She reckons with being child-free in a society that constantly reminds her how she’s running out of biological time. Pitchfork: The 50 Best Albums of 2019. Out came Crush, a record that vibrates with sadness and anger, buoyed by squelching melodies that flutter and pop. But even going the comfortable route, she is constantly disrupting her own ’70s soft rock pastiche with sounds that represent the future—space-age synths, satellites trying to connect. The best way to hear these songs now is to listen to them in that spirit—to assume Berman was fighting fire with fire. Chicago’s latest star is Polo G, whose debut album Die a Legend contains some of the best hip-hop ballads in recent memory. But until ANIMA, there was something a little stiff about Yorke’s beats, both solo and with his band, a studiousness that suggested a lifetime of nervously eyeing the dancefloor. 41. The 50 Best Albums of 2019 From ‘Lover’ to ‘Cuz I Love You,’ ‘Death Race to Love,’ and beyond, here are the records that defined the year Warmed by humming amps and the presence of four bodies pressed in close, the album unspools as effortlessly as a campfire session—stray counterpoints, offhand vocal harmonies, tiny details dancing like shadows on the treeline. These are the albums, EPs, and songs that defined the sound of electronic music in 2019. Singing his sorrow so nakedly, with so little reserve, Cave asks the world to bear witness to the love he’s shared and his cavernous, neverending loss. But it’s important to remember what Berman’s friends at Drag City said following his death: His music didn’t predict his death; it was written despite his depression. Slate: The Best Albums of 2019 N/A Stereogum: The 50 Best Albums of 2019 1. The most exciting and important new albums being released today. –Madison Bloom. [see also 2020, 2010s, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 ] Lana Del Rey — Norman Fucking Rockwell! 1 in October, he put in the work to make his big talk a reality. Del Rey’s melodies also find their ideal setting in producer Jack Antonoff’s airy Laurel Canyon psych-folk, where she follows in the lineage of Joni Mitchell and Carole King. FKA twigs. MAGDALENE is an overwhelming collection of intimacies, a generous feat of communication that turns her specific pain (not all of us have to get over a breakup with a celluloid vampire) into communion. View reviews, ratings, news & more regarding your favorite band. One soul seems devoted to self-pity and the other to splendor, and throughout the album, this internal battle plays out via guitar rock that’s marked by a dappled radiance. Her second album, At the Party With My Brown Friends, offers a serene glimpse inside her world—or at least a serene-sounding one. –Peyton Thomas, For their first album with legendary pop-punk label Epitaph Records, the Philadelphia quartet Mannequin Pussy swap fuzz-heavy thrashers for melodic, grand anthems of heartache and regret. LEGACY! –Nathan Smith, After the lonesome folk of her 2009 debut, Sharon Van Etten’s subsequent albums mostly offered modest tweaks to a familiar strain of heartland-flavored indie. My blessed boy. Time: The 10 Best Albums of 2019 4. Elastic, off-kilter guitar lines carry the prickly “Mother’s Mother’s Magazines,” while “Sad Nudes” floats along slack percussion and metallic adornments. "The kid drops his bucket and spade/And climbs into the sun," he murmurs before the track’s steady bassline suddenly glitches, as if the needle of a turntable has hit a bad groove, and Cave begins to keen in falsetto. –Eric Torres, With each record, Angel Olsen’s music grows grander and darker, and on All Mirrors, she spreads her leathery wings and nearly blots out the sky. These tracks still throb: “Hedonic Treadmill” and “Utility” are trance-like bangers made propulsive entirely via cycling synth melodies, and even the more ambient songs swell and build like club music. –Evan Rytlewski, “I got two souls fighting for the same spotlight,” Long Island emo hero Jade Lilitri sings on the opening track of his third album as Oso Oso, Basking in the Glow. 4.13 683 votes: 03 : Minenwerfer Alpenpässe. –Noah Yoo, By the time Bad Bunny dropped his debut LP on Christmas Eve 2018, the Puerto Rican star had already demonstrated fluency in the trap, R&B, and reggaetón sounds that dominate urbano music through a deluge of hit singles and features. She has better things to do anyway, like raising a glass while the world burns in “Hollywood Lawn.” –Eric Torres, Fresh out of a long-term relationship, Sydney singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin funneled a series of small epiphanies about how to be into her second album, Crushing. In a hyperspeed world, it is increasingly meaningful to sit with the vision of one artist for an extended period of time. It’s an album that never stops openly wondering how cool it might be if it tried to be something completely different. Nothing is masked by reverberant textures; with every wry turn of phrase, you can feel the music shifting to meet Cox’s new outlook. –Philip Sherburne, Brittany Howard named her debut solo album after her older sister, who died when Brittany was eight years old. Am I a Yahoo Boy - Single . The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2019 by Jeff Terich. No matter how long they go away, Vampire Weekend will always return perfectly out of time. But it’s important to remember what Berman’s friends at Drag City said following his death: His music didn’t predict his death; it was written despite his depression. Years ago, the idea of Tyler making music this intimate and reflective seemed like a stretch, but on IGOR, he gives in to the grown-up uncertainty that eventually comes for us all. –Grayson Haver Currin, Jessica Pratt’s folk songs usually press right up against the speaker, making you feel inches away from her delicately voiced guitar, lonesome words, and peculiar execution of vowels—a language unto itself. Frank Ocean — Channel Orange. They throw a light on the refugee crisis in “Unfound Manifest,” rail against fat-shaming on “The Right Stuff,” and put a name to widespread government corruption with “The Killer.” –Eric Torres. The 50 Best Albums of 2019 Pitchfork Preview Editors’ Notes The artists who ruled the year, starring FKA twigs, Bon Iver, Kim Gordon, DaBaby, and more. Nérija’s Blume is the latest proof that London just may be the most fertile environment for modern jazz in the world. Following two fairly lo-fi records of eerily intertwined introspection, they find their own distinct voices within heavier soundscapes of emo-tinged slowcore and distorted dream pop. Opener “Alewife” finds 21-year-old singer-songwriter Claire Cottrill revisiting suicidal thoughts that she had in eighth grade, and over the next 10 tracks, we are with her through so many growing pains and regrets. View reviews, ratings, news & more regarding your favorite band. (All releases featured here are independently selected by our editors. Purple Mountains, the final album of new music from David Berman, released 26 days before he took his own life at age 52, offers no such luxury. After eight years, five albums, and complete political and cultural upheaval, Lana Del Rey has risen to her greatest musical heights. Critic Score. The lyrics are elliptical yet striking, so successful at filling you with what feels like an ancient longing that it sometimes feels like you’re discovering a new language entirely. –Vrinda Jagota. By Pitchfor k. You become a parent with the wish that your kids outlive you. A number of lines and song titles—“The dead know what they are doing when they leave this world behind,” from “Nights That Won’t Happen,” or “No way to last out here like this for long” from “All My Happiness Is Gone”—seem to point at what was to come, and to hear them in a certain mood is to be emotionally overwhelmed. Vampire Weekend ambled away from the spotlight for a half-decade or so, but even as the delays mounted for the follow-up to their 2013 masterpiece Modern Vampires of the City—and even as Rostam Batmanglij, long thought to be their behind-the-scenes mastermind, left to pursue other projects—they returned on Father of the Bride as if they’d just stepped out of the country club for a breath of sea air. 100 gecs - 1000 gecs. But each mountainous track is also filled with small details, be it a high-pitched squall, a grainy click, or a distant rumble. And what does one’s legacy look like when the future isn’t guaranteed? –Anna Gaca, Following their mosh-worthy 2018 collaboration “Smack a Bitch,” Maryland rapper Rico Nasty and producer Kenny Beats doubled down on their reckless chemistry with Anger Management. This simultaneous backwards-forwards vantage point leaves Mering well-positioned to consider our current moment—even if she sounds almost nothing like it. The thundering “Frontier” builds a battle anthem for the climate emergency against anxious AI wails, while “Godmother” interpolates the fragmented rhythms of Herndon’s friend Jlin, chopping and scattering Spawn’s voice as if it were being fed through fan blades. Tightly-knit slowcore reveries swell into post-punk explosions, barely-there melodies tangle to the point of dissonance. The songs follow an elusive—and affecting—dream logic. –Jayson Greene, Titanic Rising is vintage-sounding music for people who don’t want to live in the past. There are powerhouse, splashy pop numbers here—“NASA,” “bad idea,” “7 rings”—but the quieter tracks, especially the title song, showcase a stunning maturity. –Laura Snapes, While writing the songs that would become her fifth album, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon spent a year studying furniture-building at an English architecture school, living alone in a cabin in England’s rural Lake District. What value is conforming in a world where norms have ruined us? It’s her boldest album to date, not only because she recruited a who’s-who of players—including Beck, Ringo, Don Was, and more—to help her craft a lush backdrop of vintage rock, country, and soul, but also because she knows how to write directly to the chest. Designer is a fitting headphone companion for wandering the city in a melancholy fog, but it never fades into the background. Each track feels like a selection on a mixtape, chosen for a specific emotion: “RUNNING OUT OF TIME” is a slow-groove journey into his subconscious, reminding you how singular Tyler’s vision can be behind the boards; “EARFQUAKE” is one of Tyler’s most ambitious songs, a catchy symphony that features Playboi Carti in the squeakiest and strangest version of his baby voice. With ZUU, Curry kicks at the darkness surrounding him until it bleeds daylight. See which albums are sitting at the top of this year's charts. When the spirit calls for sparkling old soul, it’s there, as on the perennially festive “Stay High”; when Howard addresses a racist attack on her mixed-race parents, she doesn’t smooth over the stumbling piano refrain, nor her stunned delivery. –Julianne Escobedo Shepherd. LEGACY! You can parse out the weight, hope, and humor of Mering’s poetry, or you can sit back and let her dulcet tone and excellent taste in George Harrison-esque slide guitar wash over you. –Jayson Greene, Listen/Buy: Rough Trade | Apple Music | Tidal, By the time Big Thief released U.F.O.F. Even at their most accessible, 100 gecs sound like a bunch of fireworks stuffed into a fax machine, or human beings singing in the key of dial-up. 4.07 30 votes: 04 : Deafheaven Black Brick. Giannascoli’s tendency to enshroud his vulnerabilities in warped guitars and pitch-shifted vocals makes the straightforward candor of album standout “Hope” all the more devastating. Original Source → Comments (5) Sort. We’re used to confronting a work of crushing sadness after the artist who made it has reached a better place. Cottrill, who went viral in 2017 with the charmingly homemade track “Pretty Girl,” has said that Immunity is partly about the process of coming out as bisexual, and songs like “Bags” and “White Flag” feel undeniably about the beginnings of things. Pitchfork's Best Jazz Albums of 2019. Apparently everything, and nothing, all at once. Check out all of Pitchfork’s 2019 wrap-up coverage here. Ghosteen abounds with stark moments like this that reveal the raw heart of grief. Kanye West — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. –Amy Phillips. Only a few lyrics pop out from her baroque melodies, like, “This time around, has it gone so grey that my faith can't hold out?” Her nylon-string guitar recalls sunny ’70s Brazilian pop, but her voice is all fog and rain. At the same time, the album is almost unbearably self-aware. It’s self-conscious stuff, to be sure, with highlight “Wake Up Next to God” reveling in the G-force of self-torment. Vampire Weekend ambled away from the spotlight for a half-decade or so, but even as the delays mounted for the follow-up to their 2013 masterpiece Modern Vampires of the City—and even as Rostam Batmanglij, long thought to be their behind-the-scenes mastermind, left to pursue other projects—they returned on Father of the Bride as if they’d just stepped out of the country club for a breath of sea air. But form-defying freakouts like “bmbmbm” sound so certain they’re the future of guitar music, you’ll probably want to believe it, too. For the past few years, Bad Bunny has remained a true original in an urbano scene littered with talented copycats, and X 100PRE is his hard-to-catch victory lap. First published on Tue 3 Dec 2019 01.00 EST. “Get Yr Life Back” sits uneasily atop tensely arranged found-sound; “Sketch Artist” seems to be tearing itself apart; “Paprika Pony” rides a minimal toy-piano rap beat that sounds like it was created by the world’s most sinister toddler. But it doesn’t have to be. On these four songs—ranging from gnarled chaos in “The Giza Power Plant” to the psychedelic slow burn of “Inner Paths (to Outer Space)”—Blood Incantation find their own corner in a storied cosmos, where even the most familiar textures can feel thrilling and extreme. –Evan Rytlewski, Nearly a decade after releasing his first tape, Carol City, Florida’s most promising native son, Denzel Curry, delivered his opus this year. Even more than calling Her Majesty the C-word, slowthai’s mangling of the Queen’s English is his true feat of treason. The result is mysterious, weightless. Gone is the surface-level catchiness that drew listeners into the first two DIIV LPs, replaced by intricate songwriting that reveals itself further with each listen. Even the title i,i nods to the Rastafarian idea of “I and I,” of oneness. Elastic, off-kilter guitar lines carry the prickly “Mother’s Mother’s Magazines,” while “Sad Nudes” floats along slack percussion and metallic adornments. –Allison Hussey, PUNK, the second album from Nagoya, Japan’s Chai, is as anthemic and glossy as it is insurgent. Critics had nothing but tremendous praise for Cave's haunting album upon its release in October. November 22, 2019. But real empathy comes from a deeper place: the personal growth that necessitated the songs’ existence. SONG ALBUM TIME Am I a Yahoo Boy. –Sasha Geffen. The Chorus of #MeToo, and the Women Who Turned Trauma Into Songs, 6 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, 4 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, 5 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now. Del Rey’s attitude towards destructive relationships take a refreshing turn, giving her more agency than ever before: “You’re fun and you’re wild/But you don’t know the half of the shit that you put me through/Your poetry’s bad and you blame the news,” she sings wearily on the title track. Original Source → Comments. ), With each record, Angel Olsen’s music grows grander and darker, and on All Mirrors, she spreads her leathery wings and nearly blots out the sky. Ad Choices, The artists who ruled the year, starring FKA twigs, Bon Iver, Kim Gordon, DaBaby, and more, 7 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, 6 Albums Out This Week You Should Listen to Now, brandishing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decapitated head. 80. –Philip Sherburne, Like white light refracted through a prism to reveal an array of colors, ordinary words and phrases—wrinkled hands, silver hair, clear water—take on new meanings when sung by Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker. As a recap, we had the first new Sleep album in 15 years, a new Deafheaven album, a new Yob album, no less than five Thou releases, a quadruple album (sort of) from … It’s a record unlike anything else he’s made with the Bad Seeds across the last 35 years. Stories of depression and despair are easier to take with full knowledge of the happy ending. Brexit broke Britain, fast-rewinding the country to the ’70s, when it first joined Europe and last seemed this close to collapse. The 50 Best Albums of 2019 … –Eric Torres, In 2019, black midi taught a new generation of indie kids that prog and punk aren’t as different as sometimes advertised. She flaunts her vulnerability. Plenty of people come to Bill Callahan’s music just to hear him string sentences together as he explores an absurd, beautiful world one song at a time. Yes, the album fits comfortably within the avant-garde’s long tail, but the British duo’s sound is primed for a much larger audience. –Amy Phillips, © 2020 Condé Nast. The album’s underlying note is a kind of supreme confidence, the sound of an artist seeking truth with open eyes, a gentle heart, and a practiced commitment to the possibility that under the politics and advertising lies a beautiful experience of the world. In 2019, the musical landscape was as fractured and multifarious as the world around it. Check out all of Pitchfork’s 2019 wrap-up coverage here. It’s a record unlike anything else he’s made with the Bad Seeds across the last 35 years. Fuzzy guitar, looped strings, and expansive guest spots from fellow vets Blood Orange and Run the Jewels underscore a new phase of Brown’s work without blotting out the high-pitched urgency that made him a compelling figure in the first place. They pierce the conformist pressures of contemporary Asian femininity without clichès or sloganeering: “Too much makeup/Just lips and eyebrows all set,” chirps frontwoman Mana in Japanese. –Anna Gaca. But Lilitri shows why that spotlight—that glow to bask in—is worth fighting for. The 20 Best Music Videos of 2019. On “Drunk II,” a raging post-breakup lament, frontwoman Marisa Dabice drowns her hurt in alcohol and wry jokes, but there’s no mistaking the depth of her emptiness. Pitchfork's Best Metal Albums of 2019. Along with her rich voice, Yanya’s fidgety guitar is one of the few binding threads tying together her virtuosic, post-genre smear of a debut. The artists who ruled the year, starring FKA twigs, Bon Iver, Kim Gordon, DaBaby, and more . Pitchfork's 50 Best Albums of 2019 Fiona Apple — The Idler Wheel…. Emily Alone dares you to tell her she’s wrong. Def Jam. 50. But rarely do they melt into each other in the way they do on MIKE’s Tears of Joy. Even when he’s snatching chains and staging robberies, like on the chorus of his breakout hit “Pop Out,” Polo G is apologetic and regretful, unable to ignore the ghosts. On it, he perfects styles from the worldwide African diaspora and situates them in universal conversation, while his sharp ear for collaborators—including Future and YG, Lagos rapper Zlatan, Kingston crooner Serani, and Beninise icon Angélique Kidjo—underpins his thesis and shows off his range. Offering nine tracks in 18 minutes, the project burns quick and bright: Mostly, Rico jumps in, commands a raucous beat, and dips before the three-minute mark. You can see its vision of egalitarianism across the LP’s inner gatefold, which shows obscured portraits of the 52 people who helped create the record. 4.23 22 votes: 02 : Cult of Luna A Dawn to Fear. FKA twigs’ second album plays like an unsparing breakup manual for a distant species, some glamorous alien race presumably as brilliant at everything as she is: singing, producing, writing, dancing, seducing, exorcising, empathizing. Across 11 arena-ready tracks, singer/guitarist Eva Hendricks and her close-knit band turn an abusive relationship and the attendant fear-shame spiral into a kiss-off masterpiece, glittering with hope and spiked with synths. But Remind Me Tomorrow cracks her style open like a geode: The roadhouse soul of “You Shadow” is halfway between Motown and Massive Attack; “Seventeen” arrives decades too late for the John Hughes closing credits it deserves; “Jupiter 4,” titled after a vintage Roland synthesizer, sounds like a gothic take on slowcore. The 50 Best Albums of 2019 From ‘Lover’ to ‘Cuz I Love You,’ ‘Death Race to Love,’ and beyond, here are the records that defined the year Amidst the neverending whirlwind of 2020, it was tempting to crawl into a cocoon of nostalgic favorites and never come out. Like a freshly polished lens, the album’s eclectic production only pulls Van Etten’s songwriting into sharper focus. Like a lot of great pop music, the details are sharp but the songs strive to feel universally cathartic. But listening past admittedly excellent singles like “Nina” and “Fall Down” reveals a group with greater ambitions than simply summoning a vibe. “Power has come to me,” Vernon said earlier this year, “but it’s not fun to wield by yourself.” i,i is the solution, a collective effort as endless as it is empathetic. These solitary songs about unrequited love are full of intimate moments and gestures: hanging on the dead air between her and the silent recipient of a love letter; sleeping in an ex’s shirt to keep the memories fresh; begging an old flame to come back into town and renew their spark. It’s the sound of a super-rational person realizing the limits of reason and letting loose with 44 minutes of pure feeling. Future generations will marvel that one album contained “Venice Bitch” and “Mariners Apartment Complex” and “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it.” And they will scoff in disbelief that Lana Del Rey was once treated as anything but the poet laureate of a world on fire. Slant: The 25 Best of Albums of 2019 1. SONG ALBUM TIME Norman f*****g Rockwell. The music world didn’t know how to respond to the New Zealand singer-songwriter’s unpredictable 2017 album Party; its follow-up, Designer, is even more opaque. Not every song on the album is as clear in its intention—Paul’s half-finished thoughts provide a dreamy sense of stasis throughout—but all are deeply felt. (That she also makes beautiful, droning synthesizer music isn’t surprising.) Honest and nuanced, Crushing ends up being a fortifying declaration of self-possession. You can see the full top 50 below, and read commentary on each pick here . FKA twigs — Magdalene; Big Thief — U.F.O.F. 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