Top 2019 albums
It’s been a crazy year for music! Expectations, letdowns and surprises abounded in 2019, and we’ve had a hell of a time taking it all in. At the end of everything, here’s a list of our very favorite albums. What’s your favorite from this year? Let us know in the comments.
Good At Falling by The Japanese House
Good At Falling is Amber Bain’s first full album released under her moniker The Japanese House. This album earns my top album of the year by growing and maturing the style developed in her singles and EPs. The unique, chill, alternative sound paired with honest takes on love and self throughout produces something poetic that can be listened to front-to-back on repeat. Personal favorites from the album are “Maybe You’re the Reason” and “You Seemed So Happy.”
— Jesse Allen
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish
My favorite album of 2019 is When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish, which was released in March. Billie included a balanced ratio of slow songs to upbeat songs, and each one elicits a different emotion from the listener. The soft, angelic quality of her voice contrasting with the dark undertones in her lyrics really sets her apart from other popular artists. It’s crazy to think that at 17 years old she is creating these amazing pieces, and her first hit single came out when she was only 13.
— Ainsley Cotherman
Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier
Hozier’s Wasteland, Baby! is an “alternative indie” album that offers an eclectic mix of folk, rock and roll, gospel, blues, and even a little bit of experimental vibes — making it a masterful work that speaks to the soul of music in ways that make you want to dance, weep, power-shout, and ultimately rejoice in the joy of life. His lyrics create pictures and feelings that take listeners from Harlem to Ireland to enchanted forests to wastelands, and the poetry in his words is so excellent that it can be closely analyzed and not found lacking (a quality absent in much of modern music today). Wasteland, Baby! focuses on love and hate, on empathy and apathy, on repression and desire, on darkness and death, and most vivaciously on the bittersweetness of life in surreal ways that not many artists can match. Hozier still writes in what often seems like confessional poetry (much like in his most recognized hit, “Take Me to Church,” from his previous album) that zooms in on religion and doubt and hurt, which can feel cathartic to many of his listeners. Do not pass up on listening to this piece of art that begins with a powerful gospel-style rock anthem and closes with a lovely end-of-the-world lullaby.
— Micaela Heinrich
The Great War by Sabaton
The third concept album by Sabaton, this rousing album is about the “war to end all wars” as it was called, World War I. They tell the stories of both sides, with songs about both individuals and the battles they participated in. The best song on the album, in my opinion, is “Fields of Verdun,” a song about the legendary battle which went on for over 300 days.
— Patrick Madden
All Mirrors by Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen’s most recent album All Mirrors blends Olsen’s traditional style of affected heartache with the richness of stringed instruments to express renewed independence. While still intimating details of past loves, Olsen uses the full power of her voice in these tracks to show strength. Listeners are able to relate to the vulnerabilities exposed in Olsen’s lyrics as well as the unrestrained pride she asserts with her vocals.
— Gabrielle Samia
It’s gotta be Bloodied / Unbowed. No other record this year has absolutely floored me like Oh, Sleeper’s latest has. The band lays bare intense internal struggles through masterful storytelling and adrenaline-fueled music that’s as emotive as it is aggressive. Months after its release, Bloodied / Unbowed holds up marvelously, as I’m sure it will for years to come.
— Levi Yager