Hey, I’m only a couple of weeks into 2020, so this isn’t too late, right? Right.
Anyway, here’s my favorite ten albums from 2019, in no particular order…
Gary Clark, Jr. – This Land
This guy just shreds, man. Plenty of chunky distortion and great guitar riffs, and his lyrics are pretty great, too.
The Mountain Goats – In League with Dragons
A concept album built loosely around Dungeons and Dragons? By the Mountain Goats? Sign me up for that gaming session!
The National – I Am Easy to Find
If this album only gave us “Rylan,” it would still be one of the best albums of the year. That the whole album is fantastic, start to finish, is just gravy.
The Highwomen – The Highwomen
My god, these harmonies! An update on the Highwaymen concept from back in the ’80s (that of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristopherson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings fame) with a scad of kickass women grabbing music by the horns and it like it. I want more of this.
The New Pornographers – In the Morse Code of Break Lights
Is there such a thing as a bad New Pornographers album? I’ve yet to hear one. Weird that it didn’t have a Dan Bejar-led song on it, though.
Andrew Bird – My Finest Work Yet
Bird continues to put out challenging, engaging music consistently with each release, and this one is no exception to that. “Bloodless” was one of my favorite songs of the year.
Wilco – Ode to Joy
A mostly-acoustic affair, but it finds the Chicago band writing some of their best songs in years. It’s cozy, comfy, rainy Sunday afternoon music. And Jeff Tweedy still keeps my dream of chunky guitar hero alive.
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
Didn’t expect this one, did you? Well, I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that guy who really likes to listen to Lizzo play the flute like a badass.
J.S. Ondara – Tales of America
Sometimes, you say it best with just an acoustic guitar and minimal backing. That’s Ondara’s debut, Tales of America, which I found through NPR. The previous sentence is the whitest sentence I have ever written, and I used to write term papers about English religion and society during the theatrical reformation period.
The Black Keys – Let’s Rock
What? Sometimes, I just like straight-ahead bluesy rock. This is not an interrogation. Go away.