|music of 2019 ranked|
So 2019 is wrapping up and it was a decent year overall for music. Here are my favorites of the year
What an assume year it was for Big Thief as they released not one but two well deserved critically acclaimed albums. For me I give the nod to this one as my favorite album of the year. I found myself constantly returning to this disc almost every day since its release. Adrienne Lenker and company deliver a strong set of lush folk songs. My favorite track is the delicate folk of “Cattails”. Everything about it is great from the lyrics, the vocals, musicianship and the melody It has a very rustic feel to it as I can imagine Adrienne and the rest of the band on some back porch playing it. The title track is also a favorite with lyrics about an extraterrestrial friend that seems to be leaving Adrienne for good. It has dream pop vibe to match the subject matter. Then there is the song "Orange" a fragile folk song with only Adrienne on guitar. UFOF is Big Thief's best record to date.
Favorite songs: Cattails, UFOF and Orange
|2||Sharon Van Etten|
Remind Me Tomorrow
How do you return after a long hiatus during which you had a baby and starred in a TV show ? Well in the case of Sharon Van Etten you do an album that sounds different than your previous ones. The songs on Remind Me Tomorrow we’re done on Piano this time instead of guitars. The album Is more electronic oriented and it still sounds just as good as what she has done before. “Seventeen”, “Comeback Kid” and “Jupiter 4”, the album’s main singles, are catchy and features her most impassioned vocals. Then there is “No Ones Easy To Love”, the most underrated track on here. It has a throbbing bass line and stately synths anchoring her vocals. It’s a bold move on her part but she does manage to make it work.
Favorite songs: Seventeen, Stay, Comeback Kid and No Ones Easy To Love
I Am Easy to Find
I think it’s safe to say that the National rival Spoon in being one of the most consistent bands in music today. With this their eighth album they deliver another strong album with many highlights. From the skittering synths of the opener “You Had Your Soul with You” to the melancholic closer “Light Years” this is the National at the top of their game.
Favorite songs: Rylan, Oblivions, Not In Kansas and Hey Rosey
Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?
Even though it’s a slight step down from their previous releases, this album still has enough to recommend it. The album still shows the band’s ability to be experimental and accessible as well. Songs like the harpsichord laden opener “Death in Midsomer” and the shimmering synths of “Plains” still make this a worthwhile listen.
Favorite songs: Death in Midsomer, Plains and What Happens to People
With All Mirrors Angel Olsen continues to move away from the folk music of her earlier albums to go on to becoming a bonafide pop star. The songs on here feature grand orchestral production flourishes to make her songs shine. Of course all those touches would be for nothing if the songwriting was weak but luckily Angel is in fine form here.
Favorite songs: Lark, All Mirrors, Spring and New Love Cassette
Titanic Rising is an album that harks back to some of the singer songwriter albums of the seventies but while still retaining its own individuality. Natalie Mering aka Weyes Blood goes for a bold sound and it succeeds. From the celestial “Andromeda “ to the bouncy “Everyday” this an album that sparkles. But the real highlight here is the song “Movies” where her voice sounds like it’s soaring to the heavens over a bed of watery synths. It’s one of my favorite songs of the year. I can’t wait to see what she does next
Favorite song: Andromeda, Everyday and Movies
|7||Lana Del Rey|
Norman Fucking Rockwell!
I always liked Lana Del Rey's music but with this album I am now officially a fan. NFR is a sharp focused pop record of piano ballads, folk rock and exquisite psych pop all in one magnificent stew. With this album she officially solidifies her position as genuine master of pop songcraft.
Favorite song: Venice Bitch, Mariners Apartment Complex, Fuck it, I Love You
Closer to Grey
Since 2012’s “Kill For Love”, The Chromatics have been promising its follow up “Dear Tommy” for years now. However, in 2017 they destroyed all the copies of the album with promises of redoing it. Well this year they broke their silence by releasing a completely different album. “Closer to Grey” may not have been what we expected but it’s still a fine collection of the band’s dark synth pop. From the nocturnal pop of “Light as a Feather” to the R &B influenced “Touch Red” this is enough to tide us over.
Favorite songs: Touch Red, Twist the Knife and Closer to Grey
Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest
Bill Callahan has always been a reliable artist whose records never fail to disappoint. This hour long record is no exception as he delivers his most personal album whose songs deal with his new status as a husband and father. It's a profound piece of work that shows Callahan's growing maturity as a songwriter
Favorite songs: Watch Me Get Married, Call Me Anything, Angela and Circles
|10||Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds|
With Ghosteen Nick Cave rounds out a trilogy of albums that started with 2013’s Push The Sky Away. It’s a beautifully haunting record that deals with the tragic death of his son. The songs on this double album will definitely touch your soul and even make you ponder your place in the world.
Favorite songs: Waiting For You, Bright Horses, Ghosteen Speaks and Hollywood
A fine collection of songs by this punk band. Morbid Stuff is PUP's best record to date with some of their most confident set of songs. From the fiery title track to the introspective Scorpion Hill every song here is a highlight
Favorite songs: Morbid Stuff, Kids, Scorpion Hill & Bare Hands
Oh My God
Kevin Morby is another artist who released several great albums over the last decade. Oh My God is Morby’s most ambitious work to date that showcases his excellent songwriting abilities.
Favorite songs: No Halo, Piss River and Hail Mary
A wonderfully unique album by this L.A. based singer whose music is a glorious fusion of R & B mixed with her electrifying violin playing. The songs on here are some of the most gorgeous music that i heard all year. With Athena Sudan Archives establishes herself as an artist worth following.
Favorite song: Down On Me, Did You Know & Glorious
One Piece at a Time
The debut solo album by the Veils singer is a wonderful collection of songs set to piano, strings and other instrumentation. Songs like the lush “Al Pacino/Rise and Fall” and the bright “Spirit in the Flames” are elegant tracks that shows Andrews skills as a songwriter. It was unfortunate that this album didn’t get as many accolades as some of this year’s other releases which is a shame. It’s one of this year’s best albums
Favorite songs: Al Pacino/Rise and Fall, Spirit in the Flame and One by the Venom
The second album by Hannah Rodgers aka Pixx is an interesting piece of work. Where her debut dealt with issues of anxiety and other issues of a personal nature Small Mercies is a more outward looking album. Tracks like “Hysterical” and “Peanuts Grow Underground use sparkling synths to tackle issues of sexism and gender inequality. Small Mercies is an album that tackles big themes in an infectious way.
Favorite songs: Hysterical, Peanuts Grow Underground
Father Of The Bride
Their first album in six years is an eighteen song opus that expertly blends many musical styles such as R & B and country to give us their most vibrant album yet
Favorite songs: Harmony Hall, This Life, Married in a Gold Rush and Sunflower
A wonderful album of beautiful folk tunes that hark back to the sixties and seventies without coming across a mere imitation. Jessica Pratt has a voice that's pure as honey as she sings these wonderful hypnotic songs.
Favorite songs: Fare Thee Well, Poly Blue and Here My Love
The second album by this band is another set of muscular power pop. From the explosive opener “Blown to Bits” right until the blistering closer “The Truth” this is an album that will grab you and never let you go until the end.
Favorite songs: Blown to Bits, Capacity and Young Enough
|19||Better Oblivion Community Center|
Better Oblivion Community Center
Solid collaboration between Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers. Both singers really worked well together and gave us a number of memorable songs from the Americana of “Service Road” to the ultra catchy “Dylan Thomas”. Here is hoping that they get the chance to work with each other again.
Favorite song: Dylan Thomas, Service Road and Big Black Heart
On Springsteen’s nineteenth album he delivers a set of songs that evoke wide open roads and others images of the West. It’s a record with wide screens appeal that recalls the 60s music of Southern California.
Favorite songs: Hello Sunshine, Western Stars and The Wayfarer
Atlanta Millionaires Club
Third album by this singer-songwriter is a wonderful collection of languid folk that also incorporates elements of R & B to create an album of memorable songs.
Favorite songs: Room Temperature, Kingston, Pigeon and Come to Atlanta
Bird Songs of a Killjoy
Another artist who followed up a well received debut with an even better second album. A wonderful folk album combining gentle melodies, deft songwriting and great singing this is one of the best folk albums of 2019
Favorite songs: Echo Park, Bird, One more time and Dizzy
Bob Mould proves once again that despite being over 50 he can rock out harder than people half his age. Sunshine Rock is another strong album full of his signature loud but still melodic power pop.
Favorite songs: Sunshine Rock, Camp Sunshine, What Do You Want Me to Do
Every year there is always that one record that surprises me and becomes one of my favorites of the year. The prize this year goes to this wonderful debut by Sasami. It’s an album of catchy Dream pop with subtle hooks and lush atmosphere from an artist worth watching.
Favorite songs: Free, At Hollywood, Morning Comes
Shorter in length then previous releases the newest album by the Swans is a hypnotic collection of songs that never get too abrasive. The songs here unfold at a much calmer pace with arrangements that still sound hypnotic as ever. With this album the Swans end this decade on a high note.
Favorite song: Leaving Meaning The Nub
Ode to Joy
|28||(Sandy) Alex G|
House Of Sugar
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1
What Chaos Is Imaginary
The Center Won’t Hold
|34||Hiss Golden Messenger|
Terms of Surrender
Beware Of The Dogs
American Football (LP3)
Even in the Tremor
|40||The Japanese House|
Good At Falling
|42||The Mountain Goats|
In League With Dragons
|44||Belle and Sebastian|
Days Of The Bagnold Summer
|47||The Twilight Sad|
It Won/t Be Like This All the Time
Tip of the Sphere
Run Around the Sun
|59||Guided by Voices|
Zeppelin Over China
Beyond The Door
Close It Quietly
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 2
|66||The New Pornographers|
In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
The Seduction of Kansas
Gold Past Life
This (is what I wanted to tell you)
|72||Of Monsters and Men|
Don't You Think You've Had Enough
|75||The Black Keys|
|76||Amyl and the Sniffers|
Amyl and the Sniffers
Forever Turned Around
This Mess Is a Place
|80||The Hold Steady|
Thrashing Thru the Passion
Only you can see It
|82||The Head And The Heart|
Now We Are Timeless
|85||The Tallest Man on Earth|
I Love You. It's a Fever Dream.
My Finest Work Yet
|89||The Murder Capital|
When I Have Fears
Release the Dogs
|93||A Winged Victory for the Sullen|
The Undivided Five
|95||Death And Vanilla|
Are You a Dreamer?
|96||Cate Le Bon|
|97||Fat White Family|
|100||Slaughter Beach, Dog|
Safe And Also No Fear
The Big Freeze