Beware: Many cool music videos within this blog!
This is when I’m supposed to get excited but 2019 was a musical disappointment. There are always great songs but the lack of good albums was disturbing.
I had major personal troubles which meant I never had the time to escape into music as much as I’d hoped but brilliance should be so glaring I need sunglasses. Instead, music made my ears go blind.
Okay, I’m being melodramatic. Amanda Palmer, Chelsea Wolfe, Bat for Lashes, Elbow, Michael Kiwanuka, The Lumineers, Waste of Space, The Pixies, Devin Townsend, Vampire Weekend, New Pornographers, Alter Bridge, Foals, FKA Twigs, Karen O, The National, Swans, Papa Roach and Bruce Springsteen delivered good albums. But they failed to steal my heart.
Tool’s Fear Inoculum was technically brilliant but it never got me emotionally involved. That’s sad considering the many years I awaited their return.
Korn, Blink-182, Slipknot and many others disappointed big time. Good sales and biased reviewers don’t mean good music.
The genres that fell down the stairs most were metal and hip-hop. In fact, it’s the first time that not one hip-hop album deserves mention. The genre suicided into repetition. Kanye West deserves special mention for the arrogance of his inferior Jesus Is King.
BUT there was good music. Cage the Elephant’s Social Cues initially never absorbed me but it grew and grew in my head whilst I was in Namibia. I left it alone for several months, played it recently, and found happiness. O.R.K.’s Ramagehead and Shovels & Ropes’ By Blood are the most underrated albums of the year. Opeth made their best, and Andrew Bird one of his best.
For convenience, here’s the list but note that a video from each can be found further down this blog.
01 Cage the Elephant – Social Cues
02 O.R.K. – Ramagehead
03 Shovels & Ropes – By Blood
04 Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
05 Andrew Bird – My Finest Work Yet
06 Bon Iver – i,i
07 Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
08 Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
09 Deity’s Muse – Lung’s Full E.P.
10 Baroness – Gold & Grey
11 Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
12. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
13. Thom Yorke – Anima
MY BEST 2019 ALBUMS VIDEO SHOWCASE
Nick Cave’s Ghosteen and Leonard Cohen’s Thank You for Dancing were very good for poignant moments (and always lyrically brilliant).
The best compilation was easily Editors’ The Blanck Mass Sessions. I played them a lot, as did a bunch of people in Belgium and the Netherlands where it went top 10. If it were an album, it’d be on top of this list.
The irony is that, along with Cage the Elephant, my most played albums were Andra’s A Sound or Something More, Liminas’ Shadow People and A Perfect Circle’s Eat the Elephant. They’re exceptional but can’t make this list because I failed to fall in love with them when they were released in 2018.
Although no album accompanies them, the return of My Chemical Romance has me applauding. Let’s hope they can find their past magic.
Although I work long days as an activist, I need to fall asleep thinking politics so that I awake to politics. Consequently, n 2020, I will listen to less new music. In fact, I’m going to commit to that until the day I die. It’s not right that I’ve fallen into consumerism, always wanting to hear something new. Surely listening to the 100 best albums from the past 70 years is enough. And nothing touches the many personal compilations I’ve made.
Nevertheless, I will make small exceptions. I’m looking forward to Blue October and Marilyn Manson in 2020.