As music fans, we live for good choruses. After all, the phrase goes, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” Many artists in 2019 have done just that, writing catchy and memorable choruses that you may end up humming to yourself all day long. Whether it’s resonating lyrics and rhyme schemes, melodic and well-timed instrumentation, or repetitive and streamlined natures, they’ve offered us plenty of reasons to hit the repeat button.
As we search for the best hook from any song this year, we’d like to examine a variety of indie rock, pop punk, and other alternative tracks — split up by genre tier. They’re pure saccharine goodness, and they’re 10 of the most addictive musical moments we’ve heard in our scene all year long.
Solo and Super Sweet
Clairo – “Bags”
Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – “Just One Thing”
Mid-tempo songs can be catchy, if they’re supported by a foundation of repetitive (yet, not too repetitive) instrumentation and a defining chorus line. That’s where both “Bags” and “Just One Thing” triumph, with fabulous production giving way to peak moments. Clairo’s track features the ever-talented Danielle Haim on drums, but otherwise offers the most signature look at her artistry: simple chords, light use of keys, and mumbled vocals. The chorus and post-chorus glimmer with a keyboard that quickly gets stuck in your head, all while Claire Cottrill stands at the scene of lesbian romance. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal’s gritty emo-rap track is underlined by low, heavy bass beat that makes your eardrums buzz. Adam MacIlwee, formerly of Tigers Jaw, drags out an echoing chorus, mimicking his depiction of romance slowly fading (“How do we make our love grow? I forget,” he confesses).
Indie Rockin’ and Obsessin’
Oso Oso – Impossible Game”
White Reaper – “Real Long Time”
Oso Oso and White Reaper both have a knack for saccharine hooks — something we knew one album cycle ago when “Reindeer Games” and “Judy French” rocked our worlds. I kept telling myself, “If only these two bands could’ve made full albums out of such standouts,” and my premonition came true with their 2019 follow-up releases. Oso Oso reminds us of their love for “games,” as “Impossible Game” this time sticks the most firmly. Guitar and vocals crash like waves in the chorus, which is almost as fun as the lighthearted music video. For White Reaper, track two again holds all the magic: “Real Long Time” has a repetitive and irresistible chorus. Grade A production from alt-rock success-maker Jay Joyce helps the standout song and record shine, helping singer Tony Esposito hit his goal of sounding like Electric Light Orchestra in its massive pay-off.
Pop Meets Punk Meets Pure Goodness
Grayscale – “In Violet”
The Maine – “Numb Without You”
Neither band may be the prototypical pop rock/pop punk they started out as, but Grayscale and The Maine show they still have an ear for choruses that channel this same energy. Newcomers to the scene a few years ago, Grayscale has evolved a bit on album two to reflect their love for The 1975 and, yes, The Maine themselves. The heaviest song on the disc both musically and lyrically, “In Violet” has a tremendous chorus purging punk spirit and a morbid essence, with each member letting loose in a magnificent way. Gliding, exploding, and brooding at every turn, it’s no doubt the best track the group has ever written. Meanwhile, The Maine has far too vast a discography to pick a favorite (as tempting it is to put “Numb Without You” up against “Am I Pretty?” and “Bad Behavior”). The catchiest song on You Are OK, “Numb” flaunts its versatility, offering a chorus line behind strings before it’s repeated behind full-band alternative rock.
Punk with Sugary Spunk
Angel Du$t – “Big Ass Love”
The Menzingers – “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)”
Angel Du$t and The Menzingers have always been punk bands at their innermost cores, but that definition has become a lot more hazy — albeit their widely increasing appeal — as they’ve progressed. Only five years ago, Angel Du$t once sat alongside Trapped Under Ice and Turnstile in sonic form, but now, “Big Ass Love” is the big ass hit on their not-quite-homerun introduction to pop rock. It’s still fast, it’s still groovy, but it’s also laden with acoustic guitars and bongos in its ultra-melodic chorus. The Menzingers have had a much smoother transition to glistening, Americana-infused punk rock. With it has come a much cleaner and inviting vocal delivery, especially in their choruses. It’s tough to choose between “America (You’re Freaking Me Out),” “Anna,” and “Strangers Forever,” but I’ll go with the first because its hook is a little bouncier and has more teeth. It’s a political anthem, and who can’t go wrong with a much-deserved call-out?
From Harsh and Heavy to Huge Hooks
Bring Me the Horizon – “Medicine”
Slipknot – “Unsainted”
There was a time you could put Bring Me the Horizon alongside Slipknot in terms of sheer heaviness. In fact, back during their early deathcore days, they covered “Eyeless” (can you imagine Corey Taylor screaming this high?). The English group has become masterclass in writing anthemic rock songs, even if it means putting most of their -core sound behind them. Off Amo, “Medicine” is one of their catchiest songs to date, and its well-timed instrumental punch and hopping vocals showcase immaculate slicing and dicing. Slipknot went back to their roots on We Are Not Your Kind, simultaneously experimenting a bit to assure a ferocious metal journey. Previously, “Psychosocial” was their most memorable journey, but “Unsainted” beats it on pure choral bliss alone. While “Psychosocial” brings the goods with a bounty of breakdowns and solos, the hook is the centerpiece of “Unsainted,” and it’s a truly magical metal moment.
Featured Image Photos: Jonathan Weiner (Slipknot’s Corey Taylor), Hart Leshkina (Clairo)