We are literally two months away from the end of 2019 and now starts one of my favorite parts of the year: to see what were the best releases in music and film. Of course, my knowledge is more limited and less critical when it comes to music, making this list way more personal and linked to my personal taste. I’ve also been finding myself with way less patience to pay attention to new things or give much attention to what’s trending, which doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed several albums from this very special year with many incredible releases. Here are my favorites of the last year of this decade:
01. “Five” by White Lies
Previously mentioned at “What’s In My Bag in 2019 music?”, White Lies’ fifth album is still, in my opinion, the best album of the year. I have always thought their music extremely interesting by mixing pop and post-punk elements into modern indie rock, but Five is without a doubt their best release so far. With only nine tracks, While Lies composes some sort of a celebratory dark space ballad, with beautiful songs that reach the length of five and seven minutes without feeling dragged. If quality over quantity is still a debate, Five proves that you don’t need a 16 track album to make your point.
02. “Assume Form” by James Blake
Being one of the first releases of the year, Assume Form is so good that it’s almost the end of 2019 and we still can’t get over of how good this album is. Being James Blake’s fourth record, Assume Form is extremely original and creative by mixing minimalistic electronic music with experimental R&B accompanied by Blake’s melancholic voice. Some tracks are made to dance while others are made just to sit, relax and enjoy, resulting in an LP that pushes boundaries by experimenting with something new.
03. “Sémaphore” by Requin Chagrin
I don’t know if it’s because I’m currently learning French, but I’ve been listening to a lot of contemporary French artists like Vendredi Sur Mer, Paradis, La Femme, among others. Requin Chagrin was one of my many discoveries, a band that mixes lo-fi surf pop with indie in a very sophisticated way, resulting in a beautifully nostalgic record sang by the remarkable voice of Marion Brunetto. Make sure to check out the hypnotic video-clip that titles the album on Youtube.
04. “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1” by Foals
Divided into two records, the first part of Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost is way better than the second, in my opinion, making this one of my favorite records of the year. I felt the band was never the same after Antidotes and Holy Fire, but this first part of Everything Not Saved proves that they’re back with their indie-disco sonority while still making creative music with quality and power. Not that I don’t like Part 2, but I think Part 1 stands out more by mixing a variety of different, beautiful and exciting new songs.
05. “Hypersonic Missiles” by Sam Fender
Probably one of the records I was more excited about this year, Hypersonic Missels is without a doubt the best debut album of 2019. Composed by Sam Fender – a 25-year-old British lad who was on benefits not so long ago – the record is an homage to the 80s/90s rock music with contemporary elements while he sings about white privilege, suicide and toxic masculinity in outstanding songwriting. Despite having clear influences from past heroes, Hypersonic Missiles feels fresh, new and exciting, resulting in a must-hear album of this year.
06. “Everybody One of a Kind” by Wild Belle
I’m a little suspicious to talk about this since Wild Belle is one of my favorite bands from nowadays. One way or the other, you can’t deny Everybody One of a Kind is an extremely stylish and cool record full of layers that combine rock, reggae, jazz and a little bit of hip-hop. Despite being their third record, this is the first LP that the Bergman brothers produced themselves, proving that Wild Belle is not only an incredible band but also a talented one.
07. “Social Clues” by Cage the Elephant
Even though Social Clues suffers a little from inconsistency, it’s safe to say that many of the best tracks of the year are found here. Being one of the most creative and different bands when it comes to indie rock today, Cage the Elephant makes their fifth studio album with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, resulting in a fun and dancing record. I may prefer to Tell Me I’m Pretty and Melophobia a little more, but that doesn’t mean Social Clues isn’t one of the best records of the year.
08. “Inflorescent” by Friendly Fires
Another amazing album that I was dying to hear, Inflorescent is not only Friendly Fire’s third record but also their official comeback from an eight-year hiatus. Being one of my favorite bands from 2008, I couldn’t possibly be more happy to see them coming back with a very stylish and dancing record. Many people have complained that they did nothing new here, which disappointed many. But who says they were supposed to be innovative? Inflorescent works great as a fun summer-like dance album with powerful and creative tracks, making the best album of 2019 to put on a party.
09. “Claude Fontaine” by Claude Fontaine
I’ve discovered this album while searching similar records from Everybody One of a Kind by Wild Belle and couldn’t possibly be more surprised. Being the debut album by Claude Fontaine, this American-french artist makes an outstanding LP that is divided into reggae and bossa nova. While the bossa nova part seems like an authentic Brazilian artist from the 60s, the reggae part feels like Amy Winehouse came back from the dead and started singing love melodies, resulting in a brilliant and sophisticated record that you simply must hear.
10. “Nothing Happens” by Wallows
It’s not always that actors can be successful when they start a career in music, but I must admit Wallows surpassed Dylan Minnette’s talents on screen. From playing Clay in 13 Reasons Why, the 22-year-old actor released his debut album called Nothing Happens with three friends, resulting in a very creative and stylish record for such a saturated style as indie rock. Fortunately, Wallows proves that you can reinvent genres by simply being talented, and as far as this record goes, we can expect great things coming from them.
Here are some honorable mentions of great albums that you must definitely check it out: I Am Easy to Find by The National, Now, Not Yet by Half Alive, Cuz I Love You by Lizzo, Pony by Rex Orange County and Pursuit of Momentary Happiness by Yak.
What about you? What are the best albums of 2019?