WTF's TOP 50 ALBUMS OF 2019

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Just another chart from best to least best. Ranking my 50 personal favorite albums of 2019 with annotations + 10 honorable mentions.

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/44VT8Oo5YiQdz12X1bAJUZ?si=UE_9uc53S_iICQdCrqtN7w

Favorite Songs of 2019: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5RRAtEN9yCish4Hq6pH0Lv?si=mp38dS63Q_CPo9xkngL59g

Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
1.
76
Genre: Baroque Pop, Art Pop

Natalie Mering chose the perfect title and album cover for this record: this album feels incredibly sorrowful and covered in melancholy and regret, and the only way to get over everything is starting to being the best version of yourself, start to make your ship afloat. An excellent disc that I can't recommend enough.

I have no words, I already wrote so much about this record in my review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/139513-titanic-rising/

Standout track: "Wild Time"
Michael Pisaro - Nature Denatured and Found Again
2.
88
🌿Genre: Musique concrète, Reductionism, Nature Recordings🌿

Michael Pisaro has always had a gift for making small poems out of pure tones, and manipulating field-recordings into abstract yet emotive stories. It's interesting how there's a linear narrative that can established between the records and other narratives that can be experimented when playing 2 (or more) discs as one. I haven't found the time to test that yet, but I look forward to it.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/138383-nature-denatured-and-found-again/

Standout Track: "The Chords of the River" (https://michaelpisaro.bandcamp.com/album/nature-denatured-and-found-again)
Matana Roberts - COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis
3.
81
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz

Searingly beautiful and incredibly fresh. I have no qualms giving this a 95, although a rating was the last thing that came into my head whilst listening. Matana still my favorite jazz artist of the decade.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/179007-coin-coin-chapter-four-memphis/

Standout Track: "Her Mighty Waters Run"
Laurie Spiegel - Unseen Worlds
4.
83
Genre: Progressive Electronic

A huge ambient influence on me, Spiegel drifts and buzzes like a sound goddess. This album is an incredible little gem of colorful Dark ambient that will always have a place in my heart. Essential electronic listening.

Standout Track: "Hurrican's Eye"
Richard Dawson - 2020
5.
68
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Art Rock

As England moves closer and closer to Brexit, the best bard of our time is back with another modern masterpiece, "2020", goodbye the Middle Ages and hello the zeitgeist....

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/168963-2020/

Standout Track: "The Queen's Head"
Quelle Chris - Guns
6.
75
Genre: Conscious Hip-Hop, Abstract Hip-Hop, Jazz Rap

Quelle Chris’ "Guns" is not only titled as such, it’s about Guns too. More or less. But who knew Quelle Chris would turn out to be the real gun? Wwweeeeellllll... shitty jokes aside, this might be his strongest collection of tracks yet.

Full review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/139830-guns/

Standout Track: "Straight Shot"
black midi - schlagenheim
7.
73
Genre: Noise Rock, Math Rock, Experimental Rock

Fantastic debut album from the London experimental post-hardcore band Black Midi with tastes of math rock, no-wave, and post-punk. They move from noisy, chaotic, passionate bursts to calm, tightly composed segments with the deft skill of an experienced seaman. Not for everyone, though.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/153878-schlagenheim/

Standout Track: "Speedway"
Tyler, the Creator - IGOR
8.
69
Genre: Neo-Soul, Experimental Hip-Hop

Tyler drops a near-perfect breakup album that brilliantly mixes experimental hip-hop & pop soul. Chilling, absolutely sentimental and some of the most original hip-hop I've ever listened. This is the record that keeps alive the music industry.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/152796-igor/

Standout Track: "A BOY IS A GUN"
Ustad Saami - God Is Not a Terrorist
9.
84
Genre: Khyal

To my inexperienced ears, this sounds a lot like Indian classical music, but with a great emphasis on the singer. But what a singer! This is coming from a very old musical tradition and one can feel its sacred timelessness upon first contact. I advise you read the guy's history on bandcamp.

Standout Track: "My Beloved is on the Way"
Charli XCX - Charli
10.
65
Genre: Electropop, Bubblegum Bass

Took me a few listens to really get into, but this album is such a good summation of Charli's artistic evolution since "Vroom Vroom", and will undoubtably wind up as one of the most eclectic and dynamic pop albums of the decade.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/159499-charli/

Standout Track: "2099"
Frank Harris & Maria Marquez - Echoes
11.
86
Genre: Sophisti Pop, Art Pop

What a peculiar release. "Echoes" run the gamut from sensual Venezuelan sophisti-pop ballads, to more soundscape-y stuff (built from early 80s SFX packages) and slightly cheesy synthpop. All of it's pretty successful, guys.

Standout Track: "Canto del Pilon"
Lingua Ignota - Caligula
12.
67
Genre: Neoclassical Darkwave, Death Industrial

Just because things are looking cleaner on the cover, it doesn’t mean Kristin Hayter’s looking to let up for a second. On Caligula she seeks only to drive her thumbs into the beating heart of the patriarchy and watch as it bleeds down her arm. What a fucking glorious listen.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/154924-caligula/

Standout Track: "MAY FAILURE BE YOUR NOOSE"
Billy Woods & Kenny Segal - Hiding Places
13.
73
Genre: Abstract Hip-Hop, East Coast Hip-Hop

With "Hiding Places", Billy Woods cements himself as one of the greatest lyricists hip-hop has ever seen. This is some seriously good stuff.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/146395-hiding-places/

Standout Track: "Spider Hole"
Big Thief - U.F.O.F.
14.
87
Genre: Indie Folk

"U.F.O.F." has a unique way to get under my skin that none of the previous Big Thief albums have. Despite not having a massive masterpiece of a song such as "Mythological Beauty", this is easily their most solid and best sounding record. The way each instruments and Adrianne's voice is whispering directly in our ears, there's a natural magic hiding in all of this. The lowkeyest beauty of the year.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/141758-ufof/

Standout Track: "From"
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana
15.
68
Genre: Gangsta Rap

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib are back at it again. Madlib's production should not work with Freddie's rapping style, but it ends up creating a beautiful harmony in the strangest of ways. Even though there is no real story to the album, it has a plot line of sorts. It starts out by glorifying the street life in songs like "Crime Pays", but ends with conscious and introspective songs such as "Education".

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/140934-bandana/

Standout Track: "Fake Names"
Uboa - The Origin of My Depression
16.
67
Genre: Dark Ambient, Death Industrial

On "The Origin Of My Depression," Uboa hits the listener with an overwhelmingly scary representation of what depression is.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/148651-the-origin-of-my-depression/

Standout Track: "Epilation Joy"
Little Simz - GREY Area
17.
64
Genre: UK Hip-Hop, Conscious Hip-Hop

Everything in this album exudes independance. Stylistically, she's not using grime nor trap, having her own raw groove, her riffs, with a unique presence on the mic and proud lyrics. A charismatic dry punch to the gut.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/136584-grey-area/

Standout Track: "Flowers"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
18.
66
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Ambient Pop, Chamber Pop

I've never heard someone's reflection over a death approached in such a beautiful way. He's heartbroken, battered, and bruised, but it doesn't stop him from letting his feelings out in a productive way. This album is Nick Cave's therapy. His way of dealing with losing his everything.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/178735-ghosteen/

Standout Track: "Sun Forest"
FKA twigs - MAGDALENE
19.
66
Genre: Glitch Pop, Art Pop

Here it is. The divine work of art I’ve been waiting for Twigs to drop since I first heard “Cellophane”. I guarantee you’ve never sex, vulnerability, femininity and melancholia coalesce in such an alienistic yet harrowingly beautiful way.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/150125-magdalene/

Standout Track: "Cellophane"
Jenny Hval - The Practice of Love
20.
66
Genre: Synthpop, Art Pop

Jenny Hval continues to work with a level of intelligence beyond most other artists. "The Practice of Love" sees her delivering a challenging exploration of human intimacy from all sides through the medium of washes of synth and distorted dance beats possessing similar qualities to the meticulously produced and beautifully lush minimal techno of Kelly Lee Owens whilst also having a mid 90s synth pop vibe.

Standout Track: "Ashes to Ashes"
The Comet Is Coming - Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
21.
86
Genre: Jazz Fusion, Nu Jazz

Perfect sounding cosmic jazz fusion. As if a real comet was coming. Immaculate.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/143603-trust-in-the-lifeforce-of-the-deep-mystery/

Standout Track: "Summon The Fire"
Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin¿
22.
73
Genre: Hardcore Hip-Hop, Abstract Hip-Hop

I know what you’re sayin, Danny

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/152217-uknowhatimsayin/

Standout Track: "Best Life"
Saba Alizadeh - Scattered Memories
23.
85
Genre: Ambient

"Scattered Memories" is an insanely creepy album that sounds like you’re strolling an abandoned Persian city. And yet in spite of the creepiness factor the sounds used are rather pleasing, making for a hauntingly beautiful record. I am thoroughly impressed. أنا معجب تمامًا.

Standout Track: "Blood City"
Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
24.
85
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Alt-Country, Indie Rock

R.I.P. DAVID BERMAN. You will be sorely missed. "Purple Mountains" is essential listening.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/155745-purple-mountains/

Standout Track: "Nights That Won't Happen"
Kishi Bashi - Omoiyari
25.
85
Genre: Chamber Pop, Indie Folk

Towering orchestration, oozing with charm and even a bit life-affirming, this album reminds me of "The Mysterious Production" by Andrew Bird or "Seven Swans" by Sufjan. Love the swapping between English & Japanese and peppering of ambiance. The exact kind of record you need to hear at midnight.

Standout Track: "Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear "
clipping. - There Existed an Addiction to Blood
26.
67
Genre: Industrial Hip-Hop, Horrorcore

Clipping. return bathed in blood for their newest album. Both restrained in sound but excessive in lyrical content, "There Existed an Addiction to Blood" meshes minimalist eerie beats, tension, gore filled lyricism and a dark uncomfortable atmosphere to create one of 2019’s finest Halloween albums. ⚠️Alert Spoil: Ends with an 18 minute recording of a piano burning.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/170663-there-existed-an-addiction-to-blood/

Standout Track: "La Mala Ordina"
Liturgy - H.A.Q.Q.
27.
68
Genre: Avant-Garde Metal, Black Metal

"H.A.Q.Q." is surely damn wild and messy, but still one of the most unique and dense metal albums of the decade. It might be a bit too cerebral at times, but a lot of effort has been put into making these tracks dynamic and easy to digest.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/191687-haqq/

Standout Track: "PASAQALIA"
Labelle - Orchestre Univers
28.
85
Genre: Modern Classical

🇫🇷Some French Minimalist Classical Shits. 🇫🇷

Standout Track: "re-créer - Orchestre univers Version"
Fire! Orchestra - Arrival
29.
75
Genre: Experimental Big Band

Vaporous frisson. There is something truly special about this album. It's hard to pinpoint: it's blue, somber, ghostly, fleeting, dissonant, and quiet. A cover of Robbie Basho’s "Blue Crystal Fire" comes in at the absolute perfect time. When those low trumpet groans give-way for the vocals, that call with a perfectly tense tremble, good-lord it hits me; I can feel it in my chest.

Standout Track: "Blue Crystal Fire"
Tropical Fuck Storm - Braindrops
30.
67
Genre: Punk Blues, Art Punk

It seems fitting that Nick Cave is one of Gareth Lillard’s obvious influences since he’s just as consistent. The second TFS project isn’t quite as stellar as last year’s debut, "A Laughing Death In Meatspace". But what it lacks in the same punch and volatility, it makes up for in eccentricity.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/160173-braindrops/

Standout Track: "Braindrops"
Rapsody - Eve
31.
75
Genre: Conscious Hip-Hop

As the album cover and the track titles, each dedicated to a woman of color, might allude, "Eve" is a celebration of black women, of their strength, perseverance, and triumphs. And it's really good, packed with songs that instrumentally and lyrically serve as sonic representations of the aforementioned women's lives.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/162701-eve/

Standout Track: "Hatshepsut"
Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race
32.
85
Genre: Death Metal, Progressive Metal

In a year that's been spectacular for Death Metal the competition is still somehow easily wiped out by Blood Incantation. With vocals that evoke the best Incantation albums, dynamic compositions and the full intent to smash your face in.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/182622-hidden-history-of-the-human-race/

Standout Track: "The Giza Power Plant"
MIKE - tears of joy
33.
84
Genre: Abstract Hip-Hop, East Coast Hip-Hop

MIKE, like Billy Woods & Quelle Chris, has definitely been rewarding to watch, time and time again. But this is where I feel like his work has crystallised for me. Introspective, wistful and meditative as ever.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/160975-tears-of-joy/

Standout Track: "Summer 17"
Otoboke Beaver - Itekoma Hits
34.
84
Genre: Hardcore Punk

Album/Compilation-thingy from one of the most exhilarating punk bands of the decade. Girl-band performing some of the most groovy punk songs since The Minutemen, with a japanese out-there burlesque flair. Sometimes very noisy, sometimes full-on funk. Feels like a best-of that's over in the blink of an eye. Like being run over by a colorful kawaii truck.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/150505-itekoma-hits/

Standout Track: "S'il vous plait"
Anderson .Paak - Ventura
35.
70
Genre: Neo-Soul, Comtemporary R&B, Funk

Fucking Anderson .Paak man, what a gem. One of the most consistent artists of the decade, and consistently good at that. I don't think this is as good as "Malibu", but it's definitely on par with (if not better than) "Oxnard".

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/141974-ventura/

Standout Track: "Come Home"
Funereal Presence - Achatius
36.
83
Genre: Black Metal

"Achatius" is easily one of the most unique and interesting black metal releases to come out in recent years... It came out in the beginning of the year and absolutely blew me away with its complex but raw structure, its engrossing concept and story.

Standout Track: "Wherein Achatius Is Awakened and Called Upon"
Lifafa - Jaago जागो
37.
83
Genre: Deep House

There's something about the blend of electronic beats with reedy, organic instrumentation of Lifafa's "Jaago जागो" that just seems like it demands a bolliwood film to go along with it. It's such a deep sound, it's addictive.

Standout Track: "Din Raat"
Slauson Malone - A Quiet Farwell, 2016-2018
38.
66
Genre: Sound Collage, Experimental Hip-Hop, Glitch Hop

The future of Jazz and Hip-Hop

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/149532-a-quiet-farwell-twenty-sixteen-to-twenty-eighteen/

Standout Track: "Off Me! “The Wake” Pt. 1 & 2"
Ana Frango Elétrico - Little Electric Chicken Heart
39.
83
Genre: MPB, Chamber Pop, Jazz Pop

Ana Frango Eletrico has a gently disconcerting take on vintage Chamber Pop. There is more than enough weirdness on "Little Electric Chicken Heart" to make the traditional, jazzy elements of her sound completely her own.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/176976-little-electric-chicken-heart/

Standout Track: "Chocolate"
Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel
40.
83
Genre: Noise Rock

A maniatic, convoluted and noisy project that will leave you seeing stars after it hits you in the head with its agressive and abrassive guitar passages.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/168109-sonic-citadel/

Standout Track: "Big Banger"
Xiu Xiu - Girl with Basket of Fruit
41.
66
Genre: Post-Industrial, Experimental

After another "pop" album, Stewart went back to making another "crazy ass industrial" album. GWBoF is not centered around melody as much as it is centered around rythm. In fact, there's a few tracks here one can legitimately dance to (they're still fucked up, but yeah danceable).

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/131144-girl-with-basket-of-fruit/

Standout Track: "Normal Love"
Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
42.
72
Genre: Chamber Pop, Art Pop

Thunderous applause for this phenomenal record from Angel Olsen. Dark and grand atmospheric production accompanied by grandiose string arrangements which bring out prominent textures and emotions that complement Olsen's singing. "MY WOMAN" still better, though.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/167313-all-mirrors/

Standout Track: "Chance"
Hermann Holsgr - Hypnoise
43.
82
Genre: Noise, Drone

Uruguayan Noise/Dark Ambient artist and incidentally aoty user, Hermann Holsgr (@holsgr) releases his magnum opus: "Hypnoise". Probably the best album coming from an AOTY user this year.

Standout Track: "Atonitmia"
(https://hermannholsgr.bandcamp.com/album/hypnoise)
Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken
44.
72
Genre: Abstract Hip-Hop, Experimental Hip-Hop

Aesop Rock is back with his constipated voice and his illegal substances to make some weird shit. He has one of the most solid discographies of any rapper, "Malibu Ken" is no exception. And by then adding Tobacco into the fold, of Black Moth Super Rainbow fame, the pair have created an idyllic kind of musical marriage. An amazingly creative collaboration project.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/129056-malibu-ken/

Standout Track: "Acid King"
Caroline Polachek - Pang
45.
82
Genre: Art Pop

Caroline Polachek's first full-length solo effort Pang is a triumphant art pop odyssey.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/166846-pang/

Standout Track: "Look At Me Now"
Little Brother - May The Lord Watch
46.
81
Genre: Conscious Hip-Hop, Southern Hip-Hop

A new Little Brother album is always welcome. Yeeeaah it's perhaps for the slightly older crowd but that's dumb to point out when it's done this well 15 years after they were most relevant and they've still got the essence of what made them so great.

Standout Track: "Goodmorning Sunshine"
Rafael Anton Irisarri - Solastalgia
47.
81
Genre: Drone, Ambient

Irisarri’s music is often described as cinematic, and "Solastalgia" is no exception for the rule. Having Lynch, Herzog and Švankmajer as key influences, a surreal, naturally bizarre, and dismal approach can also be noticed on the tracks.

Standout Track: "Coastal Trapped Disturbance"
MAVI - Let The Sun Talk
48.
81
Genre: Abstract Hip-Hop, East Coast Hip-Hop

The Year of the Slums
MAVI is an up and comer from the same movement that birthed MIKE and Earl Sweatshirt’s new direction, so it’s a given that I was going to take to this mixtape quite quickly. But what I didn’t anticipate for was how strong this thing is as a whole. The sampling, aesthetic, production and bars are all spot on. dull moment or one I’d strip away. The sampling, aesthetic, production and, last but not least, bars are all spot on. If you are unaware of this particular record and wondering if you should buy into it, then I definitely recommend you should.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/182018-let-the-sun-talk/

Standout Track: "Self Love"
Avenade - It's a Whimsical Afterlife
49.
78
Genre: Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore

Stan Avenade, it's our duty.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/188998-its-a-whimsical-afterlife/

Standout Track: "Dear Misery"
JPEGMAFIA - All My Heroes Are Cornballs
50.
46
Genre: Experimental Hip-Hop, Glitch Hop

I was dissapointed.

Full Review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/whatthefunk/album/170523-all-my-heroes-are-cornballs/

Standout Track: "Free the Frail"
Comments
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9mo
Good list! Very good choices!
10mo
Such a great list, proud of you man :)
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