Black radicalism, the philosopher Fred Moten has written, cannot be understood outside the context of its origins in oppression; as a force of rebirth, it also always breaks out of that context. Twice this year across social media, the so-called 10-year challenge meme made the rounds (and prompted some extremely 2019 cybersecurity concerns). The point is that the best music you’ve ever heard can come from anywhere, and this year, it came from just about everywhere. —Stephen Thompson, ■ MORE: Laetitia Tamko On The Making Of Vagabon, What does it mean to make a family? Best Albums of 2019 Our critics chose the best albums of the year — a format that is in an increasingly fragile state in pop music. Thank you for visiting To … The freestyle flows. The 50 Best Albums of 2019: Staff Picks 1. The D.C. native sings about universally recognizable ebbs and flows of life on songs like "Broke," "BMO" and "Speak To Me," which are sprinkled with euphemisms that will hit women of color first. It’s both stupefying and incredibly obvious that When We All... 3. Things I Imagined The album cast a more intimate spotlight on her gravelly timbre and the sensuality and gravitas of her phrasing, but more than that, its songs showcased her interpretive gifts and, at long last, placed her at the center of her own enthralling mythology. Twitter. WhatsApp. Seemingly stumbling with Gucci Mane through a haze of chronic on My Skin My Logo, glorying in laidback “CP time” on Binz, the beautiful little nest of references that is “black molasses, blackberry the masses”, this is an understated and poetic celebration of a culture. I … The repetitive phrasing. The Brooklyn band’s second album of the year is earthier than UFOF, the glowing collection that arrived in spring. 12/10/2019. Like Caroline Polachek, Hannah Diamond and so many others this year, Amber Bain uses super-synthetic electropop and soft rock to say much rougher, grittier truths. It makes Legacy! 20. The band’s picture of Dublin is as vivid and impetuous as the Joycean visions they clearly admire, all rough beauty and “ready-steady violence”; the pint-chucking songs have the blithe, amused swagger of someone who enjoys a fight, but the ballads (Roy’s Tune, Television Screens) are equally good, with a bleating, pub-piano sadness to them. Elegiac and rickety, it’s a lasting testament to his mordant and philosophical poetry, but also to his pain: “The end of all wanting is all I’ve been wanting,” he sings on That’s Just the Way That I Feel. In the 19 years since DJ Screw's death, his Screw music escaped Houston and infected the world. Lankum - The Livelong Day. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen. Well, what a year it’s been. Big Thief, U.F.O.F. They were asked to choose the 10 best new releases and five best historical titles—i.e., albums and box sets consisting primarily of music recorded 10 or more years ago. They dip into the strangest, sexiest bits of the 70s, with prowling disco on Feet, rollicking glam on Tastes Good With the Money, and electronically, chemically enhanced psychedelic skronk throughout. The 50 best albums of 2019: the full list 1. 2. The best albums of 2019 (so far!) Releasing a debut solo album at 66 is impressive enough; that it’s one of the most skilful records of an already iconic career is even more so. While that's of note, it does a disservice to the music, which is epic on every level. —Lyndsey McKenna, iLe recorded Almadura long before the political situation in Puerto Rico came to a historic conclusion this past summer, but the themes she addresses on the album were the same as those raised in the massive protests that eventually drove its governor from power: musical stands against injustice and inequality, passionate statements of cultural pride and a barely contained fury at being at the mercy of U.S. policies for over 100 years. LS Read the full review. They took chances. BEST ALBUM SEKAI NO OWARI 2010-2019 2021.2.10[WED] Release. FKA twigs, Magdalene 2. The Best Albums of 2019. On its follow up, she continues to wrap herself in its lore. - 0:00 —Jacob Ganz, ■ MORE: Aldous Harding performs live for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, Back when DJ Screw was plying his chopped-and-screwed mixtape trade heavy in Houston, Solange was living out her wonder years. By blending the trudging splendour of slowcore with country melodies and the kind of genuinely oddball artistry that doesn’t second guess or try to make things fit, (Sandy) Alex G remains one of America’s most underrated songwriters. The starkness of those first chords of "I Told You Everything" offer a reprieve; a chance to gather yourself, to take one last breath before dunking deep beneath the surface. Until this year, rapper Dave was a singles artist – he managed 11 before his debut album was released – but Black... 3. Without resembling anything so cliched as a “getting it together in the country” record, her fifth solo album runs on that solitary, spartan existence: sad and lovely piano-led songwriting unfolds in its own unruffled time, but then a post-punk scribble like Mother’s Mother’s Magazines upsets Le Bon’s calm, like a momentary wigout at her dislocation from society. Quotidian objects — dried figs, stretch mark cream, a cigarette, a porn magazine — become vessels for meaning both grander and more visceral than expected. —Raina Douris, World Cafe, ■ MORE: Watch Sharon Van Etten perform at NPR's Tiny Desk, No music I heard this year convinced me I could hear my own cells dividing like Designer, Aldous Harding's approachable, enigmatic third album. Even with a supporting chorus of Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, La Roux, Solange and more, the true magic of this album is Tyler's ability to let his guard down just enough to give you symphonic slivers of his heartbreak. These are Complex’s picks for the 50 best albums of 2019. There’s a musicality to his delivery that suggests a man considering one side of the argument, then the other – but ultimately there is little equivocation as he condemns institutional racism, needless violence, and the difficulty of social mobility: “We’re Kunta Kintes in some Cuban links / The Balenciagas didn’t blend us in.” BBT Read the full review. But what if you're not even allowed to call it a break-up? Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. The 100 Best Albums of 2019 It was a great year for throwback hip hop, sex-positive R&B, ice-cold dance music, ambitious metal, and downright weird pop. 01 January 2020 The Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2019 Albums by Lewis Capaldi, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande and Tom Walker are among 2019's big-hitters. A subtly defiant assertion that Del Rey is here for the long haul, no matter what. The respect is mostly earned through a mastery of old-school instruments. With every twist, Simz is already on top of the beat. LS Read the full review. Good: Check out our picks for the Best Movies of 2019 and the Best TV Shows of 2019. All scores on this page are from December 19, 2019. By Pitchfor k. The 20 Best Music Videos of 2019. BBT Read the full review. Where their second 2019 album Two Hands (see No 37, below) has a torn-paper edge to it, the first, UFOF, is pristine – but it essays a world that is far from perfect. "I am an AFRICAN GIANT," he blasted on Instagram after Coachella displayed his name on a festival poster with what he considered a too-small font. This video is a look at the best this year had to offer. The data is compiled by Nielsen SoundScan based on each album's weekly physical and digital sales, as well as on-demand streaming and digital sales of … The singles that heralded its arrival were spectacular – the crawling menace of You Should See Me in a Crown; Bury a Friend’s warped, unsettling glam stomp; Bad Guy’s cocktail of sharp lyrics and 60s spy thriller theme pastiche – but they aren’t significantly better than the rest of the album. Until this year, rapper Dave was a singles artist – he managed 11 before his debut album was released – but Black marked a sea change: serious, reflective and grown-up. Bleeding' Burna Boy, 'African Giant' Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats, 'Anger Management' The Black Keys, 'Let's Rock' Todd Snider, BBT Read the full review. LS Read the full review. Sign up below to get the latest from Classic Rock, plus exclusive special offers, direct to your inbox! —Bob Boilen, ■ MORE: Angel Olsen's All Songs Considered interview. Classic Rock Newsletter. How do we make sense of our relationships with our bodies or the planet — and how do those relationships impact each other? While artists like Billie Eilish and Polachek have pushed pop into the future this year, King Princess joins Lana Del Rey in showing that there’s potential in classicism yet. The surreptitious Sault — is it pronounced "soo" or "salt" or "so," we wonder — may have connections to the equally mysterious-at-the-outset group Jungle, a rumor that has some heft given the evolved disco/pop/R&B/soul genetics they clearly share. Singer Natalie Mering's meticulously layered harmonies drew comparisons to the celestial sounds of Enya and her winding melodies, crystalline voice and autumnal reflections owe just as much to '70s folk-pop icons like Joni Mitchell or The Carpenters. The full countdown revealed! Charli XCX’s long-awaited third album proper firmly puts to bed asinine questions about whether she is a mainstream pop star or a left-field one: here is someone not just punching above their weight but operating in an entirely different cosmos, unconcerned about putting goofy nostalgia (1999) next to deeply queer bass workouts (Click), trance-tinged, cocksure flexes (Next Level Charli) alongside cage-rattling anxiety anthems (Gone). It’s a moment of fragility, but one that’s undercut by what has come before it – FKA twigs has proved that she is more than enough, someone who can sing, write, produce and pole-dance, all of it brilliantly. BBT Read the full review. —Nate Chinen, WBGO, ■ MORE: Watch Raphael Saadiq perform at NPR's Tiny Desk, "I didn't know that the record was going to sound this way at all. Salinger and Charles Dickens), but he himself knocks at their door with an ability to wrap nostalgic imagery within a crucial moment that never leaves your psyche: "Dollar movie theater, dingy foyer, little kid, not a penny to my name / F*****' with the joystick, pretendin' I was really playin'." Note: You can listen to a Spotify playlist of songs from these albums below. By playing the jester, he became the voice of a British generation at the turn of a turbulent decade. They got psychedelic, locked into heavy funk, slid into classic R&B and then cleared space for Howard to be lonely, like the blues chanteuse she also can be. With guest artists including musician/poet/rapper/actor Saul Williams, Ancestral Recall is an intense, keenly felt and richly articulated celebration of many of the musical streams that have nourished generations of the African, Native and Caribbean diasporas — a sonically and texturally spacious project that would feel urgent and necessary at almost any time, but asserts itself especially now. Legacy! 0:00 “This shit is for us,” Solange announced on her previous album, handing her music to the black diaspora. Illustration: Guardian Design/Getty/Kevin Kane, The 50 best albums of 2019: the full list. The Best Albums of 2019 By Jem Aswad, Andrew Barker, Chris Willman. While that warmth glows through Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest, Callahan’s understanding of his inherent masculine violence, and his way with lucid profundity, means his domestic treatise was never cloying. A future cult classic ... (Sandy) Alex G. Modern classics ... Durand Jones and the Indications. Uncut’s 50 best new albums of 2019. Below is our updated running tally of the albums most frequently mentioned by individual music publications in their year-end top ten lists. by VICE Staff Dense layers of fluttering gauze ... Amber Bain. – and in our world of lies and gaslighting, we need that north-star constant more than ever. Then, Solange messed around and made the hardest Screw tape of the decade in the form of an R&B album: The woozy BPMs. Ariana Grande, Thank U, Next 2. The 10 Best Albums of 2019. But while mysteries are fun, and can be a slam-dunk marketing approach too, there's no urgent need to solve this one. December 19, 2019 2019! All of a sudden, songs about beer and broads seem a little lacking. LS Read the full review. It would've been a historic event for four women of color who write, reinterpret and perform roots music on banjo to simply come together and make music — their collaboration is, in and of itself, a reminder of the whitewashed African roots of their instruments. ... (2019) It’s an oddity of this very odd era that the greatest musical innovation has also been in its most … NPR Music's 25 Best Albums Of 2019 We listened, voted and argued our way from more than 250 nominated albums down to just 25. By. It has the intensity of electronic music, but this is all acoustic musicin service of songs that are often centuries old. Shaw gene splices strands of Mozart and Ravel into rigorously assembled pieces such as Plan & Elevation, proving that while some tricks of string quartet architecture remain, her buildings emerge with fresh authority. Tegan and Sara: Hey, I’m Just Like You. It’s full of contemporary ennui as it is, expressed as much in Yanya’s subtly hangdog vocals as in the lyrics. These are notable albums, defined as having received significant coverage from reliable sources independent of … A list of the top albums of the year from NME. My top album of the year was probably Sharon Van Etten's Remind Me Tomorrow, but that doesn't mean it's the best album, it's just the one I danced badly to the most. With his sixth album, the east Londoner cements his status as one of the UK’s greatest ever MCs. It's a sprawling and deeply personal selection of albums … 15. Jack Barnett’s vocals, conversational yet epic, add their own particular drama. It’s goofy and utopian, an idealism that blows through Father of the Bride with its Edenic genre inclusivity, jam-band brightness and Ezra Koenig’s odes to love and marriage. Twitter: The best albums of 2019 (so far!) Play The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2019 2019 In Review December 9, 2019 3:00 PM By Phil Freeman This wasn’t a year of radical transformation in the world of jazz. billy woods released two great albums in 2019: the jagged Terror Management and Hiding Places, a collaboration with L.A. producer Kenny Segal. Hey, it's been a helluva year (so far!) Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell! —Sidney Madden, ■ MORE: Watch Tyler Perform At NPR's Tiny Desk, In spite of the reverence shown for country music made in the 1970s and the groundswell of nostalgia for '90s country, Tanya Tucker — an artist whose high-caliber hits spanned both eras — has been perpetually underappreciated. On "Speak Gently," heavy fuzz guitar suddenly disintegrates as if Thanos had snapped his fingers; it's disarming, haunting. No Home Record is as industrial as it is impish, full of sculpted noise, harebrained ragers and sly protest songs – against corporate branding and treacherous ex-husbands – that are sexy and seditious. Those sounds are more than just another layer of Americana cosplay: her obsession with American archetypes, once dismissed as superficial, has matured into an acute understanding of how they are created and frustration at what they conceal. Human voices and machine voices coalesce in double helix formations; trance motifs and mile-wide drums offset the choir's earnest emoting and lyrics unfurl like folk stories. We conclude the year end list with the Best Albums of 2019. By Matt Miller and Madison Vain. By NME. From the album's compact spaces to its expansive vistas, Shaw excels in the evocative power of the pluck – formally termed, pizzicato – which is the backbone of the ricocheting yet songful Limestone & Felt. Hval and her collaborators conjure Georgia O'Keefe, ponder childlessness and search for God. Dec 10, 2019 Getty. It’s a body of work that’s comforting and heartening in the way a journey towards enlightenment should be, but it’s also challenging, full of ambivalence and irresolvable confusion. December 26, 2019. in Lists. BBT Read the full review. Every one of the album's 19 tracks is a gem and features his signature Afro-fusion genre blend of dancehall, reggae, R&B and hip-hop. Listen to our Best Pop Albums of 2019 playlist on Spotify right here. Producers Elite and Ron Gilmore handle the bulk of production, lacing her words with jazzy and soulful sonics that put her range on display. The 50 Best Albums of 2019: Staff Picks. The 50 Best Albums of 2019. LS Read the full review. The quavering, circuitous voice of British jazz-dub songwriter James Blake is still a beautiful instrument, and his arrangements are as atmospheric as ever here. The working title for Laetitia Tamko's second album as Vagabon was All the Women in Me — a versatile phrase to sum up everything from the roles women play in society to the singer's own complex identity as a Cameroonian who relocated to New York at 13. December 13, 2019 If you’ve come here looking for some kind of overarching throughline in these 100 records, I’ll tell you right now: you can forget it. This year she found champions in Shooter Jennings and Brandi Carlile, who took up the task of framing Tucker with a warmly rustic, often rocking vintage sound on While I'm Livin'. Think of these tracks as the face muscles that construct the dead-eyed, sanguine smile you flash during that first unexpected run-in with your ex. The slow, meditative sound echoes the album’s themes of acceptance; relative calm after the angry, anguished Skeleton Tree. Laura Snapes Read the full review. LS Read the full review. Well, what a year it’s been. BBT Read the full review. Happy Holidays! The Best Albums of 2019 This year was highlighted by projects from artists like Young Thug, DaBaby, and Billie Eilish. The talk that's surrounded it has focused on Herndon's co-creation of an AI that became part of an ensemble she worked with to make the record. But it's also untidy, uneasy, irresolvable. And from album opener Psycho onwards, where he’s positioned as a patient telling all to a therapist, we meet a rapper as agitated as he is angry. Listen to our Best Punk Albums of 2019 playlist on Spotify right here . Our pick of the year’s finest albums brings American dreaming, teenage dynamism, heartbreak, barbed rap, impetuous indie and beautiful soundscapes, First published on Tue 3 Dec 2019 06.00 GMT. Shea Butter Baby speaks to an often misunderstood and underrepresented music lover: The Black woman. You could always count on him for craft and concision, the way you count on a sports car to roar to life when you turn the ignition key. The powerful music on Almadura will long outlast the injustices iLe and the rest of the island are fighting against. 2019 was a great year for rock, metal, alternative, indie, and everything in between.