Halfway point: Top 10 albums of 2019 so far (#1 – #5)

 

 

 

 

Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood.jpg
Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood 

Natalie Mering (who goes by the name Weyes Blood) describes her new album in the press notes as Enya meets Bob Seger. The first 5-6 tracks of her ten song album are especially beautiful, creating an ethereal atmosphere that exudes a calm yet introspective mood, with lyrics that feel both personal and universal. Besides the great songwriting, what stands out the most is the lovely vocal performance, she reminds me of Aimee Mann and I mean that as a compliment. On the song Andromeda she sounds like Karen Carpenter. The weakest moments are Picture Me Better and the second half of Mirror Forever where the songwriting became a bit bland, and the closing instrumental felt slightly undercooked with its sudden fade out ending, but minor complaints on what is easily my favorite album of 2019 so far. I could imagine Titanic Rising becoming a classic that is listened to 50 years from now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dedicated carly rae jepsen album.jpg
Dedicated by Carly Rae Jepsen
Dance-Pop, Synthpop. Catchy choruses, especially on tracks such as Now That I Found You, Julien, and The Sound. Happy Not Knowing could be a leftover from the E·MO·TION sessions.
A relaxing, modern pop release for carefree days. I could imagine would be fun to listen to over the summer months. My favorite lyrics are on Too Much, possibly a warning against excess and an autobiographical revelation. Dedicated is probably her most consistent effort from start to finish, in comparison to the filler on her previous, somewhat patchy albums.
The tribal chant on For Sure deserved to be on the tracklist. Same applies for self-love anthem Party for One, which oddly is merely a bonus track.
I sense Jepsen is still chasing the mega chorus of Call Me Maybe and the singer may never top it in terms of impact. But she proved her doubters wrong by making a strong album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery by The Comet Is Coming.jpg
Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery by The Comet Is Coming
I rarely listen to jazz, and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this instrumental album. There’s a nice variation, and takes you on a cosmic journey as if you are drifting through space, veering from outlandish(Because the End Is Really the Beginning), sinister(Birth of Creation), euphoric(Summon the Fire), menacing(Blood of the Past), hurried(Super Zodiac), hypnotic(Unity), to peaceful(The Universe Wakes Up). Yet on another day my experiences might be totally different as you can’t pinpoint the mood. The LP concludes with an uninhibited saxophone solo, Shabaka Hutchings’ sax parts throughout are stunning.
Spoken word artist Kate Tempest turns up in a surprising guest appearance, talking about distrust in politicians and enslavement in current societal tenancies.
If I had to point to a weakness, it’s the placement of Summon the Fire and Blood of the Past right after each other, these two tracks are pretty similar instrumentally, so putting them farther apart might have been a better choice. The reason I’m not giving a higher score is due to a few slightly bland moments on the second half.
The musicians ought to be hired to do a sci-fi soundtrack such as Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the End by The Cranberries.jpg
In the End by The Cranberries 

I’m by no means a Cranberries expert, this is allegedly their final album and very sad such an iconic, beautiful voice has left us. You could say the circumstances that these are some of her last recordings gave the music an extra dimension. I genuinely teared up on a few occasions which is rare for me. Lead single All Over Now is the catchiest albeit the song is a bit disposable. The best section of the album could be tracks 3-5. Wake Me When It’s Over is a reminder of what O’Riordan is capable of vocally. I like the tranquil A Place I Know with its Cure-esque guitar. The touching Catch Me If You Can describes suffering and the need for escape, the song made even more heartbreaking in the context of how the singer died. The haunting ballad In The End is very affecting and the “whoa-oh-oh-oh” backing vocal elevated the song considerably. A mixed bag and there is some filler yet the album managed to do its job by hitting me emotionally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladytron ladytron.jpg
Ladytron by Ladytron
Synth-pop/indie rock. The first half dozen tracks are gold while the record stumbles on the inferior second half. But good to have them back! Nice chill out music to put on in the background. Helen Marnie’s vocal is magical.

 

 

 

What do you think? As always, comments are welcome

 

10 thoughts on “Halfway point: Top 10 albums of 2019 so far (#1 – #5)

  1. There is a lot of great music coming out of Australia again this year. I highly recommend you check out Charlie Collins’ album ‘Snowpine’ and Little May’s’ Blame My Body’. I’m looking forward to Lana Del Rey’s forthcoming album, somewhere I believe on our horizon later this year. Closer to home again, Olympia is about to release her sophomore album ‘Flamingo’. If you get the chance check out first her debut Self Talk from 2016. I wrote an extended piece on her a while ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Robert Horvat: Thanks for the recommendations. Haven’t stumbled upon those names before except Lana. Enjoy her music. Will look into the others.

      Currents by Tame Impala and Forced Witness by Alex Cameron are probably my favorite Australian albums of the last 3-4 years. The Aussie group Gang of Youths put out a chill-inducing ballad a couple of years ago called “Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane” which I love.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the first two and don’t know the others. I would have expected Sharon Van Etten from you. My favourite so far this year is probably Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride – it’s a departure from their earlier stuff and I enjoy it more. Feels Califonia instead of New England.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Aphoristical: Glad we have a couple of overlaps. Off Sharon Van Etten’s latest, I love “Seventeen”(will feature on my upcoming best songs of 2019 so far) and “I Told you Everything” is moving as well. I admire her authenticness but the album I find rather melancholy and sort of brings my mood down. Not a huge fan of the Vampire Weekend vocals, I have liked a few of their tracks over the years though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know the first two and have the Cranberries on the list waiting for some time. I wasn’t aware Ladytron had a new album out, so I’ll be sure to check in on that.

    There hasn’t been too much this year that has really excited me. That said, I love the latest Claypool Lennon Delirium album and Hunt Sales Memorial’s debut.

    New Earth album is great, too. As is Black Mountain’s Destroyer and Perry Farrell’s Kind Heaven. Oh, and I discovered Bear Hands via their latest (Fake Tunes).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @J: The Cranberries album hit me emotionally

      New Ladytron album has a nice flow on the Side A but I find the songs are quite simplistic and don’t hold up individually that well. If I was to re-do the top 5 today, I’d replace Ladytron with Foxygen’s latest “Seeing Other People” which I listened to yesterday.

      I’ll give the Claypool Lennon Delirium LP a try at some stage this year, thanks for sharing your 2019 favorites

      Liked by 1 person

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