My 2019 Playlist

Photograph of the author and his friend Margot singing karaoke. Or rather, Margot is singing and Scott is playing air guitar.
Performing “The Chain” with Margot Bloomstein at the Confab conference party karaoke. Photo by Sean Tubridy.

I started a thing last year where I add songs that are resonating for me — for whatever reason — to a playlist named for the year. Hence: My 2018 Playlist.

I kept it up through 2019, with a bit more gusto, so I’ve got an even bigger list this year. With a bit of light curation, I ended up with 40(!) tracks:

Reviewing the playlist feels partly like flipping through a familiar scrapbook and partly like digging into the pockets of a jacket you haven’t worn in ages. A few of these tracks I hadn’t heard since the first time they hit my ear. Many of them represent shows I went to — Yeasayer, An Horse, Cursive, The Mountain Goats, IDLES, Jeremy Messersmith, Built to Spill. Some represent themes or life events — I Turn My Camera On, Crown. And many (most) of them are just me thinking: “heck yeah, let’s bookmark that.”

This is a personal exercise, which is to say that this is not a bit of music journalism wrapping up the “best” tracks of 2019 or anything like that. I also don’t expect you to put this on at a party (though I did do my best with sequencing it in a listenable way). But I like to share anyway, in case it inspires you to do your own music scrapbooking in 2020, or just helps you discover one good song to add to your own playlist.

Here’s the tracklist:

  • Martha Sways – Andy Shauf
  • Cactus – David Bowie
  • I Don’t Want to Die (In the Hospital) – Conor Oberst
  • Harmony Hall – Vampire Weekend
  • Give Me Back My Man – Ohmme
  • Cadaver Sniffing Dog – The Mountain Goats
  • Sunshine Rock – Bob Mould
  • Isolation – Cherry Glazerr
  • I Turn My Camera On – Spoon
  • The Sun and Moon – Cursive
  • Crazy Energy Night – Pom Poko
  • Gotta Get Up – Harry Nilsson
  • Crown (feat. Diane Coffee) – Run The Jewels
  • Turn the Light – Karen O & Danger Mouse
  • The Story – Brandi Carlile
  • Wide Awake – Parquet Courts
  • Homicide (feat. Eminem) – Logic
  • Live Well – An Horse
  • Service, Please – Tongue Party
  • Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams (Audiotree Live Version) – Camp Cope
  • Ecstatic Baby – Yeasayer
  • Melody X – Bonaparte
  • Monday, You’re Not So Bad – Jeremy Messersmith
  • Never Fight a Man With a Perm – IDLES
  • Hurry On Home – Sleater-Kinney
  • The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
  • Do You Remember (feat. Death Cab for Cutie) – Chance the Rapper
  • Pain – The War on Drugs
  • Toothbrush / Trash – Mount Eerie
  • Teenage Wasteland – Wussy
  • Loading Zones – Kurt Vile
  • Oom Sha La La – Haley Heynderickx
  • Dizzy – SHONEN KNIFE
  • Salted Caramel Ice Cream – Metronomy
  • lucy – Soccer Mommy
  • I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus – beabadoobee
  • Acetylene – Wussy
  • Goin’ Against Your Mind – Built To Spill
  • Sunny Love Song – Bob Mould
  • Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jaques Morelenbaum, & Judy Kang