It’s been months since my last blog post here. I know… I miss this place, too. But I had to return before the end of the year to post my favorite albums that were released the last 12 months.
So here is what made my list for top 10 albums released in 2019.
UPDATE: I swapped out Karen O/Danger Mouse album in the number 8 place with Miniature Tigers new album.
Weezer “Weezer (Teal Album)”
– Ok, the cover of Toto’s “Africa” on this album was overplayed… a LOT. I still liked it. But the other covers on this album were actually a lot better, including “Paranoid” “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and “Take On Me” To say this album had a tongue in cheek feel would be accurate.
The Cranberries “In The End”
– Dolores O’Riordan died almost 2 years ago, but there had already been completed studio sessions on her last remaining vocals being recorded. This album is very melancholy and somber and even with upbeat tracks like “All Over Now” which starts out the album, it’s hard to know this will be the last time we hear those familiar vocals on new songs.
Miniature Tigers “Vampires In The Daylight”
– As a fan of this indie pop/synth band for more than 10 years now, there wasn’t supposed to be a new album in 2019. But Charlie Brand met with his band mates and came up with 11 tracks that are a mix of modern, eclectic and the kind of music we’ve come to expect from this band. “Manic Upswings” is the lead single, plus with songs like “Wish” and “Cool” this album is a instant fan favorite.
– The only original member of this band is Josh Todd, which for some bands might spell doom for the many lineup changes they’ve had over the years. But this new album sounds great. Starting off the album with the self-titled opening track and throw in a really great cover of Nine Inch Nails “Head Like A Hole” and the closing song “Closer” as well as “The Vacuum” being a power song, then that twang-infused ballad “The Hunger”, this album ends up being stronger then expected.
– Two years ago, Beck had the upbeat and pop-friendly “Colors” album, which nearly made my best of album for 2017. Now we have a mix of some pop, some upbeat “Saw Lightning”, and mostly mellow songs like “Uneventful Days” and “Chemical” It’s a great effort, even if it took a few listens to catch on for me.
The Pixies “Beneath the Eyrie”
– Since the Pixies returned back in 2004 with their original lineup, the last 3 new albums of music have been a mix of classic sound and reworked sounds. This year’s new album fits that mix very well. Songs like “Long Rider” and “On Graveyard Hill” are pure Pixies all the way. “Bird of Prey” and “Daniel Boone” change things up a lot. Being the longtime Pixies fan I am, I liked this album and it’s updates a lot.
Bob Mould “Sunshine Rock”
– 7 years ago, Bob Mould made one of the best solo albums of his career with “Silver Age” Since then, variations on that classic sound from that album have been some great solo efforts. This year was no exception with this album and songs like the self-titled opening track. The hard edge guitar on “What Do You Want Me To Do” and “Thirty Dozen Roses” stand out very well. I really like “Lost Faith” which tones it down but brings the brilliance of this great musician in the modern age.
Lana Del Rey “Norman Fucking Rockwell”
– I’ve never really been a fan of Lana Del Rey. I saw her live in 2014 at Austin City Limits and she was good, but nothing really stuck with me. Bring on 2019 and a new album produced by Jack Antonoff and this one really grabbed me and never let go. The opening self-titled track with the line “Goddamn, man child” and musically folk like in a way and I was hooked. Of course, before I heard the whole album, it was the Sublime cover of “Doin’ Time” that really drove it home. I admit that I like this cover better than the original [don’t hate me, Sublime fans]. Other tracks like “Fuck It I Love You” and “California” are low key in their sound, but speak so much lyrically that it’s a great round of songwriting that landed this album on many best of year lists. The album ends perfectly with “Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have – But I Have It” with such a great mix of spoken word. 14 songs long, this was a surprise album that I’m glad ended up on best of list for 2019.
Killswitch Engage “Atonement”
– From the opening song “Unleashed” to the ending song “Bite the Hand That Feeds”, the 11 songs from this latest album by my favorite metalcore band are well written, the sound is explosive and the flow is nothing short of great. Easily my favorite song on the album is “I Am Broken Too” which discussed lead singer Jesse Leach’s struggles with anxiety and depression. “The Signal Fire” reunites previous lead singer Howard Jones with the band for a killer performance. The closest they get to a ballad is on “Us Against the World” And the song “The Crownless King” goes back to the sound of the first two albums when Jesse was the original lead singer. I love this band and they did not disappoint with another new album of incredible new songs.
Tool “Fear Inoculum”
– 26 years. 5 studio albums. [not counting any EPs or bootleg albums] One lineup change. This is the musical career summed up in simple terms. 13 years between album releases is a rare thing for any band. Given Maynard’s other musical projects – Puscifer and A Perfect Circle – which got some of the attention during this 13 year span between the 4th studio album “10,000 Days” and this most recent effort. Years of teasing news and sounds until May of this year, when two new songs “Descending” and “Invincible” were performed live at multiple dates. When the album was released on August 30th, fans were elated. Taylor Swift fans were pissed off two weeks later when “Fear Inoculum” entered the Billboard 200 at the top.
– After a good 3 dozen listens as of this writing, the album still easily remained my pick for best album of 2019. My favorite songs are “Invincible”, “Descending” and “7empest” In fact, the only song I skip most of the time is the instrumental last track “Mockingbeat” which at 2:06 is the shortest song on the album. The song “Pneuma” is the one track that reminds me the most of any Tool song, construction wise with how it starts out and how it flows. If you have not heard this album yet, go listen to it. You won’t be disappointed. Unless you are a Taylor Swift fan.
And now, for my top choice of album that came out in 2019….
And sometime my album choices don’t always match what my readers like (I’m lucky to get a couple of matches), so if have something to add, speak up below in the comments below. Or give me a shout out on anything you like on my list. What I might have missed this year, I can always go listen to see if it would have made my list.