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Best and Worst of Entertainment 2019 Edition: The List Jedi


Clappy
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I never read things like this and I should more often because I just want to say there is no force ever that pointed in the direction to suggest that a Justin Biber/Ed Sheeran collab was a neccessary thing and I'm glad you get why you can sum up that stupid song with it's ironic title.

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2019 was a really weird year….and you know what?  I liked it a lot.

To put it simply, 2019 will go down as one of the best years of the 2010s.  Was it stagnant?  Yes.  Did the unlikeliest of people get major hits?  Yes.  Is the new number one song of all time a ridiculous song?  Absolutely.  Would I have 2019 any other way?  No.  The unpredictable nature of this year was absolutely fascinating.  And you know what the best part of it all was?  The music of this year kicked ass.

I said last year 2018 had one of the best best lists of this decade.  And I do stand by that.  But 2019’s best list dwarfs 2018’s best list because the quality is that much stronger.  I had a hard time doing this top ten because of an overabundance of great candidates.  If 2018 was basically telling 2017 that times aren’t going to change and let the worst of the worst artists get huge hits, then 2019 was a giant fuck you to 2018 and moved forward with the idea that change is a good thing.

And a large part of that is the changing of the guard of up and coming superstars.  I’m not saying all the more relevant names of the decade like Taylor, Sheeran, Bieber, and Drake are on their way out.  Not even close.  But you can tell that the youth that predominantly makes up a large part of the streaming crowd is giving their streams to newer and honestly interesting new stars like Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Khalid, and Lizzo to name a few.  Will all these new names stick around?  Honestly I don’t know.  But I hope most of them do.  Because even at my advanced old age, where I should be in the retirement home when it comes to understanding the young people, I can see the appeal.

So let’s not waste any more time.  Because I’m really excited to share with you all why this year was so great.  But first some honorable mentions that would make the best list proper in lesser years.

 

Spoiler

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

“Suge” – DaBaby

This song is fucking hilarious.  I’ve been waiting for the trap rap fad to find their Ludacris and this is the closest we will probably ever get.  DaBaby has a ton of personality and the production on all his songs bang.  And despite how much I think Suge Knight is a prime example of scum of the Earth, having the audacity to compare yourself to a young Suge Knight takes a lot of balls.  Because Suge ruled the rap scene of the 90s.  I doubt DaBaby will have that sort of pull, but I don’t mind him becoming a big name.  I would applaud it.

 

“Sweet But Pyscho” – Ava Max

Best chorus of the year.  Lord knows how many times this chorus got stuck in my head throughout the year.  Song in general reminds me of 2009-2011 Lady Gaga.  Which damn, do I miss that era of Gaga.  When pop stars had such humungous personalities that they felt like legitimate superstars.  I just wish this no name had some sort of personality that stuck out more in her music because I checked out more of her music and I can’t get any vibes as to who she is as a person.  Either way though, damn what an insanely catchy chorus.  Makes my honorable mentions for just that chorus alone.

 

“Hot Girl Summer” – Megan Thee Stallion (featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla Sign)

2019.  The year of the female rapper.  A lot of female MCs started to emerge on the scene with Megan Thee Stallion being my personal favorite of the bunch.  There is no shying around this.  This song is a fucking bop.  It’s a song about strong female empowerment and having both Megan and Nicki trading bars about how awesome they are just makes the song all the more of a statement.  Really wish this charted during the actual summer instead of September because this could have been a late summer smash and safely secured its spot on the year-end list instead of just barely making it.  But if I had one major problem with this song, it’s that Ty Dolla Sign hook.  It’s okay, but was his part really that necessary?  It clashes with the vibe of a song called Hot GIRL Summer, shocker.  Does anyone really care that you consider yourself “five star dick”?  Really wish Megan recruited someone else to do that hook.  I mean the City Girls were right there!  You sampled “Act Up”!  Come on!

 

“Beautiful People” – Ed Sheeran (featuring Khalid)

Ed Sheeran has done nothing but frustrate me for the last three years with his output.  I’ve even gone as far to admit that despite all my annoyance with him, he’s still very much talented.  “Beautiful People” is by far the best single he’s had in the last three years.  Ed and Khalid surprisingly work off each other incredibly well.  This was close to the best list but one thing kept it off.  Despite being two of the biggest names in the music industry, I do believe Khalid is unfazed by the pizazz of being famous.  Ed, on the other hand, is full of shit.  If this was five years ago, it would have been a different story.  But Ed has done nothing but embrace wanting to be a full-pledged popstar for the last five years.

 

“If I Can’t Have You” – Shawn Mendes

What can I say?  The guy is getting a hell of a lot better.  Honestly really captures a real angst about being young and in love better than most songs as of late.  And the up tempo vibes really do make it stand out more so than the rest of Shawn Mendes’ singles about the same topic.  Keep it up Mendes because you are seriously inching closer and closer to getting off my shit list for that one/two punch of awful that was your first two huge hits.

 

“Circles” – Post Malone

What can I say?  This guy is also getting a hell of a lot better.  It’s becoming apparent now more than ever that Post Malone is growing tired of being classified as solely a rapper.  And if Hollywood’s Bleeding wasn’t telling enough, Post Malone is definitely willing to push the boundaries of genre blending.  Hence we got Post Malone tackling the psychedelic pop of the 1970s with his usual sad boy shtick.  And honestly, it works here more than it has on his past couple songs he’s had tackling this topic.  That interloping guitar melody is calming enough to really focus on the lyrics of Post’s latest heartbreak and the story he tells becomes more center stage.  Now let’s let Post Malone make that rock album he so badly wants to make.  Dude, it is becoming increasingly obvious.  Just do it.

 

“I Like It” – Cardi B, Bad Bunny, & J Balvin

Super close to making the best list for the second straight year.  But Cardi B fatigue really affected me this year and while I still love this song, I just can’t relisten to this anymore.  That being said, if there was ever a song that really emphasizes how awesome Cardi B is, I’ll always go back to this being one of her all-time best.

 

“Dancing With a Stranger” – Sam Smith & Normani

And the seasonal rankings curse continues.  This is still an excellent song, but honestly the best list was very competitive this year.  That’s what is keeping so many excellent choices off this best list.  Also, overplay really killed the vibe this once had going for it.  Yeah everything I mentioned about this song with my personal memory really still stands true, but honestly as the year went on, it became just that.  A memory.  Because I don’t love that girl anymore.  I’m a happily married man to the love of my life.  Maybe this was life’s way of telling me that this song will forever be associated with the past and to push forward.  If so, then thank you song.

 

“High Hopes” – Panic! At the Disco

A little over a year ago I thought this would be sure fire lock for this list too.  But yeah the radio killed this song’s chances of making it higher ranked on here.  It just would not go the fuck away.  A problem a lot of the songs this year had.  They would just be locked into the top ten and twenty for months upon months.  And because of the fact that this song would not go away, I finally found a part of this song that annoyed me.  The sound mixing is annoying.  Especially around the bridge with the trap hi-hats and the trumpets.  I love me some trumpets, but god all of that mixed together just made me immediately change the station after I heard it.

But god does the song still make me happy to be alive in a pop music climate that just doesn’t have much use for joyful music.  I’ll take Brendon Urie telling me to have high hopes for a living over a bunch of low vibe drones that we have on the radio right now.  It may have annoyed damn near 95% of the users on this site all year long, but I still love it.

 

“Sunflower” – Post Malone & Swae Lee

Should be on the list proper and if I ever look back at this list wondering which of these honorable mentions should have actually made this list, guarantee it will be this one.  I have no one to blame but myself for listening to this far too often.  So yeah, overplay killed this for me.  All that being said though, I do have one new thought about this.  This is Swae Lee’s song featuring Post Malone.  Because the overplay killed Post Malone’s part for me.  It’s the same old sadboy shit Post always does with more upbeat tempos.  Overplay has only made me love Swae Lee’s part even more than I already did and he has far more of the song’s runtime than Post.  All that being said, I still love this song a lot.

 

Alright, party's over.  Time to pop out the best list proper.

 

CLAPPY'S TOP TEN BEST HIT SONGS OF 2019

 

Spoiler
Quote

Look, I still like him and I’m glad he’s become so successful, but he really needed to slow down a bit and become more selective with his projects.  And then he did.  And he picked up the biggest hit of his career.

Well.  This is awkward. 

 

Umm yeah, about that statement from last year’s list season thread.  Khalid did not slow down.  He released an EP and an album since then.  He’s practically lost nearly everything I’ve found interesting about him due to the fact that RCA is hammering him down our throats so hard.  I’m honestly getting sick of him.  He still makes his fair share of music I like, but like Drake, he just won’t go away.  Now that I got all that out of the way, this made the year end list again.

 

10. “Love Lies” – Khalid & Normani

 

And it fell a tad from this time last year due to the how exhausted I am of Khalid being all over the damn place.  That being said, there’s just something about this song that’s great.  The chemistry between Khalid and Normani is still excellent.  Khalid’s vibe is perfect here.  I don’t think he will ever catch a vibe this great ever again.  Normani is only further proving that she is the most talented Fifth Harmony member (“Motivation” deserved better).  And when these two just sing with each other, it sounds phenomenal.

Seriously, that’s all you’re getting out of me with this entry this year.  Sorry to disappoint you guys, but I talked about this plenty last year.  That’s what happens when the charts move at a snail’s pace and we keep getting leftovers from last year re-charting.  Fuck Billboard's tracking system.  Next.

 

Spoiler

Okay we can’t talk about how damn weird this year was without talking about the weirdest artist of the bunch…and I don’t mean that in a bad way.

For the past year, I didn’t know what to think of Billie Eilish.  My initial thoughts was that she was just another Lorde rip-off that borrows trap elements.  But the hype kept building and building for her so I checked out that debut album…and it all clicked for me.  Billie just really knows how to capture something genuine about being a teenager in 2019.  Or at least the malevolence or naive of being one based off how her big hits turned out.  There have been plenty of teenage pop stars in my life time, but it’s a rarity that we get one who comes off as genuine about it and not heavily polished by studio hacks who think they know how teenagers act.  I still don’t consider myself the biggest Billie Eilish fan out there, but honestly she is a refreshing presence in a stale pop scene and I will admit to eating crow on my initial thoughts about her.  To the point that one of her songs made my best list.

 

9. “bury a friend” – Billie Eilish

 

I’ll just cut straight to point.  Songs like this just don’t get popular.  Ever.  It’s amazing that this caught on in 2019, a year where the oddest of songs became smash hits.  This might be the oddest hit of the year for me.  I mentioned previously in discussions about her that part of what makes Billie Eilish stand out is that she challenges our perceptions of pop music.  And here, she is pushing the structure of pop music into darker, more twisted directions of subtlety.  “bad guy” did the same thing but all of it was treated as a joke.  Here?  When Billie implies there is a monster, it intrigues the hell out of me.  I kept trying to think of some sort of sub context about whether the monster is the horrors of the real world or if it is Billie fighting some sort of inner demons. 

But the more I listened to this song, that monster is the uncertainty of everything in life.  And as someone who constantly worries about the uncertainty of what my future holds, I approve of everything this song stands for.  It is so relieving to hear this coming from someone who is over ten years younger than me.  It’s also a refreshing approach to tackling this subject matter in such a dark twisted manner.  I’m glad she went for an unsettling approach because honestly, no one else would have done this in such a way.  And that’s what makes Billie such a unique artist.  She may come off as a weirdo to outsiders, but that’s part of the appeal.  This song is a devilish masterpiece and I can’t wait to see what sort of concoctions Billie stirs up next.

 

Spoiler

You guys remember 2018 ending with this utterly bizarre display of embarrassment, right?  Honestly, why stop there?  Let’s share the complete timeline of bizarre stories about these two:

https://www.capitalxtra.com/features/lists/cardi-b-offset-complete-relationship-history/

Remember when Offset and Cardi B were once compared to the new Jay-Z/Beyonce?  Well they sure skipped many years of happily being married and went straight to the cheating scandal.  Yeah, I don’t know what else to say but this marriage has been a rocky one.  Things seem to be good now, but I saw plenty of articles online popping up questioning whether the cheating scandal was staged and done for personal publicity.  All I have to say about that is DID YOU WATCH OFFSET CRASHING THE CARDI CONCERT BEGGING FOR HER TO TAKE HIM BACK?  WHY WOULD YOU STAGE SOMETHING TO COMPLETELY EMBARRASS YOURSELF?!

Offset and Cardi must have seen the tabloids questioning the authenticity of the cheating scandal.  They made a song about it.

 

8. “Clout” – Offset (featuring Cardi B)

 

 

Before I go any further, I’m reading the comments section now for the video and I see one of the most liked comments was about their cheating scandal being used as clout for this song.  And to that I say, DID YOU WATCH OFFSET BEGGING CARDI FOR FORGIVE…okay I’ve got to stop bringing that humiliating act up otherwise that will be the entire entry and I’ll completely forget to talk about the song, which I do love.

This song is addressed towards those who use others for personal fame or using social media to become huge.  And I for one agree.  Those sorts of people are fake (cough THE PAUL BROTHERS).  But you can’t hear this song and not ignore the giant elephant in the room that this song was about the media obsessing over the turmoil of Offset and Cardi for a good six months.  Both of them do address it in the song for the record to mixed results. 

Offset takes a while to get there.  He has to go through his usual flexing first and it’s the reason this song isn’t any higher.  But when he gets to the second verse, his part is a major improvement.  I like how he points out how he doesn’t bite the bait and sip on the toxic waste of sites like TMZ reporting about his personal life.  Seriously, fuck TMZ.  And then he talks about making sure his kids will have money for their financial future.  That’s a good retrospective showing that he has his head on straight.

And then we get to Cardi and my god.  I know I’ve talked about how bored I’ve been by her this year, but her verse here is straight fire.  This is the sort of stuff that reminds me why I love her.  She doesn’t shy back about anything.  She addresses everything head on from the scandal, to her beef with Nicki Minaj, to people using her for clickbait, to some incredibly clever Brandy and Destiny’s Child wordplay, god I can go on and on as to how much Cardi fucking nails this song.  Hell even the music video isn’t subtle about how pissed off Cardi is about clout chasing.  She spends a chunk of the video surrounded by lemons, which that fruit will never be associated without reminding people of Beyonce ever again.  Remember what I said earlier about the Cardi/Offset and Jay/B comparisons?  Cardi is well aware.

One last thing, that piano line kills.  Every time I hear it, that melody doesn’t escape my head for the rest of the day.  It only makes the song all the more addictive.  If this song was made for clout, then it is one hell of way to do so.  Great stuff.

 

Spoiler

I’ve talked a lot about memes making songs bigger hits than they have any right to be A LOT over these last couple years.  And while I still have my fair share of problems with memes becoming a part of chart success these days, I’ve started to finally learn to accept that memes aren’t necessarily a bad thing towards how successful a song is.  Hell, it could be argued that “Old Town Road” being on top for as long as it was was due to the meme culture of it.  But you know which song in particular I’m especially grateful for becoming a smash hit due to a meme?

What a pretty little song it is.

 

7. “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo

 

And what a rising superstar Lizzo is on her way to becoming.  Honestly, if all three of her charting hits made this year end list, all three would be on this best list.  That’s how good Lizzo is.  This woman has all the potential in the world to be one of the defining artists of the next ten years.  Only one song made this list and my god what a hit “Truth Hurts” was.

Not only did it become the longest reigning rap song by a woman, but it also represented some much  needed superstar personality that a lot of the new popstars on the scene lack.  I mean I look around at the pop scene and most of the names out there, they are just ordinary people performing music.  A lot of the popstars of today don’t have the humongous personalities the popstars of ten years ago had.  Lizzo is the closest we’ve had to bringing that back in quite some time.

And that’s what carries this song up the echelon of great pop songs this year.  I can’t imagine anyone else but Lizzo singing this song.  Her personality shines throughout all of “Truth Hurts”.  Line after line.  Burn after burn.  Only Lizzo could make lines like these stand out.  I already went over the lines a few months ago about how genuinely happy she is that the guy she is roasting is back with his ex, while equally not giving a fuck that he went back to her.  It’s very refreshing to hear that.  But you know what is equally as great of a line?

Why are men great til they got to be great?

That’s a legitimately fantastic line and it is highlighted throughout the song for a reason.  I can speak as a man and point out that most men are pieces of shit.  I’ve met plenty of guys who only put on the persona of a nice guy just to get something more.  So hearing Lizzo callout this guy’s bullshit of being “great” is just so refreshing to hear.

And this is only the beginning of Lizzo’s rise to dominance.  I expect nothing but great things to come from her.  And thats the truth.    

 

Spoiler

So I’ve been talking a lot about how weird and bizarre this year was for hit music.  One of the more bizarre stories of the year was rap lyrics being used as circumstantial evidence for arrest warrants.  The more prime example of such was YNW Melly getting arrested and charged for a double murder that could possibly sentence him to either life in prison or put on death row due to previous legal troubles.  And what was one of the biggest claims of evidence against him?  His breakout hit single “Murder On My Mind”.  Now me personally, I find that song incredibly well detailed and well performed, but I can’t listen to it without feeling deeply uncomfortable due to the real life implications.  It’s like listening to a murderer confessing to his crimes in gruesome detail.

The other?  Well…

 

Yeah, that was this year.  How many memes were made off of this?  A Lot.

 

6. “a lot” – 21 Savage

 

So before we go any further, what lyrics were the cause of 21 Savage’s ICE detainment?

Been through some things but I couldn’t imagine my kids stuck at the border.

Really?  That was the dead giveaway?  Anyone could have pointed out that the Trump administration’s family separation policy is fucking cruel and inhumane.  Can’t believe that was the reason it pissed off ICE so badly that they had to search for a reason to detain 21 Savage.  This is the darkest timeline.

Okay back to the song before I get more of my own political commentary in.  This song is excellent.  21 Savage’s monotone delivery excels perfectly here.  It adds another layer to this song entirely.  The way 21 brags about everything going on in his life, there is an added layer of how tired he is from his journey.  The roads that he took to get where he is.  I often criticize how most rap music doesn’t detail how someone started from the bottom and got to the top.  That first verse of 21’s may be short, but he goes over all the key points that led him to where he is.  And that is very much appreciated by yours truly.  Hell, his monotone delivery about being on top also adds another other layer to this song that he’s bored of being rich and successful when there is still so much wrong with the world.

But for as much as I enjoy 21’s verse, it’s not the main reason this song is so high on this list.  It’s because of him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VNHp_flJKE

J. Cole didn’t release a new album in 2019, unless you want to count that Dreamville collaborate album which I honestly don’t.  But with how many guest verses he did this year and how many songs he completely stole because of it, his presence was always a huge blessing in my eye.  His next album is going to be even bigger because of it.

But he completely steals 21’s song with how much straight fire he spits.  Honestly there are so many awesome points that I’m just going to make a checklist of everything awesome he states:

-He points out how some of these artists aren’t as big as they seem because they utilize payola to fake their streams.

-Some people make memes to become bigger than they seem.

-He’s been playing the back from a lack of promotion.  Honestly, it feels true despite how many streams his albums over the last few years had.

-He was hoping his music would speak for itself, but his handlers wanted more from him.  So he’s going to show up on other people’s albums and steal their songs.  Case in point.

-It’s got to the point that rappers don’t like rapping with him.  Very true.  I think you all know some of them. *cough DRAKE cough*

-Praying for Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith Jr.  As a die hard NBA fan, I get these references.  Fultz’s shot still looks fucked up nearly a year later after he got traded out of the 76ers.  I hope he gets whatever mental and physical problems fixed because he looked so talented coming out of college.  And Dennis Smith Jr. is fighting through depression.  He needs all the prayers he can get.

-Pray for Tekashi and how people want him to rot.  Which he follows with that he can picture him inside his cell doing some reflecting on how he made it to the top was worth it or not.  I mention that because just merely mentioning how he prayed for 6ix9ine did cause some shock and befuddlement at first by others.  But that’s never how I interpreted that line.  My interpretation is that he hopes that Tekashi is realizing that how he became big off of controversy, memes, and how he handled his fame was really worth it in hindsight.  And honestly, it’s fucking great that he points that out.  Because I don’t think I ever saw someone handle fame as poorly as 6ix9ine.  He kept using his shock value and controversy to highlight his fame.  When in all honesty, it only highlighted how untalented he is.  It was his own stupidity that led to his arrest and possibly spending the rest of his life in either prison or witness protection.  I do wonder if years and years from now if he will do some self-reflection and realize that being a terrible person and doing nothing to change that was worth it or not for him.  Damn J. Cole.  Talk about being woke.

But yeah, an awesome guest verse that single handedly carries this song from good to great.  Can’t wait for that next album and just goes to show that 21 Savage is improving.  And that’s all I ask for from artists.  I don’t ask for A LOT. I’ll see myself out

 

Spoiler

Well we can’t talk about this year without talking about the biggest number one of all time.  So let’s talk about the greatness that is…

 

5. “Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus)

 

 

The history that will forever be attached to this song is one of the most fascinating things that has ever occurred during my years of following the charts.  From its original meme status to Lil Nas X riding the Billboard chart controversy, to multiple think pieces about what defines a genre, to keeping the interest in this song artificially high with at least five remixes.  But at the end of the day, it was number one for five months.  Novelty can only carry you so far if your popularity never wanes.  I’ve never seen any song encapsulate what it is like to be alive at this point in time in pop culture: memes, social justice, genre blending, social media awareness, playing off nostalgia, and met-awareness.

People can question whether Lil Nas X played the system or not.  It wouldn’t have worked if the American public didn’t want it to.  Anybody could have completely rejected all those remixes and chose not to stream the song entirely by their own choosing if there wasn’t others genuinely interested in any form of the song.  Let’s call a spade a spade.  Old Town Road stopped being a meme nearly a month after its inception with the Billy Ray Cyrus remix.  Which is the version that will always be tied to my association with this song.  Old Town Road became a song that people can genuinely enjoy unironically at that point.  It is country music and rap finally meeting at a crossroads and not sucking.

That is the biggest appeal of this song to me.  As a fan of both genres, I’ve been longing for the two to finally meet at a crossroad and make me feel more than indifference or embarrassment.  And all it took to get there was a nineteen year old kid futzing around with a Nine Inch Nails sample and recruiting the dad from Hannah Montana to hop on for a remix that finally made the original demo of a song sound complete.  What an utterly bizarre journey for the longest reigning number one song of all time, but you know what?  I don’t care.  I absolutely love this song.  It never ceases to amaze me every time I hear it. 

The simplistic nature of having a rapper with a deep country voice rapping about country tropes was a song that I didn’t know I needed in my life.  Thank you Lil Nas X.  Keep riding the waves of positive momentum you made until you can’t no more.

 

Spoiler

Okay you all got me.

This should have made the best list last year.  My bad.

 

4. “SICKO MODE” – Travis Scott

 

What the hell do I know?  Why do you guys listen to my opinions?  Middle-tier song from ASTROWORLD?  Did I really say that?  It’s one of the best.  Top five…hell top three honestly. 

Yeah this should have made my top ten last year.  Looking back at that list, it would probably place around number 6.  It’s a great song.  I always thought it was great.  I was worried that overplay would affect my thoughts on this song.  But you know what?  It hasn’t.  Honestly, overplay has only made me find more and more things to love about this song.  That’s why it is above Love Lies now.

And you know what the weird thing about this song is?  It hit number one in 2018, but it honestly feels bigger in 2019 than it ever did in 2018.  And I repeat, it hit number one song last year.  But this song has helped change trap music for the better in 2019.  We are getting more and more fusions with other genres and I place all of that solely on the success of “Sicko Mode”.

You can definitely tell that Travis Scott is a protégé of Kanye.  Not just in terms of making each of his albums into experiences.  And just like Kanye use to do (and still does, except not good), he knows how to grab your attention.  It’s an ambitious piece of art that molds three separate songs into this progressive trap song we badly needed when the genre was starting to become overdone with the same clichés.

Oh and I don’t care how sick we as a society are collectively of Drake.  His parts fucking kill.  If you can make taking a Xanax nap sound cool, you’ve still got something to bring to the table.

It takes a big man to admit he was wrong about a song.  And while I’ve always loved this song, I was dead wrong to leave it off my best list last year.  Call it what you want, but this song is absolutely excellent.

 

Spoiler

Hey guess who made the best list this year…to the surprise of no one.

 

As I’ve previously mentioned throughout the year, this is the Ariana Grande era for pop music.  She made shock waves throughout the industry as she pulled a Drake and released a second new album over the course of six months.  And while I did enjoy both albums a lot, it’s still a damn shame that the Sweetener era was cut so short.  Because while I have been hit or miss with the thank u next singles, every Sweetener single just hit and they hit hard.

 

3. “breathin” – Ariana Grande

 

 

Throughout the many singles Ariana has released over the past two years, it’s easy to see why this probably performed the least successful of the bunch.  Ariana has no tears left to cry.  Ariana can have sex with you so hard that she can change your religious ideology.  She can take each failed relationship and overcome it with grace and poise.  She is better than all of us and can afford the finest luxuries because she’s rich and we’re poor.  She wants you to break up with your girlfriend because she’s bored.  She doesn’t want you to call her angel.

It’s easy to play off all these traits, but at the end of the day, they are just a mirage.  One lyric from another 2019 song “Boyfriend” showed Ariana’s thoughts on her life.  “I’m a motherfucking trainwreck.”  The real Ariana Grande often showed up in her social media where her real life problems were front and center.  And while I’ve commended her for years on overcoming all the tragedies and still pushing forth doing what she loves, I still hope she is okay underneath it all.

Getting straight to the point, this song is the realest song Ariana Grande has ever composed.  As someone who has a history of high blood pressure due to his anxiety, I can relate to this song hardcore.  When my anxiety kicks in and I can feel my blood pressure rising, one of my recommended techniques from my doctors to help me is just to pause and take deep breathes.  It’s a simple, yet effective technique that helps me.  And that’s what this simple pop song was for a lot of people.  A reminder to keep breathing when you’re suffering from any sort of anxiety.

But I’ll be honest, even if I remove any sort of personal thoughts from this song, that beat drop in the chorus gets me every time.  Like our Shadow based senpai once pointed out, it’s a world shattering drop that just hits super hard.  And tie that in with one of Ariana’s best vocal performances to date and “Breathin’” would still be one of the best songs of the year just on that alone.  But it’s one of my top three songs of the year because it is personally useful for me.

 

Spoiler

So in this year’s edition of Clappy’s Hypocrisy Post, it’s time for make repentance with a sub category of music that I’ve been a bit cruel to over the years.  WEDDING SONGS!

 

Which you know, it is fitting.  I got married this year.  I’ve never really hated these sorts of songs.  It’s just that a lot of the time you come across a bunch of uninspired three to four minute pieces of shlock that could have been written in their sleep.  It’s easily the biggest sellout single a performer can release…ahem:

 

But in 2018, my wife and I came across a song that just made us feel this defined our relationship and our love for each other.  And it was a fair sized hit on the Hot 100 at the time too…but then it fell off the charts after twenty weeks…and then it came back again and made it safely onto the year end list as the biggest pure country song of the year.  Weird how things work out, but that’s what 2019 was.  Weird occurrence after weird occurrence and you know what, I’ll take it.

 

2. “Speechless” – Dan + Shay

 

 

What can I say?  Country music crossovers are becoming the norm now.  And honestly, I’ve always liked Dan + Shay.  Granted, they’ve always felt a tad more pop than your traditional country, but they just harmonize off each other so well.  And honestly, now more than ever, they are starting to definitely trend towards contemporary pop.  With this being their biggest pop hit to date.  And I’ll be honest, this feels like a boy band song more than a country song.  Close your eyes and tell me that this doesn’t sound like a Backstreet Boys wedding song.  That’s not a complaint by the way.  Backstreet for life.

And honestly, this song will forever associate with my wedding day.  Not just that first dance.  Just the day in general.  Seeing my wife walk down the aisle, looking like a million bucks to me, it just epitomized my thoughts for her.  Every time she walks into the room all prettied up for dates, weddings, hell just any occasion I’m speechless with how beautiful she is inside and out. 

But hell even removing my own personal thoughts and associations it has for my love for my wife, this song works.  Any sort of clichéd lines about how it will take her five minutes to get ready or how he will be a mess no matter what become obsolete when that chorus hits.  When they wail how he is speechless, it hits every fucking time.  Dan and Shay just sell the hell out of that line and that drop leading to the word speechless following with the rest of the chorus is fucking perfect.  I am completely invested that they are speechless with their loved ones beauty. 

Dan and Shay made one of the best wedding songs I’ve ever come across and unfortunately lightning did not strike twice with that new wedding song single with Justin Bieber that is fucking terrible.  But I will forever be grateful for them making a wedding song that leaves me speechless every time I walk into a room.

 

Spoiler

To understand why I picked what I picked to be my number one for this year, we will have to go back a whole year to truly understand it all in context.

Writing the 2018 year end lists felt like a chore.  Even the best list, which I declared to be one of the upper best lists of this decade.  Because while I do love all the songs on my best list, 2018 as a whole was not a good year.  At least ten percent of that year end list had hits from toxic awful people.  At least ten percent of that year end list was Drake flooding the charts with his overlong bore of an album.  Album bombs were flooding the charts to the point that so many songs got pushed off that the real hit songs of the year all basically sounded the same to me.  It felt like pop music was either barely there or basically nonexistent.  I honestly started to question the bad direction music was heading.  But towards the end of the year, one pop song emerged from the rubble.  Started to become viral.  Became the humongous smash that we sorely needed amongst all the dreary dreck.  And led 2019 into one of the most interesting years I’ve ever covered on this site. 

 

1. “Baby Shark” – Pinkfong

 

 

Yep, let’s talk about the cultural impact this slice of pop perfection had on the glorious year that was 2019.  This song for toddlers that became such a significant meme to the point that it started to chart on the Hot 100 and stuck around the late 20s/early 30s for fifteen weeks just racking up points amongst the heavyweights of the charts.  Pinkfong outcharted BTS, Katy Perry, even DJ Khaled.   That’s the sort of impact this simple, yet amazing song had on the cultural zeitgeist in the year of 2019.  It’s so culturally significant that Washington Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra used it as his warm up song and it became significant for the run this team had to winning the World Series.  It is also getting its own toy line, television series, hell it would be an absolute mistake to not make it a theatrical movie.  Society is a sucker for shark movies.  Why else do we keep getting them?  Give one to the kiddos and it will make hundreds of millions, fuck it maybe even billions.  I can’t think of a single reason why this shouldn’t be everyone’s best hit song of 2019 DO DO DO DO DO DO DO.  Take it away James Corden:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spoiler

….okay you got me.  This only ended up in the late 20s/early 30s of my full chart rankings.  Baby Shark is not the real number one.  This is:

 

1. “thank u next” – Ariana Grande

 

 

It took some real nerve from me to have this top my own best list of songs from this year.  Especially with my wedding song right fucking there as a safe choice.  And who knows, maybe this will top other people’s best lists as well.  It’s that fucking great.  Well I don’t care what other people think.  It’s my best song of the year because it made me fall back in love with pop music at a time where I thought it was at its weakest.

You know what my main problem with pop music has been over the past couple years?  Most of the songs that have gotten popular could have been made by anybody.  Even the songs I like.  Like I said earlier, I miss when pop songs use to have real personality behind them and looking back at all these songs for the decade end list really reminded me of that.

As we all know, no popstar has had a more rough personal life in the last three years than Ariana with the bombings, the failed relationships, the death of a long time love, the engagement falling through, etc.  Ariana could have just fell off the face of the Earth for years after going through such tragedy and no one would have blamed her.

And that’s where this song shines the most.  Ariana letting us dive in to the context that is her personal life and discussing it with such poise and grace.  Every single choice Ariana makes in this song is perfect.  She handles everything so thoughtfully and gracefully.  Handling each past relationship as a life lesson and giving a moving tribute to her ex Mac Miller in the process.

All year long, I kept telling you guys we’re living in the Ariana Grande era of pop music.  I’ve always liked her and while her album in 2018 did plenty well and I liked every single hit she had off that album, the “thank u next” era made her a bonfide superstar.  And to me, this will be the definitive song that defines what made Ariana Grande into the megastar she is today.

I’m so fucking grateful for this slice of pop perfection.  Thank u Ariana.  Thank u for reminding me why I loved pop music when I needed it the most.  Thank u for spinning your public drama into gold.  Now give yourself a much needed break.  U honestly deserve one.

 

 

 

 

Full Rankings:

Spoiler

1. “thank u next” – Ariana Grande

2. “Speechless” – Dan + Shay

3. “Breathin’” – Ariana Grande

4. “SICKO MODE” – Travis Scott

5. “Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus)

6. “a lot” – 21 Savage

7. “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo

8. “Clout” – Offset (featuring Cardi B) 

9. “bury a friend” – Billie Eilish

10. “Love Lies” – Khalid & Normani

11. “Sunflower” – Post Malone & Swae Lee

12. “High Hopes” – Panic! At the Disco

13. “Dancing With a Stranger” – Sam Smith & Normani

14. “Circles” – Post Malone

15. “I Like It” – Cardi B, Bad Bunny, & J Balvin

16. “If I Can’t Have You” – Shawn Mendes

17. “Hot Girl Summer” – Megan Thee Stallion (featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla Sign)

18. “Suge” – DaBaby

19. “Sweet But Psycho” – Ava Max

20. “Beautiful People” – Ed Sheeran (featuring Khalid)

21. “Shallow” – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

22. “MIDDLE CHILD” – J. Cole

23. “Going Bad” – Meek Mill (featuring Drake)

24. “Robbery” – Juice WRLD

25. “Cash Shit” – Megan Thee Stallion (featuring DaBaby)

26. “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton

27. “The London” – Young Thug, J. Cole, & Travis Scott

28. “Pop Out” – Polo G (featuring Lil Tjay)

29. “Tequila” – Dan & Shay

30. “Panini” – Lil Nas X

31. “Baby Shark” – Pinkfong

32. “Pure Water” – Mustard & Migos

33. “Beer Never Broke My Heart” – Luke Combs

34. “Boyfriend” – Ariana Grande & Social House

35. “Thotiana” – Blueface

36. “when the party’s over” – Billie Eilish

37. “bad guy” – Billie Eilish

38. “Act Up" - City Girls

39. “Wake Up In The Sky” – Gucci Mane, Bruno Mars & Kodak Black

40. “Rumor” – Lee Brice

41. "Better Now" - Post Malone

42. “Taki Taki” – DJ Snake (featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna, & Cardi B)

43. “Trip” – Ella Mai

44. “My Type” – Saweetie

45. “All To Myself” – Dan & Shay

46. “Worth It” – YK Osiris

47. “Con Calma” – Daddy Yankee & Katy Perry (featuring Snow)

48. “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” – Ariana Grande

49. “Only Human" - Jonas Brothers

50. “Drip Too Hard” – Lil Baby & Gunna

51. “Money In The Grave” – Drake (featuring Rick Ross)

52. “Beautiful Crazy” – Luke Combs

53. “Senorita” – Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello

54. “Eastside” – benny blanco, Halsey & Khalid

55. “Youngblood” – 5 Seconds of Summer

56. “Good As You” – Kane Brown

57. “Wow” – Post Malone

58. “Talk” – Khalid

59. “You Need to Calm Down” – Taylor Swift

60. “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” – Panic! At the Disco

61. “Talk You Out Of It” – Florida Georgia Line

62. “Look What God Gave Her” – Thomas Rhett

63. “Happier” – Marshmello & Bastille

64. “Mo Bamba” – Sheck Wes

65. “MIA” – Bad Bunny (featuring Drake)

66. “Better” – Khalid

67. “Walk Me Home” – Pink

68. “Murder on My Mind” – YNW Melly

69. “ZEZE” – Kodak Black (featuring Travis Scott & Offset)

70. “No Guidance” – Chris Brown (featuring Drake)

71. “Shotta Flow” – NLE Choppa

72. “How Do You Sleep?” – Sam Smith

73. “Goodbyes” – Post Malone (featuring Young Thug)

74. “Look Back At It” – A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

75. “The Git Up” – Blanco Brown

76. “Close Friends” – Lil Baby

77. “7 rings” – Ariana Grande

78. “Leave Me Alone” – Flipp Dinero

79. “Lucid Dreams” – Juice WRLD

80. “Please Me” – Cardi B & Bruno Mars

81. “Beautiful” – Bazzi (featuring Camila Cabello)

82. “Envy Me” – Calboy

83. “Trampoline” - SHAED

84. “Baby” – Lil Baby & DaBaby

85. “Money” – Cardi B

86. “Knockin’ Boots” – Luke Bryan

87. “One Thing Right” – Marshmello & Kane Brown

88. “Be Alright” – Dean Lewis

 89. “Without Me” – Halsey

90. “Swervin’” – A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie (featuring 6ix9ine)

91. “Sucker” – Jonas Brothers

92. “ME!” – Taylor Swift (featuring Brendon Urie)

93. “Whiskey Glasses” – Morgan Wallen

94. “Ransom” – Lil Tecca

95. “Close to Me” – Ellie Goulding, Diplo & Swae Lee

96. “Eyes On You” – Chase Rice

97. “Someone You Loved” – Lewis Capaldi

98. “I Don’t Care” – Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber

99. “Girls Like You” – Maroon 5 (featuring Cardi B)

100. “You Say” – Lauren Daigle

 

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On 12/24/2019 at 10:06 PM, Christmas Kat said:

Great work as always, Claps. Some fire picks on this list.

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That fakeout before the real #1 was genius :Laugh:

 

2019.  The year of the bops.

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All right! That was a bit of a rough worst list to get through. Fortunately, it's all uphill from here. Let's kiss the decade goodbye with...

Wumbo's Top 10 Hits of 2019

Spoiler

 

10. "Sicko Mode" - Travis Scott

 

It is absolutely wild just how much this song has grown on me in the past year or so. When it first came out, I didn't like it at all. I had trouble remembering how it went, I didn't think either the performances or the beat were very impressive... let me tell you, it is so refreshing to be wrong about this one. This is a song full of hooks that I guess just took me a while to realize. It's now one of the only songs this decade to be in my Top 50 Most Played on my iPod. I just can't get it out of my head, and I don't want to. Travis Scott is the frontrunner for me when it comes to the newer faces in hip hop. The genre has definitely changed, and while I used to think that it was for the worse, I can see now that it's just a different era. Much like how we had gangsta rap, and crunk, and... *sigh* ringtone rap. Maybe we can forget about that last one.

Like it or not, Drake is a star on this song as well. He scores the most memorable line of the song in "out like a light", and even though he's been criticized for his consistently monotone delivery - mostly by me - he is instantly recognizable and I understand why people have him as a feature. He strangely brings a unique energy and tone to his performance that no other rapper can. He may be monotone, but he's weirdly crafted a style out of it. And if this complimentary diatribe sounds exactly like that, well, my feelings on Drake have always been largely complicated. I didn't like him much this year, but he also wasn't omnipresent like he was last year. I have a feeling he'll be sticking around for years to come, and maybe he'll really impress me again. But for now, I'm just glad we had this song stick around in 2019 to remind us that Drake isn't always a total waste of space. He just needs to stop wasting so much space on the charts. And doing collabs with Chris Brown. Okay, moving on!

 

Spoiler

 

 

There's nothing wrong, inherently, with your brand of music being pure showmanship and artifice. That kind of braggadocious flair is what got us hits like "Uptown Funk", after all. But I do appreciate when an artist is able to tap into their real-life emotions and experiences and frame that in their music. And despite some career missteps, no one did the job more efficiently and yet thoroughly than Ariana Grande.

9. "Thank U, Next" - Ariana Grande

 

"Thank U, Next" is a song that should not be as good as its hype makes it out to be. Yet Ariana's effortless charm absolutely brings this to the next level. After a year in which it felt like everything was going wrong for her, she turns it around with one song and completely controls the narrative. Yeah, it's essentially a PR spin, but Ariana Grande doesn't shy away from the harder parts of her year, either. In order for there to be growth, you have to start out feeling small. And you can hear it in her voice as well. There's a certain melancholy behind the mask, and it shows ever so slightly in her delivery. But mostly, it's a fun as hell, catchy song that adds to Ariana's viability as a pop superstar. Thank you. Next!

 

Spoiler

 

Meanwhile, if you want the non-PR version of Ariana's 2018...

8. "Breathin'" - Ariana Grande

 

As much as I love and respect "Thank U, Next", I know and everybody knows what kind of year, and really life, Ariana has had. And if we're looking for a song that better sums up Ariana's life and her coping skills, well, look no further than this one. What I find so remarkable about this song is that it's a song about coping with anxiety and fear, and yet it sounds just as poised as any of Ariana's songs. Some people might see that as an artistic failure, but I see it as managing to marry the two halves of the song: the lyrical content with the lush instrumentation and beautiful vocal performance. This song sounds absolutely gorgeous, possibly one of the most beautiful-sounding Ariana songs to date. Sweetener was kind of a mess of an album, but there's no denying that this was always meant to be a pop hit. It was kind of designed that way. I'm honestly kind of baffled that "god is a woman" ranked higher than this one, much as I love that song too. Ariana is a pop superstar, and I have no doubt that she'll continue to entertain us for years to come.

 

Spoiler

 

Honestly, what is there even left to say about this one? Anyone who doesn't put it on their best list somewhere ain't doin' it right.

7. "Old Town Road" - Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

 

If I'm being honest, I find it difficult to view "Old Town Road" in a vacuum. It's more phenomenon than song, a topic that dominated the cultural airwaves the entire year. And Lil Nas X proved to be the perfect ambassador to usher in the newest crop of pop stars, making the takeover official by smashing the #1 stay on the charts with this song. The song just kicks ass, especially with the Billy Ray Cyrus remix, something I did not think I would be saying in 20-goddamn-19. This year has been weird, but in the best possible way. After "Old Town Road" was removed from the country charts, it doubled down by getting a country superstar (you know it's true) and lending his talents to the mic. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus are magic together, playing off of country and hip hop stereotypes and subverting them in their parts respectably.

"Old Town Road" also serves as a masterclass of chart manipulation, with Lil Nas X serving up a new mix of artists for the same song every two months or so to keep it on top. Mason Ramsey? Sure! Diplo? Why not? Chris Brown? No, thank god. Lil Nas X is a treasure who must be protected at all costs, and if this was a list of the best Twitter accounts of 2019, he would be running away with the #1. I truly hope his influence carries into 2020. We need more Lil Nas Xs in the world.

 

Spoiler

 

The radio needs to die.

I've been saying this for some time now, but using radio airplay to track single success is asinine in this digital age. No one is listening to the radio anymore, and even if they were, it wouldn't be a situation where the listener gets to choose what they listen to. So radio pushes the most inoffensive, white-bread boring songs possible to the top, and that's how we get charting hits like "Girls Like You" and "I Don't Care".

But even a broken clock is right twice a day. When I learned the most-played radio track of 2019 was this, well... maybe the radio can stick around.

6. "Dancing with a Stranger" - Sam Smith and Normani

 

I've never been a fan of Sam Smith. Like, not even a little bit. I respect that they have talent, but I cannot get past the overwrought crooning. But this song is the exception, and it kind of won me over by the end of the year. It's definitely the sleeper hit of the year despite it peaking on the radio (as I said, no one listens to radio anymore so I barely count that). That is one hell of a chorus, and the buildup ain't half bad either. I think what works for both singers here is it showcases restraint in the verses and chorus alike. And it's not only a good look for them, it's a good look for the song as well. Oversinging would have absolutely killed this song. The song is structured smartly to be sort of lowkey in its melancholy. This is just sort of a hazy night at the bar, where you're dancing with anyone who might try and numb the pain. No need to oversell it, just add a twinge of emotion here and there and you've got yourself a subtle, but effective track. All I know is I haven't liked Sam Smith this much since their collaboration with Disclosure in 2014. And looking back at both lists, it's easy to see who came out on top in 2019. Good job, Sam Smith. Keep it up. And Normani... I'm rooting for you, girl. Let's make 2020 her year. Please?

 

Spoiler

 

I feel like we've been going dark and moody for a long time in pop music, but the problem is that it's not interesting. Who the fuck wants to hear about how Zayn wants to creepily engage in "pillowtalk" with them? Ick. Outside of The Weeknd and maybe the odd trap song, I really have not been taken in by this recent trend where everything has to be mysterious, and ominous, and creepy. All those elements should not sound this boring!

Thankfully, we finally got an artist in 2019 who could do it right. Her name is Billie.

 5. "Bury a Friend" - Billie Eilish

 

If I could pick one way in which 2019 has been exciting for me, it has been the rising star of Billie Eilish, finally breaking through with her smash hit album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Billie has such a charisma about her, and her songs are structured in such an interesting way. This song has exactly the elements you need to make a creepy, mysterious song, but it doesn't rest on the mood as a crutch. It uses the mood to accentuate its extremely dark subject matter. Not to mention this gruesome video. Yeeergh.

You could probably argue that Billie is playing this up to create an image. But hell, at least it's an interesting one. I cannot tell you how sick I was of hearing 21 Savage growl through a downbeat track and people calling that menacing. That's not menacing. You're being beat by a 17-year-old girl. Billie sounds like she's having fun with the macabre imagery and sound of her music, and it makes for an infinitely more enjoyable experience with tons of replay value. This is the sort of creepy pop music I've been wanting to hear. All other "moody" artists can follow suit.

 

Spoiler

 

This list has been female-dominated so far. To that I ask... why are men great till they gotta be great?

4. "Truth Hurts" - Lizzo

 

Lizzo is the superstar that we absolutely needed... well, probably a couple of years ago. But I'm so glad we got her now. Her song "Good as Hell" currently has traction on the charts, and honestly I might like that one even better. Lizzo is such a force of personality and positive energy. If anyone else were to try to pull this off, I'd probably think they were insufferable. But Lizzo has buckets of charisma to back up her confident lyrics and her delivery. This song is instantly quotable against that catchy-as-hell piano line. It's kind of the perfect pop song of this year, and I'm actually surprised it wasn't bigger. Of course, "Old Town Road" had a lot to do with that, so I can't be too mad. I only hope that we hear more from Lizzo in the future, She certainly doesn't seem ready to go away anytime soon, and I am excited to have a pop artist making such uplifting music as this. But yes, "Juice" should have been a hit. Why Billboard great till it gotta be great?

 

Spoiler

 

 

Country music had a good year! How much of it was good quality? Well... it's better than it was in previous years?

I don't know. I don't think I'm ever going to pivot to being a full-on country fan, especially not for this decade. There's just too much crap that seeped its way through the airwaves, and once again, radio is the problem here. By allowing radio's increasingly hollow definition of "country" music to dominate the charts, you get shit like that Marshmello & Kane Brown turd that washed up on shore this year. Seriously, I heard that on country radio and I nearly dry heaved. Country has been the biggest casualty of radio junk simply due to the fact that it's slowly losing its identity. Even the Dan + Shay stuff... it's fine, but nothing you wouldn't hear on adult contemporary radio.

There was one notable exception, of course, that caught me completely off guard. And if you were following the charts this year, you probably already know what's coming. So let's get to it. The best country song of the year is by... Blake Shelton?!

3. "God's Country" - Blake Shelton

 

In a year where Lil Nas X ruled the charts, Billie Eilish gained traction, and Baby freakin' Shark made the year-end, this is still the most mind-boggling hit of 2019 for me. But in the best possible way. I mean, I seriously had no idea that Blake Shelton had this kind of song in him. Or any mainstream country singer for that matter. Maaaybe Chris Stapleton, but country radio likes Chris Stapleton like water to fire. So it was such a blessing for me to finally hear a country song with some bite, some edge, a bonafide country rock song that we haven't gotten in forever. Seriously, you don't know how rare this is. After country music being dominated by meatheads and pretty boys for the past decade, it's Blake goddamn Shelton that swoops in to bring some credibility back to the genre. I still can't say I'm a country fan. But maybe if more of it sounded like this, I could be persuaded. Yee-haw!

 

Spoiler

 

You know, I mentioned country as the biggest casualty of radio play this decade, but that puts aside the almost nonexistent genre that is rock music.

 

This is not rock. I don't even mind the song, but it's not rock. The fact that it reached #2 on rock airplay this year is fucking idiotic. What is "rock" about this? What makes this different from slightly edgy pop music? Bah. I'm done. Mainstream rock is dead. Thanks, Imagine Dragons!

It got me thinking about my #2 pick for this list. As has happened in the past, my #2 pick for this year is a song I completely neglected from last year. But I have a feeling I'm not the only one. There's a real stigma about being labelled a "boy band". It's hard to make your way into any sort of credible music station, or to be enjoyed by anyone over the age of 18, with that sort of label on you. And maybe that stigma kept it off of my best list this year. But with SHAED's desperate stabs at relevance and Brendon Urie flailing to depressing results, this was pretty much the only rock song of the year. And... it kinda rocks.

2. "Youngblood" - 5 Seconds of Summer

 

5 Seconds of Summer is a damn good band who got way too much scorn over their first hit, "She Looks So Perfect". Take out the "American Apparel underwear" line, and you have a pretty damn amazing, pumped-up pop rock song. And that's exactly their lane where they work the best. This is another of their best songs. That thudding bassline over the chorus propels the angry atmosphere of the song into overdrive. They seem to be the only ones interested in making rock-adjacent music anymore, and as an eternal lover of the genre, I have to hold on to what I can get. So congratulations, boys. You finally made a best list. Just don't use up all that goodwill by collaborating, with, oh, I don't know, The Chainsmokers?

 

God fucking fuck this is why we can't have nice things

 

Spoiler

 

I was astonished that this became a hit song. I knew that this artist was getting huge in 2019, but this song always seemed on the verge of slipping out. And really, I wouldn't blame anyone if it did. Much like "DNA." from 2017, it's a song that stands alone on this year-end as being way too good for the charts. Like anyone's going to have time for a song like this in between Ed Sheeran and Camila Cabello. Right.

But this year was full of surprises. And this song squeaking onto the year-end chart was a very pleasant surprise, indeed.

1. "When the Party's Over" - Billie Eilish

 

You simply do not get this much emotion packed into one little song to break through like this. This is a little miracle of a song that managed to scrape up enough points to make the year-end. And God, I'm glad it did. Because this song is simply masterful.

As far as instrumentation goes, it's sparse. Nearly a capella, with a spare piano and synths here and there. But this is the song where I thought Billie Eilish proved herself to be much more than a flash in the pan. I knew she was eventually going to make it big, maybe not off of this song, but off another, because she has buckets of talent and she is an incredibly smart and gifted musician with nuanced, sharply written emotions in her lyrics. For real, ballads have to work twice as hard as other songs to even be considered for a Top 10 spot. And I can't think of a song this year that does more with less. The simplicity is what adds to the heartbreak of the situation, and nothing feels forced or manipulative. This is simply a sad story set to beautiful, haunting music. Finally, in 2019, Billie Eilish broke through and became the superstar we love today. This was the song that officially put me in her corner. I like to think that for her, the party is just beginning.

 

Full List:

Spoiler

 

1. "When the Party's Over" - Billie Eilish

2. "Youngblood" - 5 Seconds of Summer

3. "God's Country" - Blake Shelton

4. "Truth Hurts" - Lizzo

5. "Bury a Friend" - Billie Eilish

6. "Dancing with a Stranger" - Sam Smith and Normani

7. "Old Town Road" - Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

8. "Breathin" - Ariana Grande

9. "Thank U, Next" - Ariana Grande

10. "Sicko Mode" - Travis Scott

11. "Bad Guy" - Billie Eilish

12. "The London" - Young Thug. J. Cole and Travis Scott

13. "Shallow" - Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

14. "Pure Water" - Mustard and Migos

15. "Suge" - DaBaby

16. "Sweet but Psycho" - Ava Max

17. "Señorita" - Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello

18. "Panini" - Lil Nas X

19. "Worth It" - YK Osiris

20. "Beer Never Broke My Heart" - Luke Combs

21. "Tequila" - Dan + Shay

22. "Hot Girl Summer" - Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign

23. "Wow" - Post Malone

24. "A Lot" - 21 Savage

25. "Look Back at It" - A Boogie wit da Hoodie

26. "Only Human" - Jonas Brothers

27. "Circles" - Post Malone

28. "If I Can't Have You" - Shawn Mendes

29. "Cash Shit" - Megan Thee Stallion ft. DaBaby

30. "Pop Out" - Polo G ft. Lil Tjay

31. "Sunflower" - Post Malone and Swae Lee

32. "Trampoline" - Shaed

33. "I Like It" - Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin

34. "Act Up" - City Girls

35. "Taki Taki" - DJ Snake ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B

36. "Beautiful People" - Ed Sheeran ft. Khalid

37. "Boyfriend" - Ariana Grande and Social House

38. "Rumor" - Lee Brice

39. "Walk Me Home" - Pink

40. "The Git Up" - Blanco Brown

41. "Beautiful Crazy" - Luke Combs

42. "Robbery" - Juice Wrld

43. "You Need to Calm Down" - Taylor Swift

44. "Baby" - Lil Baby & DaBaby

45. "High Hopes" - Panic! at the Disco

46. "Good as You" - Kane Brown

47. "Eastside" - Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid

48. "Speechless" - Dan + Shay

49. "Better Now" - Post Malone

50. "Wake Up in the Sky" - Gucci Mane, Bruno Mars and Kodak Black

51. "Close to Me" - Ellie Goulding and Diplo ft. Swae Lee

52. "Whiskey Glasses" - Morgan Wallen

53. "Sucker" - Jonas Brothers

54. "Love Lies" - Khalid and Normani

55. "Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" - Ariana Grande

56. "Goodbyes" - Post Malone ft. Young Thug

57. "Zeze" - Kodak Black ft. Travis Scott and Offset

58. "Going Bad" - Meek Mill ft. Drake

59. "All to Myself" - Dan + Shay

60. "Knockin' Boots" - Luke Bryan

61. "Con Calma" - Daddy Yankee and Katy Perry ft. Snow

62. "Murder on My Mind" - YNW Melly

63. "Envy Me" - Calboy

64. "Me!" - Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco

65. "7 Rings" - Ariana Grande

66. "Beautiful" - Bazzi ft. Camila Cabello

67. "Shotta Flow" - NLE Choppa

68. "Money in the Grave" - Drake ft. Rick Ross

69. "My Type" - Saweetie

70. "Trip" - Ella Mai

71. "Hey Look Ma, I Made It" - Panic! at the Disco

72. "Ransom" - Lil Tecca

73. "Clout" - Offset ft. Cardi B

74. "Leave Me Alone" - Flipp Dinero

75. "Middle Child" - J. Cole

76. "You Say" - Lauren Daigle

77. "How Do You Sleep?" - Sam Smith

78. "Eyes on You" - Chase Rice

79. "Lucid Dreams" - Juice Wrld

80. "Swervin" - A Boogie wit da Hoodie ft. 6ix9ine

81. "Talk You Out of It" - Florida Georgia Line

82. "Mia" - Bad Bunny ft. Drake

83. "Look What God Gave Her" - Thomas Rhett

84. "Drip Too Hard" - Lil Baby and Gunna

85. "Please Me" - Cardi B and Bruno Mars

86. "Thotiana" - Blueface

87. "Be Alright" - Dean Lewis

88. "Money" - Cardi B

89. "Without Me" - Halsey

90. "Better" - Khalid

91. "No Guidance" - Chris Brown ft. Drake

92. "Girls Like You" - Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B

93. "Mo Bamba" - Sheck Wes

94. "Baby Shark" - Pinkfong

95. "One Thing Right" - Marshmello & Kane Brown

96. "Close Friends" - Lil Baby

97. "Someone You Loved" - Lewis Capaldi

98. "Happier" - Marshmello and Bastille

99. "Talk" - Khalid

100. "I Don't Care" - Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber

 

 

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Now that I’m closing out the 2010s in pop, it’s fitting that I would do a rundown of each respective year-end list that I’ve ranked:

1. 2013
2. 2015
3. 2011
4. 2017
5. 2012
6. 2018
7. 2019
8. 2016
9. 2010
10. 2014

I’m very much alone in putting 2013’s year-end list at the very top. It has a wide variety of good songs and while it is not without its flunks, most of the bad stuff isn’t notoriously awful and just rather dull. 2015 gets smacked down a spot for how terrible the songs in my bottom 3 are, (“My Dear Future Husband, “Watch Me,” and of course, “Marvin Gaye”). Still it is one of the most iconic years for pop music during the 2010s, which justifies its high placement. 2011’s year-end list is a big improvement compared to 2010’s. While 2010 feels iconic, it’s second-to-last in the lower portion due to the poor quality for most of the year-end representatives. 2017’s year-end list has itself a weird mix of hits that I’ve appreciated. While it didn’t make for an interesting bottom 10 to me, the list sure enough had me make an interesting top 10. Sliding a bit into controversial territory, I’ll admit that 2012’s year-end list is iconic, but it had quite a slew of bad songs whilst the quantity of good stuff does come close together. While I’m still going to be controversial here, the same could almost be said about 2018’s year-end list, IMO. However, I’ve had 2018’s year-end list ranked below 2012’s since it lacks the thrills that 2012’s pop music had. 2016’s year-end list isn’t too bad, but its blunders balance out the good by a fair margin. 2014, unsurprisingly, still fits the bottom spot like a lock as it is a strong example of a year-end list that’s not worth looking back on due to just how uninteresting it was.

That leaves me with 2019 and I’m sorry to all that have likened it because of its iconic brand of weirdness, but I still stand by what I said of my feelings towards its year-end list where I said it wasn’t so much of an improvement over 2018’s. I can’t deny that 2019 in pop music was at least very interesting, so I thought it was reasonable enough for me to put it above 2016, 2010, and 2014. I mean, we’ll never have another year where a couple of underdogs topped the list and broke a tied record that was held by “One Sweet Day” and “Despacito,” where Lady Gaga and an actor who played Rocket Raccoon nab the top spot after winning an Oscar for their song, and where names like Jonas Brothers, Panic! at the Disco, and Billy Ray Cyrus ruled the chart. However, at the end of the day, 2019 still lacks the quantity of songs that scream “2019” while it rather speaks to me, “welcome back to 2018.” Like I’ve expressed time and time again, Billboard is at fault for this kind of vibe that I get, so this does not reflect my feelings towards 2019 pop music as a whole.

Much like my bottom ten for this year, my top ten hits of 2019 is also somewhat divisive. You guys will agree with some of the choices and disagree with some of them. What matters is that these are the songs that I’ve appreciated and enjoyed most out of the 100 list representatives and I will do my best to talk about each one. Before I get started on that, here’s a list of eleven songs that were close but didn’t make the cut:

Honorable mentions:

Spoiler

20. “Pure Water” – Mustard and Migos, hold the mayo
19. “Walk Me Home” – P!nk on a good day
18. “Youngblood” – Five Seconds of Summer
17. “Good as You” – Kane Brown
16. “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton with a good Chad Kroeger impression
15. “Senorita” – (okay i lied this is the best latin pop song on the list imo) Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello
14. “Hot Girl Summer” – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign
13. “thank u, next” – Ariana Grande and SBC members angry with me for not putting this on my best list
12. “Old Town Road” – Remix with Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Soundcloud rapper Jjs
11. “bury a friend” – Billie Eilish
0. “Never Really Over” – Katy Perry featuring Zedd’s redemption

AND here’s one last-minute change to my bottom 10. Sorry, this should’ve been on there:

Spoiler

 

5. "One Thing Right" / Marshmello and Kane Brown

Remember when I said that “Taki Taki” isn’t a song that I feel that I shouldn’t take so seriously? I still have my fair share of chagrin for it, but for that one primary reason, I’m sacrificing it from my list and pushing it up to the bottom 20 so I can push down “One Thing Right” to “Taki Taki(‘s)” former placement. I was also considering pushing “All to Myself” higher at first, but my feelings for that song have hardly changed though, so I’m sticking to just having a new #5.

I’ll admit it that I was being a little too harsh when I said that “Taki Taki” didnt resemble a lot like reggaeton. “One Thing Right” is not a country song. It doesn’t even quality as future bass or whatever else it’s trying to go for, like pop-punk, according to one source. This song is noise, and the unpleasant kind of that. I’ve made a joke earlier that Marshmello was somehow already replacing Zedd as one of the most disposable and deliberate pop acts. Since the latter is actually making better music than he is, I can’t be any wrong. Marshmello is the musical equivalent of a marshmallow (naturally) on a stick that’s consistently bursting to flames, waiting for someone to blow out the fire and give into munching on that sticky, overdone texture. I didn’t even think my feelings for Marshmello would change in this short stretch of time, but it happened, with this song in particular being so bad to the point where it solidified Marshmello as a talentless hack for me.

While Kane Brown’s verse isn’t great by any stretch, I’ll give Marshmello credit for not making Brown’s verses as bad as his production work. The lyrics give the song its superfluous edge by detailing a man who’s cheated, lied, and is whatever else that makes him the bad boy that girls would faun over, including the one person in his life that he describes as the one thing right about him. I think Brown doesn’t do a bad job in trying to sell this story. Although, as I should say, the sheer amount of edge from this song leaves a bad taste, just like that burning marshmallow consistency of the drop that made it reviled.

Say what you will about the shameless trendhopping that “The Git Up” is infamous for. It at least sounds more like a consistent blend between two worlds compared to “One Thing Right,” which, by judging the song’s title, is anything but for country pop crossovers at large.

 

 

Steel’s Top 10 Best Hit Songs of 2019
 

Spoiler

 

There was one thing that this year-end list lacked that most of us said it did in the climate of pop where it was popularized by moodier music. I’m not just talking about music with a happier tone. I’m talking about songs that feel like they’re designed to give off positive vibes – and in a positive way of doing that. It’s not that there was a great shortage of feel-good pop music this year, but when this year had its positive hits, it was either smug (“7 Rings”), self-serving (“ME!”), childish (“Only Human”), overproduced (“High Hopes”), or just deliberately fake (“Happier”).

What makes me feel bitterer about the absence of “Never Really Over” on the year-end list is that it was my go-to song to get myself in a good mood. So, for one of my top ten entries, I had to settle for something that I felt strongly met the standard of pop positivity, for whatever did make the list. Without further ado, let’s talk about…“Talk.”

10. “Talk” / Khalid

It’s a funny thing if you could just look back at some of the things I said on the previous countdown and direct it back to me that I’ve legitimately said that I felt like I was burned out on Khalid’s music. In fact, “Talk” just so happens to be the one song in the man’s catalogue of hits where most people felt that they’ve lost patience with him. All of that should establish why this may be my most controversial pick. So the most important thing that needs to be said here is “why?” What do I have to justify a top ten placement for a song that isn’t impressive from an act that isn’t also impressive himself?

Now, I did say that I was feeling burned out by Khalid. However, even when I find him to be at his most basic, I can’t bring myself to hate any of his hits to date because he has that relentless charm to keep me patient. What is that charm, though? Khalid doesn’t tend to have much a strategy to delivering his hits outside of his own singing voice. Of course, he doesn’t have a lot of personality to back himself up. He is just a very simplistic musical artist, right? What if I told you that his simplicity is part of that charm? Even while “Talk” lacks a serious punch from both Khalid and producers Disclosure, there is some unusual charm that I find that makes me feel like they both really do deliver.

For someone who’s lacking in personality, I’ve come to appreciate how happy Khalid comes off as. It is the most lively he’s sounded so far into listening to his hits. On top of that, he at least doesn’t display any smugness, manipulation, or any other bad quality that would end up ruining a positive song in my eyes. Yes, in the process, I feel like I’m in a good mood when I’m listening to this most of the time. Sure, Disclosure’s production work could’ve had more a punch to it, but it still pairs well with the song’s R&B slow jam styling (and because I’m not usually very picky when it comes to synth-flavored production). The lyrics aren’t something to write home about, yet they’re not poorly written either. They establish nothing more than trying to bring a relationship to the next level and it only adds to the warm fuzzy feeling that I get out of this song.

It’s not perfect. The instrumentation is not as on-point as anything else made by Disclosure. Khalid is no Usher, Frank Ocean, or The Weeknd. All that matters is that Khalid managed to make a lot about “Talk” work for me. Therefore, it is on my top ten. While this is partially because Billboard and radio decided to purge “Never Really Over” early, I’ll still die on this hill defending this song.

 

Spoiler

 

9. “Dancing with a Stranger” / Sam Smith and Normani

I’ll give 2019 some credit when it’s due for giving us a Sam Smith song that I enjoyed. I have my soft spot for “Talk,” but I will confess that of these two lowkey R&B songs, “Dancing with a Stranger” is the better one. While I had to go in-depth on the previous song, I don’t need to overcomplicate my feelings towards this. Sam Smith is really on-point here, as is Normani, who I feel helps flesh it out more.

While it’s obvious to point out that Sam Smith and Normani make great chemistry on the song, what I think really makes it interesting is when you take note that Sam Smith is a self-proclaimed gay man. “Dancing with a Stranger” could come off as a duet between the two singers, but it’s also leaning towards speaking on a universal level. For that, it makes Smith’s usage of an additional female singer to further carry the song feel more subtle than to just establish Smith’s need to dance with anyone to curb his loneliness.

Other than the parts that the two singers play on here, it’s also worth pointing out that the instrumentation slaps. That disco-flavored production makes “Dancing with a Stranger” stand out as the dance-pop song that it presents itself as. Overall, it’s a surprising effort from Sam Smith and another standout from Normani (“Motivation” deserved the attention that it should’ve gotten btw).

 

Spoiler

 

While I couldn’t bring myself to put “Old Town Road” on my top ten, there are a few things that I respect about it. In terms of blending country and trap sounds, “Old Town Road” managed to show the best of both worlds, something that the bro-country trend wasn’t able to do. While the success of “Old Town Road” prompted for some other artists to make their own genre-redefining creations, good and bad. In addition, country pop music was bigger this year because of OTR. Rumor has it that one entry from the genre made it on my top ten. So let’s say I make it true…

 

8. “Rumor” / Lee Brice

I’ve been trying to get used to the current country pop climate, but it’s a fresh of nice air to see a song that strongly defines the country music sound on the year-end list. Bro-country actually seems to be fizzling out in favor of another trend that I’ve had to familiarize myself with, known as “boyfriend country.” Based on my knowledge of this recent trend, I can’t say that I’m all that appealed by it. “Rumor” seems like a song that’s gotten successful through that trend (mind you, the song was first made known on Brice’s recent album, which was released back in 2017), and it shines a little light into the trend.

“Rumor” is a simple hookup song about a couple that appears to be more than just friends. Unlike how Dan + Shay’s “All to Myself” got into unintentional yet uncomfortable territory for me, Lee Brice brings some genuine charm to his song. Brice goes into a right kind of territory. The singer suggests the idea of making these rumors about him and the girl true in a smooth and delicate fashion. Not only does Brice make the hookup elements work, there’s an introspective and nostalgic tone that I get out of this song, which works just as well. The mere fact that Lee’s output from his recent album comes from his own experiences suggest it. In other words, the song really sounds like it’s come from a real place. In addition to the lyrical subject matter, I also really like the guitar work here, as the bluesy tone gives the song a very decent groove.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that “Rumor” is a spectacular song, but it still serves as a pleasant presence in the mainstream pop and mainstream country scene, so it deserves a spot in my top ten.

 

Spoiler

 

So let’s go over what I put on my top ten so far, just for a moment. One song was what most people assumed was Khalid on autopilot, which I begged to differ. My next entry was a rare gem from Sam Smith, coupled with a stellar performance by Normani. The previous song was from a rather niche country artist. If you didn’t think my list wouldn’t get weirder, this is where I now begin to talk about a rare moment in 21 Savage’s career that made me care for his music…

 

7. “a lot” / 21 Savage featuring J. Cole

It’s a conscious hip hop song. Songs like these tend to be interesting to look into most of the time, to delve into the stream-of-consciousness narrative provided, or to hear the message that’s being addressed. That’s not the main reason as to why “A Lot” works for me so well, that has to do with 21 Savage’s delivery. The first few times I’ve tried to get into Savage’s hits, I was bored to death by his monotone delivery. “A Lot,” however manages to do the opposite effect as it makes me come off as more interesting. “A Lot” is grim in its aesthetic and Savage’s deadpan delivery correlates to the song’s tone. The way that Savage describes his outlook in his own life and only responds with “A lot” is surprisingly genius, as it speaks a lot (no pun intended) about his internal feelings on subjects like fame, success, and the struggles that he’s seen his culture face.

21 Savage doesn’t hold any punches and it really shows in the album version of the song in one stanza where he criticizes the ICE. That line pissed off the U.S. immigration law enforcement so badly, that Savage became a target for detainment and deportation once the truth about him being a U.K.-born citizen spilled over. It sucks to see this happen to him. Despite that, you still got to commend him for acknowledging the black and white morality of the U.S.’s current immigration laws.

21 Savage isn’t the sole person to have his shining moment. J. Cole is also apparently on the song, but he isn’t given full credit as a featured artist. His presence shouldn’t be ignored as he doesn’t hold any punches either. He delivers with an amazing flow while providing some interesting insight, which includes a small tangent on the ever-so infamous 6ix9ine (Claps gave a solid explanation about that bit so my words are his own).

To cap off my commentary for the song, there’s the usage of “I Love You for All Seasons” as a sample that I feel needs to be acknowledged, the icing on top of the cake. It meshes well with the bleakness of the song with its unusual and distinct beauty that it adds. …Man, how much did I have to say about this song? I’d say a lot (Pun intended this time).

 

Spoiler

 

Oh hey, Shawn Mendes also made a great song this year.

 

6. “If I Can’t Have You” / Shawn Mendes

Okay, I’ve already gained some respect for this guy after he released “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.” Almost every other hit he came out with after that, I’ve liked it, especially “Lost in Japan…” excluding the pointless Zedd remix, of course. Though, it feels like yesterday when I gave his terrible song “Treat You Better” the honor of being my worst hit of 2016. FFS, if I didn’t stick to my repeats rule, that song would’ve also been my worst hit of 2017. That’s how bad it was. Come 2019 and Shawn Mendes has redeemed himself by landing a spot on my top 10, in a similar way that Charlie Puth redeemed himself in 2018 to make up for his embarrassingly awful debut album back in 2016. On topic of “If I Can’t Have You,” would I say that it washes away all that bad taste this singer left me with Treat You Better?” I can’t say for sure, but this is still a great song.

My first impression of the song, I thought it was just a retread to “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” judging the instrumentation. This is no surprise since I’ve been aware of Shawn recycling his own stuff before then. I couldn’t see what would set this song apart from his other hits until I was able to see some sort of subtext behind the redundancy. The lyrics already detail how Shawn can’t write a song that isn’t about this unknown love interest and that his life has been consistently focused on her. However, the consistency and honesty that Shawn displays on the song isn’t what I appreciate the most about it. “If I Can’t Have You” impresses me by just being a magical slice of pop music. I love Shawn’s soaring vocals, I love the gospel-influenced chorus section, and I love just how catchy the chorus is.

Even while this song still lingers towards familiarity, I would find out later on that this song came from another place. Interesting fact, Shawn Mendes had said that inspiration for this song came from, no joke, The 1975. …Yep, because when I listen to “If I Can’t Have You,” I think about a band that have discussed the crumbling society that our world is facing, expressed the ever-growing fears of aging over a Joy Division sample, and wrote a love song…to heroin. With all seriousness, I can see where Shawn is trying to get at with his influence, based on the aesthetic alone and hey, if this is the closest we’ll ever get in giving The 1975 a pop hit, I’ll definitely take this song for what it is.

 

Spoiler

 

Post Malone. I don’t need to explain who this guy is. Over the course of 2018 and 2019, he was everywhere on the pop charts and couldn’t go away. Because of that, it was hard for me to get into this guy’s music. The more I’ve exposed myself to him, the clearer it was to me that he’s been recycling the same songs, but with a different coat of paint.

It’s not that this is the first time I’ve dealt with this. Most of us have gotten sick of Rihanna being on the charts back when she used to release album after album on an annual basis because her label feared that she would be forgotten about if god forbid she took a break, and here we are now with our first year-end Hot 100 list where Rihanna is completely absent. Of course, I also can’t ignore how much more annoyed we were with Drake’s ubiquity and redundancy while I’m still on the topic of overexposed pop artists.

Now, back on topic with Post, I’ve said it on my bottom 10 that I feel like he’s starting to improve. Before Hollywood is Bleeding came out, I even admitted to liking a select few of his songs, one of them being this next song. The point I’m trying to make here is that when Post Malone makes a great song, I’ll begrudgingly accept it…

 

5. “Sunflower” / Post Malone and Swae Lee

Okay, so it’s a song from one of the most beloved animated films from the past year. By that fact alone, it would be inevitable that this song would make my top ten. My first impression of the song is the same as most others, as we felt confused on what this had to do with Spider-Man. Without the context, “Sunflower” isn’t anything special, but it makes a lot more sense once you know the context of it. Without spoiling anything important about Into the Spider-Verse, “Sunflower” exists to establish the emotional development that Miles Morales faces when coming to terms with being the new Spider-Man in his world. In-universe, “Sunflower” is used in calming Miles in a certain situation. As a plus, Into the Spider-Verse has a glitchiness aesthetic that is also shared by the song that’s made for the film.

That hazy dream pop flavor displayed in “Sunflower,” is what really makes the song stand out. It has overstayed its welcome on the Hot 100, and it’s not hard to see why. The song’s catchiness and haziness are what always bring me back to it. Post Malone’s sadboi shtick works a lot on here because it’s not trying so hard to be emotional, nor is it trying to give us his usual heartbreak vibe. “Sunflower” is heartfelt in its tone, and Post’s songwriting conveys with that emotion.

While Post does a great job, it’s Swae Lee’s verse that sells it for me, since it really shows his place as a versatile hook singer. Swae Lee carries the melodic structure in his verse with his voice so perfectly. It makes me want to see more stuff from him like this, granted if he continues making music like this. Swae Lee and Post Malone are just so on-point on “Sunflower,” and it’s so satisfactory to see them craft something this good for one of the best works of animation from 2018.

 

Spoiler

 

If you’ve seen my commentary for my bottom 10, you would know about my relationship with Cardi B as a rapper. She has the personality to back herself up, but her music has become so redundant that I’ve lost interest in her personality rather quickly. Every once in a while, she’ll impress me, but in a time where I feel like I’ve heard every song of hers, I needed a cure to my Cardi B.urnout. That’s where Lizzo came in to give me the cure that I needed…

 

4. “Truth Hurts” / Lizzo

Lizzo was definitely a weird yet satisfying presence to have on the Hot 100, even when this song in question was first released in 2017. Then it was re-released as a radio single this year after being made popular by the Netflix film Someone Great. It would become more popular through TikTok memes, and here we are with this being one of this year’s hits to top the Hot 100.

Pushing aside that little history, while this is still a 2017 song, this does feel more at home with 2019 in pop music due to the year’s prominent volume of weird hits. As for my thoughts on the song, what can I say about it that others haven’t already? “Truth Hurts” just straight-up slaps on top of being a well-written kiss-off anthem. Other highlights include the infectious piano melody, Lizzo’s burst of personality and charisma, and the many memorable lines I get out of it including the “Why are men great til’ they gotta be great?” line, the whole DNA test bit, and the “Bom, bom bi bom bi dum, dum, ay” hook.

As far as recent kiss-off anthems go, I wouldn’t put this on the same level as Dua Lipa’s “IDGAF.” Regardless, “Truth Hurts” is still great and it keeps me wanting more from Lizzo. In fact, we are giving her some hits and I can’t be any gladder for that. Her other recent big hit, “Good as Hell,” speaks for itself with its title and it is just as inventive as any other song I’ve heard from Lizzo. Take notes, Cardi B.

 

Spoiler

3. “when the party’s over” / Billie Eilish

When I was introduced to Billie Eilish, I was captivated by her talents for her young age through a couple of her earlier songs, namely “Ocean Eyes” and “Lovely.” Then I would later come to the realization that she draws parallels to another indie pop artist who was also talented for her young age, Lorde. As I saw Billie Eilish usher in more of her darker musical style, I was made familiar by Pure Heroine-era Lorde. Then after I exposed myself more to Eilish’s music, I would find something about her makes her unique compared to Lorde: her eccentricity, and how iconic it is. It’s rare to see someone, who was a teenager at the time, craft dark horror elements into her music and make it work. Heck, no one artist like her has had the sense of humor or gall to write lines like “seduce your dad type” like Billie did.

With all that said though, my personal favorite song of hers on the year-end list is where she doesn’t display her iconic brand of weirdness, as I’m more favorable towards her iconic sense of vulnerability. I was genuinely surprised to see this song have the staying power to earn a spot on the year-end list, as the song came out while Billie Eilish was slowly gaining traction and pop radio took its time to fully embrace that her music is being popular. “when the party’s over” follows a common theme towards most of Billie’s songs, where she exploits some of the aspects of being a teenager, whether it’d be the darker side of the age group, or the softer, vulnerable side that she touches on here.

The main reason why I love “when the party’s over” is how well it captures the emotions of teenage heartbreak. To call it hauntingly beautiful is an understatement. The minimalist approach with the instrumentation and Billie’s delicate acapella vocal style, that I found myself likening to that of Imogen Heap, very well carry that feeling of sadness.

Even though my bottom two for this year are pop ballads, be surprised when I say that my top three are comprised of ballads in some form. So, in the end of making my commentary for “when the party’s over,” there’s one point about this song that needs to be made: THIS is how you make a genuinely heartbreaking pop ballad.

Spoiler

Alright, here’s the part where I make up for not putting “No Tears Left to Cry” on my top ten last year, and for not putting “Thank U, Next” on my top ten for this year. If there’s any song from Ariana Grande on this year’s list that I feel is the most rewarding of a high spot, that honor would go to one where she’s very on-point…

 

2. “breathin” / Ariana Grande

I can’t deny that Ariana Grande is a powerhouse in modern pop music. When she’s at her best, she can craft amazing melodies and can really put on a great performance when she goes big, like she does on this song. While I appreciate Ariana’s voice and bravado, what makes “Breathin” so special is how very personal it feels. Ariana has had a pretty stressful decade and the past few years have been especially stressful for her after the bombing of the Manchester Arena, where one of her concerts took place. I could say more about Ariana’s history beyond that, but I want to get straight to the point that Ariana makes. No matter how bad things to tend to get for her and as well as for us, Ariana delivers a simple yet effective message, advising to just keep breathing.

This could very well be seen as the most prominent example of pop positivity in 2019. It’s more than just that, however. The main theme of “Breathin” is taking the road to personal recovery. The song doesn’t center on Ariana’s irl matters alone, as it also centers on her trying to overcome her anxiety. I have expressed it one time that I have anxiety, so of course “Breathin” would resonate with me so much when it’s about overcoming it. Finally, like I said before how great Ariana is when she goes big, I love how her voice and the instrumentation progressively build up and how neither come off as overdone or overblown.

As much as I do adore this song, it’s not my number one, however. It would be cliché of me to say that I wouldn’t consider this Ariana’s best when compared to “Into You,” and that there was one other song on the list that I thought was better. I know, I don’t need to give away these answers. I can just go ahead and reveal my #1 crowner for 2019 in pop…

Spoiler

 

Lady Gaga became one of the biggest names in pop music since 2008, when she made her introduction. Back then, she was one of the weirdest yet also one of the most interesting personalities in pop, so it’s not hard to see why she rose up to stardom in such a quick rate. Then came 2013, where Lady Gaga wasn’t able to top the success of her first two albums. Regardless, she still managed to land a couple of hits from Artpop by continuing to show her unique personality at the same time as challenging herself as an artist. Then in 2016, something unusual happened. Lady Gaga had completely shed the uniqueness that made her famous and began taking a much more serious direction with her music. Because her lead single, “Perfect Illusion,” was so hard for fans and radio alike to swallow, it fell off hard from the Hot 100. Radio also had a hard time determining if “Million Reasons” was suitable towards 2016-2017’s pop trends at the time, even after it got that Super Bowl boost.

If you ask me, I’ve preferred Lady Gaga both as a unique pop personality and as a visionary. There were a few times where her talents have come close to making the top of my top 10 lists, but didn’t quite make that mark. So, I owe Lady Gaga a lot and this is where I pay that debt. You guys already know where this is leading up to…

 

1. “Shallow” / Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

“Shallow” is a song straight from the A Star is Born film and soundtrack. It won an Oscar for Best Original Song, which helped it escalate to #1, aside from Gaga and Cooper’s performance at the award show. Therefore, that would make “Shallow” an award bait kind of song. I’ll admit it that my choice feels rather safe, but Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper do bring something interesting to make “Shallow” feel more than a song designed for a film and designed to win awards.

“Shallow” is a step into a complete, mature, metaphorical university graduate direction for Lady Gaga. As safe that “Shallow” still plays, I feel like Gaga has taken a risk by letting her listeners fully embrace her serious side by simply doing a stellar vocal performance. The climax is where she really shines, whereas the guitar builds up along with her vocals. Of course, I can never forget about the role that Bradley Cooper plays on the song. Seeing that he has had little to no prior history in singing for his medium is what surprised me (besides the reminder that he played Rocket Raccoon for Guardians of the Galaxy films). The practice that Cooper has done to make his role in A Star is Born work has really paid off as his performance on the song is just as stellar as Gaga’s.

What I think makes “Shallow” so great is how the chemistry between Gaga and Cooper make it feel so real and less like they’ve only done this for the film. Sure, the collaboration may seem simple enough to work, but when the vocal performance of the duo is this excellent, it’s still more of a serious effort to me. Lady Gaga’s success may be continued by her pupils, the fact that she scored a #1 hit well into 2019 and that she made the top of my list for the same year should make it known that she’s become a master. Rock on, Mother Monster…and Rocket Raccoon

 

Full Rankings:

Spoiler

 

1. “Shallow” – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

2. “breathin” – Ariana Grande

3. “when the party’s over” – Billie Eilish

4. “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo

5. “Sunflower” – Post Malone and Swae Lee

6. “If I Can’t Have You” – Shawn Mendes

7. “a lot” – 21 Savage (featuring J. Cole)

8. “Rumor” – Lee Brice

9. “Dancing with a Stranger” – Sam Smith and Normani

10. “Talk” – Khalid

11. “bury a friend” – Billie Eilish

12. “Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus

13. “thank u, next” – Ariana Grande

14. “Hot Girl Summer” – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign

15. “Senorita” – Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello

16. “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton

17. “Good as You” – Kane Brown

18. “Youngblood” – 5 Seconds of Summer

19. “Walk Me Home” – P!nk

20. “Pure Water” – Mustard and Migos

21. “I Like It” – Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin

22. “SICKO MODE” – Travis Scott

23. “Suge” – DaBaby

24. “Shotta Flow” – NLE Choppa

25. “Panini” – Lil Nas X

26. “bad guy” – Billie Eilish

27. “Love Lies” – Khalid and Normani

28. “Cash Shit” – Megan Thee Stallion featuring DaBaby

29. “MIDDLE CHILD” – J. Cole

30. “The Git Up” – Blanco Brown

31. “You Need to Calm Down” – Taylor Swift

32. “Eastside” – benny blanco, Halsey, and Khalid

33. “Clout” – Offset featuring Cardi B

34. “Look Back at It” – A Boogie wit da Hoodie

35. “Pop Out” – Polo G featuring Lil Tjay

36. “Sucker” – Jonas Brothers

37. “boyfriend” – Ariana Grande and Social House

38. “Speechless” – Dan + Shay

39. “Sweet but Psycho” – Ava Max

40. “Trip” – Ella Mai

41. “Wow.” – Post Malone

42. “Worth It” – YK Osiris

43. “Better” – Khalid

44. “MIA” – Bad Bunny featuring Drake

45. “Trampoline” – SHAED

46. “Murder on My Mind.” – YNW Melly

47. “Drip Too Hard” – Lil Baby and Gunna

48. “High Hopes” – Panic! at the Disco

49. “ZEZE” – Kodak Black featuring Travis Scott and Offset

50. “Baby Shark” – Pinkfong

51. “The London” – Young Thug featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott

52. “Tequila” – Dan + Shay

53. “Beautiful Crazy – Luke Combs

54. “Beautiful People” – Ed Sheeran featuring Khalid

55. “Beautiful (remix)” – Bazzi featuring Camila Cabello

56. “Lucid Dreams” – Juice WRLD

57. “My Type” – Saweetie

58. “Knockin’ Boots” – Luke Bryan

59. “Envy Me” – Calboy

60. “Money in the Grave” – Drake featuring Rick Ross

61. “Baby” – Lil Baby and DaBaby

62. “Whiskey Glasses” – Morgan Wallen

63. “Wake Up in the Sky” – Gucci Mane, Bruno Mars, and Kodak Black

64. “Better Now” – Post Malone

65. “Going Bad” – Meek Mill featuring Drake

66. “Look What God Gave Her” – Thomas Rhett

67. “Beer Never Broke My Heart” – Luke Combs

68. “How Do You Sleep? – Sam Smith

69. “Circles” – Post Malone

70. “Money” – Cardi B

71. “Robbery” – Juice WRLD

72. “Ran$om” – Lil Tecca

73. “Thotiana” – Blueface

74. “Con Calma (remix)” – Daddy Yankee and Katy Perry featuring Snow

75. “I Don’t Care” – Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber

76. “Mo Bamba” – Sheck Wes

77. “You Say” – Lauren Daigle

78. “Close Friends” – Lil Baby

79. “Happier” – Marshmello and Bastille

80. “Eyes on You” – Chase Rice

81. “Close to Me” – Ellie Goulding, Diplo, and Swae Lee

82. “Act Up” – City Girls

83. “Girls Like You” – Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B

84. “ME!” – Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie

85. “No Guidance” – Chris Brown featuring Drake

86. “Talk You Out of It” – Florida Georgia Line

87. “One Thing Right” – Marshmello featuring Kane Brown “Taki Taki” – DJ Snake featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna, and Cardi B

88. “Leave Me Alone” – Flipp Dinero

89. “7 rings” – Ariana Grande

90. “Swervin” – A Boogie wit da Hoodie featuring 6ix9ine

91. “Goodbyes” – Post Malone featuring Young Thug

92. “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” – Ariana Grande

93. “Please Me” – Cardi B and Bruno Mars

94. “Only Human” – Jonas Brothers

95. “All to Myself” – Dan + Shay

96. “Taki Taki” – DJ Snake featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna, and Cardi B “One Thing Right” – Marshmello featuring Kane Brown

97. “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” – Panic! at the Disco

98. “Without Me” – Halsey

99. “Someone You Loved” – Lewis Capaldi

100. “Be Alright” – Dean Lewis


I may be done now doing these annual Billboard year-end list countdowns, but I still have to write up my commentary for my 2019 Alternative Songs chart rankings at some later point, so look out for that.

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Ever since I started doing these year-end threads, my personal takes on movies in general for the year have been a roller coaster ride of quality.  The odd numbered years have been mostly bad while the even number years have been mostly good.  So with that being said, how do I feel about 2019 for cinema?  It’s very complicated.

I’m not calling it a bad year for movies.  Honestly, if you want a general take, it was a great year.  More about that when it comes to the best list.  But Cinema 2019 will not be remembered for its quality to me.  It will be remembered as the year the general public has finally spoken up.  To paraphrase one of the box office sites I go to, Boxofficeprophets.com, we as a society now have multiple formats to view movies.  We now have theaters offering us deals to pay to see unlimited movies.  More and more lesser known studios are starting to take their projects to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu instead of giving them theatrical releases.  And you know who this is affecting the most of all?  The Box Office.

2019 box office returns were not kind to any studio not named Disney; which has adapted incredibly well to the times that its scary how much bigger they are going to get.  Multiple properties outside the Mouse House bombed in major ways.  Domestic returns on established money earners from the past underperformed.  Sequels, remakes, reboots, adaptations, etc. are no longer guaranteed to get greenlit after seeing some of the financials from this year.    The general public is finally speaking up after all these years of me pondering if they ever will want more original material.  2019 may be a year of underperformance, but I feel like this is a good thing.  It will get more studios to try new things or build something from an established property into something even bigger like Marvel Studios did with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Who knows what will happen from this point forward, but I think it’s about time we stopped being satisfied with the status quo.

And with said change coming, it’s about time I change with the times too.  Original movies from streaming services are finally capable of qualifying for my year end lists.  I’ve slowly integrated them in the past if they had theatrical releases, but I think it’s about time to fully allow it to happen.  So let’s start with some dishonorable mentions:

 

Spoiler

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I may have went in with lowered expectations, but this movie still was not good.  Say what you want about the prequels, but at least George Lucas had an idea as to how the trilogy was going to turn out long term.  This movie confirmed that Disney only made this trilogy solely to make money.  I can go on a long soliloquy about all my problems with this movie, but everything that has been said about this has been said.  I really don’t have anything original to really state. 

This isn’t dethroning Attack of the Clones for worst movie in the Star Wars saga, but at least Attack of the Clones has distinctly memorable moments that stand out.  Anything memorable about Rise of Skywalker has already been done better in other Star Wars movies.  The final action scene which admittedly was cool at first?  It’s something this series has done four previous times.  Rey and Ben using the force to communicate with each other?  The only idea that was kept from The Last Jedi.  Lando…just Lando.  This trilogy’s sole purpose is to make its fans nerd out at seeing these familiar faces again…and dammit I did such a thing.  I’m part of the problem.

Disney should just let Star Wars lay to rest for awhile.  I fully expect more movies in the next couple years because they want to make money.  I get it.  But if that’s the case, then Disney should at least look at what’s going on over at Disney+ because The Mandalorian is fucking phenomenal.  Take a page out of Jon Favreau’s book.  See why that is working and why their theatrical movies aren’t.  Because if they don’t fix this problem, well…..THE DEAD SPEAK. 

 

Gemini Man

I love Ang Lee.  I love Will Smith.  But this was just a flat out disaster.  I almost feel bad for even mentioning this when it’s guaranteed to make so many worst of the year lists already.  But that first trailer was absolutely a warning sign of what was to come.

 

Men In Black: International

It’s okay to completely forget that a Men In Black movie came out in 2019.  I know I sure did.  Chris Hemsworth’s track record outside of the Thor movies should seriously be put into question if it wasn’t for the fact that he is just so damn likeable.

 

Richard Jewell

So glad to see this overrated piece of shit barely nominated for anything at this year’s Oscars.  Most of the movie is fine.  Kathy Bates being nominated for Best Supporting Actress in this is fine, she was good.  My main problem is the controversy about this movie is absolutely justified.  Olivia Wilde’s false character portrayal of engaging in sexual activities for confidential information just absolutely rubbed me the wrong way.  With how many major names were attached to the production of this movie from Jonah Hill to Leonardo DiCaprio to the man who also directed this too, Clint Eastwood; you would think at least one of them would do some actual research to know that this all kinds of wrong.  Like I felt unclean watching this.

Otherwise, the rest of this movie was insanely dull. 

 

The Curse of La LLorona

Warner Brothers “Conjuring-verse” of spin-offs from things briefly mentioned in other movies; only to set up future movies within its own movies and not focus on its own movie, is really starting to piss me off.

 

Annabelle Comes Home

Warner Brothers “Conjuring-verse” of spin-offs from things briefly mentioned in other movies; only to set up future movies within its own movies and not focus on its own movie, is really starting to piss me off.

 

Countdown

Honestly this one was destined to make it on here from the premise alone about a smartphone app that knows the exact day and time that you’re going to die.  And it still ended up sucking harder than I thought.  Come on guys.  Try harder.

 

Frozen 2

Doesn’t deserve to actually be on this list.  It’s a mediocre two star movie overall, but that ending was seriously one of the worst endings in any major wide release movie in years.  It’s so incredibly unearned, unwarranted, infuriating, scatterbrained, poorly thought out, stupid, terrible, idiotic, and frustrating.  Placing it on this list just for that ending alone.

 

Murder Mystery

Adam Sandler’s latest excuse to go on vacation might not be one of his worst movies in recent memory, but it’s absolutely infuriating all the same.  The movie didn’t even feel like it started until close to the first hour.

 

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Did anybody ask for this sequel?  What was honestly the point of this even existing?  Disney has already monopolized the market enough.  Do we really need to add unnecessary sequels to their unnecessary live action adaptations to their line-up?  I may have changed my tune about Disney’s live action adaptations this year, but at least they are worth trying to rework.  Who thought this was a good idea?

 

Sextuplets

Marlon Wayans is seriously one of the worst comedic actors working today.  Why is Netflix giving him a platform?  We aren’t in the 1990’s anymore.  His time in the spotlight should have ended twenty years ago and here we are.  He’s certainly made worse, but this is top five levels of bad.

 

CLAPPY'S TOP TEN WORST FILMS OF 2019

 

Spoiler

I always tell myself that I have to be honest when it comes to these lists.  And why I usually hate every movie that makes these lists, I don’t really hate this one.  I kind of like it for all the wrong reasons.  But it deserves to be on here just for being flat out awful.

 

10. Playing With Fire

 

Seriously watch the trailer if you haven’t before.  This is a family comedy that came straight out of the 2000s.  A decade that was chalk full of these nostalgically terrible movies about tough guys who come across kids that turn them into big ole softies.  See most of The Rock and Vin Diesel’s family comedies from the 2000s as a prime example of this kind of movie.  Why not try this again since John Cena is basically taking the exact same road to stardom that The Rock did.  Although, let’s be real here.  John Cena is not The Rock.  He’ll be lucky if he becomes half the box office draw The Rock is.

But yeah, this movie is reminiscent of all those nostalgically terrible movies of yesteryear.  It has all the same problems that those did to the point that it is honestly embarrassing watching these talented actors make absolute dumbasses of themselves.  Like this is easily the most embarrassing thing John Leguizamo has done since The Pest.  Key from Key & Peele really needs to fire his agent or at least switch to Jordan Peele’s because he keeps making the most baffling of film choices when his best friend isn’t involved.  One of the kids is Negasonic Teenage Warrhead from the Deadpool movies.  It’s really hard to not associate her from that role in this movie.  And then there is John Cena, the living meme himself.  At one point the movie focuses heavily on John Cena’s nipples.  Yep that is a scene I just spoiled.  And he falls in love with a scientist in the most baffling way that I really don’t want to spoil.

In a weird way, I respect how off the walls levels of bad this movie is.  It definitely made me reminisce of a time where these movies made inexplicable amounts of money at the box office.  But this definitely deserves to be called one of the worst movies of this year.  I do think John Cena has potential to be taken seriously as an actor.  I’ve followed this guy’s career for many years being the wrestling fan that I am.  He can succeed.  But he really needs to be smarter picking out his projects.  The man who use to make poop jokes in his wrestling promos really needs to stop picking movies where he poops in a forest while staring directly at this child who doesn’t want to leave his side…seriously what was this movie.

 

Spoiler

9. Escape Room

 

Fun fact:  Did you know Sony was planning to use this movie to make an Escape Room cinematic universe?

More importantly:  Did anyone ask for an Escape Room cinematic universe?

And most important of all:  This film is so bad that I had to rewatch it to remember how awful it was.  Seriously, absolutely god awful writing and acting all around.  And coming from someone who absolutely loves to do escape rooms for fun, this was painful to sit through and solve why anyone thought this was a good idea.

You solve the puzzle.  This film sucks and isn't even worth mentioning it.

 

Spoiler

2019.  The year of…Keanu Reeves?

https://www.cnet.com/news/toy-story-4-star-keanu-reeves-owns-2019-and-its-an-excellent-adventure/

Of all the stars out there to have a career year, I did not anticipate Keanu Freaking Reeves.  I remember fifteen years ago when people were bashing this man relentlessly.  Myself included…I joke about my hatred of Keanu Reeves though.  I don’t hate him.  I never did.  If anything, I thought his movies were Nicolas Cage levels of quality if that makes any sense.  Just so absurdly dumb and his acting being hilariously emotionless.

But the back half of the 2010s have been incredibly kind to Keanu.  With the John Wick movies reviving his career.  Followed shortly by scene stealing star turns in many movies these last couple years including Toy Story 4, The Neon Demon, Always Be My Maybe, and many more.  Also helping his cause is more public information coming out about how swell of a guy he is in a world where more and more male celebrities are being exposed as scum.

I guess in that light, I sort of get the appeal of Keanu Reeves in 2019.  But even in a career year, Keanu can still manage to pick out a bad project to star in.

 

8. Replicas

 

How many of you remembered this coming out?  It opened in the month were studio’s purposely dump out their turd films, quickly bombed, and ended up being just a blimp in the year of Keanu.

And that’s what this movie is.  I already forgot about it.  I watched it again to remember it.  And guess what?  I forgot about it once again.  I’m not sitting through this plot hole filled movie once more to try and remind myself exactly what happened. 

All you guys need to know it is a bad sci-fi movie about a scientist who brings his family back to life after they died in a car accident.  And every movie cliché about the ethics of cloning and how they aren’t the same as they were before they died applies here too.  Nothing else really matters.  The acting was bad, even for Keanu.  The writing clearly was first draft because there are so many plot holes that don’t get resolved. 

But who the hell cares.  This won’t be a high or a low point on Keanu’s film resume.  Nobody will remember it.  I sure as hell don’t and I sat through it twice.

 

Spoiler

Might as well post these next two together.  Because it epitomizes a trend that I’m officially done with.  All it had to take was two movies to kill my spirit.

 

7. Aladdin (2019)

 

6. The Lion King (2019)

 

You guys were right this whole time.  Disney’s live action remakes of their animated properties have officially gotten lazy.  They are just simple cash grabs.  Removing the heart and soul from movies that I loved growing up.  And by doing so, completely pissing me off in the process.

Let’s start with Aladdin.  Where it proved that Disney has so much confidence that these live action remakes will make a profit that they can place PTA stage performers as some of their main characters.  Before the movie was released, all the memes were directed at Will Smith’s Genie.  And rightfully so.  But little did I expect that Will Smith was the best part of this movie.  Every time he appeared on screen, the movie came to life.  Whenever he wasn’t there, it felt like I was watching an elementary school play.  Everyone else was that wooden and one dimensional.  A lot of people praised Naomi Scott’s Jasmine…and I guess she was probably the second best of the bunch.  But that’s like adding a garnish to a pack of Lunchables.  It’s still going to be bland as fuck.  After sitting through this and sharing my thoughts earlier in the year, I thought for sure that Disney wasn’t going to churn out something this grade school levels of garbage.

I wished I was wrong.  Because then Disney awoken something in me.  They outright didn’t try with one of the biggest properties in their backlog of animated classics.  One of my all-time favorite movies got turned into a soulless, effortless, bland pile of rotting gazelle carcass.  This movie betrayed everything positive I said about the same team I praised for The Jungle Book (2016) not sucking.  This right here was what I feared that former movie was going to be.  Everything about this infuriated me.  From the unexpressive faces of the photorealistic animals to the heavy amounts of rehashing line for line to lacking a heart, period.  And with how much I criticized Aladdin’s cast, at least 95% of that cast were basically unknowns.  Disney touted for a whole year who they got to voice act for this Lion King.  And outside of Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen doing Timon and Pumba, not a single person stood out.  I love Donald Glover, but anyone could have done Simba.  Beyonce was absolutely replaceable as Nala.  Chiwetel Ejiofor’s talents are totally wasted as Scar, and the stunt casting of having James Earl Jones return as Mufasa just shows that he is tired of it all just as much as we are.

If any year is a sign of how much Disney is going to commit to this live action trend, it was this year.  We got five of them this year.  Talk about overexposure.  Maybe this will lead to the crowds getting tired of this shit just like I did.  My defense of this trend was that Disney at least tried something different instead of remaking them scene for scene.  And that’s why Dumbo, Maleficent 2, and the Disney+ exclusive Lady and the Tramp avoided the harsh criticisms I had with the other two.  Maybe if we get more of that in the future, this trend won’t burn out?  We shall see.  All I know is that this trend can go away any day now.

 

Spoiler

Hehe oh god.  I completely forgot that this came out this year.

 

5. Hellboy (2019)

 

Yes, let’s reminisce the already forgotten Hellboy reboot from the unfortunate depths of hell this idea came from.  If there was ever a perfect example to highlight how done the general public was of unnecessary reboots/remakes in 2019, it was this.  If anything, the general public was asking for a third Hellboy from Guillermo Del Toro since there were still loose ends left to tie up after 2008’s The Golden Army.  But due to disputes between Del Toro and the powers that may be, Universal sold off the spawn from hell to Lionsgate, who instead wanted to reboot the character completely because of a certain other hard R-rated, fourth-wall breaking, red anti-hero:

 

 

It’s hard to ignore the foul-mouthed mutant in the room so let’s just say it now.  Lionsgate wanted their own Deadpool with this new Hellboy.  Except what they forgot was good screenwriting, good directing, and good CGI…dear god they forgot the good CGI.  It’s been over ten years between Hellboy movies and somehow the 2019 Hellboy looks like flaming hot garbage.  Ron Perlman’s Hellboy looks ten times more realistic than David Harbour does.  Speaking of David Harbour, he’s the only redeemable part of this movie and what saves it from being any lower.  He is at least trying to make this good.  Can’t say the same for anyone else.  Let’s just leave this shit burn on the front door steps of hell and hope everyone else has forgotten about this experiment gone wrong this time next year.

 

Spoiler

And we can’t talk about mutants and experiments gone wrong without the film that killed the Fox X-Men movies once and for all.

 

4. Dark Phoenix

 

Honestly, is it the third worst movie of the year?  Probably not.  If we are talking about straight up quality, it probably doesn’t deserve to be this high.  But I can’t think of a single movie that represents how uninspired, lazy, devoid of anything worthwhile than what the X-Men franchise has become.  It’s been twenty years of this franchise just existing.  Not all of the movies are bad mind you.  I liked X-2, Logan, Deadpool, and to a much lesser extent Days of Future Past perfectly fine.  What I’m saying is the franchise was becoming stagnant.  The stakes just weren’t there anymore.  And it seemed like Fox had no clue what to do with these characters anymore.

With that last sentence in mind, why not redo the Dark Phoenix storyline after they infamously botched it the first time around; said some studio hack at Fox?  I’ll tell you why.  Because it just goes to show that even the studio hacks don’t have any sense of originality.  And that’s what pisses me off most about Dark Phoenix.  Nobody seemingly gave a shit while making this.  And it unsurprisingly ended up being the worst X-Men movie of all time.  Yeah.  I went there.  Worse than Origins: Wolverine.  Worse than The Last Stand.  At least those movies fucking tried to tell a cohesive story.  This movie is literally all over the place.  How can you possibly fuck that up when Simon Kinberg not only wrote, but directed this?  Didn’t he learn his lesson after he failed the first time thirteen years ago with The Last Stand?  Apparently not.

Seriously, there is nothing to recommend about this movie.  The characters motivations are rehashed as fuck to completely awful (Xavier is made out to be a huge dick).  The CGI is dogshit.  The action scenes are unremarkable.  The acting is atrocious outside of maybe Fassbender as Magneto.  I hated every single fucking minute of this movie.  Maybe the guys at Fox didn’t give a shit anymore since Disney was in the process of finalizing their deal to buy the studio.  But this was not the way to send out one of your biggest properties remaining.  I hope Disney doesn’t touch the X-Men franchise for a very long time before they end up being integrated into the MCU to the surprise of no one.  Because this is a property that badly needs a sense of purpose again. 

 

Spoiler

Any other year, this would be a runaway winner for worst of the year.

 

3. Cats

 

Do I honestly need to give this the full treatment?  You all saw the trailers for this.  You all saw the extreme levels of negative reaction online.  You all know how big of a CGI trainwreck this movie is.  It’s exactly as bad as the trailers made it out to be.  And yet still worse because the trailers didn’t give away that everyone involved in the creative process had no idea how to make a full hour and thirty minute long movie out of this.

If I had anything positive I got out of this is that the choreography is pretty good.  The trailers kept mentioning that it involved the team who did the choreography for Hamilton and I can tell.  It feels like I’m watching a Broadway show choreography wise.

And that’s it.  That’s the only thing remotely positive I can say.  Because more than 50% of the problems with this movie…well…

LOOK AT IT!

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LOOK AT IT!

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I WANT ALL OF YOU TO LOOK AT IT!

JasonDerulo.jpg?resize=900,600&w=450

 

ANYONE WHO THOUGHT THESE HUMAN/CAT CGI HYBRIDS WOULD BE A GREAT IDEA NEED TO BE STUIDED BECAUSE THESE ABORTED ABOMINATIONS ARE FUCKING HIDEOUS.

 

And the other 50 or so percent goes to Tom Hooper.  Who clearly hates me with his awful awards bait movies.  I hated The King’s Speech.  I hated Les Miserables.  And Cats is far and away his worst movie.  He has no idea what to do with this adaptation.  So let’s just have this A-list cast move around like actual cats with added motion capture.  Do musical numbers (not everyone can sing).  Act horny (I’m surprised we didn’t get a cat orgy scene with how many times this movie made me go what the fuck).  And just do shit without any real sense of direction.

Cats flat out sucks.  I know it sucks.  You know it sucks without even having to watch it.  But god bless, the internet collectively shitting on this was such a sight to see.  I can fully see this getting a cult following in the years to come due to its legendary stature of awful.  That being said, this is cat shit.

 

Spoiler

I’ll give Cats this.  At least it’s going to be remembered for being distinctly bad.

 

2. The Goldfinch

 

I don’t think a single soul even remembered this movie coming out a few months ago.  That’s the thing about this year.  Audiences were pickier than ever before about how to spend their hard earned money and what movies to support with it.  So there had to be something distinct to pull this in.

With that said, there was not a single distinctly memorable about this movie.  It’s a three hour utter bore.  I get that we are always going to get film adaptations based on novels.  That has been a proven formula for almost one hundred years now.  The Goldfinch is an example that not every book has to have a movie based on it.  And I’ve never read The Goldfinch, but just sitting here watching this movie, I immediately knew it was based off a book I have zero plans to read now because of this awful bore. 

How could I tell that this was a book?  Because there is so much filler that could have been cut from this movie, so I immediately knew it was writers struggling to figure out what to leave in and what to leave out.  And you’ll never guess who the sole screenwriter was for this movie?  The guy who wrote 2017’s worst list entry The Snowman.  After all the backlash that movie got from cutting too much, this movie suffered for not cutting enough.

This should have been so much better.  The cast is talented (Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Sarah Paulson, Finn Wolfhard).  The director made one of my favorite movies of 2015 (John Crowley).  But at the end of the day, I never wanted a movie to not exist for being so flavorless as I did with this.

 

Spoiler

Was it ever going to be anything else?

 

1. The Haunting of Sharon Tate

 

Honestly, no.  But deep down, I had a paranoia that we were going to get something worse than this.  My fiancé assured me that we wouldn’t, but this year surprised me plenty of times throughout that I questioned such a thing really happening.  Because months later, I can in fact state this with the upmost confidence.  The Haunting of Sharon Tate is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.  It’s definitely the worst movie I have ever placed at number one on these year-end entertainment lists.  Yep, worse than Fan4stic.  Worse than Norm of the North.  Worse than The Devil Inside.  You can pull up any of my other eight year-end threads on here and I’ll say this one is the worst of them all.

And that’s really saying something from a guy who use to have a thread dedicated to reviewing bad movies.  I’ve sat through tons and tons and tons of shitty movies throughout my life.  The Haunting of Sharon Tate is one of those rare times I’ve come out of a viewing experience just feeling unclean and feeling what I sat through as absolutely tasteless.  This movie is that bad.

What is this movie that changed Clappy’s perspective on what defines a movie being that bad?  Why didn’t I see it in theaters?  It wasn’t a major release.  It was one of those limited city viewings and I honestly don’t have any idea what it’s true theater count was.  Hell, I found this one online and didn’t see it until three months after it came out.  I knew the word of mouth going in was flat out terrible.  But god, I did not expect what came of it.

For starters, all the problems come down to the writer, director, producer: Daniel Farrands.  Yes the acting is bad too, no wonder Hillary Duff is going back to Disney after this mistake.  But I feel like the acting has a lot to do with Farrands awful script.  This writing isn’t even first draft.  It feels like it was improvised on the fly.  It was that incompetent.  The directing is obnoxious.  A lot of shaky cam, unfocused shots, and then a mixing of real life footage of Sharon Tate interviews that just made the movie feel all the more tasteless.  And speaking of tasteless, let’s talk about the concept of this movie for a minute.  It’s a supernatural horror movie of the true life event of Sharon Tate and her friends getting murdered by the Manson Family.  Sharon Tate starts to get premonitions and subliminal message of these events happening that absolutely terrify her.  Some of the decisions made throughout this movie are beyond bad taste.  They are offensively exploitative to a point that I didn’t even know was possible.  And there is a twist ending that is just borderline repulsive. 

I…I just can’t acknowledge this movie anymore without making the skin under my skin crawl.  This movie is a career killer.  Like I said, Hillary Duff ran back to Disney probably for many reasons.  This might be one of them.  Daniel Farrands seems to fetishize supernatural horror on real life events. 

 

His movie out now is along the same lines with the next real life event he tackles being Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder.  I don’t know if it churned out less of a profit than this one did, but I hope so.  I…I’m done.  Fuck everything this movie represents.  Go see Once Upon a Time….in Hollywood.  Where Sharon Tate’s murder gets treated with the actual class and respect it deserved.  Not for shock value and exploitation.

 

Thank you all for reading.  Best films list coming next month.  As well as the decade list.  I sure am doing a lot of writing.

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IMO, I feel like the whole reboots/remakes/etc. trend is coming close to reaching its peak. Although, it's not going to cool down unless the culture surrounding nostalgia and familiarity does (and despite the many voices where they say that they would like to see more originality from the film industry), since there is that unusual yet relentless charm about these remakes and reboots that keep the trend alive.

It's an understatement now to say that Disney is making these live-action films to cash in on the audience's love for the originals, and even though most people by now should be aware that these kind of films are never going to top the original films that they're based on and at the end of the day, they're going to look back on those original films to look back and see what made them so good, these films still sell so much. They have to be for reasons more than just nostalgia and just because they are simple family films that will easily entertain younger viewers amazed by the characters they've been familiar with shown at a different angle. With all that said though, this is a trend that still needs to die down because 2019 is the year that shows that Disney isn't taking it easy with the trend. When they didn't take it easy during one of their past trends in the 2000s where they released a ton of unnecessary direct-to-video sequels,  a stop was put to that sometime after Disney got a new CEO.

The same thing can be said about the whole reboots/remakes trend that year where I feel like most studios/companies/etc. aren't taking it easy with them when they appear to be doing more bad than good these days. At first, I was open-minded about the live-action/photorealistic animated/whatever-it's-safe-to-call-it Lion King film, but I decided against paying to see it in theaters out of respect for the original (and because it was released at an inconvenient time in my life where I had to spend three months focusing on moving) and knowing full well that it's going to end up making a lot more than the original film. Also, the more I looked into it, the more evident it was to me that I was going to end up not liking the film. I still want to see my exact thoughts on it, so I am still going to see it later...once they stop being rented out so fast at my local library chain (this is like I said before about the apparent, relentless charm that these kind of films have).

I still have my remaining workload for 2018 animation to go through before I get to 2019 in animation, but I am eager to talk about that year for animation, because of how interesting of a year it turned out to be for the medium. That I will have to explain later for my respective review.

Long rambling aside, good review, Claps.

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Spoilers for Replicas (tho I doubt anyone would care about spoilers for Replicas) but watching Keanu Reeves make the cringe-inducing decision over which of his family won't be cloned and brought back by literally picking a name out of a hat and then manually deleting the memory of that unlucky person from the others' memory banks was the most hilariously fucked up thing I've seen this year, perhaps maybe ever. I'll give Replicas that.

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I may actually write a review proper for this at some later point since I know what to say for most of these songs on my top 10 and bottom 10. However, due to reasons including my dwindling interest in doing these reviews and to save myself some time, I can only provide my full personal rankings of the 2019 Alternative Songs chart for right now. It's best that I reveal it like this since most of my bottom 10 is, well...predictable. If you know me well, feel free to "guess" which song from what band is at the very bottom of my rankings.

 

Steel's Alternative Songs 2019 Rankings (Full list):

Spoiler

 

1. "It's Not Living (If It's Not with You)" - The 1975

2. "My Blood" - twenty one pilots

3. "Exits" - Foals

4. "Love It If We Made It" - The 1975

5. "I Gave You Everything" - The Interrupters

6. "Alligator" - Of Monsters and Men

7. "Longshot" - Catfish and the Bottlemen

8. "Running Up That Hill" - Meg Myers

9. "She's Kerosene" - The Interrupters

10. "Love Never" - Jimmy Eat World

11. "Rebel Girl" - Angels & Airwaves

12. "Chlorine" - twenty one pilots

13. "Hallucinations" - PVRIS

14. "The Runner" - Foals

15. "Fear Inoculum" - Tool

16. "It Doesn't Matter Why" - Silversun Pickups

17. "Help Me Stranger" - The Raconteurs

18. "Timebomb" - Walk the Moon

19. "Doin' Time" - Lana Del Rey

20. "Complainer" - Cold War Kids

21. "Pressure" - Muse

22. "Might Be Right" - White Reaper

23. "Northern Lights" - Death Cab for Cutie

24. "The Hype" - twenty one pilots

25. "Panic Attack" - The Glorious Sons

26. "People" - The 1975

27. "Dance Monkey" - Tones And I

28. "bury a friend" - Billie Eilish

29. "Harmony Hall" - Vampire Weekend

30. "Far Away Truths" - Albert Hammond Jr.

31. "Bad Liar" - Imagine Dragons

32. "Obsession" - Joywave

33. "Saw Lightning" - Beck

34. "Funny Business" - Alice Merton

35. "Kombucha" - Winnetka Bowling League

36. "BOOM" - X Ambassadors

37. "Go" - The Black Keys

38. "Be My Fire" - The Blue Stones

39. "Beloved" - Mumford & Sons

40. "The Heat of the Summer" - Young the Giant

41. "When Am I Gonna Lose You" - Local Natives

42. "This Life" - Vampire Weekend

43. "Dissolve" - Absofacto

44. "Uh Huh" - Jade Bird

45. "Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)" - The Smashing Pumpkins

46. "Visions" - Dirty Heads featuring Kitten

47. "bad guy" - Billie Eilish

48. "Change" - The Revivalists

49. "Superposition" - Young the Giant

50. "Allergic" - Post Malone

51. "Into Happiness" - Phantogram

52. "Clean Eyes" - SYML

53. "S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)" - The Glorious Sons

54. "Choke" - I DON'T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME

55. "Natural" - Imagine Dragons

56. "Promise Me" - Badflower

57. "Shame" - Elle King

58. "Wars" - Of Monsters and Men

59. "Ready to Let Go" - Cage the Elephant

60. "apologize" - grandson

61. "Soul Train" - Just Loud featuring Debbie Harry

62. "Black Holes (Solid Ground)" - The Blue Stones

63. "Lo/Hi" - The Black Keys

64. "Now That You're Gone" - The Raconteurs

65. "The End of the Game" - Weezer

66. "HOLD YOU DOWN" - X Ambassadors

67. "2all" - Catfish and the Bottlemen

68. "I Think I'm OKAY" - Machine Gun Kelly, YUNGBLUD, and Travis Barker

69. "these are my friends" - lovelytheband

70. "Joy" - Bastille

71. "Home" - morgxn featuring Walk the Moon

72. "Screws" - DREAMERS

73. "I See You" - MISSIO

74. "Treat You Better" - RÜFÜS DU SOL

75. "Body Talks" - The Struts

76. "Missed Connection" - Head and the Heart

77. "You're the One" - Greta Van Fleet

78. "Worst Nites" - Foster the People

79. "The Best" - AWOLNATION

80. "Thunder" - SHAED

81. "Social Cues" - Cage the Elephant

82. "Father of All..." - Green Day

83. "you should see me in a crown" - Billie Eilish

84. "Trampoline" - SHAED

85. "King" - Blue October

86. "High Hopes" - Panic! at the Disco

87. "all the good girls go to hell" - Billie Eilish

88. "Baby" - Bishop Briggs

89. "Salvation" - The Strumbellas

90. "Life in the City" - The Lumineers

91. "Guiding Light" - Mumford & Sons

92. "Make It Up as I Go" - Mike Shinoda featuring K.Flay

93. "The New Great Depression" - The Moth & the Flame

94. "Why Did You Run?" - Judah & The Lion

95. "Glory" - Friday Pilots Club

96. "You And I" - Barns Courtney

97. "Wicked Heart" - Sublime with Rome

98. "still feel." - half·alive

99. "Thru These Tears" - LANY

100. "All My Friends" - The Revivalists

101. "10/10" - Rex Orange County

102. "Tidal Wave" - Portugal. The Man

103. "Blame It on My Youth" - blink-182

104. "I'll Wait" - The Strumbellas

105. "First Person on Earth" - Robert DeLong

106. "Blur" - MØ featuring Foster the People

107. "Lifted" - Parker Bossley

108. "Blind Leading the Blind" - Mumford & Sons

109. "Forgive Me Friend" - Smith & Thell featuring Swedish Jam Factory

110. "maybe, i'm afraid" - lovelytheband

111. "Back Down" - Bob Moses

112. "Good" - TWIN XL

113. "Good Morning" - Max Frost

114. "GET UP" - Shinedown

115. "Die Happy" - DREAMERS

116. "11 Minutes" - YUNGBLUD and Halsey featuring Travis Barker

117. "Grip" - SeeB and Bastille

118. "Good Things Fall Apart" - ILLENIUM and Jon Bellion

119. "Good Feeling" - 311

120. "original me" - YUNGBLUD featuring Dan Reynolds

121. "Here with Me" - Marshmello featuring CHVRCHES

122. "Champion" - Bishop Briggs

123. "Gloria" - The Lumineers

124. "Falling Down" - Lil Peep and XXXTentacion

125. "Hurt" - Oliver Tree

126. "Circles" - Post Malone

127. "Dear Future Self (Hands Up)" - Fall Out Boy featuring Wyclef Jean

128. "16" - Highly Suspect

129. "Sister" - K.Flay

130. "You're Somebody Else"- flora cash

131. "Orphans" - Coldplay

132. "Fast Talk" - Houses

133. "Daylight" - Blue October

134. "Ghost" - Badflower

135. "Over My Head" - Judah & The Lion

136. "3 Nights" - Dominic Fike

137. "Happier" - Marshmello and Bastille

138. "Cradles" - Sub Urban

139. "Novocaine" - The Unlikely Candidates

140. "Can't Knock the Hustle" - Weezer

141. "Comeback Kid" - New Politics

142. "April in Houston" - SWMRS

143. "Song About You" - Mike Posner

144. "Typical Story" - Hobo Johnson

145. "Blue Lips" - Bear Hands featuring Ursula Rose

146. ""99"" - Barns Courtney

147. "Cringe" - Matt Maeson

148. "Bad Vibes" - K.Flay

149. "Every Step That I Take" - Tom Morello featuring Portugal. The Man and Whethan

150. "123456" - Fitz & The Tantrums

151. "Burn the House Down" - AJR

152. "Dear Winter" - AJR

153. "broken" - lovelytheband

154. "I Really Wish I Hated You" - blink-182

155. "Hey Look Ma, I Made It" - Panic! at the Disco

156. "100 Bad Days" - AJR

 

 

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As I alluded to in the worst list, 2019 was a great year.  But is it the best of the decade for film?  And that answer is….yes.

When this year started, I wasn’t even certain that this was going to be a good year, let alone great.  But the more I stand back and look at this year as a whole, I can’t deny.  As the year went only, the content quality was consistently exceeding my expectations.  There were a lot of damn great movies this year.  This is the best film year I’ve ever covered doing these entertainment threads.  Hell it might be one of the best ever in the box office era if I think long and hard about it.  Like as good as years like 1985, 1994, 1999, 2009 to name a few of the all-time great box office years for film.

It only made crafting this list all the more harder.  Like my honorable mentions candidates would make the best list proper in other years.  And then some of these best list choices would make it into Top 3 as well if this was 2015 or 2011, two of the weaker film years from this decade.

What a way to end my film reviewing on this site.  In case you missed my announcement on the decade end list, I've relaunched my blog.  I'm moving on from writing on this site, for good this time.  It's been a hell of a ride and I can't thank you all enough.  Once again if you missed the link to my blog, well here you go:

http://mediamanbobeh.blogspot.com/

Anyway, let's prolong this even further with a larger than usual list of honorable mentions.

Spoiler

The Lighthouse

A lot of my regular film fanatic sites I go constantly recommended this movie to me.  And honestly, at first glance it seemed a little too indie for its own good.  And my god did I eat my own words so fast.  This was an absolutely compelling film from start to finish.  Great acting, great imagery, great symbolism.  The ending left me thinking for days about how to interpret it.  Definite recommendation for a good movie that will leave you thinking.

 

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

Probably one of my biggest disappointments of the year since The LEGO Movie is one of my favorite animated movies of the past decade; and all we got from it was more of the same with a fuck ton of musical numbers in between.  But you know what?  This still made me smile in this dark entertainment timeline we are living in.  That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got any more LEGO movies for quite some time.  After all, it is becoming quite clear that they are becoming a niche audience now with the same humor, same storytelling, same damn near everything.  Oh well, it had a respectable run while it lasted.

 

Shazam!

My personal favorite DC Extended Universe movie so far.  Mostly due to being a superhero version of one of my favorite 80s movies “Big”.  Glad to see Zachary Levi become relevant again.  The world needs more Chuck.

 

Toy Story 4

Worst Toy Story movie ever.  It was only great instead of outstanding.  My standards for this franchise have dropped.  For real though, Bunny and Ducky were involved with some of the hardest moments I’ve laughed at in any movie this year.

 

Us

Let this sink in.  Jordan Peele is now a box-office draw solely as a director.  Only a handful of directors can make that claim.  This wasn’t as good as Get Out, but on second viewing, I’ve grown to like this even more than I initially did. 

 

IT: Chapter Two

The first time watching this left a lot to be desired from my perspective.  But I rewatched this while I was on vacation, and you know what?  I liked it a lot more than I remembered.  I still think some of the twists were fairly stupid, but I still think a lot of the acting was good and Pennywise will go down as the horror icon of the 2010’s.  Not as great as the first, but still an entertaining enough movie.

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Tom Hanks transformation into Fred Rogers is something to really behold.  It’s as close to perfect casting as I’ve ever come across.  Even though the rest of the movie is simply good, not great; it is Tom Hanks that makes this movie great.

 

Always Be My Maybe

Now this was a charming little film.  Honestly, I’m glad to see that romantic comedies are coming back smarter, with a lot more effort, and have scene stealing Keanu Reeves cameos.  I also hope that this movie helped make Ali Wong a bigger star because she is talented as hell.

 

Someone Great

Netflix sure made some damn charming romantic comedies this year, what can I say?  Honestly I liked this one a smidge less than the former I mentioned previously because it had some fairly cringe moments at times, but the message was still fairly well delivered.  Any 20-something who has ever had a romantic life crisis can absolutely relate to the painstaking heartbreak the lead character of this movie is going through.  Also fun facts.  Taylor Swift’s “Death By a Thousand Cuts” was inspired by this movie and this movie helped make Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” a crossover hit.

 

The Irishman

Fun fact.  I saw this movie at the New York Film Festival the weekend before my wedding.  This was originally one of my most anticipated movies of the year.  And for the most part, it held up to my expectations.  Scorsese is a damn good director.  These are all damn good actors.  The de-aging effects were pretty good, not great.  My only problem was the run time.  My mind definitely wandered at times because I was sitting throughout all three and a half hours.  Maybe if I saw this on Netflix and broke my viewing experience into two different shifts, this would be on the list proper.  But still a really good movie all the same.

 

Ready Or Not

One of two great murder mysteries from this year.  Nothing against this one in particular, I liked it an awful lot at the time.  I thought for sure it would be a lock to make my best list at the time.  But the other great murder mystery of this year was Knives Out.  I’m not even going to hide the fact that Knives Out made my best list.  Duh.  It was just all the more well-made and just fantastic all around.  Sorry.

 

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Honestly the best video game adaptation of a movie that I’ve ever seen.  Is it perfect?  Hell no.  This movie has so many of the most done to death clichés that were so bluntly obvious that you could see them coming from a mile away.  But the things I loved about this movie made up for so many of the problems.  This is a film universe where I would love to just sit in and spend the rest of my life in.  I hope this leads to even more live action Pokémon movies in the future.

 

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Someday we are going to look back and think to ourselves, man How To Train Your Dragon is the best animated trilogy of the 2000’s.  Consistently great movies.  All of them.  This was probably the weakest of the bunch, but that’s only furthering this series greatness that this one was the weakest.  It was damn good, I liked it a lot.

 

Ford v Ferrari

When I coined the term “awards bait movies” years ago, this was one of the prime examples of such a candidate.  Based on a true stories starring multi-time nominated character actors, who are priming for another nomination to add to their collection of them.  If I was in a more cynical state of mind, I would have probably hated this for being as such.  But look at the time we are in now, where the cultural zeitgeist is so dour and upsetting.  We honestly need more crowd pleasers like this that make you turn off your brain and get completely invested in stories like this about two guys who love what they do.  Also major props to Christian Bale for once again getting completely lost in this role.  He is seriously one of the best character actors of our time and we should appreciate him for that.

 

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

The year of Keanu Reeves.  Seriously if you told me that Keanu would have an action trilogy that would be better than The Matrix all these years ago, I would have laughed in your face.  Well guess whose laughing now?  I am for being proven wrong.  Keep it up.

 

Fighting With My Family

An excellent movie about one of my favorite female wrestlers of all time.  It’s like this movie was tailor made for me.

 

Jojo Rabbit

Fuck the haters.  This was hilariously charming.  Everyone who has been bashing this movie clearly did not watch the rest of Taika’s filmography before he became mainstream with Thor: Ragnarock.

 

1917

I felt like I was watching an epic video game cut scene all in one shot.  One of the best war movies of this decade for sure.

 

Now onto the last proper 2019 list.  We're counting down one last time!

 

CLAPPY'S TOP TEN BEST FILMS OF 2019

 

Spoiler

1282349.jpeg

 

And this film is proof of that.

 

10. Parasite

 

This is honestly the last film I watched before finalizing my best list.  And maybe I’ll look back and think to myself that maybe I’m underselling how great this really is.  After all, I will be the first to admit that when it comes to foreign films, I usually have to really sit down and invest myself 1000%. 

And I’m honestly glad that I did just that because this movie is fucking insane.  The way this movie constantly escalates while switching visual tones and blending genres is wild.  All while maintaining such a perfect tone throughout.  Bong Joon-ho absolutely deserves this best director nod.  He’s been making great movies for awhile and it took me awhile to figure out why I recognized his name.  He directed one of the most criminally underrated movies of 2013 with Snowpiercer and then he directed the 2006 version of The Host….which ended up getting screwed up by Hollywood with a remake seven years later.

And while I did really enjoy both of those movies a lot, they don’t even compare to Parasite.  Which like I said earlier was masterclass filmmaking at its finest.  I don’t think this film would have been as widely praised as it was without a director that knew what he was doing and had an absolute vision for how he wanted this to turn out.  It’s a satire of social inequality that doesn’t hold back and I love it all the same for doing so.

All that being said, Hollywood.  Please do not do what you always do with foreign movies and remake this with an A-list cast within the next five years.  Because it will completely miss the point.

 

Spoiler

I mentioned on my worst list how audiences are finally speaking out against unnecessary sequels, remakes, and reboots amongst other overdone ideas at the box office.  But let’s be real here.  Studios are still going to make them.  It is a proven formula that studio executives are still going to greenlight.  Maybe a little more selectively now. 

-I don’t think we are going to see any more Terminator movies for a really long time. 

-And that maybe outdated properties like Angry Birds that made over $100 million domestic at the near end of its relevance shouldn’t get the sequel treatment years later. 

-And who the fuck cares about ancient properties like Shaft and Charlie’s Angels in 2019? 

-And not all horror movies should get sequels.  Especially if there isn’t a real demand for them.  Nearly forty years late.  But I’m glad this one happened.

 

9. Doctor Sleep

 

Y’all really slept on Doctor Sleep.  I mean I don’t blame you for doing so.  Warner Brothers really dropped the fucking ball with this one.  Who wants to see horror movies nearly a week after Halloween?  Why didn’t they push this to October?  A horror movie with excellent reviews in October would have made them much more money.  One of the biggest release schedule fails of the year easily.

But yeah, this movie was fantastic.  I talked about its director Mike Flanagan on my best tv shows of the decade list and how you can tell how passionate this guy is about the horror genre.  Flanagan has made so many great horror movies this decade.  His best being a Stephen King adaptation of Gerald’s Game.  A movie I absolutely undersold on my honorable mentions list in 2017.  This Stephen King adaptation is even better.

Another reason this one also underperformed was probably due to the studio’s not advertising this as a sequel to The Shining.  One of the best adaptations and movies ever made.  For once, I’m glad they didn’t do that.  Do you know how badly the internet would have reacted if they called this The Shining 2 or The Shining Saga: Doctor Sleep?  It would have gotten destroyed by the internet.  I’m glad it didn’t do that.  That would have been a terrible title.

Either way, I really don’t want to reveal too much more about this movie.  It’s really one of those movies you all have to see to really believe why a sequel to The Shining was absolutely warranted.  

 

Spoiler

In the honorable mentions, I talked about crowd pleasers.  Well ladies and gents, let’s talk about my favorite crowd pleaser of 2019.

 

8. The Peanut Butter Falcon

 

Honestly, this movie was one of the best feel good movies I’ve seen in a long time.  It reminded me a lot of Mark Twain novels like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn except about a kid with Downs syndrome.  And they could have spent the entire movie making it about the fact that this guy has Downs syndrome, but instead they make him just another guy with a lot more depth than meets the eye.

Zack Gottsagen is a motherfucking star.  He is going to get so many more movie roles because of how excellent he was as Zak.  And not only did he act his ass off, but he also turned around the life of one Shia LaBeouf.  2019 was a career renaissance for Shia LaBeouf as he finally addressed his personal demons and turned in some of the best acting of his entire career.  Shia has been on the record that one of the ways his life got turned around was by meeting Zack Gottsagen and developing such a deep personal friendship with him.  So to everyone who thought that moment at the Academys was rude of Shia, do some actual research.  I hate cancel culture.

But yeah, watch this movie fam.  You’ll be on the edge of your seats smiling, laughing, crying, and just feeling good after seeing this.  You won’t be sorry.

 

Spoiler

 

Bohemian Rhapsody sure got trashed by y’all in 2018.  A lot of it having to do with Bryan Singer being a toxic terrible person.  Y’all aren’t wrong.  Fuck that guy.  But this movie sure made a fuck ton of money.  Proving that there is a market for musical biopic’s of rock stars from yesteryear.  Who knows.  Maybe one of these days, one will be so great that it ends up on my best list….

 

7. Rocketman

 

Dammit Taron Egerton is bloody fantastic.  This guy is going to be one of the biggest names of the next ten years, mark my words.

Now that I got that gushing out of the way, let’s go back to that preamble.  Bohemian Rhapsody ended up replacing Bryan Singer during production with some D-list director named Dexter Fletcher.  Now how much of the movie was helmed by Fletcher?  I couldn’t tell ya.  But based off some of the comparable visuals in the movie, maybe a couple scenes because Rocketman has a lot of artful transition sequences between musical numbers from Sir Elton John’s discography and his personal life.  And you know what?  They fucking work excellently.  Every single one of them.  So kudos where its due to Dexter Fletcher because clearly this is his style of filmmaking and it works well for him.  He could make nothing but musical biopics for the rest of his life and I wouldn’t complain if they all looked exactly like Rocketman’s.

But most importantly, this movie was a damn near perfect biopic of one of my favorite singers of all time.  I don’t know how many of you know this about me, but I’m a pretty massive Elton John fan.  And unlike with Bohemian Rhapsody, Elton John had massive amounts of creative control over this story of his life.  Was a lot of it glamorized by Hollywood studios?  Of course, let’s not kid ourselves here.  But at least it was 100% true.  Elton John was always a theatrical performer so of course it makes sense that his story translates so seemlessly to film.

More of this please.  Less Bohemian Rhapsody.  And maybe, just maybe musical biopics will be still standing.  Next.

 

Spoiler

You know even with one of the best years for movies of my life time, I can still manage to dedicate an entry to one of my favorite genres, the “coming of age” high school movie.

 

6. Booksmart

 

And this came from Olivia Wilde of all people.  Sure as hell didn’t expect in the year 2019, but this year was chalk full of surprises.  This movie being one of them.  I’ll give all my shoutouts to Kat for finally convincing me to see this.  What the hell took me so long?  I loved every minute of it.  Weird thing being I think I loved it for different reasons than she did.

One of the things that the critics wouldn’t stop gushing about with this movie was how fresh of a spin this movie took on the buddy comedy approach.  And I’ll be honest, they are dead wrong.  Except for one lesbian sex scene and a hilarious drug trip, absolutely nothing about this movie was nothing I’ve ever seen before.  Keep in mind, that’s not a complaint.  I like unoriginality as long as it comes from a good place and for this movie’s sake, it keeps me laughing.  Which it did both of that in spades.

But I think the one thing that more people should praise this movie for, and is the key element that I took away from this, is about stereotyping.  This movie’s message about realizing that nobody is a stereotype was phenomenally handled.  Like even I typecasted a lot of these characters when they were first introduced, but every single one of them was not what I expected of them by the time the end credits rolled.

This movies gets an A+ and I can’t wait to see what “coming of age” movie makes my best list next year.  Because let’s face it, we are on a roll with getting one new good one each year.

 

Spoiler

5. Honey Boy

 

 

I think this goes without saying, but Shia LaBeouf is one of the most polarizing actors of our generation.  The guy is nearly the same age as me and all his drug and alcohol abuse makes him look like he’s lost ten to fifteen years of his life.  The guy has some serious demons from his personal life that has led to him going to rehab to heal himself for the sake of his mental and physical health.  And during his latest stint, he wrote this movie.

Honey Boy is a honest, intense, and powerful look at “Otis”, a young actor who struggles to deal with his mental health due to his relationship with his abusive manager/father.  This movie is not subtle.  “Otis” is Shia.  And Shia plays the role of his own father.  Absolutely nothing is held back here and how honest this movie is about Shia’s relationship with his dad was absolutely worth streaming the moment I got a chance to. 

But seriously, you can see why Shia became the way he was as we watched how his father treated him during his Disney childhood and the “Transformers” and “Indiana Jones” movies launching his career into a young star on the rise and how he handled it.  You will come out of this movie feeling personally sorry for how fucked up Shia’s life was.

I seriously hope making this movie helped cleanse Shia of some of the personal demons he has been dealing with over the last ten years.  This movie made me want to root for the guy.  Hell I feel like the Academy absolutely robbed him twice for nominations for both movies.  More so for Honey Boy than The Peanut Butter Falcon.

2019.  The year that hopefully resurrected Shia LaBeouf’s career.  It sure did for me.

 

Spoiler

 

It’s sad to see the Star Wars franchise in state of flux at the beginning of this new decade.  It’s really made me look back at where it all went wrong and honestly, it’s the same thing that made The Force Awakens the highest grossing movie domestically.  Fan service.  The Star Wars fanboys have been fairly vocal for quite some time now, but with Disney at the helm of the franchise, vocal fandom has taken a new low as it has lead to MANY changes for the future of the iconic franchise. 

And the outpour of fandom toxicity became all the more apparent after The Last Jedi subverted our expectations.  A lot of die hards HATED that film so much that they started a petition to remake it.  So sad to see because honestly, The Last Jedi was the best Disney Star Wars movie out of the five we have gotten so far.  But Disney took note of the extremity of The Last Jedi’s fan reception and not only brought back JJ Abrams, but they cancelled Rian Johnson’s trilogy of Star Wars movies.  Poor Rian.  What will he go on to do now?

 

4. Knives Out

 

Bring back murder mysteries in a whole new light.  That’s fine by me.

This was the sleeper hit in a year where sleeper hits couldn’t get to 100 million domestic.  I can’t believe Rian Johnson was able to do it with a genre that has gone largely on the decline over the last ten years.  Most murder mysteries end up on television now or more commonly, books.  To do what he did with a lesser budget and a great cast was amazing.

Honestly that’s what made this phenomenal.  This cast.  I loved every performance.  I love Christopher Plummer, despite how little we got to see of him.  I love the eccentricity of Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, and Toni Collette.  Three actors playing completely in their element perfectly.  Ana de Armas is a star that’s absolutely on the rise.  But you know who the two best performances were from?  Chris Evans playing a completely not Steve Rogers type.  This GIF will absolutely be used by me for quite some time:

giphy.gif

And most notably, Daniel Craig.  The moment he opened his mouth, I absolutely laughed at how bad his southern accent was.  But then it became supremely charming the more it grew on me.  And then it became a recurring joke throughout the movie how bad it was.

I can’t wait to see More Knives are Out.  Hint hint Lionsgate for your sequel’s movie title.

 

Spoiler

Honestly, what’s left for there to say about this one?

giphy.gif

 

 

3. Avengers: Endgame

 

I’ve talked countlessly; and I do mean countlessly, about how excellent of a sendoff this was for the first ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.  Even the time traveling, which let’s be honest, we can sit here and nitpick everything this movie could have done differently since they introduced it into the film.

Somebody I followed on Twitter made the completely accurate comparison of how this movie was like when Michael Scott left The Office.  The Office still continued, but that was the perfect finale and nothing was ever the same since.  I fully expect the Marvel Cinematic Universe to continue for another ten to twenty years.  Hell possibly until the day Kevin Feige dies.  But I’ll be hardpressed to find a more satisfying ending than that last battle against Thanos and company.  That will be the penultimate comic book moment in cinematic history.  I nerded out super hard more so than quite possibly anything I’ve ever sat through than that.

I Love Endgame 3000.

 

Spoiler

As I previously announced, I’m not doing a decade end list for movies.  Since it’s basically impossible for me to do so because I don’t have a definitive best and I have an obvious worst.  But I already teased that there would be two 2019 movies in my top ten shortlist for movies that I would consider the absolute best of the 2010s.  So let’s talk about them.

 

2. Marriage Story

 

Clappy’s Best Picture of the Best Picture 2019 candidates.  I’ve praised this movie to death on Discord so I’ll keep this one short.  This is an acting clinic to the point that these characters feel like real people.  I would have honestly given all three nominees the best actor, actress, and supporting actress for Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Laura Dern respectively.

But the most important aspect of all this is how real this movie felt.  Watching two people who were once happily married fall out of love and go through the entire legal aspects of divorce just felt so real.  And the one, count it, ONE scene of these two arguing was an absolutely intense moment and is one of the best acting scenes captured on film in the last ten years for sure.  If the day comes that I become a film teacher or professor, I would show that scene to my students and tell them that this right here is how you act:

 

Marriage Story is one of those movies I hope makes a lasting impression in film circles for years to come.

 

Spoiler

And yet, my number one completely defied every expectation I ever had for it.  It got all time robbed by the Academy in basically every category.  And if you all don’t know what it is by now then click this link:

https://ew.com/movies/2019/12/03/adam-sandler-uncut-gems-oscars-win-bad-movie/

To understand why I’m excited for Grown Ups 3: Fart Camp.

 

1. Uncut Gems

 

Simply put, this is the movie that will make me never give Adam Sandler shit ever again.  Because his acting here was transcendent.  I quite often point out that there are roles in movies where the casting was 100% perfect because you can’t picture anyone else doing this role.  Well nobody but Adam Sandler could have played the role of jeweler Howard Ratner.  He’s just so hateable to the point that he’s absolutely charming.  Only Adam Sandler can do a role this perfectly.  Even in his most detestable movies, Adam Sandler is such a charming personality that you can’t hate the guy as a person.  And even though he is obviously playing a character, this character transcends being such to the point that it makes you look beyond into him as an actor.  Dare I say it, I’ve always been an Adam Sandler fan.  Because I knew the guy could act.  He’s made a handful of legitimately damn good movies that prove as such.  But this is an all-time great performance.

And kudos where its due.  He was able to get that performance due to some fantastic direction.  I knew nothing about The Safdie Brothers before this movie.  This movie made me check out their previous works and my god these guys have some mighty bright futures.  Watching this movie is like a constant assault onto everything I thought I knew about how crime thriller movies like this tend to go.  It felt like I was watching an action movie at times when I wouldn’t consider it that.  Not even close.  Kudos where its due to the editing and cinematography as well.

And hell, why stop with Sandler’s performance alone?  This casting list is the polar opposite of Knives Out in regards to that being star studded and this being a list of why are they in this movie.  I mean this movie also stars Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch, LaKeith Stanfield (who ironically was also in Knives Out) Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy, and basketball player Kevin Garnett and The Weeknd playing themselves in bigger roles than you’d expect.  And the shocking thing about all these supporting actors and actresses are that they all do a damn good job acting. 

But at the end of the day, this is Adam Sandler’s movie.  And I can’t stop praising his performance enough.  Fuck it.  You win Sandman.  Fitting that the guy who helped launch my interest in film critiquing on this site with my Baby Sandler rating system gets my prestigious honor of Best Film of 2019; which is also my last film list for this site.  Got to love it when things come full circle like that.

Grown Ups 3: Fart Camp.  For your consideration for Best Picture 2020.

 

Thank you all for reading.  I Love You 3000.

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I really hate myself for not noticing this last list sooner! Overjoyed to see Peanut Butter Falcon make the list. It'd definitely be up there on a list of my own, as well. Such a warm, feel good story, especially watching it as a brother of someone with Down's syndrome. And the old school wrasslin' element sends it up a good few notches higher in my book. Not to mention the behind the scenes story of Shia and Zack's friendship and how much it's positively impacted Shia's life and helped turn him around. Such a positive movie all around. Glad to see it immortalized in Clappy's last SBC list.

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