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.

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.


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)



My 10 Favorite Albums of All Time (Part 2)

I think the hardest part about making a list of 10 albums that I love listening to from top to bottom, is that there are more than 10 albums I could think of that I enjoy from top to bottom. I really think lists like these are dependent on the author’s mood when they came up with the list. Know that just because I list these 10 as my favorite albums, other albums like Hunky Dory by David Bowie, 36 Chambers by Wu Tang Clan, and a number of others could have easily made my list.

Here’s the second half of my top 10 favorite albums ever in no particular order (part 2 of 2):

I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty – 2015 – The first time I heard Father John Misty was on the KEXP Live podcast. I thought his voice was amazing and his words were devastating. Songs like “Bored in the USA” and “Holy Shit” are what make him so great. They’re poignant and biting. It’s commentary on our daily lives, while also being somewhat satirical and sarcastic. This album is the epitome of this music style before it becomes pretentious. I always recomend this album when people want to hear music off the regular radio rotation.

Day and Age by The Killers – 2008 – Rarely is there an album I listen to where I think any of these songs could have been used as the lead single to promote the full album. You rarely find albums where every song could have been released as a single, been a hit, and it could have re defined what the band was about. Day and Age is an album of hit singles in a compilation. That’s what I love about it. “Dustland Fairytale” is different from “Spaceman” which is different from “Neon Tiger”. Most albums, artists try to tell a story in the track progression. Day and Age feels more like a greatest hits package.

Give Up by The Postal Service – 2003 – I can’t think of any major album of it’s time, that sounds like Give Up. The lyrics and the rythms are just unmatched. The fact that you hear so many of these songs at major sporting events, and people enjoy the songs but have no idea what the songs or album are, says a lot. It’s electronic music structured in a way that doesn’t sound like standard electronic music. Songs like “Recycled Air” and “We Will Become Silhouettes” don’t sound like Daft Punk, David Guetta, etc. I think that’s why I like this album. It stretches the genre, but is also very pleasant.

The Bones of What You Believe by CHVRCHES – 2013 – This is another album that I feel pushes a genre and is something entirely different from most other albums that were out at the time. When I first heard “The Mother We Share”, I knew I found one of my new favorite bands. Lauren Mayberry’s vocals backed by Iain Cook and Martin Doherty on synthesizers are reminiscent of a New Wave/Dance genre style but it almost feels like they improve on it. Like they pushed it forward. The Wiki for the album calls the genre Synth Pop, but when you listen to the album, I’ve always felt the genre being played is kind of hard to pin down. The thing I know for sure, it’s fun to listen to.

On the Radio by Donna Summer – 1979 – This one is a compilation album of some of Donna Summer’s most recognized hit songs. Compilation albums can sometimes be great collections of an artists work, but I feel can lose steam in either the arrangement of the tracks, the songs selected, or just the overall feel of the final album. This is the best example of what a compilation album should be. Donna Summer made songs for the dance floor. The songs curated for this album span her career but the way the tracks are arranged are how I think a DJ would curate songs for a set. The tracks flow into each other. There are fast tracks mixed with medium tracks and slow tracks. If you were to do a Donna Summer night at a club, and just play this mix from first track to last, the way it’s set in the album, it would work in getting the crowd moving. It’s just so smart in it’s track selection and arrangement.


Those albums were my top 10 favorite albums ever in no particular order. If you’re a fan of the same albums and ever want to talk about it, feel free to comment, otherwise if you’ve never heard of some of these albums and are looking for new music maybe give these ones a shot. I promise, you’re in for something different.

Have a Nice Day.

My 10 Favorite Albums of All Time (Part 1)

Have you ever been in a situation where you would be allowed to listen to music, but you wouldn’t be able to change or shuffle through the songs after selecting an album? For example, have you ever ridden in a car that didn’t have bluetooth or an auxiliary cord, rather than listen to the radio, you could pop in a CD (or tape) and just let it play as you rode? What album is your go to? Are there albums that no matter the situation, you could throw it on, let it play, no pushing next, and you’ll just enjoy what you’re listening to?

I sat down and thought, what are those albums for me? There are albums with a number of single songs that I could listen to, skip around, and still enjoy, but what are the albums I could throw on during a run and just let play? The albums that go beyond single song hits. The albums I love from top to bottom, and also through the years shaped my taste in music.

These are my top 10 favorite albums ever in no particular order (part 1 of 2):

Santana by Santana – 1969 – From the opening drums of “Waiting” to the final almost “jam session” like “Soul Sacrifice”, Santana’s debut album makes me feel like dancing. The talent in this group can’t be understated. Everyone always points to the guitar work of Carlos Santana, but every song is an example of musicians playing and riffing off of one another almost symbiotically. I always play this album when I’m in the kitchen. It motivates great food (haha).

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West – 2010 – You have to separate the artist from the art they create. Setting aside Kanye’s current rhetoric, this album to me was incredible. When I listen to this album, I think “Where can an artist go from here?”. The album has moments. It’s like watching a movie or reading a book. Each song is a punctuation in a story with songs that are political, empowering, and memorable. It’s hard to believe a person who ended an album with a spoken word piece by Gil Scott-Heron (“Who Will Survive in America”), is on television being the person he is now, but I guess 8 years is a long time.

Worlds by Porter Robinson – 2014 – There are few dance music albums I’ve heard that when listening to them I think this surpasses that genre and is just something fun. I’ve heard a few that have great songs that played alone are great representations of an artist, but this album from top to bottom has songs that make me feel like I’m watching a pseudo “Studio Ghibli” film. As time goes on, I think this album will pop up more and more throughout pop culture, but for now it’s something those in the know can really enjoy.

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd – 1973 – When talking about this classic album, the first thing reviewers point out is the production. It stands as one of the most well produced albums of all time. What I think isn’t discussed often enough are the lyrics. This album for me is a meditation. Songs like “Breath in the Air”, “Time”, “Us and Them”, among others are just profound. This is one of those few albums you could listen to, meditate on the words, and hopefully pull a lesson from.

So Long Astoria by The Ataris – 2003 – When I was growing up, if an artist had a hit song that you loved, you had to buy the full CD from a store, and when you played the CD you had to just skip around the CD until you found the song or songs that you bought the full CD for. The Ataris had a hit with their cover of the song, “The Boys of Summer”. I bought this CD for that song and I vividly remember during a road trip just letting this CD play through. I loved it. It was fast and as a teen when this CD came out, the lyrics spoke to me. It was the pop punk sounds of The Ataris that got me into punk music. You always remember the album that introduces you to one of your favorite genres, and this was that album for me. I suggest checking this album out just to experience that early 00’s pop punk feel. (haha)

(End of Part 1 of 2)