As the decade comes to an end, it’s hard to ignore the fact that its final year produced a fine selection of music across all genres. From groundbreaking debut albums to albums deep into an artists catalog – each one made its mark on the music scene and fans alike.
That being said, narrowing down my top albums of the year was quite the daunting task. While there was very few albums that I absolutely did not like, there was so many that I personally found game changing.
In no particular order, I present to you my top ten albums of 2019.
Lover – Taylor Swift
Lover marks not only Swift’s seventh studio album, but a significant turning point in her work. Gone are the days of the vengeful, dramatic and pop driven tracks from Reputation. Swift welcomes a toned down, dreamy sound that induces a sense of nostalgia in tracks like “The Archer” and “Cornelia Street.” However, her pop roots are not forgotten in hit single “You Need to Calm Down” and “Cruel Summer.”
When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish
Creating a milestone album in her musical career at only 18 years old, Eilish released her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? The album takes a slight twist from the soft work of her 2016 single “Ocean Eyes” and hits you with a mature, bad ass sound in tracks like “You Should See Me In a Crown” and “Bad Guy.”
Sleeptalk – Dayseeker
Did you really think my list was only going to be pop icons? Dayseeker released one of my favorite rock albums of the year. The band immediately hooked me with the debut single “Crooked Soul.” The album marks a progressive turn for the band, welcoming a more ambient sound as opposed to the heavier, hard hitting tones the band has previously owned. Unfortunately, the end of the year brought tragedy to the band as their trailer and gear was stolen. Visit the band’s GoFundMe to find out how you can help.
Champion – Bishop Briggs
The title of this album says it all. Briggs is a powerhouse of an artist from her strong vocals and penetrating lyrics. Songs like the title track and “Can You Hear Me Now?” demand to be heard. The use of organs at the beginning of “Jekyll & Hide” create a dramatic entrance into a song full of spooky tones. Each song lends itself not only to a perfected record, but a phenomenal live performance noting Briggs as one of the most powerful female artists of 2019 in my opinion.
Amo – Bring Me the Horizon
Bring Me the Horizon is a band that started as a metalcore icon back in 2008 who has expanded their sound, breaking genre barriers. Amo was released early in 2019 and lasted in relevance through the year. The opening track, “i apologise if you feel something” introducing the heavier use of electronic tracking on the album compared to previous. Tracks like “mother tongue” and “medicine” definitely have a lighter vibe than their 2008 hits but define a sense of growth and adaptation for the band.
Peach Club is one of the most well done break-up albums. The album as a whole takes you through emotional ups and downs from the heartbreaking “Don’t Cry” to the empowering “Get Back Up.” Listeners can find at least one track on the album that personally resonates with them. The closing track, “Wait, Stay” is a beautiful, soft harmony that builds into a devout bridge that pulls the entire album together.
A Different Shade of Blue – Knocked Loose
Knocked Loose has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore scene with the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album. The two features on this album are truly it’s high points. “A Serpent’s Touch” featuring Emma Boster (Dying Wish) is a driven track that hits hard as soon as her vocals join Bryan Garris. “Forget Your Name” featuring Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die) is a powerful collaboration with one of the most prominent hardcore vocalists in the scene.
Steady Glow – In Her Own Words
If there was one album that encompassed all of my emotions this year, this is it. Steady Glow is a collection of thoughtfully written tracks that carry a sense of emotional intimacy. The opening track, “Out of Focus” presents an existential question that rests with listeners throughout the album. “Rosé by the Ocean” contains a bridge that begs to be screamed along to. “Wonder” creates an intimate setting for the listener as the heartfelt lyrics shower them between delicate acoustic work.
Fine Line – Harry Styles
Styles’ highly anticipated follow up to his debut self-titled solo release made it’s way into one of the largest debuts of the year with 478,000 equivalent album units, according to Billboard. Styles is far from the boy band days of One Direction as he maturely explores a collection of sounds that come together in one dreamy piece of art. “Watermelon Sugar” contains fun disco vibes while “Canyon Moon” presents a quirky, indie acoustic tune.
Nella Vita – Grayscale
Grayscale released pop punk gold with their second studio album. Each track on the album contains lyrics that are catchy enough to get stuck in your head in all the best ways. Upbeat tracks like “Just Right” and “Desert Queen” get you dancing. In contrast, “Old Friends” and “Asbury” are softer, acoustic tracks that tug on the heartstrings of listeners.
As I stated early on, it is so hard to narrow down all of the great music released this year. While the below albums aren’t particularly game changers for me, they are triumphant releases of the year that are worth noting.