2019 has been a pretty eventful year for me. Between taking on multiple jobs and the other things associated with just being, I have had a hell of a time trying to focus on this little blog. One saving grace for me was that I finally caved in and decided to ride the streaming wave. I wanted to take my listening to another level and having the luxury of just playing an album whenever I want was very freeing.
With the help of a streaming music service, I was able to listen to more music than ever before. All of which, I guess, made making a list like this such a daunting task.
I try not to be swayed by what websites or publications write. More often than not, the music that is focused there is not much to my liking. What I am swayed by, however, is the opinions of people I know. If a friend suggests an album and I like it, it’s gonna rank high for me.
All that to say, I based my rankings on how much I like the album and how much I think I will keep returning to said album. Replay value holds high regard to me, so basically these are my favorite albums of the year as of right now.
Also, every time I make lists like this I tend to quote the Dude from The Big Lebowski.
So, without further delay, here are my favorite albums of 2019 (that I listened to).
20. Brittany Howard, Jaime
This debut solo album from the dynamic Brittany Howard is everything you would expect if you are a fan of her work from Alabama Shakes and Thunderbitch. Songs such as “Stay High“, “He Loves Me”, and “Georgia” are sure to make you move, no matter where you are. Some of the more soulful tracks are gutting and absolutely necessary listens. Love, loss, and the ugliness of hatred are all addressed here. Ultimately, the album provides a guide to living through these troubling times, and as repeated many, many times on “13th Century Metal”, “We are ALL brothers and sisters… Give in to love.”
19. Denzel Curry, Zuu
I found out about Denzel Curry earlier this year with his powerful version of Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” and was a fan immediately. The presentation from the album’s cover to how the way everything sounds feels like it could have come out when I started getting into hip hop in 1992. Crushing beats and instrumentation that balances paying homage to rap without being a nostalgic gimmick plus the aggressiveness of everything in 2019 makes Zuu an album I will probably return to for years to come.
18. (Sandy) Alex G, House of Sugar
Not going to lie, the opening seconds of “Walk Away” almost made me want to skip listening to this album altogether. It just hit me in a way akin to bumping your funny bone while holding onto something. Thankfully for me, the first moments were only seconds long and it led itself to a swelling, atmospheric album full of rhythm and eerie sounds that would fit in seamlessly onto a record from The Knife. Everything on this album is darkly beautiful and vulnerable and I feel as though I still haven’t given House of Sugar enough play yet, as I’m discovering something new every time I play it through.
17. Folk Physics, Vanishing Point
I have already professed my love for this album and artist already, but it is with very good reason – Vanishing Point is an incredible record. Vanishing Point is essentially the soundtrack to a movie that I haven’t yet seen, but will love once the theater lights dim. Plus, getting to see these song performed live is always a treat to witness and I’m looking forward to seeing some Folk Physics live.
16. Mosa Wild, Talking in Circles EP
Talking in Circles clocks in at eighteen minutes and not a second is wasted on this effort. If this is what is in store for this band, I’m all in and buying early. The songs are produced in a way that begs to be played loud in a big space. Mosa Wild’s epically big sound at this early stage is something to cherish and I am eagerly anticipating what’s next. Hopefully some live shows stateside are on the horizon in 2020. Until then, Talking in Circles will be in heavy rotation. Also, check out their fabulous cover of Sharon Van Etten’s “Comeback Kid”.
(For albums 15-11, click here)