Top Albums 2019

I had some real ups and downs this year, and through it all there were a few key albums that I listened to over and over. If I had physical copies of them, they’d be totally worn out! Anyhow, here are my recommendations (here’s last year’s list).

boyhood – Bad Mantras

Far and away my favorite. The songs speak to loneliness and mistrust, and create a sense of longing for stability and safety. Droning, slightly distorted synths evoke empty city streets and sleeplessness. It’s a perfect listen for those gloomy days, yet the songs are still propulsive and catchy. I don’t get the sense it’s about being sad. It’s about knowing what you want and feeling unable to make it happen.

Lee Fields & The Expressions – It Rains Love

Wow, what a treasure Lee Fields is. This entire album is so tender. You can feel your soul open up to it.

IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance

I’ve seen IDLES described as “positive punk,” and I think that’s appropriate. They bring all their anger and energy to bear on telling the world to get its act together. The video I’ve shared here is a great example. It features the “ok” hand sign which white supremacists have tried to make exclusively theirs. IDLES says, that’s bullshit, you can’t take what belongs to everyone. Another great song, “Television,” has one of my favorite lines:

“If someone talked to you
The way you do to you
I’d put their teeth through
Love yourself!”

Cherry Glazerr – Stuffed & Ready

I was able to see Cherry Glazerr perform live at The Independent this year, which was, simply put, awesome. I love how biting Clementine Creevy’s lyrics are. I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like the band draws on late nineties or early oughts rock bands that were outside of the mainstream. The instrumentation reminds me, in a good way, of those bands I loved back then. Anyway, I can’t wait for more.