Albums of the Year

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Albums of the Year

Nicole Shaker, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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This has been an incredible year for music, with countless releases from mainstream and indie artists alike. Here, I count down my top ten for 2019, and with so many great releases, I also list honorable mentions at the end. It was hard to boil them down, but here are the albums that definitely stole the year for me. 

  1. thank u, next by Ariana Grande

This album is completely flawless from start to finish, delivering pop bangers one after the other. Ariana Grande really found her voice and style after her all-over-the-place 2018 release Sweetener. I’ve come back to this album countless times this year–it’s short, catchy, and an entertaining, easy listen.

Highlights: “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” “bloodline”

  1. Any Human Friend by Marika Hackman

Marika Hackman is a unique, talented artist in today’s indie scene. This album does not have one bad or forgettable song, each track holding its own as an honest tune with introspective lyrics and an interesting production. She’s not a belter, but she’s definitely a powerhouse.

Highlights: “blow,” “i’m not where you are”

  1. Cheap Queen by King Princess

King Princess, besides from being 100% true to herself and confident, has incredible vocal and lyrical talent. Going through this thirteen track album feels like listening to one perfect song that just keeps building on itself. It’s highly cohesive and never strays from its focus. I love every single song and its role on the album.

Highlights: “Hit The Back,” “Prophet”

  1. GINGER by BROCKHAMPTON

Unlike other albums on this list, I actually don’t adore every song on this project (ahem, “LOVE ME FOR LIFE”). Still, it stole my heart upon first listen and continues to do so. This band is just so charming and talented that the songs that do hit the mark, which are the vast majority, hit it so fiercely that it’s hard not to love the entire album. Each member is insanely talented and definitely delivered his a-game this time around. 

Highlights: “NO HALO,” “SUGAR”

  1. Social Cues by Cage The Elephant

Cage The Elephant is one of the most consistent bands in today’s alternative rock scene, and this latest album is some of the best that their discography has to offer. A lot of the songs try something completely different from what the band has ever done–“House of Glass”–and a lot stay true to the band’s roots–”Ready To Let Go”–but each song succeeds in its own right. Cage The Elephant may have been around for over a decade, but they’ve still got it.

Highlights: “Social Cues,” “Dance, Dance” 

  1. FANDOM by Waterparks  

Waterparks has really grown. This album is complete with transitions, interludes, and complex production that the band has never tried. From the dark break-beats of “Turbulent” to the saccharine sweet content of “Telephone,” listening from beginning to end will take you on a whirlwind journey. I can’t stop replaying it.

Highlights: “Worst,” “Dream Boy”

  1. Fine Line by Harry Styles

A very fresh release, this immediately jumped to one of the top spots on my list. Harry Styles really bypassed the sophomore slump with this gorgeous masterpiece of an album that is worlds different from his moody debut (which was also superb). This album emanates positive energy; I was smiling the from Track 1 to 12 (although it may have faltered a bit at the depressive drama of mid-album “Falling”). This album feels timeless, and I can’t wait to loop it for all of 2020.

Highlights: “Adore You,” “She”

  1. Amo by Bring Me The Horizon

This is a weird listen, but in the best way possible. A hybrid of electronic, rock, metal, and pop, this surprisingly long album (sitting at 51 minutes) feels like a fleeting rollercoaster. The track transitions are absolutely flawless, the electronic interludes are perfectly placed, and the features add a lively tang. A very different album not just for the band, but for music in general, I am totally on board with this weirdness and hope Bring Me The Horizon continues to experiment. 

Highlights: “in the dark,” “nihilist blues (featuring Grimes)”

  1. Ok, I’m Sick by Badflower

This is one of the best debuts I have ever witnessed the release of. It offers a lot of variety, from My Chemical Romance sounding tracks (“Promise Me”) to harsh, modern political statements (“Die”). This is rock at its finest, which is rare to find with today’s current bands. It tackles controversial topics fearlessly, making it the most honest and raw release of the year.

Highlights: “x ANA x,” “Ghost”

  1. Norman F- Rockwell by Lana Del Rey

This one was unexpected for me. The majority of the public showered this album in praise when it came out, and I can’t blame them; Lana really did it this time. Most of her other albums are wishy-washy and quite forgettable, starting to become parodies of each other as her discography drags on. But with Norman F- Rockwell, she created flawless song after flawless song, crafting a cohesive album without an ounce of unnecessary repetitiveness. From the dreamy atmosphere of the nine minute track “Venice B-” to the slow catchy chorus of “California,” this album had me hooked the entire time. Although it wasn’t my top-played, I can safely say it offers perfect music for everyone to love, and that deserves the utmost recognition. 

2020 looks to be an interesting year for music as well, with expected releases from Poppy, Kesha, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Louis Tomlinson, and more. Hopefully, it can live up to 2019’s amazing standard.

Honorable Mentions of 2019:

Altogether by Turnover

Berkley’s On Fire by SWMRS

Pony by Rex Orange County

WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? by Billie Eilish 

k bye for now by Ariana Grande

Lover by Taylor Swift

Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend

the masquerade by mxmtoon

Immunity by Clairo

Nothing Happens by Wallows