100 best synthpop songs of 2019: 50 to 26

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Previously:
100 best synthpop songs of 2019: 100 to 76
100 best synthpop songs of 2019: 75 to 51

50 Mr.Kitty – “From Liquid”
How does one even pick a favorite track from Mr.Kitty’s mammoth 30-song album? I’m just going to make it easy on myself and choose the album’s most popular song, “From Liquid.” This is one of those clever synthpop tunes that has slow, contemplative verses that absolutely burst into intense, rapid-fire choruses. Most of the songs on the album are about death, but this one has poetic lyrics that give it the most depth.

49 Run Level Zero – “Elysa”
Electro-industrial band Run Level Zero dropped out of nowhere in February with their first album in 11 years. This band gets unfairly compared to Front Line Assembly, but I think they’re doing their own thing with more emphasis on the vocals that feature clearer lyrics and stronger melodies. You can hear that on “Elysa,” which practically goes synthpop on the chorus: “What is written in stone, transcribed in blood, embedded in bone, engraved in skin from a sea of sin.”

49 Cryo – “When You Cross the Line”
Look, Cryo makes exceptionally cohesive albums that could be classified as concept works. Their latest, The Fall of Man, is about madness. Its two most stand-alone songs, “Control” and “Sanitarium,” were technically released in 2018, and it’s practically impossible to pick another favorite. “When You Cross the Line” is an extremely well crafted song with verse-chorus-verse structure and Cryo’s trademark retro-made-contemporary sound.

47 Darkness on Demand – “Stay Away”
The singer of German band Darkness on Demand has one of those deep, romantic voices reminiscent of Peter Murphy that would make him a perfect fit for a goth band. But they’re an electro act doing pulsing dance numbers, and his vocals just mesmerize on their best song, “Stay Away.”

46 Acretongue – “Contra”
Nobody does electronic soundscapes quite like Acretongue. He’s at his best when the sounds are accompanied by catchy pop melodies, exemplified by “Contra,” the best track from his 2019 album, Ghost Nocturne.

45 Night Sins – “Annihilator”
Philadephia goth rock artist Night Sins took his fourth album in a more synthpop direction. The new sound is a bit rough around the edges, which makes his music feel raw and unpredicatble, like a sketchy nightclub with duct tape over the windows. The album’s lead single, “Annihilator,” has an EBM beat and some Douglas McCarthy-esque screaming.

44 Supecraft – “All You’ll Ever Be”
Sometimes when I hear a song, I make a mental note to remind myself what it was about that song that really stood out. For Supercraft’s “All You’ll Ever Be,” it’s the playful, high-pitched synthline (“duht dert-dert-dert”) that makes you want to skip through a park.

43 Gesaffelstein – “Forever” (featuring The Hacker and Electric Youth)
French DJ Gesaffelstein hasn’t really been on my radar. I honestly thought he was an EDM DJ. But this collaboration with synthpop artists The Hacker and Electric Youth stood out for its beauty and the sharp contrast between the airy vocals and the deep techno bass.

42 Hot Chip – “Melody of Love”
The opening notes of “Melody of Love” sound like Hot Chip is channeling David Bowie: “Have you left space?” But then the line continues in that playful way Hot Chip is known for, “… for me?” The lyrics are followed by synth lines twinkling all over the place in this track, which is the purest synthpop tune and the best song from their fantastic album, A Bath Full of Ecstasy.

41 Henric de la Cour – “A Texas Dream”
I’m not counting down music videos, but if I was this one would be #1. A sock puppet with a mohawk on Coney Island. Hell yes. Veteran Swedish artist Henric de la Cour may be a little bit nuts, but that’s what makes his music feel so incredibly unique and unexpected. “A Texas Dream,” with its steady, head-bopping beat and that instant-classic line, “Did I just feel a rain drop?” is my favorite thing he’s ever done.

40 Mental Discipline – “Empty”
“Empty” is the first single from Russian futurepop artist Mental Discipline’s forthcoming new album, and it features a very trance-inducing sound with emotional lyrics from Helge Wiegand of the bands Wiegand, Diorama, and T.O.Y. I’m particularly fond of the faster-paced T.O.Y. remix that has a little stuttering effect that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up.

39 Reliant – “Self Preservation”
Danish synthpop artist Reliant is a solo project from Ole Ulrich Jensen, the frontman of Vaylon. It runs a bit darker than Vaylon, but his lovely vocals are unmistakable. My favorite track on the album is “Self Preservation,” which features an electro-industrial beat and deeply felt emotions.

38 Six Faces – “Free”
There are plenty of guitars on this list, but Berlin-based band Six Faces has the distinct pleasure of being the most rock-oriented song on here. The song is built upon a rhythm guitar, but the synth soon takes center stage to give the song an anthemic alt-rock quality. And what a chorus: “I am unbreakable. I am invincible. All I want is to feel free.”

37 Hatari – “Spillinggardans”
The obvious choice would have been “Hatrid Mun Sigra,” the song Hatari performed before millions on this year’s Eurovision contest. But I actually like this track more. The synthline has a sinister vibe that feels like someone is creeping up on you, and then Matthías Haraldsson’s angry vocals punch you in the throat.

36 Priest – “Neuromancer”
I love everything about the Priest concept — the masks, the bondage-themed lyrics, the mystery — that I’m willing to overlook that this song is a complete rip-off of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” The melody of the lines is exactly the same. Who cares though! This song slaps hard.

35 Vanguard – “Riot”
Singer Patrick Hansson has already appeared once on this list for his solo project Uncreated. As I mentioned then, he writes unbelievable choruses, and he goes full-throttle on this one: “Let’s start a riot you and me!”

34 Interface – “Not With Me”
Club music doesn’t get any better than this four on-the-floor smasher from New York’s Interface. The beat pounds hard, the synths tingle up your spine, and the vocals end on a distinct rhyming scheme that lands every line with a solid punch.

33 Acid Fader – “Innocence”
Before you listen to “Innocence,” turn off all the lights and turn up the volume very high. This song is so incredibly dark and hypnotic, it will take you on a journey somewhere filled with smoke machines and flickering strobe lights. “Innocence” is from Mexican band Acid Fader’s full-length debut, and it’s filled with pulsating synths and lingering vocals that make the track feel pitch black.

32 Culture Kultur – “Alone”
Spanish futurepop band Culture Kultur released their fifth album way back in January 2019. The album is titled Humanity, and there’s a grenade on the cover, so clearly they have some concerns about the world we live in. Tracks like “Alone” and “Refugee” have remained in my rotation all year long.

31 Black Marble – “One Eye Open”
The opening notes of Black Marble’s “One Eye Open” feel artificial and cold, but there’s a warmness that arrives with Chris Stewart’s understated, almost lisping vocals. The chorus has a great hook, “People like to see one eye open … every time,” though I haven’t the slightest idea what he means by that.

30 SITD – “Drowning in the Flame”
I have a weak spot for SITD songs performed by keyboardist Tom Lesczenski, who is also the voice of Future Lied to Us. Their 2005 song “Suffering in Solitude” is one of my favorite songs of all time. On the latest SITD album, Tom sings “Drowing in the Flame,” a dark and foreboding warning about global warming with a killer chorus.

29 Sweat Boys – “I Don’t Love You”
Wisconsin’s Sweat Boys appeared on my radar this year when they released a duet with Kite’s Nicklas Stenemos. That song, “Endlessly,” is lovely, but the rest of their Nervous Prayers EP deserves attention for its strong melodies and carefully crafted lyrics. “I Don’t Love You” may just be the perfect synthpop tune.

28 Bat for Lashes – “The Hunger”
There’s no shortage of good songs on the latest Bat for Lashes, a concept album inspired by ’80s teen horror movies like The Lost Boys. Vampire anthem “The Hunger” most blatantly references that movie with an organ that recalls Gerard McMann’s “Cry Little Sister” and lyrics like “off the bridges we fly” that should immediately conjure up images of Michael’s transformation.

27 Eisfabrik – “And Nothing Turns”
German futurepop band Eisfabrik turned down the tempo for their latest single, and the result is a sad, contemplative electro ballad with lyrics that gut. There’s also a club mix if you prefer your Eisfabrik on the dancefloor.

26 Null Device – “And I Fall”
When the chorus arrives on “And I Fall,” it sounds like Null Device has employed a full children’s choir to deliver the song’s lyrics. It’s a moment of pure synthpop brilliance.

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