I was debating whether to do a top 10 list for my picks for the best albums of the year or just make a small, contained selection of a couple LPs that truly spoke to me, unlike any other albums I heard this year. As you probably already figured out from reading the title, I’ve decided to do the cringy, personal choice by speaking about the four records that emotionally made 2019 a musically special year for me. With that in mind, I still have a handful of LPs to give honorable mentions to:
Lana Del Rey’s Norman F***ing Rockwell,
Lingua Ignota’s Caligula
Thom Yorke’s ANIMA
Now, onto the kickass stuff…
IGOR – Tyler the Creator
IGOR is a fine example of a very consistent album. Narratively, it’s extremely on topic and gradual. The production and sampling—which, by the way, is easily some of the best production and sampling of this entire decade—is tonally steady. Even the music videos that accompany Tyler’s newest record are visually harmonious. This piece, as a whole, is well balanced. There doesn’t seem to be one specific weak spot hidden somewhere in between tracks. While Tyler’s Flower Boy features most of his principal hits, I personally feel as if IGOR is the concise assembly that truly marked the artist’s greatest achievement yet.
All Mirrors – Angel Olsen
All Mirrors sounds like the LP love child of Lana Del Rey and The Cranberries. A blissful mingle of 90s and modern-day influence, Angel Olsen has perfected her finest project yet in this 2019 breakout album. It’s a 21st century LP that I would happily describe as nothing less than “epic.” It’s a gathering of the most alluring symphonic instrumentals of the year and a landmark in Olsen’s development as a performer.
All My Heroes Are Cornballs – JPEGMAFIA
Last year, JPEGMAFIA released a killer experimental hip-hop record known as Veteran. After such a crowning moment in the artist’s career, nobody could’ve fathomed the idea of him topping such a project. Fast forward one year later and the rapper has carelessly outdone his previous record with All My Heroes Are Cornballs. Surprisingly enough, this album doesn’t promote the hard-hitting, up-in-your-face sort of style that made Veteran such a harsh delight to listen to; the LP is rather more concerned in showcasing the restrained exploration of Peggy’s sentiments towards modern-day culture while also being a huge extravaganza of inventive genre-blending. It’s a contemporary hip-hop exemplar that deserves more recognition.
Awe, yes. My favorite album of 2019: Men I Trust’s Oncle Jazz. Now, is it a little unfair that 30% of the songs on this record are made up of stunning singles that the band has released in the years of 2017 and 2018? Yes. But, this LP is 24-tracks long. So, in a manner, it sort of makes up for the fact that this album is compiled with a good amount of older hits. To me, Oncle Jazz is the reinvigoration that the dream-pop genre desperately needed. Men I Trust’s two previous LPs didn’t exactly seem to do the trick, but the band’s newest passion-project is just brimming with so many unforgettable gems that truly exemplify colossal signs of maturity. Twin Peaks soundtrack fans, it’s our time to shine.