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» As tradition dictates, we rummaged through some 200 singles we'd reviewed over the past 12 months and narrowed it down to 25. Here's what we learned in 2019: Thai fusion is still very much a go-to for most up-and-coming bands including Southern Boys and Suthep Entertainment, who both look to their roots for inspiration. This year also had its fair share of blazingly political moments, thanks to Solange, Lana Del Rey and our own rap troupe Rap Against Dictatorship. One final note, even though this list is split into two parts spreading across this and next week, these tracks are not ranked and their order is completely arbitrary in nature.
» "A woman's work/ A woman's prerogative/ A woman's time to embrace/ She must put herself first," the opening verse of Mary Magdalene from FKA twigs' latest full-length album is sung from the perspective of a fallen woman whose fate runs parallel to that of the titular figure. Following her much publicised break-up with actor Robert Pattinson as well as some serious health issues, the English artist finds common ground with the Biblical character.
» "I just don't wanna be back in this place again/ I mean, I done cried a little/ Tried a little, failed a little/ I don't wanna do it again," Brittany Howard confesses on History Repeats, a funky opener to her solo debut Jaime. Built on acid jazz and neo-soul groove, the song bustles with the genre-blurring spirit of her former band Alabama Shakes and her own irreverent energy. Singing those words, Howard sounds empowered and energised like a weight has been lifted. "History repeats and we defeat ourselves/ Come on everybody, one more time again," before you know it, the song turns into an infectious anthem, leaving in its wake a glimpse into her self-discovery that would go on to define the rest of the album.
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