Lists

The Happy 100: Happy Mag’s Top 100 Songs of 2019

We’re counting down our picks for the hottest tracks of 2019, The Happy 100.

Every year the Happy Mag team collates our 100 favourite songs released by Australian and New Zealand artists, in order. This year, and henceforth, we’re calling it The Happy 100.

2019 was a monumental year for music, to say the least. Psychedelia and punk continued to ring aloud in Australia, two distinctly different breeds of music yearning for the same thing – escapism. Indie rock and pop enjoyed more time in the sun as dedicated online fan communities swelled ever further. Hip hop in Australia and New Zealand sounded more global than ever, and electronic music persistently found new and fantastical ways to transform.

Ten thousand words wouldn’t be enough to describe the beautiful mess that 2019 was, so let’s leave it with a statement that seems to sum things up nicely; musicians from this part of the globe never stop surprising us. Now, let’s have the music do some talking, shall we?

Find The Happy 100 of 2019 below – and if Spotify’s your jam, you can follow a playlist with all the songs here.

100-91

100. Full Flower Moon Band – Roadie

99. Babe Rainbow – Morning Song

98. Vast Hill – Heartbreaker

97. These New South Whales – In The Light Of Day

96. Roy Irwin – Awful

95. Rebel Yell – Night Drive

94. Private Function – Talking To Myself

93. Kitten Heel – Peephole Gallery

92. Olympia – Shoot To Forget

91. Sarah Mary Chadwick – The Queen Who Stole The Sky

90-81

90. Candy – Feel

89. Kira Puru – Everything Is Better Without You

88. Love Deluxe – Campari & Coke

87. ARSE – Safe Word

86. DZ Deathrays – IN-TO-IT

85. Yumi Zouma – Bruise

84. S.J. Smith – Shinjuku Love Hotel

83. Seaside – Sycamore

82. SCABZ – Feel Good Summer

81. Ainsley Farrell – Dark Spell

80-71

80. VOIID – Vile

79. The Laurels – Monkey On My Back

78. Courtney Barnett – Everybody Here Hates You

77. BLAND – The Common Ground

76. COFFIN – Be Gone

75. Party Dozen – Party Dozen

74. Hatchie – Obsessed

73. Eliza & The Delusionals – Just Exist

72. L-Fresh The Lion – Alchemy

71. Last Dinosaurs – FMU

70-61

70. Rosa Maria – Howlin’

69. Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys – Make You Feel Blue

68. Triple One – Butter

67. Pist Idiots – Motor Runnin

66. Johnny Hunter – Ashamed

65. Mildlife – How Long Does It Take?

64. Alex Lahey – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

63. Body Type – Insomnia

62. The Buoys – Inside Outside

61. Boy & Bear – Hold Your Nerve

60-51

60. Julia Why? – Starman

59. PLANET – Never New

58. Tiny Ruins – Holograms

57. Press Club – Behave

56. Crocodylus – Motivation

55. Benee – Evil Spider

54. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Self-Immolate

53. Le Shiv – No Freak

52. Baker Boy – Cool As Hell

51. Brightness – Feathers

50-41

50. Spike Fuck – Body By Crystal

49. I Know Leopard – Heather

48. Citizen Kay – Ego

47. Middle Kids – Real Thing

46. San Cisco – Skin

45. Egoism – What Are We Doing?

44. Spacey Jane – Good For You

43. Bec Sandridge – Eyes Wide

42. Tropical Fuck Storm – Paradise

41. Harvey Sutherland – Something In The Water

40-31

40. Sunscreen – High Over Love

39. Amyl & The Sniffers – Gacked on Anger

38. A. Swayze & The Ghosts – Connect To Consume

37. Collarbones – Deep

36. Soaked Oats – Coming Up

35. Georgia June – Prove Myself

34. Emerson Snowe – Human

33. Shady Nasty – Get Buff

32. Dying Adolescence – Pray 4 Me

31. Cool Sounds – More To Enjoy

30-21

30. Lime Cordiale – Money

29. Hayley Mary – The Piss, The Perfume

28. The Chats – Pub Feed

27. Shining Bird – Who Are We

26. 100 – Just Us

25. Genesis Owusu – WUTD

24. Sunbeam Sound Machine – Talking Distance

23. Bad//Dreems – Morning Rain

22. Alex Cameron – Miami Memory

21. Jack River – Adolescent

20-11

20. Tame Impala – Posthumous Forgiveness

19. WAAX – FU

18. Julia Jacklin – Pressure To Party

17. Carla Geneve – 2001

16. Lola Scott – Warzone of the Suburbs

15. DMA’s – Silver

14. Briggs – Life Is Incredible

13. GODTET – Enumerating

12. Annie Hamilton – Kitchen

11. Stella Donnelly – Old Man

10. RAT!hammock – Ghost

RAT!hammock truly hit their stride in 2019, and Ghost was a key moment. It played elegantly to the lo-fi sound they’d established, but also packed a chorus you’d easily associate with a band one hundred times their size.

Despite the image their name might conjure, RAT!hammock are one of Melbourne’s brightest upcoming acts.

9. RVG – Alexandra

Alexandra, RVG’s first slice of new music since their 2017 debut full-length A Quality Of Mercy, melds personal and political themes in a meditative and distinctly Australian way.

As frontwoman Romy Vager tackles various levels of oppression and marginalisation, she delivers one of the most commanding vocal performances of the past 12 months!

8. Pond – Daisy

Gone are the days when Pond were jamming in whoever’s house was free, (presumably) smoking weed, and writing about space and shit. Their last two studio albums, The Weather and Tasmania, are fully-realised conceptual pieces.

Countering the widely-realised misery of the modern world, Pond opt for fanfare and revelry. The jubilant Daisy celebrates this spirit in full.

7. Thelma Plum – Better In Blak

Thelma Plum’s debut album Better In Blak is about resilience, self-love, and triumph. The title track turns insult into armour, a poppy song that silences Plum’s misogynistic and racist haters without adding any unnecessary fuel to the fire.

Throwing positivity and a hit single back at those who want to see your career dry up – that’s a power move.

6. Angie McMahon – Pasta

Pasta was released as a single from Angie McMahon’s debut album Salt — never have one without a sprinkle of the other. It’s a ballad for existential millennial dread, a sensation of being lost that no amount of hot cannelloni will fix.

Yet, the track is upbeat and exuberant. If you too are feeling adrift, know there’s always time for celebration – even if it’s just in the privacy of your own bedroom.

5. Gordon Koang – Stand Up

In 2013, Gordon Koang fled his home country of South Sudan to seek asylum in Australia. Now, with the help of Melbourne label Music In Exile, Koang has released a string of the 2019’s most memorable singles.

Stand Up (Clap Your Hands) is a clear standout. The track is a joyous call for audiences to join Koang in dance, and we can’t imagine many people resisting.

4. Aldous Harding – Fixture Picture

Fixture Picture is one of Aldous Harding’s most straightforward love songs. By Harding’s standards, however, that may not mean much.

The opening track of her acclaimed third studio album, Designer, is a brilliantly surreal dream-folk gem that further broadens her rich and idiosyncratic catalogue.

3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

The title track from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ 17th studio album, Ghosteen, is a celestial parent; a transient spirit. Clocking in at over 12 minutes, the song is one of Cave’s most beautiful compositions – it’s surreal and heavenly, floating between bleak ambient balladry and a singular euphoric pop chorus.

As Cave weaves imagery of watching television with his family and washing the clothes of a lost loved one, he crafts one of the most powerful gut-punches of 2019.

2. Jonathan Bree – Waiting On The Moment

Upon first glance, Jonathan Bree’s only single of 2019, Waiting On The Moment, seemed to signal a bright new direction for the regularly melancholic New Zealand songwriter. But beneath the sweeping string arrangements and swollen choruses crept a bleak tale of modern love.

Nevertheless, as is custom with Bree’s music, we’ve had this one trapped in our heads since we first laid ears on it.

1. Sampa The Great – Final Form

We’d say 2019 was Sampa The Great’s year, but she’s been hitting nothing but net since day dot. After warming our bones with two highly acclaimed mixtapes, one of the finest – if not the finest – rapper in contemporary Australian music finally dropped her debut album last year.

The Return was a monstrous listen, a 77-minute marathon with self-enlightenment at every turn. At the heart of this sense of discovery, Final Form blossoms.

Final Form is a union of everything Sampa holds at her artistic heart – her culture, her family, contemporary hip-hop, and more – a fusion of many pieces, mightier as a whole.