I was supposed to post this on December 26, but a lot has happened that causes the delay. I got sick for two days, and the internet connection here in my hometown was freaking slow. But then, as a small personal blog, it doesn’t really matter.
My last installment for year-end lists! Man, 2019 was such a very meaningful year for me when it comes to listening to music for I have discovered a lot of classics and underground gems.
New records didn’t falter either. Like last year, 2019 is great for music. In this post, I’m sharing my top 25 favorite albums of the year. There are a lot of albums that I’ve grown to love, but these, in my opinion, are the best. I continue to do this kind of posts because it’s just fun.
If you disagree with my picks, that’s okay. To each their own. But as I’ve always been saying every time, this is still a form of a “recommendations post” so I hope that you find something that’s going to vibe with your taste. So without further ado, here are the favorites!
Happy 2020, everyone!
BROCKHAMPTON – GINGER
The “best boy band” continues to impress with their fifth full-length project, but this one is different from its predecessors. GINGER is slower in pace and deeper in emotions, but this resulted in a more mature and honest lyricism. It’s not really a banger album as a whole, but it’s still Brockhampton.
Lingua Ignota – CALIGULA
Approach this album with caution. As someone who’s still in the midst of discovering albums, CALIGULA has been the most horrifying one I have encountered yet. No, I’m not exaggerating. This is going to be one of the most unforgettable records you’ll ever try, and for that I was so amazed with it. You’ll sleep for the night with the lights on. You have been warned.
Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles
Sam Fender’s debut album is a promising presentation of his artistic endavors. Hypersonic Missiles exhibits anthemic hooks and nonconformist narratives on love and society. He didn’t reinvent the wheel on indie rock or anything, but this album is a nice addition to the staple.
Esther Rose – You Made It This Far
I just can’t ignore this adorable country folk gem. The soft and delicate vocals of Rose compliments so well with the gentle instrumentals. The peaceful and sweet ambience that You Made It This Far has evoked would make your heart melt, making it one of the most enjoyable country records you’ll experience. Don’t underestimate the power of yeehaw.
Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
Continuing to strike gold, Dedicated‘s blend of vintage synthpop sound and lovesick songwriting is what makes it so sticky and stunning. While it’s not as consistent as Emotion, Dedicated has maintained CRJ’s image as one of the decade’s pop darlings. A great philosopher once said, “It’s a bop!” (lol)
Flume – Hi This Is Flume
Flume’s mixtape is brief, but his take on glitch hop sounded more excitingly profound and more idiosyncratic than ever. It’s a visceral and creative album that makes you wanting for more. I’m just glad that Streten didn’t sell out with his sound as he got commercially bigger; he continues to produce his sounds in an original and exciting take, and I’m applauding him for that.
The Comet is Coming – Trust in the Life Force of the Deep Mystery
One of the mistakes I had this year was sleeping on this wonderful record for months. Trust in the Life Force… is an exhilirating nu jazz odyssey that explores ethereal and hip rythms and pulsating drumworks. The sections are gorgeously performed but they sounded so adventurous and thrilling like you’re in a space action movie. It’s a fun wild ride that you have to check out.
Denzel Curry – ZUU
Less than a year after the amazing TA13OO was released, Denzel Curry released another freaking banger. ZUU may not be as strong and deep as its predecessor, but it still is damn impressive considering that most of what he’s done here is freestyled! He had fun making this project, and I have too.
Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
You know, 2019 has a lot of great heavenly-sounding chamber pop records, and All Mirrors just adds to that statement. Olsen has ventured to new direction with her latest album and it’s simply breathtaking. The embodied strings in this project are so pristine and excellently done. Chance, as a closer, also snatched my freaking soul. A soulful and amazing record that you need to experience.
Hatchie – Keepsake
Hatchie fuses the sound of 80s synthrock and subtle nuances of modern pop to craft a delicate, irresistible project in epic feather-laden proportions. Records like this are special, and Keepsake is a tender project that’s worthy to be treasured. It’s the definition of pure dream pop bliss.
American Football – American Football (LP3)
Baring deprived sensitivity and depressing emotions, American Football has set the goal on hitting the painful spot right in the feels with their latest project. But along the feeling of misery and all, the lush instrumentations that Mike Kinsella and co. have done make this record an incisive and nostalgic experience. Yes, you’ll feel sad and emo while trying this, but you’ll also feel the warmth and comfort of their gentle yet dashing sound.
Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
What a grower this album is! I remembered trying this project and I thought it was just decent, but for some reason, I kept on coming back to it. This is their psychedelic and playful take on the sound of hypnagogic pop, but they have discussed the subject of industrialism and how it affects the environment in a compelling manner. Totally one of their strongest records along with Halcyon Digest.
SeeYouSpaceCowboy.. – Songs for the Firing Squad
It’s kinda off that I have loved this more than their debut album, but here we are. This compilation project is just eighteen minutes in length, but it’s an intense and eclectic experience. The instrumentation is heavy, the guitar riffs are insane, the vocals are demented; it’s a super tight grindcore record that would blow the hell out of your mind. Just stop calling them screamo.
Lana del Ray – Norman fucking Rockwell
The thing about Lana is that she has become one of the artists that has shown growth over the years. Searching for new love and timeless memories, she has figured out to embrace the burning feelings while trying to escape the anxiety and pressures of the society in her latest album. The subtle and mellow sounds capture these themes in a fascinating way. NFR is Lana del Ray in her vulnerable form, but it’s also self-aware and majestic at best.
Madeon – Good Faith
A dreamy and laidback album that somehow manages to be groovy and catchy? An electronic project that shows bright and melancholic emotion that feels uplifting and inspiring? I may have a clear bias on Madeon’s music, but Good Faith is a distinct and breathtaking listen that creatively helps in overcoming adversity and doubt. It’s not overwhelming; it’s just subtly phenomenal. It’s rare to have an electropop album like this anymore.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – INFEST THE RATS’ NEST
King Gizz continues to prove their versatility with this one. Their take on thrash metal is as hardcore as it gets, but they also have impressively displayed their running theme about the elite society damaging the earth and finding “Planet B”. Did they succeed though? You have to check out the whole thing to find out while being impressed by the abrasive instrumentation and the hell-bent and politically-charged storytelling.
Charli XCX – Charli
Charli is the vision of pop music in the future. Amalgamating the different styles and different take on the genre, Charli XCX has brilliantly masterminded the mainstream pop appeal to greater heights with astonishing experimentation and variety of great features. Almost everything goes so well with one another, and it exhibits the potential on what’s to come in PC camp. Pop 2.0 is here and I’m ready for it. *cue E-E-X-C-X whispers*
Anamanaguchi – [USA]
Feeling the adrenaline rush in EDM is still possible, and Anamanaguchi makes it sugar-pumping than ever. [USA] showcases the explosive and exciting sound on the chiptune scene, and it results to an adventurous direction that feels like a climactic scene in an anime movie. As you experience the main parts of every songs, it’s just an ascending bliss and euphoria all over again. I’m just so happy that I get to experience something like this again.
Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
David Berman came back in the music scene with Purple Mountains, and he pulled off an amazing but depressing record about the misery of life and how he’s dealing with it. As he monotonously talks about how he’s having enough with the world and how he was thinking of being sucked into oblivion, Purple Mountains is still sticky to the ears. It is honest and wrenching, but accesible and catchy. Most of all, it was a cry for help.
Less than a month later after this was released, David Berman committed suicide. His sentiments were heard but it was all too late. Rest in peace.
Ourselves the Elves – Self is Universe
In the past four years, I have been introduced to a lot of indie OPM acts that strive to share quality music for the listeners, and the number of those artists that have been leaving a mark on me has been steadily growing in time. This year, the band I’ve discovered that impressed me the most is Ourselves the Elves.
From front to back, Self is Universe is a super enjoyable and cheeky indie folk-rock project about maturity and selflessness. The chill but grungy instrumentation was paired with this beautiful vocals that transcend to different emotions. Everything is an entrancing jam, and it would be a bummer if you miss out on this one.
Julia Jacklin – Crushing
I can’t stress this hard enough: Julia Jacklin’s intimate sophomore album is true to its title; it’s freaking heart-crushing. Listening to this project makes you feel like you are the one experiencing the toxic relationship with her lover.
It’s grungy at times, and mostly mellifluous at another; Crushing is intimate and personal, honest and vulnerable. Once you’re done listening, it will leave you with a heavy heart, but you’ll listen to it again anyway. The sad things that makes you go, “awwww”.
black midi – Schlagenheim
I bet you haven’t experienced a math rock record like this. One of the bands that made big buzz this year is black midi, and for freaking great reasons. They have released a debut album that’s full of playful twists and turns, making it one of the weirdest and creative rock projects this decade. Schlagenheim is just really one-of-a-kind; it’s a challenging listen, but you’ll have a wild and enjoyable ride. They can’t help it; they move with a magnificent purpose.
Munimuni – Kulayan Natin
In their latest project, Munimuni continues to show the beauty and wholesomeness of life through their gentle yet powerful sound and poetry in Kulayan Natin. The whole thing is like a healing process, something that’s like taking you to a safe haven or something; which makes it damn incredible considering the fact that they still haven’t played safe with their “makata pop” sound. As what I have said in my review, Kulayan Natin is the album we need in the midst of emotional chaos. This record helped me to recover and get through one of the hardest times of my life this year, and for that I am very thankful.
KOLATERAL – KOLATERAL
On the other side of the spectrum, Kolateral gives you a different emotion, and it’s far from security and comfort. This OPM hiphop project has captured the ugly face of the Philippine drug war in bloody color. It’s an album that’s meant to be listened with an open mind as it brilliantly tackles the ineffective Oplan Tokhang and how it affects the lives of the victims and their families in a dramatic but factual setting.
The production complemented so damn well with the storytelling in every songs. You can really tell their strong emotions and the desperation for justice. It’s a really unapologetic and eye-opening album that Filipinos need to check out, but it’s not for the ignorant and unreasonable.
Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
If you personally know me, I know you’ve seen this coming. I remembered the time while I was still studying, and I can’t shut up about this album to my classmates. This album is such an immaculately done chamber pop project that’s just special and one-of-a-kind, and it’s my favorite of the year.
From front to back, Natalie Mering’s stunning vocals accompanied with these gorgeously bold instrumentals and profound lyricism about loving and living in this chaotic world make this feel like an otherworldly cinematic experience. Doom is indeed inevitable in everyone of us in some form or another, but Mering finds hope and beauty of life and she expresses all of these in an absorbing and captivating way.
Titanic Rising is an ambitious work; a precious gem that’s submerged into the depths. A beautiful album that has moved me into tears, and only Weyes Blood was able to do that.
What do you think of this list? What are your favorite albums?