TIME put together a list of what they consider to be the very best podcasts of 2019. TIME noted that some of the best podcasts in 2019 focused on topics such as the ramifications of slavery, companies that imploded, and celebrities who passed away this year. As such, TIME points out that all of the podcasts on their list indulge in nostalgia.
TIME’s Top Ten Podcasts of 2019 are:
Number one: 1619
This podcast accompanies the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 project. It is hosted by New York Times writer Nikole Hannah Jones, who focuses on what happened after the frigate White Lion brought slavery to America.
Number two: You’re Wrong About
Hosted by journalists Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, who re-examine stories about Tonya Harding or O.J. Simpson, to find surprising new angles.
Number three: Blank Check With Griffin and David
Hosts Griffin Newman and David Sims examine the filmography of one director at a time. One of the highlights of their podcast was when they focused on the films of Hayao Miyasaki.
Number four: Last Days of August
Jon Ronson, creator of the Audible Original The Butterfly Effect, delves into the story of an adult film star named August Ames who died by suicide after writing a controversial tweet. He produced a nuanced and considered portrait of August Ames, and her relationship with an industry that both worshipped and abused her.
Number five: Moonface
This podcast is a fiction podcast about a Korean American son named Joel Kim Booster who wants to come out to his mom, Esther Moon, but can’t because they don’t speak the same language. TIME notes that the cinematic soundscape of James Kim’s fiction podcast immediately draws the listener into the dive bars of Downey, California.
Number Six: Decoder Ring
Slate critic Willa Paskin explores a bizarre and delightful cultural phenomenon each month, from “Baby Shark” to Chuck E. Cheese, to try and understand why people become obsessed by seemingly arbitrary touchstones.
Number Seven: Scattered
Scattered is from WNYC Studios. Comedian Chris Garcia sets out to discover the truth about his dad, a man who survived Castro’s labor camps only to lose his way in search of the American dream.
Number Eight: Conan O’Brian Needs a Friend
This podcast is from Earwolf and Team Coco. The premise is that Conan O’Brian discovers that he doesn’t have any friends, despite doing thousands of interviews with celebrity guests. The way he tries to remedy that situation is to start a podcast designed to help him make friends.
Number Nine: Mobituaries with Mo Rocca
CBS Correspondant Mo Rocca hosts a podcast about death that is surprisingly fun. Each episode is a eulogize of a different person or thing. He approaches each subject earnestly and curiously, inviting famous people to provide their unique insights.
Number ten: Spectacular Failures
Host Lauren Ober recounts the epic meltdowns of companies like MoviePass and Toys “R’ Us, with a healthy dose of skepticism. She exposes the “failing up” culture that pervades Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the White House.