CMU Approved CMU Playlists

Playlist: On the CMU stereo 2019

By | Published on Thursday 19 December 2019


Christmas is approaching fast and just behind it the year 2020. And so – as one year winds down – we turn our thoughts to the last twelve (or at least eleven and a half) months. Or, more specifically, the last twelve (or at least eleven and a half) months in music. That being our brief. And a whole lot less depressing that thinking about the last year in the wider world.

There has, as ever, been some phenomenal music released over the last nearly twelve months, and here we’ve collected 40 of our favourite tracks of the year, sorted roughly into the seasons when they were released.

Jump straight over to Spotify to listen to the full playlist here, or read on to find out more about our picks.


For our first selection, we head back to winter and the beginning of 2019, with the earliest track in the chronologically organised list being one that went on to pretty much define the whole musical year – ‘Juice’ by Lizzo. Three albums into her career, it’s been heartening to finally see Lizzo tip over into the superstardom she’s always deserved, and with some of the greatest music she’s recorded to date.

Speaking of superstardom, Billie Eilish also makes the list here, her debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ having hit the shelves in January before going on to dominate, alongside Lizzo, for the rest of the year.

Some other highlights in the first batch (they’re all highlights, of course, that’s the point, but still) include Little Simz, the brilliant Snapped Ankles, and Self Esteem – the solo project of Rebecca Lucy Taylor, formerly of Slow Club – who was another artist to release an incredible debut album this year.

Here’s what we’ve got on our winter 2019 playlist:

Lizzo – Juice
Little Simz – Offence
James Blake – Mile High (feat Travis Scott & Metro Boomin)
Yugen Blakrok – Picture Box
Billie Eilish – Bury A Friend
Ariana Grande – Bloodline
Lunatraktors – Black Raven
Snapped Ankles – Rechargeable
Self Esteem – Favourite Problem
Marina – Superstar


Now, in our loose grouping of releases by season, we reach spring. While our winter playlist features a heavy dose of pop, things turn more experimental here.

At the most extreme end of that experimentation is probably Holly Herndon, who built her own singing AI to collaborate with on a record that ends up surprisingly warm and human as a result.

Elsewhere there’s Dave, whose psychotherapy-themed concept album is a continuously rewarding record, and a deserving winner of that Mercury prize. For this playlist, we’ve selected the album’s opening track, ‘Psycho’, which, like all good musicals, sets up the story about to unfold, and as a result has numerous emotional u-turns.

As well as experimentation, this playlist also features some real attention to the craft of songwriting. There are some wildly different examples of writing engaging and exciting music that lives on in the memory long after it’s been heard.

Here are all ten of the artists and tracks that made our spring playlist:

Shhe – Eyes Shut
Dave – Psycho
The Comet Is Coming – Summon The Fire
Lafawndah – Storm Chaser
Night Works – The Weapon
Aldous Harding – Fixture Picture
The Chemical Brothers – The Universe Sent Me (feat Aurora)
Holly Herndon – Frontier
Caterina Barbieri – Fantas
Foals – In Degrees


What did summer 2019 sound like? Loud, apparently. Well, certainly that’s how our summer selection begins and ends – kicking off with Slipknot and closing with Girl Band. In between there’s more nuance though. Straight after Slipknot we head into Helm’s decidedly quieter (although still filled with a lot of tension) ‘I Knew You Would Respond’.

Elsewhere, we’ve got great examples of how broadly ‘pop music’ was interpreted in 2019, from Tyler, The Creator, to Charli XCX, to Bea1991, to Blanck Mass’s dark, intense and overdriven take on the genre.

Here are our ten summer tracks:

Slipknot – Unsainted
Helm – I Knew You Would Respond
Tyler, The Creator – Earfquake
Babii – Carniivore
Anna Meredith – Paramour
Bea1991 – Loser Wins
Charli XCX & Christine And The Queens – Gone
Blanck Mass – Love Is A Parasite
Clairo – Alewife
Girlband – Going Norway


And so we reach the fourth and final part of our 2019 playlist – completing our round up of 40 of our favourite tracks of the year. There’s a great mix of stuff to close things off. Not that the previous 30 have been anything less than exceptional, but 2019 really did hold a lot of amazing stuff back to its final few months.

First up is Kano, whose ‘Hoodies All Summer’ album is an incredibly ambitious piece of work that keeps on delivering new layers with every listen. The same could be said for the band that follows him, Tool. Thirteen years between albums wasn’t wasted, with their fifth LP ‘Fear Inoculum’ a dense puzzle which takes multiple listens to even begin to properly get to grips with.

Elsewhere we’ve got Angel Olsen, Danny Brown and FKA Twigs, all of whom delivered career highlight albums in 2019, plus indisputable man of the year, Stormzy. And, on top of all that, Jim Perkins introduces some classical music to our playlist and Anna takes us out with a typically well-crafted blast of techno.

Here are the final ten tracks on our 2019 playlist:

Kano – Teardrops
Tool – Invincible
Angel Olsen – Lark
Mike Patton & Jean-Claude Vannier – A Schoolgirl’s Day
Stormzy – Wiley Flow
Jim Perkins – Enfolding
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Sun Forest
Danny Brown – Theme Song
FKA Twigs – Sad Day
Anna – Galactic Highways

Don’t forget to listen to all 40 of our selection in this Spotify playlist here:

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