(Sandy) Alex G performs for his fans. Photo from pmstudio.com
With the decade coming to a close, 2019 has easily been one of the best years for music in quite a long time. It’s always refreshing to see artists that take risks and boldly go where no musician has gone before, and this year provided that in spades. That being said, here are my 10 favorite albums of this past year:
- “Charli” by Charli XCX – The growth Charli XCX has seen this decade since her humble beginnings in boring millennial pop has been staggering to say the least, and her latest team up with PC Music’s A.G. Cook is easily her best yet. She has simply become one of this decade’s definitive voices in forward-thinking pop music with her wild experimentation and willingness to take risks. This is hands down one of the best pop albums of the decade, but I’m not sure if that means this decade or the next one.
BEST SONGS: “Gone,” “Silver Cross” and “2099”
- “Igor” by Tyler, The Creator – Fresh off the heels of “Flower Boy,” his most critically acclaimed album yet, Tyler outdoes himself yet again. Exploring the ups and downs of a tumultuous relationship, Tyler’s embrace of lavish production pairs well with the raw emotion displayed through his lyrics. This album has cemented Tyler as one of this decade’s cultural icons.
BEST SONGS: “New Magic Wand”, “A Boy is a Gun” and “Earfquake”
- “Schlagenheim” by Black Midi – Critically acclaimed across the board, the debut album from this London experimental rock band has already established Black Midi as one of the most exciting new groups. This group combines the off-kilter time signatures of math rock and the raw edge of post-punk to create the wildest listening experience you will have all year.
BEST SONGS: “953,” “Near DT, MI” and “Of Schlagenheim”
- “Come In” by Weatherday – Yet another stellar debut, the first album from Swedish lo-fi indie rockers Weatherday is an emotional gut-punch. Despite being recorded on a Sony headset microphone, Weatheday is still able to pack plenty of resonant personality that most bands with huge studio recordings never could. This album is a lo-fi achievement.
BEST SONGS: “My Sputnik Sweetheart,” “Mio Min Mio” and “Cut Lips”
- “Magdalene” by FKA twigs – Despite replacing traditional producer Arca with Nicolas Jaar, FKA twigs is still able to prove how versatile she is as a pop artist.
BEST SONGS: “Cellophane” (best song of the year), “Sad Day” and “Fallen Alien”
- “1000 gecs” by 100 gecs – This record is nothing but mind-melting fun. The debut collaboration between Dylan Brady and Laura Les is a foray into genres like pop, glitch, dubstep and even ska; carving out a lane for themselves very few pop acts have. It’s wacky to say the least, but it’s definitely the most I’ve enjoyed an album all year.
BEST SONGS: “Ringtone,” “Stupid Horse” and “Money Machine”
- “House of Sugar” by (Sandy) Alex G – I’ve never been a fan of (Sandy) Alex G in the past, but his latest record absolutely won me over. An adventurous and psychedelic indie-folk album at every turn, (Sandy) Alex G improves his songwriting tenfold for a truly wonderful listening experience.
BEST SONGS: “Gretel,” “Southern Sky” and “Hope”
- “Titanic Rising” by Weyes Blood – After collaborating in the shadows with indie darlings like Perfume Genius, Ariel Pink and Father John Misty, it was a matter of time before Weyes Blood dropped a killer album herself, and she knocked it out of the park. This is an essential spacey pop experience that only gets better with every listen.
BEST SONGS: “Everyday,” “Andromeda” and “Movies”
- “Guns” by Quelle Chris – Veteran hip-hop wordsmith Quelle Chris delivers his most politically poignant release thus far in his vast catalog, bringing his idiosyncratic flow and clever wordplay to new heights. For fans of jazzy and low-key rap music, Quelle Chris hits all of the right buttons and continues to be one of the most compelling faces in the underground scene.
BEST SONGS: “Obamacare,” “Mind Ya Bidness” and “Box of Wheaties”
- “Infest The Rat’s Nest” by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – King Gizzard proves once again that there is no genre they will not try, now diving into the high-octane world of thrash metal. With songs that have this much fast-paced flare and heavy guitar riffs galore, you would think they had been doing this for years.
BEST SONGS: “Self-Immolate,” “Organ Farmer” and “Mars For The Rich”