If you’re any bit like the rest of us, it’s taken no more than three months for your ambitious New Year’s resolution to go spiraling down the drain.

There’s no need to dwell on petty failures, but let’s face it – the aspirations we convince ourselves will make this year different are the result of a new year’s conceptual threshold stirring up exhilarating thoughts of some broadly mystifying genesis. We trick ourselves into thinking we’re at the beginning, when in reality we’re ironically reminding ourselves that, in relation to our goals, we aren’t at the end. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; sudden inspiration for improvement has its ups and downs. Musically speaking however, the songs produced over the year’s first several months embody those same hopeful ideals that embolden our sudden thirst for change.

For many, the new year brings renewal, reform, and zealous optimism. Songs like Frances Luke Accord’s “Call You Mine” find opportunity in newfound vulnerability, citing uncharacteristic openness as a catalyst for love’s longevity. Fearless voices like Stella Donnelly are also calling for drastic changes, but Donnelly is doing so in a much more aggressive manner. The confident Australian dedicated her new album Beware of the Dogs to the downfall of the misogynous patriarchy, a powerful concept of societal reconstruction now more commonly championed than ever. Other sleeping giants like Vampire Weekend and Isbells are emerging from their dormancy and stepping onto a pedestal of preceding fame, boldly claiming 2019 to be the year of their glorified return.

While some artists are excited for this season of newness, others are doing anything they can to prevent change and keep their weak dependencies intact. Valley’s ballad titled “A Phone Call In Amsterdam” is a perfect example, expressing feeble positivity in a long distance relationship because of its uplifting, uncertain promise of eventual togetherness. Delacey’s philosophy on difficult relationships is much more foreboding as she pleads with an intimidating antagonist “Bitch don’t steal my man, he’s got a weakness for girls like you.” Both approaches to change are apprehensive yet provocative, thus speaking to the impending catharsis that comes hand-in-hand with overwhelming anxiety.

More than anything, the beginning of the year is unavoidably cold and dark, casting a shadow of mental exhaustion that only spring can remedy. If songs like Isbells’ “Tired”, Lauv & Troye Sivan’s “i’m so tired…”, or Better Oblivion Community Center’s “Sleepwalkin'” aren’t enough proof of that palpable fatigue, keep your ears open for the season’s sullen undertones. Acoustic, reflective, and independent singer/songwriters like Iron & Wine, Dan Sultan, and Para Alta dominate winter’s waning months, providing a safe space for dispirited emotions to fester.

No matter what ambitions are defining your 2019, there’s always a song (or playlist) to soundtrack the journey those ambitions are destined to take you on. With that in mind, the following playlist contains 30 of my favorite songs released over the past three months. As always, the songs are in no particular order with a restriction of only one song per artist. Here’s to hoping some of these songs tie into whatever adventures 2019 has in store for you.

If you’re just joining the party now, boy did you miss one hell of a year in music. Get caught up in last year’s madness by exploring the best songs 2018 had to offer here: FeenyFaves – Top 100 Songs of 2018

If you’d prefer to dive into the work of particular 2018 authority figures, listen to entire albums from front to back, and get a light read in, 2018’s top albums might be a better proverbial horse for you to back. Check out the albums that dominated last year in the post: FeenyFaves – Top 10 Albums of 2018