Dec 20, 2019

SoundHound Picks – Top 5 Music Performances of 2019

Written by David Ngo

With every passing year comes an entire catalog of fresh new music performances by all the trending and talented artists — whether they be major comebacks, one-time throwbacks, or new singers ready to take the spotlight. Of course, 2019 was no different. Many artists shared uplifting messages and performed inspiring shows, while others were less exhilarating and failed to capture their audiences.

To celebrate all the music of 2019, we created our annual end-of-year playlists. Whether you’re a music aficionado or a casual listener, this list will get you up-to-date and help you discover the most SoundHounded songs of the last 365 days. This year, we took our list a bit further and scoured the broadcasted or streamed live performances of 2019 to create our list of what we thought were the shining highlights. So, in no particular order, let’s take a dive into the most popular live music performances of the year.

1. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper at the Oscars

If you haven’t watched the Oscar-nominated film “A Star is Born,” then you are missing out on a soundtrack that provides an unforgettable range of ballads, club pop, and country-rock. Not to mention a heart-wrenching melodrama akin to old films from the silver screen era. Lady Gaga has pipes, yes, but who knew Bradley Cooper could sing? Their duet of the most popular song from the film, “Shallow,” during the Oscars looked as elegant as it sounded. In fact, the intimacy between them seemed so genuine that people started speculating about a budding romance!

Of course, the most important takeaway from this particular performance is this: Lady Gaga had the spotlight. Her vocal partner was there to do his part and look utterly handsome. She played the piano, powered through her notes, and took the stage by storm. She was the powerhouse and he provided supporting vocals.

2. BTS on The Voice Live Finale

The seven-member K-Pop boy band made their U.S. debut during the American Music Awards in 2017 and has been taking the country by storm ever since. They topped the Billboard charts, gained an already rapidly growing fanbase in America, and were even featured in Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the world. It’s no wonder that they have continued to perform throughout the U.S. and other countries in the most famous of venues, including “Saturday Night Live.”

What we loved most was their live performance of, “Boys with Luv” on “The Voice” 2019 season finale. The great vocals and physically demanding dance moves were mesmerizing. We were colored impressed from the get-go. Hopefully, they will continue to get the positive recognition they deserve. Look for them on this list next year.

3. Lizzo at the Video Music Awards

Admittedly, we have gushed about Lizzo before. But let’s just say we have absolutely every reason to continue gushing over her this year. Lizzo is someone who represents two things: persistence and self-confidence. Her songs spread nothing but positive messages about self-love. The fact that it took her more than a few years to get where she is now, just goes to show the value of perseverance.

Her performance at the 2019 MTV Music Awards of Truth Hurts & Good as Hell were exactly that. Even as she was singing, she went on to tell the audience, “I want you to take this opportunity right now to feel good as hell. Because you deserve to feel good as hell.” Who wouldn’t want to bring that energy into the new year? Lizzo is a ball of sunshine and positivity, and that’s something we could always use a little more of.

4. Missy Elliott at the VMAs

Famed rapper Missy Elliott made one of the strongest comebacks this year with a brand new EP

— after over a decade of not releasing anything new. After that large window of time, you can imagine how excited fans were for her big return. And of course, she took advantage of all the hype by performing her best hits at the 2019 VMAs.

A medley of “The Rain,” “Hot Boyz,” “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It,” “Pass That Dutch,” and “Lose Control,” was accompanied by some familiar visuals from the music videos of those songs. It was nostalgia at its finest, and we couldn’t be more satisfied with what she brought back to the stage.

5. Lil Nas X at CMA Fest

This list wouldn’t be complete without the new king of Country, Lil Nas X. His journey from just a regular college kid to #1 on the country charts within a year is absolutely fascinating to say the least. The various mixes and collaborations he’s done with his song, “Old Town Road,” have been spectacular.

It’s only fitting that he would perform at the Country Music Awards this year alongside the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus and Keith Urban. Undeniably, he is breaking barriers. And his energy during the performance was beyond infectious.

BONUS: “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé”

We really wanted to place this on the list, even though it technically happened last year during Coachella 2018 — despite the film itself being released in 2019. Still, this concert film documenting Beyoncé’s process is simply beautiful and inspiring. Getting the artist’s perspective, discovering what she had to do in order to orchestrate a triumphant return, and simply enjoying the performance itself are all reasons to watch it.

The fact that the entire show was recorded as a live album that dropped alongside the film was like adding one more cherry to the absolutely flavor-packed sundae. If you’re looking to watch a beyond-impressive musical performance, and the process it takes to get there, we suggest “Homecoming” on Netflix.

And that concludes the list of our favorite performances from 2019. It was difficult to choose only five (and we cheated a little at the end), but we believe this was the best mix of the old and the new that the industry had to offer this year.

If you want to suggest any other performances that moved you this year, you can send us a quick message on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. And if you can’t watch the videos for any reason, you can listen to our annual playlist on the SoundHound app!

David Ngo is a Silicon Valley-based writer who covers tech and culture. An avid story seeker, he has a strong disposition for heartfelt speeches and sarcasm.

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