You may have seen my videos over the Christmas period where I shared my top live acts, top gigs and top festival moments from 2019. Today I want to share my top twenty albums of 2019.
They draw from different genres of music - some are popular, some aren't; some I've been obsessed with and one is even an EP , but all have a special place in my heart.
I've put the Spotify links behind all of them in the review so you can go and listen. Enjoy!
The Debut album from Yonaka takes top album of 2019 for me for many reasons. From the opening Oh, oh, oh oh on Bad Company to the last clap on The Cure this album grips you. There's not one song on this album I don't love - it's a message of hope, of love and above all following your dreams and never giving up on what you want to achieve. My own favourite tracks are Awake, Punchbag, Guilty and Don't Wait 'Til Tomorrow. Live this band take the album to another level, their energy is otherworldly - this band will be selling out stadium tours in the next few years. Mark my words.
Another debut album and this may not come as a surprise given her global success. I love Billie Eilish and all she stands for. Musically she's come along and rewritten the rules. Stand out tracks for me on this album are Bad Guy (DUH) and I Love You. I've not interviewed one band this year where at least one of the band members loves her music. She appeals to people from all kinds of musical influences. She is the future of music and I can't wait to see what she produces next.
Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem is one of those artists who started off in a band but since going solo her career has rocketed and she deserves all the accolades she receives. I've seen her twice this year and honestly she has one of the most incredible voices you will hear. If you've ever been downtrodden, lied to, cheated on or had someone tell you that you won't achieve your dreams then this is the album for you. It's pure gold. Stand out tracks for me are I'm Shy, She Reigns, Wrestling and Girl Crush. She's another artist who is going to get better and better.
Pip Blom are my favourite Dutch export . I've seen them 3 times this year and each time I've had a massive smile on my face and danced non stop. Their energy on stage is visceral and their drummer Gini is incredible! For me the stand out tracks are Ruby (most people agree with me), Don't Make It Difficult, Sorry and Daddy Issues. I really hope that they continue to tour the UK as frequently post Brexit because each time I see them is an absolute treat.
I'm a bit late to The Blinders party as I only started listening to them earlier this year (see next album). This was my first Blinders gig, so for them to release a live album from the same one was really special. The sirens at the beginning give me goosebumps, I remember being there and it having the same effect. They're honestly insanely brilliant live. You've just got to experience it. For a three piece their sound is flipping phenomenal! My own favourites are Brave New World, L'etat c'est moi and Orbit (Salmon of Alaska). If you've not seen The Blinders live then listen to this - I've many live videos of them on my YouTube channel too so check them out.
I first saw The Ninth Wave supporting When Young on my birthday weekend and I talked to Hayden afterwards. They were selling merch, but they didn't take a card so he gave me a flyer for their next gig (supporting The Blinders) and a sticker with their logo on. Their sound is obviously heavily influenced by Nine Inch Nails and I said to Hayden when we spoke I thought it was like a fusion of Wolf Alice and Human League. Hayden has a stunning voice and this album again is just immaculate. No filler this is all killer. Stand out tracks for me are This Broker Design, Human Behaviour and Sometimes The Silence Is Sweeter (I sing this at the top of my voice when driving). This band are just brilliant and I can't wait to see what they produce next.
Cate was listed for this years Mercury Prize and I was very surprised when she didn't win. It's her 3rd career album and the first of 2 she's released this year. From the opening chords of Miami I get goosebumps. Live this lady as well has an aura that I'm in awe of. So much talent. Stand out tracks for me on this album are Miama, Home to You, Daylight Matters and The Light. It's a beautiful album. Do yourself a favour and buy it.
Stina Tweeddale aka Honeyblood released her third album in May of 2019. Having seen her live this year I can say unequivocally she's phenomenal live (see my YouTube) .This album is brilliant, from start to finish. The stand out tracks for me are The Third Degree, Twisting the Aces and Take the Wheel. Her first two albums are also worthy of a listen. She's another artist who I can't wait to see again/see what she produces next.
The Murder Capital are one of those bands who's live set is very very special. I'd not heard them prior to YNOT in the summer and was blown away. This is their debut album and again this is one of those seminal records that's going to stand the test of time. It's a stunning debut. Tracks I love on this record are Don't Cling To Life, More Is Less and How The Streets Adore Me Now (listen to that voice, very Nick Cave - the first time I listened to this I cried). They're one of those bands who are going to get better and better.
I said this when I saw Aurora and reviewed her gig, if Norway had it's own Bjork then Aurora is definitely it. Her voice is captivatingly beautiful. This album is uplifting, it's hope, it's overcoming your fears and just going for it. The love for her from her fans when I saw her was so visceral it was so moving as is this album. Music can touch the soul and this album definitely achieves that. Stand out track for me are The River, Daydreamer and A Different Kind Of Human.
Sigrid was one of my favourite live acts of 2018 and again I was privileged to see her this year. Sucker Punch released last year is the opening and title track of this album. Sucker Punch is one of the songs I put on when I'm feeling down and dance. This album again has no filler on it. If you asked me to choose my favourite tracks on this album I'd be hard pushed because I love them all - the CD has been in my car since the album came out. Sucker Punch, Don't Kill My Vibe, Dynamite and Strangers are all massive hits and favourites. Pure gold!
I'm a bit later to the Is Bliss party as I've only been listening to them for about a month. Still Strange Communication Is Bliss's third album is one of my favourite albums of 2019. I listened to it the first time with my headphones on at home so I had no distractions and I felt as though I'd been transported to another planet! Everything about this album is just stunning. Belong, All I See Is You and What to Believe are the stand out tracks for me.
Deja Vega are one of the most exciting bands to come out of Manchester in recent years and this debut album shows why their shows sell out within minutes whenever they headline in their home city. Live their energy is magnificent. I've been lucky enough to see them twice this year and eager with anticipation to see them again early next year. This is another stunning debut album my favourites on this are Mr Powder, Vor Gazen, Eyes of Steel and Seeing Double. They're already in the studio putting the touches to their second album which I can't wait to hear.
This isn't going to be that a big surprise as most albums lists of 2019 have had this masterpiece on it. Again listed in the Mercury Awards 2019 this blindingly brilliant debut album is one of those career debuts that have propelled Fontaines into the mainstream. I adore this album, its pace, the riffs and Grian Chatten's accent just adds to the raw, authentic brilliance of this incredible debut. Stand out tracks for me are Boys in the Better Land (pretty obvious), Too Real, Liberty Belle and Dublin City Sky.
Lizzo has been on my playlists for about 18 months now and when Cuz I Love You was released it was already a shoe in for this list. I've been lucky enough to see her in a crowd of around 1300 at the O2 Ritz in May of 2019 and it was EPIC. Her sass, talent and awesomeness shone out of her like rainbows. Again with an album with so many amazing tracks how do you pick your favourites? Cuz I Love You has very deep personal significance to me. I also love Like a Girl, Juice, Water Me and Heaven My Home. I get to play her a lot on Gaydio when I'm hosting and it's a boogie in the studio every time (thank god we don;t have a web cam)!
Another great debut this time from another great Doncaster band (the other being The Blinders) to make this Top 20 album list of 2019. They've toured with the likes of Pink and Sting playing to huge stadiums this year already and I was lucky enough to see them this year and meet a few of the guys afterwards. Stand out tracks for me are Shame on You, Bag of Bones, Love Yourself (what a message) and Beautiful World. This band are going to have a very long successful career - trust me.
When Young I was lucky enough to catch on my birthday weekend and I loved every minute of it. It was pure, gorgeous, happy dance along music and there wasn't a face that wasn't smiling. This is their debut album as a lot on this list are but make no mistake this is brilliant debut. Stand out tracks for me are Pretty Pure, Never Let Go (incredible live), In My Dreams and Something Sweet. Eleven tracks of pure gold that you don't want to end.
Now whilst this is three track EP Martha Gunn's debut EP of Love & Emotion is an incredible debut. They've been compared to Fleetwood Mac and this isn't unfair because they remind me of the Rumours era of the Mac. Love & Emotion, Saint Cecilia and Honey, Let Me Know are all brilliant. I've been blessed to see them live and they did one track acappella, "Idaho" which I hope they commit to an album at some point because it gave me goosebumps. I'm really excited to hear more from this band.
Post Malone's third studio album is his best yet in my opinion. His voice is instantly recognisable and I recall the first time I listened to this album. I had to stop everything I was doing because this is just amazing. Sometimes the art is so great it deserves your full attention and this is one of those albums. For me the strand out tracks are Hollywood is Bleeding, Circles, Myself and I Know. He headlined Reading & Leeds this year and I hope he's back in the UK soon as I would love to see him perform live.
Calva Louise are one of those bands who the first time I heard them I was like WTAF?! They're bags of energy, fantastic riffs, a beat you can dance to and the harmonies are exquisite. They've received a lot of accolades and rightly so because this is a masterpiece. My personal favourites are I'm Gonna Do Well, Outrageous, Cruel Girl and Out of Use. Also worth a special mention is the track Belicoso whilst it doesn't appear on this album it's been released this year and it's one of those tracks that blow your socks off! Musical Heaven!
Do yourself a favour and go and play all of the above albums. They're all brilliant.