Well, here we are. Not only another year, however, but the end of the decade. Although I was listening to NPR earlier today and I heard because we didn’t have a year zero, that the beginning of the decade should actually be considered, January 1st, 2021. The only rebuttal I heard is that it’s just easier to use the “year ending in zero” as the decade marker. Sounds like some shenanigans if you ask me. Maybe next year I’ll do a true decade list. Anyway, here are my top 20 albums from 2019.
20) Solange – When I Get Home
19) Big Thief – Two Hands
18) Blu – A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer
17) Jenny Lewis – On the Line
16) Pup – Morbid Stuff
15) Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
14) Better Oblivion Community Center – S/T
13) Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
12) Danny Brown – uknowhatimsayin¿
11) Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits
10) Tyler, The Creator – Igor
What you have before you is an angry man maturing in front of our very eyes. It started with Flower Boy which in my opinion is just slightly bit better than Igor. This album is a little more experimental which may turn some people off, but you can tell although abstract, it was very carefully perfected by a 28-year-old who can actually claim genius among his craft.
9) Drab Majesty – Modern Mirror
This one flew under the radar for most but for those who know, experienced something beyond just another electro-pop 80’s throwback. They got to experience something fresh with lyrics to rival any other 2019 release. Drab Majesty transcends quite a few genres of music, having toured with the likes of Deafheaven and Smashing Pumpkins. This self-proclaimed, “tragic-wave” artist should absolutely be on your radar.
8) Yola – Walk Through Fire
While writing this blurb I thought of the line, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Honestly, though, that’s below Yola. This English singer-songwriter is in a league of her own and has managed to captivate the Americana crowd with her first solo endeavor. This is for any fan of Country, folk, Americana, or just any singer-songwriter with an amazing voice to accompany.
7) Mannequin Pussy – Patience
I’m going to piss off some punk rock bands with this next statement, but this is by far and away, the best punk rock album of the year, and honestly, the best punk rock record since White Lung released, Paradise back in 2016. This album is devastatingly chaotic but also has this underlying soothing charm that adds this haunting narrative underneath the crushing facade creating a duality that is uniquely Mannequin Pussy. Don’t get scared away by the name of the band, this should be on every year-end list.
6) (Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
When somebody asks anybody if they like music, it’s always met with a response of, “well what kind of music,” or, “well I like this genre or that genre.” Alex Giannascoli the 26-year old who is the mastermind behind (Sandy) Alex G creates music for anybody and everybody. Blending together as eloquently as a Vitamix; indie-rock, folk, country, pop, and soul better than anybody I’ve ever heard before. In 2017 I reviewed Rocket as one of the best of the year and he gets even better in 2019 with House of Sugar.
5) Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
In the last several years I’ve seemed to include a few tragic releases on my top 10 lists of the year. David Bowie’s Blackstar, Leonard Cohen’s, You Want it Darker, and, A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie. I promise not to do this on purpose, and I can’t ignore the notion that these albums become more important or enhanced because of the tragedy surrounding. With The Self-Titled Purple Mountains album, the only Purple Mountains album there ever will be, I knew it would be a top ten contender within the first listen through. This powerful singer-songwriter releases a mindful trip into mental well-being while tackling some of the harsher aspects as such. Sadly, not long after the release of this album, David Berman, the musician and poet behind this project took his own life at 52 years of age.
4) Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Can anybody pass me a knife and fork? I need to eat this crow… That’s right, I have to be honest with myself. Not only is NFR from Lana Del Rey her best work, but it’s also a pop music masterpiece. I know I’m alone here thinking that most of her music has been vapid self-indulgent boring dribble because most people have always quite enjoyed her work. I was vehemently not one of them. Until I was convinced I needed to listen to NFR. This is Lana at her absolute deepest and sincere. Taking her usually breathy approach (which I still think Marissa Nadler does better) and turning a blisteringly honest overtone into a very enjoyable experience. Pass the ketchup, please!
3) Raphael Saadiq – Jimmy Lee
If you’ve ever gathered anything from these lists is that you’ll know I admire honesty within music. I have a pretty good ear for pandering nonsense and I weed it out as best as I can. Jimmy Lee from soul singer, Raphael Saadiq masters that idea, and brings to us the most honest album of 2019. Addiction and domestic issues plague this album that drives through the spectrum of genres with ease while Saadiq beautifully turns a dark and tragic album something we can gaze upon with beauty and awe. As I read other 2019 year-end lists I scream when I don’t see this.
2) Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
Just to clear it up, it’s pronounced like Wise Blood. Don’t sound like a doof like me and pronounce it wrong for months on end. Anyways, for a large chunk of the year, this was my clear cut record of 2019, until my number 1 came out. Don’t worry you’re almost there. This music is hauntingly beautiful, which I know is a ridiculously overused and cheesy phrase but this is the epitome of that phrase. Love within earshot of eternal doom. Some tracks I’ll even liken to the darker side of Abba (Abba is absolutely a tragically dark band). This beautifully complex, sobering painful album is worth every minute of your time and would have easily been my number one if it wasn’t for…
1)Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
When Olsen’s album, My Woman came out in 2016 I knew she had something special. I wrote in my review that it just seemed a little linear, it wasn’t fleshed out enough. Despite all that, she still delivered an absolute masterpiece and worthy of anybody’s year-end list. In 2019 however, as if she was listening to me directly, she releases this big, fleshed out, a grand piece of music that surely would go on my decade list as well. The lyrical content is deeper but still remains on par with struggling through life in modern-day America. A modern-day romantic genius without the cheese of most popular artists, Angel puts her authenticity on display over a lush 12 piece orchestra. This is not simply something I would recommend, this is something that I would implore you need in your life going into 2020.
So there we have it. Another year in the books! And according to, “the man” another decade. Hey guys down below you’ll find links to both of my best of 2019 playlists. Music for everybody, and of course, my Ranting Metal best of 2019 playlist! Which I also suppose is for everybody. On those playlists, you’ll find songs from the 20 albums and many, many more from 2019! Have fun listening!