Let’s be clear: the phenomenon of “Baby Shark” has been fun, and has proven to be a surefire way to usher your favorite niece or nephew off to dreamland (warm milk could never!!!). But as far as the best songs of 2019 are concerned, well, those are a seahorse of a different color.

Since January, and thanks to releases from reliable music superstars like Pink and Ed Sheeran (plus, newly crowned radio royalty like Lizzo), pop music has — thankfully — gotten a particularly powerful shot in the arm. If we weren’t grooving along to “Tempo” or “Kill This Love,” we were hanging with our “Girl” Maren Morris or commissioning Halsey to wake us up from a raging sociopolitical “Nightmare.”

Below, PopCrush has collected our favorite pop songs of 2019. Check 'em all out and get to streaming — or buying… some of us still do it!

Didn’t see a song you loved on our list this year? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Twitter!

  • 1

    "Kill This Love," Blackpink

    After nearly a year-long wait, Blackpink returned to the music scene ready to rally their troops with the vengeful break up anthem “Kill This Love.” The group continues to take chances with their music, this time blending militaristic horns and a drumline with thick, electro-pop beats to create an addictive single that packs a heavy punch. It’s also Blackpink’s most English-heavy single, with Jennie and Lisa’s shared rap verse quickly becoming one of the most iconic moments in K-pop from this year. If love is a battlefield, Blackpink came to conquer... and they’re not taking any prisoners. — Emlyn Travis

  • 2

    "Saint Honesty," Sara Bareilles

    Longtime fans of the aught’s most famous singer-songwriter were likely a bit thrown off by Bareilles’ sixth studio album Amidst the Chaos, which forfeited the Grammy nominee’s pop-leanings in favor of full-tilt, ‘70s-inspired Carole King cosplay. Still, “Saint Honesty” stands out for its commitment to Bareilles’ winning simplicity, and the result is perhaps her most stunning track to date. Written with Lori McKenna, the tempered ballad chronicles a relationship with familiar weather metaphors that don’t feel tired — at times, Bareilles welcomes each drip and drop of inclement weather. “'Cause we're collecting evidence of one remarkable storm / How wild it was to find it, finally feel the climate / Instead of only staying dry and warm,” she nearly whispers, before settling into a chorus that’s as beautiful and delicate as any Nor’easter’s lingering icicles. — Matthew Scott Donnelly

  • 3

    “I Don’t Care,” Ed Sheeran ft. Justin Bieber

    If you seek this year’s summer jam, look no further than Ed Sheeran’s song “I Don’t Care” featuring Justin Bieber. The duet is fun, catchy and proof the two put out their best work when they’re vulnerable and in love. The lyrics are super down-to-earth and serve as both a love ballad and the perfect song to belt out in the car. Our only hope is that Sheeran and Bieber release another banger like this soon. — Natasha Reda

  • 4

    "Bad Guy," Billie Eilish

    Like the crack of a snap bracelet or the sheen of a fresh batch of Creepy Crawlers, the fifth single off 17-year-old Billie Eilish’s debut album might someday define the sullen mood and insolent tones of this generation’s teenagers. “Bad Guy,” produced by Eilish’s brother Finneas (the siblings collaborated on every track off of When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?), functions like an electropop hourglass, gradually filling space without adding anything superfluous: every beat, breath and bit of silence seems perfectly fated. “I’m the bad type / Make your momma sad type / Make your girlfriend mad type / Might seduce your dad type,” Eilish spits over finished product that’s equal parts masterfully sophisticated and childishly defiant. Here, work and play are not mutually exclusive. — Matthew Scott Donnelly

  • 5

    "Nightmare," Halsey

    Consider the patriarchy cancelled. Halsey flips off all manner of misogyny (internalized and otherwise) by unleashing the pent-up frustration of a thousand women's marches on this politically charged pop-punk banger. The fiercely feminist artist's rage is palpable across razor-sharp lyrics — "I don't owe you a goddamn thing!" she snaps back at a command to smile — while aggressive production by Cashmere Cat and Benny Blanco punctuate Halsey's self-assured delivery. "Nightmare" is a relentless rage-pop rallying cry that's equal parts moody R&B and riotous emo rock revival, and 100% badass. — Erica Russell

  • 6

    "Tempo," Lizzo

    “Juice” may have been the pop hit that finally (FINALLY) secured Lizzo’s landfall among the Billboard mainstream, but “Tempo” is exactly what longtime fans have craved from the Detroit-born rapper and power-belter. A contender for song of summer (and Lizzo’s first track to hit a component chart), “Tempo” is powerful but still subdued enough for low-key grooves, and lyrics issue the proud Big Grrrl’s conviction to championing her fellow plus-sized pioneers (“Thick thighs save lives, call me little buttercup,” she purrs before firing off the song’s enduring battle cry: “Slow songs are for skinny hos / Can’t move all of this here to one of those / I’m a thick bitch, I need tempo”). Throw in a tongue-fatiguing feature from Missy Elliott, and you’ve got a recipe for a decade-spanning dance hit. — Matthew Scott Donnelly

  • 7

    “Someone You Loved," Lewis Capaldi

    Though some believed Lewis Capaldi would not have ever been able to match the rawness he depicted in “Bruises,” he proved all uncertainties wrong in 2019 when he released “Someone You Loved” — a piano-centered ballad that conveys so much emotion it will leave you wondering who broke his heart. From his captivating vocals to stunning lyrics, the track leaves you feeling sad but in the most beautiful way. “Someone You Loved” has the ability to move your soul like that. — Natasha Reda

  • 8

    "Walk Me Home," Pink

    Pink has the uncanny ability to make you feel so many emotions in just under four minutes. “Walk Me Home” brings out the theatrical and powerful side in her vocals. The drum beats make you want to stomp or clap along to Pink singing, while her singalong style can be interpreted a few different ways, providing the perfect backing track to a variety of life situations. The track is a far cry from her punk rock days but still retains the underlying Pink creativity that only she can produce. — Jacklyn Krol

  • 9

    "Crown," TXT

    As the first boy group from Big Hit Entertainment since BTS, there was a furor of excitement surrounding TXT and their debut single “Crown.” While the synth-pop song holds a cheery youthfulness to it, its lyrics reveal a deeper, inspirational message, centering around a boy who becomes fearful and reclusive when horns sprout from his head. It’s not until he meets a boy with wings, which some believe to be BTS member V, that he changes his perspective and takes pride in his uniqueness. Bubbly, empowering and unique, “Crown” is a solid debut single and a fresh take on the importance of believing in oneself. — Emlyn Travis

  • 10

    "Girl," Maren Morris

    Maren Morris shares the life struggles of women while uplifting listeners everywhere with her single “Girl.” The song reassures ladies everywhere that everything will be okay, and has become an anthem that almost any woman can relate to. The lyrics are thought-provoking with some of the most clever and relatable rhymes. Her storytelling capability and soulful vocals shine through on the song. This release really cemented the idea that her music can shine not only in the country genre but in other music genres, charts and radio stations. — Jacklyn Krol

  • 11

    "Icy," Kim Petras

    “Hillside Boys” was cute, “Heart To Break” was a bop, but “Icy” — Kim Petras’ penetrating declaration of contempt — plays like a cutting career-maker. A “Behind These Hazel Eyes” tailor made for Gen Z, the Clarity lead single — Petras’ darkest to date — is a nowhere-to-run consumption spilling over with power-trowel pulse that could, fittingly, tame the flames of hell. Here, while spitting acid at an ex (“Baby, I don't even hate ya / Really, you did me a favor / Turned my heart into a glacier, yeah,” she purrs), Petras dissolves her Paris Hilton veneer like cheap candle wax. Listen with caution: Where pop tell-offs are concerned, this one is simply lethal. — Matthew Scott Donnelly

  • 12

    "Soon You'll Get Better," Taylor Swift

    It’s a sign of a success — not shortcoming — that many of Taylor Swift’s most stated disciples can’t bring themselves to listen to Lover’s bare bones guitar ballad; the song is simply too crushing. Featuring supportive trills from the Dixie Chicks, a simple melody that’s as good as “Travellin’ Soldier” and frankness that could bowl over Bob Dylan, “Soon You’ll Get Better” — a love letter Swift’s addressed to both of her cancer-plagued parents — stings in a way that feels, at once, completely overwhelming and viciously emptying. A handful of unedited sighs will be instantly recognizable to anyone who’s watched a loved one get sick or suffer or die, and while Swift serves pain to the point of exhaustion, her efforts have paid off: It’s a perfect song, and one that does the 29-year-old’s already expansive catalog an important service. — Matthew Scott Donnelly

  • 13

    "All the Time," Zara Larsson

    Zara Larsson may have spent early 2019 at odds with her record label over which singles seemed ready for release, but — where “All The Time” is concerned — there’s no space for discord: it’s pure pop harmony. The fourth track from the Swedish pop star’s upcoming third album is lively but cool, smooth but littered with synth pitter-patter and groovy enough to please electro-pop mavens and casual radio listeners, alike. Larsson’s fractional rasp paired with aloof longing (“I don't know what you're doing in New York / All I know is you ain't on my bedroom floor,” she offers with take-it-or-leave-it panache) makes for a perfect pop seduction that has been criminally overlooked. As far as we’re concerned, the year’s song of summer might have been staring us right in the face. — Matthew Scott Donnelly

  • 14

    "Never Really Over," Katy Perry

    Of the string of singles Katy Perry has released throughout 2019, “Never Really Over” is the clear standout. On the Zedd-produced track that samples “Love You Like That” by Norwegian singer Dagny, Perry talks herself through an on-again/off-again relationship, focusing on self-care to get herself through. “I guess I could try hypnotherapy; I gotta rewire this brain,” the pop star sings, producing a product that better fits the “purposeful pop” descriptor Perry coined while promoting 2017’s Witness album. Between the infectious hook and diary entry-like lyrics, “Never Really Over” is Katy Perry at her best, yet again. — Jack Irvin

  • 15

    "Number One Fan," MUNA

    On their 2017 album About U, MUNA’s Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson explored pop music through a politically and socially conscious lens, specifically on the standout single “I Know A Place.” To introduce their follow up album, Saves the World, the trio took a left turn and indulged in self-love on “Number One Fan.” The upbeat anthem features lead singer Gavin shutting down negative voices in her head by telling herself, “Oh my God, like, I’m your number one fan.” From the track’s pounding bass line, to its ear candy vocoder effect, to its lyrics that read like Instagram comments (“So iconic, like, big, like stan.”), MUNA has perfected what a perfect pop self-love anthem should sound like in 2019. — Jack Irvin

  • 16

    "Bags," Clairo

    When Clairo first started gaining traction in 2018 with the release of her Diary 001 EP, she had to fight industry plant accusations––despite having released ten EPs prior to its release, and being the sole writer and producer of many of its tracks. When “Bags” came out in May 2019, she proved her critics wrong. Not only did she write the track herself, but she co-produced it alongside veteran producer Rostam (of Vampire Weekend fame) with drums from Danielle Haim. Laden with her now-signature soft guitar sound and lyrics that illustrate her nerves towards one of her first romantic experiences with another woman, “Bags” sounds like an instant classic, cementing Clairo as a staple artist of indie-pop. — Jack Irvin

  • 17

    "Nice to Meet Ya," Niall Horan

    Niall Horan's solo debut, Flicker showed us his comforting singer-songwriter side. But as he grew as a solo artist, it was only natural for Horan to eventually show us another side of him. And the Irishman delivered with "Nice to Meet Ya," which dropped on October 9. Penned with Ruth-Anne Cunningham, who also co-wrote "Slow Hands," this song pumps up the swoon factor. Not only does it inspire you to move, but it also makes you wish that you're the one he casually sings those four words to. — Emily Tan

  • 18

    "Now I'm in It," HAIM

    Since the release of 2013's Days Are Gone, HAIM have made a name for themselves with honest lyrics set against light, upbeat rock ‘n’ roll melodies. Continuing their penchant for pop-rock melodies, 2019 single “Now I’m in It,” seems like a good ol' fashioned breakup song. However, the band revealed that the lyrics tell a much darker tale about dealing with depression. Combining a pop melody with lyrics that are determined to fight back will bring anyone in a funk some hope by the end of the track. — Emily Tan

  • 19

    "Are You Bored Yet?," Wallows ft. Clairo

    Take three childhood friends from Los Angeles, add some unique indie rock sounds, and you’ve got Wallows. Streaming fans will instantly recognize 13 Reasons Why’s Dylan Minnette and T@gged’s Braeden Lemasters as the two co-vocalists in the band. The trio teamed up with Clairo to release the indie love track, “Are You Bored Yet?” as the lead single from the band’s debut album, Nothing Happens. From the woes of defining a relationship to watching the sunset with someone you care about, this catchy single is a must for your daily playlist. — Michele Bird

  • 20

    "Truth Hurts," Lizzo

    If you’re “100% percent that b---h” chances are you unapologetically scream the words to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” every time it comes on. With an unmistakable piano intro, this hugely quotable track is featured on the singer’s 2017 album of the same name and has become one of the top hits of the year. Aside from celebrating being single, independent and proud, Lizzo proves you don’t need a man to make you happy. This track is a must listen for all of the ladies out there ready to leave a less than deserving relationship behind. You go, Lizzo. — Michele Bird

  • 21

    "Lose You to Love Me," Selena Gomez

    Selena Gomez’s long-awaited comeback was worth the wait, and the evidence lies in her heart-wrenching first single, “Lose You to Love Me.” The song, which is widely believed to be about her on-again, off-again relationship with ex Justin Bieber, encompasses everything one might expect from a breakup track: pain, acceptance and, more importantly, life after love. It also features lyrics like, “In two months, you replaced us / Like it was easy,” which proves that all’s fair in love and music. Ultimately, “Lose You to Love Me” is about the process of figuring out when it’s time to let go. The singer’s truth shows us just how powerful she really is. — Natasha Reda

  • 22

    "Graveyard," Halsey

    Though one might imagine a track titled “Graveyard” to be all dark and twisty, Halsey subverted expectations like she always does by dropping a light, contemporary pop tune that features catchy hand clapping and acoustic sounds all layered beneath her distinctive voice. The lyrics to this dreamy song also serve as somewhat of a continuation of the singer’s hit single “Without Me,” which is about a toxic relationship. However, with “Graveyard,” Halsey seems more aware of not letting her lover’s demons consume her. Though she says she “would’ve followed all the way to the graveyard,” she also knows that “the warning signs can feel like they're butterflies.” — Natasha Reda

  • 23

    "Icy," ITZY

    Just five months after making their debut with “Dalla Dalla,” ITZY returned to solidify their title as one of the most exciting female K-pop rookie groups with cool, confident summer anthem “ICY.” One of ITZY’s greatest charms is that they’re unafraid to take quirky songs and make them their own, and “ICY” definitely follows suit with its eclectic use of onomatopoeia, horns and drum machine effects. It’s a song that should sound overwhelming in theory, but instead is balanced perfectly with strong vocals, creating an effervescent dance track that empowers listeners to be confident and believe in themselves. — Emlyn Travis

  • 24

    "What a Life," EXO-SC

    The members of EXO have had an exploratory year, from releasing solo albums, acting on stage and on film and forming exciting sub-units like EXO-SC. The duo, composed of rappers Chanyeol and Sehun, released their cheeky, wanderlust-inducing hip-hop track “What a Life” in July. There’s a lot more to the track than just Sehun and Chanyeol’s smooth flowing raps and its addictive, bouncy trap chorus; the song’s lyrics encourage listeners to revel in their youth and find a career that brings them happiness so they can “play hard and make money with joy.” Lighthearted and uplifting, “What a Life” perfectly encapsulates the feeling of spending a summer “young and free.” — Emlyn Travis

  • 25

    "Butterfly," LOONA

    Twelve-member K-pop girl group LOONA deliver a high-flying message of self-empowerment with "Butterfly," their ambient 2019 single. Featuring soaring lyrics encouraging fans around the world to "fly like a butterfly" and make their dreams come true, as well as hypnotic future-bass production and a to-die-for whistle note that elevates the song (literally) to otherworldly heights, LOONA show their true colors on "Butterfly"—and it's a beautiful sight. — Erica Russell

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