CakeInTheRain206: 10 Favorite Albums of 2019

10 – [USA] by Anamanaguchi
I heard about this album from an Instagram post by one of my favorite artists, Porter Robinson.  I gave it a listen and fell in love.  It’s dance music.  It’s chiptune.  It’s music in the same vein as Kero Kero Bonito, Porter Robinison and Madeon.  I’m excited to see them when they come to the Crocodile in March.

9 – WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO by Billie Eilish
It’s hard to describe what makes this album so interesting.  It’s like a combination of the best versions of the music tropes of 2019.  At times it’s like listening to ASMR, while other times it feels like mumble rap, and then out of no where she’s sampling “The Scarn”.  The quality I enjoy most about Billie Eilish is that she credits her brother, Finneas, for co -writing the bulk of her songs.  It’s admirable that she lets people know about his contribution.

8 – Four of Arrows by Great Grandpa
When my brother told me that Great Grandpa put out one of the best albums of the year, I was pretty skeptical.  I like Great Grandpa (pictured above), I’ve seen them perform at least 4 separate times, but a contender for album of the year?  I sat down, listened to the album and was pleasantly surprised.  Four of Arrows comes out of no where and can easily contend with the best albums of 2019.  It’s a little cliché, but this album sounds like a band coming into their own, and finding their own sound.

7 – Bandana by Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
When it comes to hip hop, I’m not a fan of mumble rap or a lot of modern non lyric/flow driven artists.  I like artists that can spit, have a somewhat cohesive message, and have a back beat that folks can get down to.  This album is smooth.  The beats, samples, and production of Madlib back the great lyrical style of Freddie Gibbs.  Bandana stands as one of the best rap albums in recent memory.  I highly suggest checking out their NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

6 – On the Line by Jenny Lewis
This album feels personal.  It’s as if Jenny Lewis wanted to indirectly send messages to loved ones in relatable songs that feel like a friend reminiscing.  The song structures, although fairly simplistic, are generally sweet.  The album is really just easy going music that doesn’t feel overwhelmed by production.  The lyrics and Lewis’ voice are the showcase here.

5 – Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood
I’ve always been a fan singer songwriters. This album sounds like a 70’s singer songwriter reminiscent of Karen Carpenter or Janis Ian decided to write an album describing being a young adult today and also the direness some of the “crisis” our generation has seemingly grown up with. There are so many songs folks from my generation can relate to while listening to this album. As time goes by, this will be an album folks will point to as a snapshot of what life was like for young adults right now, a mix of burnout and hopefulness.

4 – Champion by Bishop Briggs
I don’t think there is any other way to describe this album than a quote from National Public Radio’s (NPR) All Songs Considered podcast.  In a review of the album, the host said “This is a breakup record and there’s kind of two directions you can go with a breakup record – you can go very, very inward or you can go very, very outward.  I think she finds a way to do both.  She’s able to tap into feelings of hurt and loss and pain, but channel them into these big, very empowerment-focused anthems that just shout from the rafters.  She manages to make a very rousing statement out of personal pain.”

3 – Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend
This album feels like a Vampire Weekend reboot 6 years in the making.  The album has a lot of nature references, which I don’t recall being as prevalent in their previous albums.  The album also feels very future centric, and looking towards what’s next.  It serves as an aspirational and a hopeful vision of tomorrow. 

2 – Lux Prima by Karen O & Danger Mouse
This album sounds as if Danger Mouse heard there was a new James Bond film coming down the pike, and decided I would love to score that new movie, Karen O can provide vocals, here’s a demo of what we can offer. The production on this album is astounding. It really does sound like high budget film score. This is an album you put on when you want to relax with a cocktail.

1 – Cuz I Love You by Lizzo
You can’t deny how big of a star Lizzo has become in 2019 and this album proves it.  The one word I would use to describe this album, positivity.  This album is empowering and just brimming with feminist laced positive energy.  Lizzo took her life experiences and laid out for listeners how she uses those to drive her forward.  It’s a feel good album that has so many danceable hits that I wouldn’t be surprised if we heard songs from this album used commercially in ads and in regular rotation in nightclub mixes for years to come.

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Honorable Mentions:
Devour You by Starcrawler – This album feels like a sample of what it’s like seeing Starcrawler perform live, just youthful controlled sexy rock chaos.
This Mess is a Place by TacocaT – Only TacocaT can make pointed criticisms seem so danceable and fun.  This album feels like a hopeful yet fully aware snapshot of the time we currently live in.
There Existed an Addiction to Blood by clipping. – You have to show love to clipping. and this audio vampire story released around the Halloween season.
Dedicated by Carly Rae Jepsen – If you would have told me in 2012 that in 2019, Carly Rae Jepsen would release a better pop album than Taylor Swift, I would have thought you were crazy, but between the two releases, Jepsen’s Dedicated is a better album than Swift’s Lover.
Of the Deep Mystery by The Comet is Coming – You have to see these guys live.  It’s Jazz.  It’s Dance Music.  It’s rhythm that just doesn’t stop.  My favorite track Summon the Fire sounds like if Jazz and Techno had a child in an afro futuristic space station.

 

(Spotify Playlist with 10 songs from my 10 favorite albums)

 

 

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