As December begins, it becomes clear that the end of 2019 is approaching us very fast. Now, you may be wondering why I am releasing this blog post now considering December releases are still to come. I decided to leave of December releases since there is only a few that I know about and I don’t want my bias towards certain artists to affect my current listing of albums. So, I decided I would omit December releases for now and maybe edit some into the list at a later date if I feel the need too. Although, I am satisfied with my current top 20 favourites from the rest of the eleven months of this year that have flown by.
This year in music has been one for the books with some really innovative and exciting music being released. From experimental pop to soulful R&B, we have been introduced to to new styles, new artists and a new wave of music that distances itself from the restriction of genre labelling. Australian music has never been better with some seriously underrated albums being produced in my home country throughout this year, which is always a treat. There is nothing better than finding amazing home grown talent! 2019 served us with a stunning Netflix documentary which was soon accompanied by a live album from the one and only Beyoncé! The Homecoming album was a phenomenal work of art and is an album I was going to include on this list but I had so many albums I wanted to include that I decided to restrict the list to only those albums with new released music. In saying that, the Homecoming album deserves all the praise it can get and in any other case would receive a spot on this list. Two other albums not featured that also deserve a mention are James Blake’s Assume Form and King Princess’ Cheap Queen. Neither of which I have listened to completely and taken enough time to appreciate them and so I can’t accurately place them on this list, although from what I have heard I am a big fan!
Overall, this year introduced me to more new artists than I have ever been introduced too before. It was a journey that was quite transformative in the sense that I certainly found some new favourite artists who I will be keeping tabs on from now on. With the discovery of these new artists, my taste in music was able to become more developed and specific this year, becoming in my own personal opinion, more sophisticated. I became more critical of albums and gave higher praise to those which I loved. Thus, my love of music only grew stronger and became more apparent this year and I really hope that trend continues as we venture into 2020.
Below, are from 20th-1st, the top albums for me that really stood out and my favourite songs from each (of the top 10)! I also have only written my thoughts/commented on the top ten. Feel free to comment or shoot me a message if you agree, or if you have any albums you believe I left off or you think should of been higher/lower! Thanks for all the recent support, I am so grateful.
Honourable Mentions (11-20):
20. Maren Morris – GIRL
19. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
18. Summer Walker – Over It
17. Thelma Plum – Better in Blak
16. Stella Donnelly – Beware of The Dogs
15. Tyler The Creator – IGOR
14. Vampire Weekend – The Father of The Bride
13. Carly Rae Jepson – Dedicated
12. Billie Eilish – WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO
11. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)
10. Kehlani – While We Wait
Kehlani’s voice is one that I could listen to on repeat for hours (and, well, I did – if you check my Spotify statistics for 2019). I truely believe this album has no skips. Her lyrics are relatable, emotionally charged yet put so simply in her songs in a way that works perfectly. There is something undeniably soothing about her voice and the harmonies and instruments that back it up, which is why I chose her album to join my top 10 albums of the year!
- Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy)
- RPG (feat 6LACK)
- Too Much
Top Ten (10-1):
9. Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next
Thank U, Next is true testament to Ariana’s best qualities as an artist. On her most personal album yet, Ariana mixes emotionally vulnerability, catchy lyrics and stellar vocal range together to create one of my favourite pop albums of this 2019. She has opened herself up to personal introspection on this album but also to the increased public scrutiny that has come with her rising success. Yet, many thing remain; her dedication, passion for her craft, fierce attitude and ability to make hit after hit. She is a force to be reckoned with and she isn’t going anywhere.
- 7 Rings
- Bad Idea
8. Solange – When I Get Home
Solange has managed to captivate me with every piece of music she creates. Her incredibly unique style, selected instruments and vocals are something that I don’t see any other musician doing quite like she does. She doesn’t follow tradition and creates her own path, while celebrating her culture and ethnicity and it is wonderful to watch.
- Stay Flo
7. Clairo – Immunity
Clairo began her songwriting journey with her viral hit ‘Pretty Girl’ but this album goes so far above and beyond her lo-fi roots and proves she is just getting started. Her experimental style and innovative use of autotune on this album was unexpected and a very pleasant surprise. The album is authentic, vulnerable, emotional and gives a taste of the different sides of Clairo by providing an intimate look into the kind of musician Claire Cottrill wants to embody. Her ability to connect with youth and portray teen angst in such a sophisticated way should have been praised far more than it was. I love this album and I think it deserves far more exposure!
6. FKA Twigs – MAGDALENE
The most recent release on this list and one that completely blew me away on the first listen. I haven’t been a huge fan of FKA Twigs in the past, more-so because I found it difficult to really engage with her music style. However, upon listening to this album, I have seriously discovered a newfound love of the raw and powerful emotions that radiate from her music and particularly through this album. The sheer level of innovation in her writing and production is impeccable and is at its peak on MAGDELENE.
- Sad Day
- Mary Magdalene
- Holy Terrain (feat. Future)
5. Charli XCX – Charli
The future of pop did not come to play this year, releasing her hotly anticipated ‘Charli’ album. Let me just say; the expectations were met. I loved this album. Charli is another artist who is in her own lane producing, writing and creating incredibly innovative pieces of music. Her choice of collaborators is another win, as she chooses some of the best up and coming artists or those who are creating unique art likewise to herself. Charli is an exiting, fun, genius album that has songs for every mood. It most certainly was one of my most listened to, if not the most listened to album on my Spotify for 2019.
- Gone (feat. Christine and the Queens)
- Shake It (feat. Big Freedia, Brooke Candy, Pabllo Vittar, CupcakKe)
- February 2017 (feat. Clairo, Yaeji)
- Silver Cross
4. Taylor Swift – Lover
Taylor sheds her snake skin on Lover and spreads her wings as a newly formed butterfly. She lets go of grudges, moves on, falls in love and creates an album that showcases not only her love but the many different forms of it. One of the most prolific and relatable songwriters of our generation. I love her and this album to pieces. I have already done a massive in depth thoughts on Lover and why I love it so much, so I won’t repeat myself – if you would like to check that out, click here.
- The Man
- Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince
- Cornelia Street
3. Bon Iver – i,i
Bon Iver is one of my favourite songwriters of all time. He creates incredible pieces of art with his music. He knows how to manipulate music and create unique, beautiful and sophisticated sounds and lyrics that provide commentary on many aspects of life. His new album, while not the best of his discography offers up another incredible collection of songs. I am always in awe of how Justin Vernon creates these pieces and what goes through his mind when doing so. His voice is featured heavily in these tracks which only adds to the vulnerability he expresses in this music. These songs act as a sort of catharsis, with spectacular production and poignant lyrics. A+ from me!
- Hey, Ma
2. Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life
Where do I start? Well, going into this album, I honestly was not expecting much. Maggie Rogers was not a name I was very familiar with. Let me tell you that now I cannot get enough of her. From the moment I heard Light On, I was mesmerised. Maggie’s unique voice captivated me in a way that only a few other albums have done in recent years. Every song on the album is a lyrical and vocal masterpiece. Heard It In A Past Life is about discovery, self reflection, empowerment and tells a different story with each song. There is a song for every occasion on this album and I mean it. This album is for everyone and anyone. So dance your heart out (as Maggie demonstrates how to do beautifully in her music videos), laugh generously and be fearless in the pursuit of love! I could rave about this album for hours. It is worth every second of your time.
- Give A Little
- Back In My Body
1. Lana Del Rey – Norman F**king Rockwell
With probably the strongest lyrics she’s ever written, Lana Del Rey steps into a new era and one that will hopefully lead her to her first Grammy win/s. Norman F**king Rockwell is a pure masterpiece. The album feels minimalistic and yet still effortlessly sophisticated with rich cultural commentary on America and the state of affairs right now. This is her boldest shift yet, from her former patriotic, sad, American girl persona she had built so strongly during her early albums. However, in the shift she not once looses her undeniable uniqueness and vintage style. There is something transformative about the way each song on this album is written and produced that make it hard to turn away. Aside from the deeper side of the album, on a surface level, her ability to craft a perfect love song is emphasised ten fold on this album. The album portrays, on an intimate level, the emotional mess, the heartache, infatuation and complications that surround love. I can’t help but want to analyse each song individually. I adore this album with my whole heart and for that reason it is my number one album of 2019.
- Doin’ Time
- Cinnamon Girl
- Mariners Apartment Complex
- Love Song
- Venice Bitch