The 20 Best Songs We Heard In January Stream our favorite songs of the month in the first installment of a new series by NPR Music.
NPR logo The 20 Best Songs We Heard In January

The 20 Best Songs We Heard In January

Vampire Weekend, Lizzo and Lana Del Rey released some of our favorites songs of the month. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

Vampire Weekend, Lizzo and Lana Del Rey released some of our favorites songs of the month.

Courtesy of the artists

Welcome to the first in our new series of roundups highlighting the best new songs of each month. January is often a slow time for releases, as labels and artists come off the holidays and start to tease bigger projects on the horizon. But the first month of this year still delivered plenty of memorable and surprising tracks. Singer Lana Del Rey, known for her lush, layered arrangements, released a devastatingly spare track about holding on to hope in times of darkness; Australian singer Stella Donnelly's "Old Man" gives a wink and a smile while eviscerating lecherous men; rapper J. Cole's "Middle Child" takes on the glorification of drug use, a capricious music industry and all the haters who doubted him.

Stream our 20 songs from January below or on Spotify, and be sure to check out the best albums we heard in January over here.

The 20 Best Songs We Heard In January

Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet
Loma Vista

Andrew Bird, "Sisyphus"

  • from My Finest Work Yet
YouTube
James Blake, Assume Form
Polydor

James Blake, "Where's The Catch?" (feat. André 3000)

  • from Assume Form
YouTube
Cover for Bett

Better Oblivion Community Center, "Dylan Thomas"

  • from Better Oblivion Community Center
YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Bett
Album
Bett
Artist
Better Oblivion Community Center
Label
Dead Oceans
Released
2019

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J. Cole, "Middle Child"
Dreamville

J. Cole, "MIDDLE CHILD"

  • from MIDDLE CHILD
YouTube
Cover for hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it

Lana Del Rey, "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it"

  • from hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it
YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it
Album
hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it
Artist
Lana Del Rey
Released
2019

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for Beware Of The Dogs

Stella Donnelly, "Old Man"

  • from Beware Of The Dogs
YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Beware Of The Dogs
Album
Beware Of The Dogs
Artist
Stella Donnelly
Label
Secretly Canadian
Released
2019

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for Music Inspired By the Film Roma

Billie Eilish, "WHEN I WAS OLDER"

  • from Music Inspired By the Film Roma
YouTube

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Song
Music Inspired By the Film Roma
Album
Music Inspired By the Film Roma
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Sony
Released
2019

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Frank García y su Son Samario, "Pequeñas Poesías"
EM

Frank García y su Son Samario, "Pequeñas Poesías"

  • from Pequeñas Poesías
YouTube
Girlpool, What Chaos Is Imaginary
Anti-

Girlpool, "What Chaos Is Imaginary"

  • from What Chaos Is Imaginary
YouTube

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Song
What Chaos Is Imaginary
Album
What Chaos Is Imaginary
Artist
Girlpool
Label
Anti-
Released
2019

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Injury Reserve, "Jawbreaker"
Loma Vista

Injury Réserve, "Jawbreaker" (feat. Rico Nasty & Pro Teens)

  • from Jawbreaker
YouTube
Little Simz, "Selfish"
Age 101 Music

Little Simz, "Selfish" (feat. Cleo Sol)

  • from Selfish
YouTube
Lizzo, "Juice"
Atlantic

Lizzo, "Juice"

  • from Juice
YouTube
Garrick Ohlsson
Hyperion

Garrick Ohlsson, Intermezzo Op 117: No 2 in B flat minor

  • from Brahms: Late Piano Works

This song is not available on streaming services. The song can be downloaded here.

Cover for Phoenix

Pedro The Lion, "Quietest Friend"

  • from Phoenix
YouTube

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Song
Phoenix
Album
Phoenix
Artist
Pedro The Lion
Label
Polyvinyl Records
Released
2019

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Cover for The Seduction of Kansas

Priests, "The Seduction Of Kansas"

  • from The Seduction of Kansas
YouTube

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Song
The Seduction of Kansas
Album
The Seduction of Kansas
Artist
Priests
Label
Sister Polygon
Released
2019

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Caroline Spence, Long Haul / Mint Condition
Rounder

Caroline Spence, "Mint Condition"

  • from Long Haul / Mint Condition
YouTube
Cover for Outer Peace

Toro y Moi, "Fading"

  • from Outer Peace
YouTube

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Song
Outer Peace
Album
Outer Peace
Artist
Toro y Moi
Label
Carpark
Released
2019

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Vampire Weekend, Harmony Hall / 2021
Sony

Vampire Weekend, "Harmony Hall"

  • from Harmony Hall / 2021
YouTube
Joy Williams, Front Porch
Sensibility Recordings

Joy Williams, "Front Porch"

  • from Front Porch
YouTube
Nilufer Yanya, "In Your Head"
ATO

Nilüfer Yanya, "In Your Head"

  • from In Your Head
YouTube

Follow The Playlist On Spotify