New Music XVIII Top 15 Albums of 2019
It’s that time of year again, end of year lists. I have already dropped my top albums of the decade. So, now it’s time for my top albums of 2019. This list is my own opinion, feel free the list your favorite albums in the comments. I can to these decisions based on a few factors, from how much I enjoyed the album, how many times I’ve come back to the album since release, and if they surprised me in any way. This list will also feature 15 albums, so, without further ado let’s begin.
15. Sundara Karma – Ulfilas’ Alphabet
Sundara Karma was a new band for me going into 2019. I had heard a few singles the previous year which got me interested in this album’s release. As seen in my review, I was blown away by the hypnotic vocals on display that gave off a Bowie vibe.
This is an album that you can just listen to and let go. The uplifting guitars and sound saw me coming back for more. Highlights from the album include Symbols of Joy & Eternity, Greenhands, and Little Smart Houses.
14. Marisa and the Moths – Marisa and the Moths.
Taking the number 14 spot is the debut album from Marisa and the Moths. This was a fantastic debut that dealt with mental health, and current social issues with sharp, catchy lyrics. I first fell in love with the sound, a grunge, punk combination, but over multiple listen to the content and meaning, behind the lyrics peeled away to reveal the true hidden depth of the tracks.
Check out my review to get more insight into what I thought about this album. Highlights include Needy, How Did You Get So Week?, and Everything is Going Swimmingly.
13. Beck – Hyperspace
Hyperspace is an album that would have passed me by if not for a few tracks. Those tracks, Uneventful days, and Saw Lightning drew me in and the rest of the alum hooked me. I love the earthly, outer body vibe Beck presents on this record.
While this album is dark in content and mood, I have fun while listening. That juxtaposition is what has me coming back for more. Highlights include Uneventful Days, Saw Lightning, and Dark Places.
12. Self Esteem – Compliments Please
I discovered Self Esteem on my way home from seeing Lights in Manchester. They were interviewing them on Radio X. If not for that interview, I never would have come across this album. This is a fantastic album that like Marisa and the Moths takes taboo topics and turns them into catchy, thought-provoking lyrics.
The album doesn’t sit in one genre-jumping from pop to rock, with hints of gospel. There isn’t a dull track on the album but my favorite is the bonus track on the deluxe version, Rooms. Highlights on the standard version include Steady I Stand, The Best, and Monster.
11. Steel Panther – Heavy Metal Rules
Just missing out on a top 10 spot is Steel Panther with their best record to date. I’ve been a huge fan of the band since their debut but felt their albums didn’t have a repeat listen to factor, for me. Heavy Metal Rules changes all that, as the lyrics are sharper and solely relying on sexual innuendos. The instrumentals from guitar to drums are amazing. As I said in my review, this is the album that turns them from a parody of hair metal but a band that stands equal footing with the legends of the genre.
10. Puddle of Mudd – Welcome to Galvania
2019 became a year of comebacks from Rammstein to Tool to number ten on my list, Puddle of Mudd. The last decade hasn’t been a great one for Grunge outfit Puddle of Mudd however, they are back and better than ever with Welcome to Galvania.
This album sees Wes take ownership of his mistakes, in an attempt to close that chapter in his and the bands’ life. Their debut Blurry will always be Puddle of Mudd’s greatest album but Welcome to Galvania sounds like a direct follow-up. The lyrics, sound, and passion are strong and if this is the passion, they’re gonna put into future projects sign me up.
Highlights include Uh Oh, Diseased Almost, and Go to Hell.
9. I Fight Dragons – Canon Eyes
The latest album from I Fight Dragons while it did only recently drop, is amazing from start to finish. Half the album was also released before the album via singles. I knew from them the tone, sound, and overall vibe the alum would have overall.
The band leans more into the rock elements of their sound. There is a superb mixture of anthem ready rock hits and emotive ballads. This is an album of great moments one being the bass in The Devil You Know, one of my favorite tracks of the year. Highlights include A New Brain, Artifact, and The Devil You Know.
8. Korn – The Nothing
A lot of the albums on my list have strong emotional themes. The album that demonstrates that the most is the number 8 spot, Korn’s The Nothing. This is an album built on grief which ties the concept together. I love how Davis channels his emotion in his lyrics and vocals.
Korn has recently been on a renaissance producing some of their best work in years. Some of the instrumental breakdowns are intense. I have listened to this album repeatedly and I expect to do so going into 2020. Highlights include Cold, You’ll Never Find Me, and The Ringmaster.
7. Bring Me the Horizon – Amo
The next few picks may be considered controversial beginning with Amo at number 7. In honesty I hate the first two Bring Me the Horizon albums, I can’t listen to them. So, I have loved the journey and evolution this band has gone through since forming.
Oli and co aren’t afraid to break the mold set by previous records doing what they feel comfortable with. I love that while listening I can see how much they’ve developed and still willing to experiment. Highlights include nihilist blues, sugar honey ice & tea, and heavy metal.
6. BAND-MAID – CONQUEROR
If Conqueror was released earlier in the year, it would be in my top three of the year. This album had everything I love about BAND-MAID and music. They’re not afraid to experiment from opening with a ballad to including more pop elements into their tracks. BAND-MAID are one of the most hard-working bands out there and their end products show that work. I can hear the passion and love they have for what they do.
I love this album and think it’s their best to date. Highlights include Liberal, Bubble, and Reincarnation.
5. Babymetal – Metal Galaxy
Babymetal divides fans with their third album for all the right reasons. This is a band that started as a Kawaii band but as the members have gotten older so has their sound. For some this is a deal-breaker, for others like myself, this makes me like them even more.
Metal Galaxy dares to experiment and take the band in new directions or expand on ones previously referenced. I love how they have taken risks and not fallen back into a formula. This album was a surprise as you never know what kind of BABYMETAL you are gonna get on each track. Highlights include – DA DA DANCE, Shanti Shanti Shanti, and PA PA YA!
4. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1
I’m not a huge Foals fan but this album blew me away. I loved the raw energy and emotion running through the album, taking you on fun new adventures. Foals do an outstanding job at subverting expectations. You can go into one track thinking it’s gonna be a slow song for the tempo to pick up and it becomes a wholly new track.
3. Royal Republic – Club Majesty
I’ve talked about how most of these albums have an emotional core which I love, but sometimes an album can be pure fun. Taking the number 3 spot is one such album. Royal Republic returned with Club Majesty, an album of pure joy.
The album starts strong with Fireman & Dancer and continues right to the end. Club Majesty is a party you never want to end. I love every track making picking three highlight tracks difficult. My must listen track are Anna-Leigh, Fireman & Dancer, and Boomerang.
2. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
Taking the number two spot is an album, I knew would be in this list before release. Slipknot are my all-time favorite band and WANYK is one of my favorite albums. A lot has changed since there debut in 99 but Slipknot has managed to move with that time without losing their style.
WANYK sees the metal band harness elements from their back catalog to form something new. When I listen to this album from start to finish, I can hear the band’s passion. This is a band that loves what they do.
Highlights include Spiders, A Liar’s Funeral, and Solway Firth.
1. Doll Skin – Love is Dead and We Killed Her
In 2018 a band I was unfamiliar with, Stand Atlantic, took the top spot. One year later the same thing happened. As I mentioned in my review, I was unfamiliar with Doll Skin before the album’s release. Love is Dead and We Killed Her is a passionate record and a rallying cry to stand up.
The album thunders in with an anthem, which keeps coming. I love the bass and guitars throughout the record, especially on the title track. I was surprised how many times I came back to this album. Doll Skin perfectly blends making a statement with fist-pumping punk.
When making this list Doll Skin’s placement was a no brainer. I enjoy this album no matter what mood I’m in, or time of day. I can see myself listening to Love is Dead and We Killed Her for years to come.
Highlights include Love is Dead and We Killed Her, Your Idols are Dying, and Homesick.
These are my picks of the best albums of 2019. I always look forward to the end of the year when I can discuss my favorite albums, EPs and tracks. I also love seeing other people lists as I look forward to discovering acts, I may have missed the first time around. I hope you enjoyed this list and you join us in 2020 for more music coverage.