It is crazy that we are already at the halfway point of the year. There has been a lot of fantastic music that has been released so far and here are my ten favorite albums of 2019 so far and why I adore them. Links to listen to each album are highlighted in green.
– The UK rapper released GREY Area back in March and I have not been fatigued by this album yet. It is cutting-edge, to the point, and Little Simz never falters on a single bar throughout this project. “Selfish” is still my favorite track of the year and should receive any and all awards for rap/sung collaboration. It will be hard for any other hip-hop artist to release an album better than this.
– I feel like this project went overlooked and many music fans missed it. It is unfortunate because this album is incredible. A genuine rock album that fuses R&B, neo-soul, and blues. While the tracks may not have the greatest writing, the instrumentals and Gary Clark Jr.’s versatile singing definitely make up for it.
– Flying Lotus, over the course of an hour and 27 tracks, finds a way to be original and bring out some sexy instrumentals that bring the EDM world together with neo-soul, funk, hip-hop, and R&B. Anderson .Paak, Denzel Curry, and Toro y Moi deliver amazing features. It may be tedious to listen to this entire project, but the quality from start to finish is something you cannot miss.
– The debut, full-length project from the Arizona trio features a cutting-edge, experimental compilation of tracks which include off-the-wall instrumentals and a track that gives a tutorial on how to create a rap song. There is no shortage of creativity on here and the themes range from adapting to fame to paying homage to friends and family.
– Dreamville’s newest product released an entirely neo-soul record that would fit into the great albums of the genre from the 1990s. The beats are on point and Lennox’s vocals ooze confidence throughout the project.
– While I did not enjoy this album as much as I did his 2018 project, Oxnard, Ventura gives a look at a much smoother and soulful Anderson as he takes the helm of nearly every aspect of this project from the instrumentals to the songwriting. A couple of the tracks are forgettable but the best tracks certainly outweigh the lowlights on this album.
– This is the most fun and positive album of the year so far. Lizzo stresses self-love and body positivity throughout the project and it is just a blast. Her vocals are powerful. The percussion instrumentals blare through and add to the power of Lizzo’s message. Tracks such as “Juice” and “Jerome” are some of my favorite pop songs of the year.
– The teenage sensation proves to be more than just an “industry plant” as she provides excellent vocals that range from despair and sadness to scary and seductive. Eilish is entering into the music scene with one of the best pop albums of the decade. Her brother’s electronic production is phenomenal. I cannot wait to see what lies in the future for Eilish.
– One of the darker and heavier projects of the year, Chris delves into the theme of weapons and how the topic means more than just a gun. “Straight Shot” is my favorite ballad of the year. It is a beautiful sentiment and the hook is so memorable and heartbreaking at the same time. Even with its dark theme, Chris still brings some hilarious bars on the project to show that he has not completely abandoned his sense of humor.
– For those that love production, this album may bring a tear to your eye. The production is so gorgeous on this project. Natalie Mering and her crew that put together this album did not need to go this hard. Yeah, Mering’s vocals can seem lifeless and monotone at points but it does not mean that the singing is not great. “Andromeda” and “Movies” are two of the most beautiful songs of this decade, maybe ever. Please give it a listen.