30. Hayden James – Between Us
29. Kanye West – Jesus Is King
28. BROCKHAMPTON – GINGER
27. Dreamville – Revenge Of The Dreamers III
26. Danny Brown – uknowhatimsayin¿
25. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
24. Solange – When I Get Home
23. Golden Vessel – SLOWSHINE
22. Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
21. Nick Murphy / Chet Faker – Run Fast Sleep Naked
20. Young Thug – So Much Fun
19. Berhana – HAN
18. Goldwash – Flat Earth Surf Club
17. Kaytranada – BUBBA
16. YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy
15. Flume – Hi, This Is Flume
14. FKA Twigs – MAGDALENE
13. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana
12. Jordan Rakei – Origin
11. Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
10. Clairo – Immunity
Clairo delivered a stunning debut album that fully proved this “Pretty Girl” is a beautiful and experienced songwriter.
9. DaBaby – KIRK / Baby On Baby
DaBaby won 2019. With two albums dropping over the course of the year and ten chart-topping singles, we all “needed some shit with some BOP in it.”
8. Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
No summer is complete without a little Lana, and in 2019 Lana closed out the summer with her best record to date.
7. Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
RIP to David Berman.
6. Toro Y Moi – Outer Peace
Toro Y Moi showed us why he’s still the king of keeping it cool.
5. Billie Eilish – WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
Billie Eilish became the world’s biggest sensation over the course of a single year. Her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? proved that she’s the perfect pop star for the next generation. With catchy tracks like “bad guy,” samples of The Office on “my strange addiction” and an overall depressed atmosphere, it’s the perfect album for any teen in 2019.
4. Big Thief – U.F.O.F. / Two Hands
Big Thief managed to somehow own every year-end list that came out over the past month, and rightfully so. Delivering two albums this year, October’s Two Hands and my personal favorite, May’s U.F.O.F., the El Paso indie group provided some of the absolute best tracks of the year. The two albums provide quite different vibes, with U.F.O.F. containing more summer vibes as opposed to Two Hands chilly feels. Together, it’s a masterpiece.
3. Bon Iver – i,i
Bon Iver returned this year with an album that was truly comprised of all the best parts of Justin Vernon’s last three projects. Even on his most collaborative album to date, Vernon’s voice remains at the forefront . Deathly quiet at times and filled with heavy-hitting sounds at others, the album holds all the punch that you come to expect from a Bon Iver record. Vernon picks out some of the best aspects of his music and mixes them all together here. Combining warm guitars and electronic dissonance all at once, Bon Iver’s i,i is the culmination of a career.
2. Tyler, The Creator – IGOR
There has never been another rapper who wrote, arranged, and produced their own chart-topping album. On IGOR, Tyler, The Creator made an album for himself, and he was pretty blatant about that. He gave out instructions to listeners as to how he wanted them to experience IGOR and completely redefined his public persona to match that of his album’s character and subsequent live show. A lot of people were shocked at the release of IGOR. He announced it just two weeks before its release date and wore a blonde wig throughout much of the album’s cryptic promotional videos. While Tyler’s last album, 2016’s Flower Boy, surprised many fans with its themes, subject matter, and overall musical tone, IGOR seemed poised to be a continuation of the “Flower Boy Tyler.” Instead, his latest album turned out to be a culmination of all of Tyler’s previous work, including the albums that got him banned from multiple countries and have people online questioning why he has not yet been cancelled. In Tyler’s words: “It kinda all lead up to this.”
1. James Blake – Assume Form
James Blake’s music has always had a bit of a bitter taste to it. His 2016 album, The Colour In Anything, was a dimly lit, chilling listen. But that was all back when he hadn’t found love. If you’ve heard a breakup album before, 2019’s Assume Form is the exact opposite. On Assume Form we witness a clear change in form for Blake, who accredits the sudden burst of color in his music, as well as individual aspects of the album itself, to his partner Jameela Jamil. Some of the haunting sounds remain, but there’s an overall warmth that accompanies the tracks here. An “in love” Blake seems to be singing as if he’s floating above himself looking in. He takes newfound risks, both musically, with 808-heavy tracks like the Travis Scott and Metro Boomin-assisted “Mile High,” and lyrically, allowing the listener to fully pull back the curtains, evacuating his emotions on a grand stage. In doing so, Blake manages to expand ROSALÍA’s reach to the world with the compelling “Barefoot In The Park” and clears a path for André 3000 to take the stage on “Where’s The Catch?” as he delivers a sprawling verse that mimics his Blonde appearance. Still, Blake remains the confessional centerpiece on an album that is very much about him but applies to us all.
Read some of our other Best of The Year lists: