As the sun sets on the end of the year it means it’s time for an end of the year album list.
Any end of year list that is published before today is a lie – and technically so is this as there are still a few hours to go. But I’m pretty confident that nobody is going to release something that is going to mean that much to me in the next few hours that I have to delete this. If they do I will.
How does an album become my favourite of the year? I’ve talked about this a lot in previous end of year lists over the past decade and have come up with all sorts of methods, one of which included complex spreadsheets and recording every single time I played an album over the course of the year, which frankly was bloody bonkers in all sorts of ways.
But fundamentally the answer to the question is it’s the record that has connected with me the most over the last 365 days. That probably means I’ve played it a lot, but also doesn’t necessarily mean it’s my most played. It’s not necessarily a record that has been critically acclaimed, although fair play to the critics, often the records they choose in their end of year lists show up on mine as well, but there will always be some records that I’m not afraid to admit connecting with (for example this year Nina Nesbitt and Chocolate Hills) that don’t really hit home with the critics.
So, without further ado, here are the 20 albums, released this year, that shaped my world the most in 2019. From my favourite to the 20th. I don’t really like lists that show more than about 25; as I’ve said before, does anyone really care what your 97th favourite of the year is? If it’s only 97th it’s probably not that brilliant to be honest. You’re just showing off about how many albums you have listened to.
As with previous lists, you’re probably sick of the sight of these things by now, so the main point of interest with this is probably to see if any of your favourites are the same as mine. Here is my Top 20. The Top 5 were easy to decide this year. The list almost wrote itself.
1. Fontaines DC – Dogrel
2. Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
3. Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
4. The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
5. Sigrid – Sucker Punch
6. Erland Cooper – Sule Skerry
7. James Blake – Assume Form
8. AVA - Waves
9. Dave – Psychodrama
10. Aurora - A Different Kind Of Human (Step 2)
11. Julia Kent - Temporal
12. Nina Nesbitt – The Sun Will Come Out, The Seasons Will Change
13. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
14. Charli XCX - Charli
15. Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell
16. FKA Twigs – Magdalene
17. Plastic Mermaids - Suddenly Everyone Explodes
18. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
19. Our Native Daughters – Songs Of Our Native Daughters
20. Chocolate Hills – A Pail Of Air
There’s a playlist with 1 track from each of these great records on Spotify which you can find by clicking here. A couple of selections from this list also stream below via Soundcloud.
I’ll be back at the end of January 2020 for a monthly playlist of new music. In the mean time keep up to date with my musical shenanigans on Twitter (here) and Instagram (here)
Happy New Year everyone!
Our Native Daughters - Mama's Cryin' Long
Sigrid - Don't Kill My Vibe