The Guardian's 50 Best Albums of 2019

The Guardian's 50 Best Albums of 2019

Original Source →

50. Kano - Hoodies All Summer

August 30, 2019
Critic Score
86
12 reviews

He is yet ... to enjoy a mainstream moment like those had recently by Stormzy and Skepta. The reflective, ambitious Hoodies All Summer isn’t likely to change that, but it will cement his reputation as one of grime’s wisest truth-tellers.

48. King Princess - Cheap Queen

October 25, 2019
Critic Score
77
11 reviews

47. Flying Lotus - Flamagra

May 24, 2019
Critic Score
78
27 reviews

Always known for Technicolor hip-hop odysseys, Flying Lotus has now gone fully cinematic. 

46. Durand Jones & The Indications - American Love Call

March 1, 2019
Critic Score
76
8 reviews

There simply isn’t a weak or even middling track, and the strongest can go toe to toe with the best of Al Green or Bobby Womack.

45. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains

July 12, 2019
Critic Score
86
17 reviews

Life has tested David Berman, and he translates it into songs of mordant wit on this fantastic collaboration with Woods.

44. (Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar

September 13, 2019
Critic Score
80
19 reviews

43. Jamila Woods - LEGACY! LEGACY!

May 10, 2019
Critic Score
86
19 reviews

Full of dust-shaking beats, layered vocals and sticky melodies, the record is every bit as rousing as Heavn, with even more intricate production flourishes. But as ever with Woods – who is also an acclaimed poet – her words hold the greatest weight.

42. The Japanese House - Good At Falling

March 1, 2019
Critic Score
80
19 reviews

On Good at Falling, her debut album, the walls come tumbling down, with Bain picking at the scabs of a broken relationship with the sort of direct candour that would have seemed unimaginable when she arrived in 2015.

41. These New Puritans - Inside the Rose

March 22, 2019
Critic Score
75
20 reviews

It feels less like a lunge for the charts than another stopping point on an increasingly fascinating musical journey.

40. Sturgill Simpson - Sound & Fury

September 27, 2019
Critic Score
73
15 reviews

A hugely exciting album that underlines Simpson’s status as a daring, restless and unique artist.

38. black midi - schlagenheim

June 21, 2019
Critic Score
81
22 reviews

As a whole, Schlagenheim is an imperfect, intriguing debut: behind the overheated prose lurks a young, self-conscious band who clearly aren’t as fully formed as the hype suggests.

37. Big Thief - Two Hands

October 11, 2019
Critic Score
86
20 reviews

Big Thief’s power is in how they understand duality, both in the macro (with their two albums), and in the micro details. This record is best heard alongside its twin, but it’s equally powerful alone.

36. Sleater-Kinney - The Center Won't Hold

August 16, 2019
Critic Score
76
30 reviews
Losing Weiss will be a trauma in itself, but Sleater-Kinney have announced that they are survivors, making fires out of friction.

35. The Murder Capital - When I Have Fears

August 16, 2019
Critic Score
85
15 reviews

It’s an outstanding debut from a great new band who play it like they mean it.

34. Bill Callahan - Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

June 14, 2019
Critic Score
83
19 reviews

Humour and subtly shattering insights into a new life as a parent add profundity to Callahan’s expansive album.

33. MUNA - Saves the World

September 6, 2019
Critic Score
81
10 reviews

32. Brittany Howard - Jaime

September 20, 2019
Critic Score
83
18 reviews

A wonderful solo debut takes in race, religion and boozy excess, all with searing lyricism.

31. James Blake - Assume Form

January 18, 2019
Critic Score
77
34 reviews

Assume Form feels like Blake opening out, adding fresh, noticeably brighter colours to his palette. Whether or not a smidge more commerciality turns this album into the kind of hit he was predicted to have at the start of the decade, it is immensely pleasing to witness an artist who seemed to be at a dead end now moving forward.

30. Kim Gordon - No Home Record

October 11, 2019
Critic Score
79
24 reviews

Many artists of her stature retreat from contemporary horrors to the comforts of the past, but Gordon relishes new raw material to remake in her own, inimitable image.

29. Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love

September 13, 2019
Critic Score
81
15 reviews

28. Lizzo - Cuz I Love You

April 19, 2019
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

Cuz I Love You keeps its foot pressed down hard on the accelerator for half an hour in an attempt to ram-raid the charts. It’s hard not to hope it’s a success ... and hard not to hope that next time, she occasionally changes gear.

27. Taylor Swift - Lover

August 23, 2019
Critic Score
73
24 reviews

As it is, Lover offers plenty of evidence that Swift is just a better songwriter than any of her competitors in the upper echelons of pop, but its something-for-everyone approach feels like consolidation, not progress, designed to keep Swift as one of the world’s biggest stars without provoking the kind of backlash that led her to start evoking the end of days in her diary.

26. Jenny Lewis - On the Line

March 22, 2019
Critic Score
83
23 reviews

25. Big Thief - U.F.O.F.

May 3, 2019
Critic Score
83
22 reviews

UFOF sees them pare things down further still, in a collection of gentle folk that seems dazed by its own exquisite beauty.

24. Aldous Harding - Designer

April 26, 2019
Critic Score
84
19 reviews

Her lyrics are inscrutable and her vocal and visual stylings eccentric, but Harding’s third album is a thing of beauty.

23. Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe

March 22, 2019
Critic Score
81
19 reviews

In between the mock adverts, Miss Universe throws up a ragged miscellany of styles – rackety alt-rock, radio-ready pop, saxophones that appear to have escaped from a Sade album, jagged left-field guitars, primitive drum machines and what sounds like an attempt to make the kind of 80s AOR ballad that’s popular with Magic Radio on a lo-fi, bedroom-bound budget – all blessed by the melodic facility already in evidence when Yanya made her debut.

22. Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel

April 12, 2019
Critic Score
91
20 reviews

This is the kind of songwriting quality that bands can take years to reach, or never reach at all: brilliant, top to bottom.

21. Charli XCX - Charli

September 13, 2019
Critic Score
80
26 reviews

The embattled singer reveals her anxieties and coaxes brilliance from various guests in a candid, confident third album.

20. Clairo - Immunity

August 2, 2019
Critic Score
74
21 reviews

Pretty Girl’s bruised naivety was charming but would have grated over numerous similar tracks. Thankfully, Clairo impressively broadens her sound on this strongly written debut album.

19. Solange - When I Get Home

March 1, 2019
Critic Score
82
23 reviews

The songs frequently sound like jams or extemporisations on a theme, where melodies float away vaporously or get stuck in repetition.

18. Cate Le Bon - Reward

May 24, 2019
Critic Score
84
15 reviews

Lovely, airy, occasionally rocking songs are underpinned by elliptical lyrics and seeping loneliness on Le Bon’s remarkable album.

16. Ariana Grande - thank u, next

February 8, 2019
Critic Score
82
26 reviews

This feels like the work of a pop star previously happy to act as conduit for other people, finally working out who they are and what they want to say. Here, Grande finds her voice.

15. Richard Dawson - 2020

October 11, 2019
Critic Score
86
14 reviews

Dawson adds pop-facing elements to folk on this brilliant album, full of stories of a benighted Britain.

14. Little Simz - GREY Area

March 1, 2019
Critic Score
87
17 reviews

At once soft and hard, fiery and vulnerable, Grey Area finds Little Simz thriving in her multi-facetedness.

13. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride

May 3, 2019
Critic Score
78
36 reviews

Its 18 tracks seem to belong in an august tradition begun by the Beatles’ eponymous 1968 release: the double album not as grandiose conceptual statement, but a crowded, loose scrapbook of ideas, not all of them fully baked.

12. Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka

November 1, 2019
Critic Score
86
25 reviews

The soulful singer’s third LP is timeless and contemporary at the same time, with shades of everything from What’s Going On to Screamadelica.

11. Caroline Polachek - Pang

October 18, 2019
Critic Score
80
16 reviews

Overall, Pang is a vivid and melodious portrait of a restless heart.

10. Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

April 5, 2019
Critic Score
86
27 reviews

9. slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain

May 17, 2019
Critic Score
83
17 reviews

Clever, bleak, funny, bracing, aware of a broad musical heritage but never in thrall to it: after you hear Nothing Great About Britain, it’s even more obvious why Slowthai stands out.

8. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

October 4, 2019
Critic Score
92
30 reviews

On one level, it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s as good as it is ... Nevertheless, listening to Ghosteen, it’s very hard indeed not to be taken aback.

7. FKA twigs - MAGDALENE

November 8, 2019
Critic Score
89
29 reviews

Sometimes the results are stunning ... Sometimes, however, the songs are weirdly stifling.

6. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors

October 4, 2019
Critic Score
87
32 reviews

It is rewarding: the sound of Angel Olsen skilfully mapping out an unanticipated new territory for herself, further out on the left-field. Nothing on All Mirrors ends up quite where you expect, including the artist who made it.

5. Tyler, the Creator - IGOR

May 17, 2019
Critic Score
85
21 reviews

It’s no bad thing that Igor downplays Tyler’s indomitable personality – but the writing and execution do not quite replace what has been lost. What’s left is a fine showcase of ingenuity that too rarely burrows very far into your consciousness.

4. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

January 18, 2019
Critic Score
85
36 reviews
Whether Van Etten is brooding on the present or pining for the good old days ... the general impression remains the same: this ambitious, arresting album feels like the work of an artist wielding her considerable talents with newfound confidence and conviction.

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

March 29, 2019
Critic Score
79
23 reviews

The highs are thrilling, and despite their obvious pedigree, arranged unlike anything else in contemporary pop. They also reveal the lows more starkly.

2. Dave - Psychodrama

March 8, 2019
Critic Score
89
11 reviews

Fearless and incisive, Dave’s reportage-style tracks sketch out race, prison and abusive relationships, resulting in a landmark record.

1. Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!

August 30, 2019
Critic Score
86
31 reviews

Listening to Norman Fucking Rockwell! is an alternately beguiling and frustrating experience.

Original Source: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/dec/03/50-best-albums-of-2019
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