Exclaim!'s 20 Best Pop and Rock Records of 2019

Exclaim!'s 20 Best Pop and Rock Records of 2019

Original Source →

20. Caroline Polachek - Pang

Caroline Polachek - Pang
October 18, 2019
Critic Score
80
16 reviews
It is great to see Caroline Polachek giving a go at being an independent pop artist, and this album makes it feasible that she one day becomes a household name in the genre.

19. Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated

Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
May 17, 2019
Critic Score
77
26 reviews

Dedicated is a more nuanced and subdued work than Jepsen's 2015 masterwork, trading in some of her last record's razzle-dazzle for a more refined emotional palette, but losing none of the songs' staying power.

18. Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love

Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love
September 13, 2019
Critic Score
81
15 reviews

Wrapping The Practice of Love in avant-pop instrumentation, Hval nimbly threads complex sentiments through its prismatic shades of sound.

17. Billie Eilish - WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?

Billie Eilish - WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
March 29, 2019
Critic Score
79
23 reviews

Eilish's success is no fluke — When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is a debut record that showcases a bold artistic vision and a willingness to move beyond the boundaries of pop conventions.

16. black midi - schlagenheim

black midi - schlagenheim
June 21, 2019
Critic Score
81
22 reviews

It does little to dispel any of the mystery that surrounds the band, even while proving them worthy of the praise they've received across the pond.

15. Jenny Lewis - On the Line

Jenny Lewis - On the Line
March 22, 2019
Critic Score
83
23 reviews

On the Line is full of such raw realizations laid bare — it's Lewis squaring up a difficult period of her life with an affected but steady gaze.

14. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride

Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
May 3, 2019
Critic Score
78
36 reviews

Now that they're mostly unburdened from the narratives of their past, Father of the Bride finds them at their most relaxed, jovial and inviting.

13. Brittany Howard - Jaime

Brittany Howard - Jaime
September 20, 2019
Critic Score
83
18 reviews

Drawing attention to society's weak spots through simple, strong storytelling, Jaime attempts to break the cycle, moving toward a better future.

12. Bon Iver - i,i

Bon Iver - i,i
August 9, 2019
Critic Score
81
34 reviews
Granted, this record isn't as immediate as other Bon Iver works; it takes a little longer to reveal itself and fully take shape. But given the time to settle into the mind, it's rich and endlessly rewarding.

11. Big Thief - Two Hands

Big Thief - Two Hands
October 11, 2019
Critic Score
86
20 reviews

Paired with the dream-like, celestial quality of U.F.O.F., Two Hands shows Big Thief's loving view of the world can be immeasurably intimate and intangible, but also be bare-boned and brutally honest.

11. Big Thief - U.F.O.F.

Big Thief - U.F.O.F.
May 3, 2019
Critic Score
83
22 reviews

Big Thief are accepting the inherent beauty of life's invisible forces and their contemplation with the unknown has led them to a mindful state of raw, celestial power. U.F.O.F. is trembling with mystical energy and is truly one of the year's best records.

10. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
October 4, 2019
Critic Score
92
30 reviews
It's a monolithic record: immense, imposing and impossible to fully comprehend with a single listen.

9. Better Oblivion Community Center - Better Oblivion Community Center

Better Oblivion Community Center - Better Oblivion Community Center
January 23, 2019
Critic Score
80
23 reviews

The best parts of the album, though, are the moments where it doesn't sound exactly like anything either artist has released before, yet still shows two songwriters at the height of their talents.

8. Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
April 5, 2019
Critic Score
86
27 reviews

Titanic Rising may draw inspiration from the past, but it's ultimately a clear-eyed look at love, catastrophe and hope that's perfect for the present moment.

7. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains

Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
July 12, 2019
Critic Score
86
17 reviews

With strings, thoughtful arrangements, backup vocals, and rich production plus David Berman's inimitable wordplay and phrasing, Purple Mountains is a true masterpiece.

6. PUP - Morbid Stuff

PUP - Morbid Stuff
April 5, 2019
Critic Score
83
18 reviews

At the heart of it, Morbid Stuff just still sounds like friends having fun and making catchy, cathartic punk anthems for teens and almost-adults alike — offering a brief, but much needed respite from the hell that is everyday life.

5. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
January 18, 2019
Critic Score
85
36 reviews

Remind Me Tomorrow is not only a reminder of the power of love but also features some of Van Etten's finest work to date.

4. (Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar

(Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar
September 13, 2019
Critic Score
80
19 reviews

Giannascoli's creativity is endless and as he continues his never-ending output of mysteriously disorienting and strangely familiar songs, he's becoming stronger and weirder with every album.

3. FKA twigs - MAGDALENE

FKA twigs - MAGDALENE
November 8, 2019
Critic Score
89
29 reviews

In portrait mode, Magdalene tears down the metaphorical walls — aurally, visually, physically — to build back up a wholly realized self.

2. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors

Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
October 4, 2019
Critic Score
87
32 reviews

Monumental and intimate in equal measure, All Mirrors' boldness is exceeded only by its profound emotional resonance.

1. Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!
August 30, 2019
Critic Score
86
31 reviews
Original Source: https://exclaim.ca/music/article/exclaim_s_20_best_pop_and_rock_records_of_2019
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