swan-song” album, Blackstar. This shattering news was beyond devastating, catching rock purists off guard, just as we were all attempting to process Lemmy’s death, which occurred only a week or so prior. Both David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister were close in age, both recently celebrating their birthdays, 69 and 70 respectively. There’s many morbid coincidences, but most importantly, both artists set the archetype for blurring musical genres and becoming massively prolific in their discographies, at an exceedingly high standard. You’ve probably already read a dozen or more year-end lists on other sites, so we’re not reinventing the content-wheel here, nor attempting to write obituaries, but as The Chelsea Tribe’s inaugural post, here is a select list of memorable songs that spurred many repeated listens over the year. Also, check out our friends at Antiquiet for some of their staff picks, which share some of these same artists.