TPM Top 40 Songs of 2019


Top 15 of 2019 smith (1)

All the technicality in the world won’t guarantee a great song.  Sometimes, balance and restraint make a world of difference.  Check out my top 40 songs of 2019 below.

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40. Ihlo – “Reanimate”

Catchy as hell, and smooth as butter.  Ihlo’s “Union” album feels about this way from beginning to end, but this single is what consistently draws my ear.

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39. Andy Gillion – “Black Lotus”

Andy really brings it on this track with the surging orchestrations and massive riffs.  It’s almost something of a guilty pleasure.

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38. Odd Logic – “Garden of Thorns”

I was quite pleased to be able to premiere this track in 2019, and it has lost none of its weight.  I still love the soaring melodies and amazing guitar work.

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37. Iamthemorning – “Black and Blue”

This was one of the more unique tracks on the new album.  It contains certain levels of mystery and feeling that are simply difficult to find elsewhere.  I love the expression and artistry on “The Bell”, and I think this track sums all of that up pretty well.

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36. Warmrain – “Equilibrium”

Warmrain had tons of great ideas on their latest, even though I had some reservations.  This song, though, is perfect.  The addictive guitar rhythm, the feelings of floating into the beyond, and the sheer finality of it all make me feel and ruminate and ponder.  Such a great way to end an album.

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35. Teeth of the Sea – “Gladiators Ready”

It’s difficult to describe why I love this song so much.  There’s just something triumphant, breezy, and deep about it, and I love how the song rockets into the stratosphere in the middle.

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34. New Ghost – “Hours”

New Ghost is probably one of the most underrated, under-heard releases of the year.  While the whole album is brilliant, I love this song earlier on because it is so spacey, sincere, and textured.  The last half gets better and better every time I hear it.

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33. Isgaard – “Black Swan”

Hesitant, innocent, and delicate, this song begins with such grace and honesty.  The song progresses and gets darker and darker, though, and the last few minutes are emotional and desperate.

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32. Nad Sylvan – “Whoa”

Nad always delivers the infectious, fantastical melodies I crave, and this song is no different.  Catchy, fun, and even thoughtful, I love this song and album.

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31. Ray Alder – “What the Water Wanted”

Ray’s lead single owned my mind for a few weeks in 2019.  There’s just something about the catchy chorus and overall momentum that I really appreciate.  Plus, I love hearing Ray sing just about anything.

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30. Vex Red – “Lake”

This is one of the most unexpectedly amazing songs of 2019.  I love Vex Red, I was thrilled to see them came back, and I love the new EP as a whole.  However, this song rises above just about anything they’ve ever done.  It is poetic, fragile, and graceful, and the song eases into a grand finale that is simply breathtaking.

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29. Myrath – “Shehili”

I love this song for a simple reason: the vocal melody is incredible.  I have this chorus stuck in my head constantly.  I originally thought “Dance” would be on this list, as I love that one too, but this song ended up being the one I revisited the most.

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28. Cyril – “My Own Reflection”

There’s something wholesome and romantic about Cyril’s latest album, and I think this song expressed those things the most.  The song offers balance and expression, but still rocks.

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27. Exploring Birdsong – “The Downpour”

What a song, and what a debut!  No words are necessary for the intensity and weight of emotion displayed here.  The last minute or two are sheer nirvana.

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26. Daniel Tompkins – “Limitless”

I listened to this song quite a bit in 2019.  Okay, I listened to it A LOT.  That’s partially because my kids loved it, too, but I admit that the catchy chorus hypnotized me for months.

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25. Voyager – “Runaway”

The sheer charm that Voyager exudes can be heard all over this final track from their latest album.  “Runaway” has a fantastic chorus, and all manner of colours to experience.  You know what, though?  It’s the synth solo near the end that makes this song feel perfect.

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24. Introitus – “Beyond Fantasy”

One reason I love this song is because of nostalgia.  It revisits some of the most potent melodies on the band’s “Fantasy” debut, and so I instantly loved it.  This version, though, feels like Vangelis went back and covered their music, and so I love it even more because of that.

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23. Omnerod – “Ascaris”

I love how reserved and melodious this tune from Omerod feels, almost like they are hiding something and taking their sweet time with the chord progressions.  But then, suddenly, the song takes off, and you are left trying to keep up.  Love it.

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22. Wilderun – “The Unimaginable Zero Summer”

This is definitely the type of song that will scare off any but the most hardcore of progressive fans.  It is dark, really dark, and the first half is a real challenge to traverse.  But then the song drops straight off a cliff into grand melody and super smooth vocals, and it only gets more beautiful from there.  Wilderun are masterfully on point here.

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21. Insomnium – “Twilight Trails”

Man, this is quite a song.  Insomnium has always been Romantic, artistic, and blackened, but this song reaches new heights in some ways.  I love the whirlwind of instrumentation near the end that really imprints itself on your mind.

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20. The Tea Club – “Creature”

The Tea Club’s latest album has some very candid and well-composed melodies.  The last song on the album, though, is a monster track at 27 minutes in length.  Somehow, it only feels like half of that as the guys take their fantastic writing skills, and then combine them with near polyrhythmic instrumentals and electronic portions.  Just a brilliant song altogether.

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19. Moonrise – “Calling Your Number”

This has got to be one of the catchiest songs of the year.  I love my Polish prog, and this song capitalizes on that by injecting some vocal melodies worthy of the great Steve Perry.  I can start singing this song at just about any moment.  Beware.

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18. Cosmograf – “Goodbye to All Illusions”

I’m holding fast to my claim that this is Cosmograf’s best song to date.  The emphasis on electronica, the growling guitars, and evocative lyrics: this song has it all.  I never tire of it.

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17. Evan Carson – “Otriad”

What can be better than a glorious melody with Jim Grey at the helm?  Not much!  This song manages to take that flawless foundation, and add in an extraordinary instrumental that will surely help you feel the musical magic.

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16. Klone – “Yonder”

As much as I love this song and album, it is this live performances of “Yonder” that I think is my favorite from Klone’s latest.  I love the semi-growling in the vocals, and the ever building rhythms that explode near the end.  What a song!

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15. Mother of Millions – “Artefact”

Can words even describe this song?  There is something heavy and piercing in the air while this plays, something heartfelt and full of deep emotions.  The ambiance is about the best I’ve ever heard.  Turn out the lights, turn up the stereo, and immerse yourself in this.

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14. Etrange – “Astralis”

This entire debut album from Etrange is rather hypnotic, but this song particularly scratches that itch.  I love the very structured approach it takes, and the alternation between heavy and ambient.  Amazing song.

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13. Darkwater – “Burdens”

Darkwater’s “Human” has so many fantastic songs that it is difficult to decide which I like best.  I ended up with “Burdens” because of the luscious lead guitar, powerful technical fireworks, and beautiful chorus.

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12. Delain – “Masters of Destiny”

This song was at the top of my list for a fair amount of the year.  There’s something about the epic, harmonious chorus and the fantasy-injected instrumental near the end that has really jived with me.  I loved their new single “Burning Bridges” even more, but since that is going to be on their 2020 album, you’ll probably see it on the list next time.

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11. Lonely Robot – “How Bright Is the Sun”

This song sums up the Lonely Robot trilogy so very well, I had to include it here.  The mournful guitar mastery along with the brilliant chorus make for a slow–burning song that has pretty much become my favorite from the project.  On top of that, all three of my kids love to sing along to it.

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10. Silent Skies – “Horizons”

Even though this debut single from Silent Skies is part of an album that will release in 2020, it had to make this list because it released in early 2019, and I’ve listened to it dozens of times.  With Tom Englund on vocals and Vikram Shankar on keys, this evocative and mysterious creation is pulsating with emotion and atmosphere.  The raging keys are simply mesmerizing.

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9. Jolly – “Masquerade”

Jolly’s “Family” has many different genres and voices present, but this balls-to-the-walls metal track on the bonus disc has somehow taken the crown from all the other excellent tracks on the record.  I have simply fallen in love with the towering wall of riffs and the grooving, raw chorus.

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8. Evergrey – “All I Have”

Evergrey always delivers, and “The Atlantic” is no exception.  This single, however, stands above the rest of the album in my eyes.  I don’t think I heard a more emotional, more devastatingly human song in 2019.  That chorus rips my heart to shreds.

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7. Alcest – “Sapphire”

Alcest are masters of beautiful darkness.  “Sapphire”, I think, does an amazing job of capturing their new album, full of groove, strong drums, and addictive vocal melodies.  I listened to this song so many times in 2019, probably dozens.

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6. Amarok – “The Song of All Those Distant”

Michal has one of the purest, more sincere voices I’ve ever heard.  Amarok’s latest album was more of an instrumental affair, but the last two tracks were vibrant, gorgeous songs with his vocals present.  This particular track ended up in my playlist so many times in 2019, and it’s all because of the burgeoning chorus, echoing atmosphere, and outreaching lyrical message.  I don’t think I will ever get sick of this one.

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5. M83 – “Temple of Sorrow”

If one song captured my imagination in 2019, it was M83’s “Temple of Sorrow”.  While the entire “DSVII” album is colorful and brightly decorated, this track in all its slow-burning glory spreads a grand tapestry over my senses with its hypnotic rhythms and majestic ending.

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4. Leprous – “At the Bottom”

Leprous’ “Pitfalls” is a tour de force of everything they have become.  “At the Bottom” might be the culmination of that, though.  With Einar at the top of his game, the chorus rocking my socks off, and the last half exploding in emotional fervor; this song is like the peak of a mighty mountain.

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3. Mostly Autumn – “Run for the Sun”

Choosing my favorite song off the new Mostly Autumn album might have been the most difficult choice of the year for me.  The entire album is sheer class and mighty composition.  Some songs had bigger moments or better instrumentals, but “Run for the Sun” is the full package, showing Olivia stretching her huge range and Bryan nailing an emotional guitar solo, probably the best guitar solo of the year.  This song is stunning in every respect.

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2. Devin Townsend – “Spirits Will Collide”

Devin’s “Empath” is a masterpiece, and I had such trouble deciding which song is my favorite.  I could have gone with “Sprite”, which has some of my favorite moments, or maybe “Why?” with its theatrical metal.  Maybe I should have chosen the epic “Singularity” since the last few minutes are the best part of the album.  In the end, I chose “Spirits Will Collide” because it is catchy, brilliantly composed, playful yet serious, and just a good representation of what you can expect on this album.

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***1. Bent Knee – “Hold Me In”***

Around my house, there were very few songs that saw more play time than Bent Knee’s “Hold Me In”.  We watched the music video probably a couple dozen times, too.  There’s just something so mesmerizing about the bouncy, off kilter beat, the crazy electronic elements, and the stark sonic atmosphere.  But it’s that giant, daring chorus that completely blows me away every single time.  That is why “Hold Me In” is without a doubt my favorite song of 2019.

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Top 15 of 2019 smith (1)

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