SINGAPORE (Dec 27):Fresh songs — 2019 was full of them. These are among the tunes that kept us humming.

Mary Magdalene
One of the best tracks from avant-garde British songstress FKA Twigs’ universally acclaimed second album Magdalene, here the singer channels Björk in over four and a half brooding minutes with its melodramatic mélange of art pop, classical and futuristic electronic music. Mesmerising, in other words.

bad guy

She just turned 18 but in March, pop whippersnapper Billie Ellish cast herself as a “might-seduce-your-dad type” with the catchy bad guy — a slice of forward-thinking pop laced with liberal dashes of humour and nonchalance. Ellish may not be a gifted vocalist, but her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was imbued with so much sass, it was refreshing.


Juice
This cheeky funk-soul throwback — best described as a self-esteem anthem — is also one of the most infectious singles of the year. Usually, retro songs age badly (we are looking at you Uptown Funk and Blurred Lines) but American rapper Lizzo (real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson) also injects large doses of wit and fire in the delivery, guaranteeing longevity.

The Greatest
Lana Del Rey gets a lot of flak for being joyless, but the New York-born songstress is gifted at crafting achingly beautiful torch songs. The Greatest — from her sixth album Norman F****ng Rockwell! — could be her best song yet: an ode to nostalgia and heartbreak, laced with plenty of references to Americana, the Beach Boys and even Kanye West.


Harmony Hall
Since its release in January, American septet Vampire Weekend’s lead single from their fourth album Father of the Bride has been winning rave reviews, especially for this upbeat ditty that sits halfway between the breakbeat of the Stone Roses and the pop vibes of Paul Simon.


Exits
This finely tuned single from British indie rockers Foals’ fifth album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 1 is that rare thing: an anthemic combination of stabbing guitars, groovy synthesisers and drums that will have you bobbing your head in no time.


Last I Heard (…He Was Circling the Drain)
Radiohead singer Thom Yorke’s solo outings are usually esoteric affairs. But beneath that twitchy and almost atonal electronic music are gems like this track, taken from his third solo album Anima. The synthesiser-driven melody may unnerve some, but topped with Yorke’s extraordinary voice, the end result is like encountering a lullaby in the middle of a fever dream — completely unforgettable.

I Feel Love
Critics are not feeling any love for Sam Smith’s cover of Donna Summer’s 1977 disco classic. True, it is nowhere near the original — which was so iconic it was added to the United States Library Of Congress in 2011 for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically important” — but this version scores for being toetappingly fun.