The Top 19 Best Albums of 2019.

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The Top 19 Best Albums of 2019.

[DISCLAIMER] This article contains the opinions of someone with good taste in music.

[DISCLAIMER] This article contains the opinions of someone with good taste in music.

Mason Montano, Press release photos

[DISCLAIMER] This article contains the opinions of someone with good taste in music.

Mason Montano, Press release photos

Mason Montano, Press release photos

[DISCLAIMER] This article contains the opinions of someone with good taste in music.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

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2019 was a very interesting year in music, serving us a diverse and unique catalog of projects from a diverse and unique cast of artists, however, the following list includes what I consider to be the best this year had to offer.

Atlantic Records
The cover of MARINA’s fourth studio album, ‘LOVE + FEAR’.

19) MARINA – LOVE + FEAR: Coming back from a two-year hiatus, Welsh singer-songwriter MARINA, formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds, returned in late April with her highly-anticipated fourth studio album, LOVE + FEAR.

The double album is an exploration of the relationship between “love” and “fear” based on the theory of Swiss-American psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who proposed that humans are only capable of experiencing the titular emotions.

LOVE + FEAR is a beautifully constructed body of work and an in-depth look into MARINA’s personal life, showing fans a side of herself that we hadn’t seen in her previous work, and an excellent comeback record.

Island Records
The cover of Tove Lo’s fourth studio album, ‘Sunshine Kitty’.

18) Tove Lo – Sunshine Kitty: Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo released her wonderfully cohesive fourth studio album, Sunshine Kitty, in mid-September. The record is a reclamation of power after a breakup with a hopeful outlook on the future and a warm, happy sound that juxtaposes it’s somewhat sad and melancholic lyrics.

VÉRITÉ, AWAL Recordings America
The cover of VÉRITÉ’s second studio album, ‘new skin’.

17) VÉRITÉ – new skin: The polar opposite of her debut album, Somewhere in Between, American singer-songwriter VÉRITÉ released her second studio album, new skin, in late October. In contrast to its much darker predecessor, which discussed mental illness and feeling “numb”, new skin is about healing, moving on, and accepting your demons as well as an empowering commentary on the importance of self-worth and finding healthy ways to cope.

Moving Castle
The cover of LIZ’s debut studio album, ‘Planet Y2K’.

16) LIZ – Planet Y2K: American singer-songwriter LIZ created the ultimate throwback to the Y2K Era when she released her debut studio album, Planet Y2K, in mid-November. With its cute bubblegum beats and spacey Eurodance elements, Planet Y2K is a celebration of Y2K and everything that made pop culture in the late 1990s and early 2000s great!

Dorian Electra
The cover of Dorian Electra’s debut studio album, ‘Flamboyant’.

15) Dorian Electra – Flamboyant: One of the most significant projects from a Queer artist in 2019, Dorian Electra’s mid-July-released debut studio album, Flamboyant, is a smart and campy commentary on the impact of toxic masculinity and gender roles on society and a celebration of one’s Queer identity that follows the hyperpop trend of the underground pop music scene in order to present these somewhat heavy topics in a way that is both thought-provoking as well as entertaining.

Kemosabe Records. RCA Records
The cover of Doja Cat’s second studio album, ‘Hot Pink’.

14) Doja Cat – Hot Pink: American rapper and singer Doja Cat proved herself as the New Queen of Versatility when she released her second studio album, Hot Pink, in early November, as the record not only showcases her unique interpretation of what it means to be a female rapper, but features a broad array of genres from hip-hop to disco, showcasing her vocal abilities along the way.

The cover of Slayyyter’s debut mixtape, ‘Slayyyter’.

13) Slayyyter – Slayyyter: Beginning her takeover of the underground pop music scene when she first emerged in August 2018, American singer Slayyyter took the community by storm when she released her long-awaited debut self-titled mixtape in mid-September. It’s a sexy, fun throwback to the MySpace Era of the mid-2000s and the electro pop movement of the late 2000s and early 2010s, paying homage to artists like Britney Spears, Kesha, and Lady Gaga

Secretly Canadian
The cover of Shura’s second studio album, ‘forevher’.

12) Shura – forevher: After a three-year hiatus, English singer-songwriter Shura released her second studio album, forevher, in mid-August as an ode to Queer love, with Shura singing about her girlfriend over groovy 70s-inspired beats in addition to commenting on her phobias and her relationship with religion.

604 Records, Schoolboy Records, Interscope Records
The cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s fourth studio album, ‘Dedicated’.

11) Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated: Riding the coattails of her iconic previous album, E•MO•TION, Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen continued its 80s/90s-inspired sound with her third major-label studio album, Dedicated, in mid-May. The record has themes of love and self-empowerment that incorporates elements of disco into its expertly crafted pop sound.

Parkwood Entertainment, Columbia Records
The cover of Beyoncé’s soundtrack album ‘The Lion King: The Gift’.

10) Beyoncé, Various Artists – The Lion King: The Gift: Curated and executively produced by the one and only Goddess of Music, Beyoncé, The Lion King: The Gift was inspired by Disney’s photorealistic live-action remake of their 1994 film The Lion King and acts as a prideful dedication to the continent of Africa and Black culture, featuring a star-studded guest list of Black collaborators, intended to push Afrobeat to the mainstream music scene.

BunHead Records
The cover of Kim Petras’ debut studio album, ‘Clarity’.

9) Kim Petras – Clarity: Having garnered a large cult following ever since her debut in August 2017, German pop princess Kim Petras released her debut studio album, Clarity, in late June to a great deal of excitement. The perfect combination of everything anyone could ever want in a pop record, Clarity is a fantastic debut project that showcases Petras’ vocals and songwriting abilities.

Columbia Records, Erskine Records
The cover of Harry Styles’ second studio album, ‘Fine Line’.

8) Harry Styles – Fine Line: His sophomore solo effort since his departure from One Direction, English singer-songwriter Harry Styles conquered the charts when he released his second studio album, Fine Line, in early December. The incredible psychedelic rock journey explores the start and breakdown of a relationship as Styles further discovers himself and his identity.

Perpetual Novice, The Orchard
The cover of Caroline Polachek’s third studio album and first under her given name, ‘Pang’.

7) Caroline Polachek – Pang: Former Chairlift lead turned indie goddess, Caroline Polachek, reinvented herself with her third studio album, Pang, in mid-October. It’s an innovative, introspective body of work and a progressive take on alternative pop with abstract lyrics and complex instrumentation.

Decca Records, Glassnote Records
The cover of AURORA’s second studio album, ‘A Different Kind of Human (Step 2)’.

6) AURORA – A Different Kind of Human (Step 2): Norweigan singer-songwriter AURORA followed-up the Infections of a Different Kind (Step 1) EP with her second studio album, Infections of a Different Kind (Step 2), in early June. The record explores the condition of humanity through a socio-political lens, commenting on issues like climate change and gender in order to attempt to understand what makes us human.

5) Ariana Grande – thank u, next / Billie Eilish – WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?: American singer and actress Ariana Grande and American teen sensation Billie Eilish dominated the mainstream music scene this year. Grande broke records with her fifth studio album, thank u, next, following its release in early February, and Eilish’s impressive debut studio album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, blew everyone’s mind when it dropped in late March. 

On thank u, next, we find Grande at her most vulnerable as she reflects on her past relationships and trauma with powerful feminist undertones, and Eilish addresses important topics facing the world’s youth today, such as mental illness and climate change, on WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? in a mature way that surprised the mainstream due to her age.

These two fantastic records embody the excellence of these artists and their ability to appeal to a wide audience of listeners.

A Boy is a Gun, Columbia Records
The cover of Tyler, the Creator’s fifth studio album, ‘IGOR’.

4) Tyler, the Creator – IGOR: American rapper and fashion icon Tyler, the Creator’s skills as a writer and producer shined bright on his mid-May released fifth studio album, IGOR. A story of love, heartbreak, and forgiveness is told over the light, smooth production and serene tracks, showing a softer side of Tyler that we saw with his previous album, Flower Boy, coming full circle from his intense early work.

Asylum Records, Atlantic Records UK
The censored cover of Charli XCX’s third studio album, ‘Charli’. The uncensored version features Charli’s entire upper body with purple body art covering her breasts.

3) Charli XCX – Charli: After trying to put out her third studio album for over three years, English singer-songwriter Charli XCX finally managed to do so in the form of Charli in early September. Charli is a progressive and futuristic declaration of self-empowerment and creative freedom, with otherworldly production and catchy hooks that all combine to create the pop Bible of the future.

Young Turks
The cover of FKA twigs’ second studio album, ‘MAGDALENE’.

2) FKA twigs – MAGDALENE: Following a difficult breakup and health scare, English singer-songwriter and dancer FKA twigs returned with her outstanding second studio album, MAGDALENE, in early November. The work of the musically and intellectually-gifted twigs, MAGDALENE is, simply put, a work of art and features extremely complex and captivating lyrics and production, creating a heavenly mosaic of sound. I would even go as far as to say that this record is one of the greatest of all time, but y’all aren’t ready for that conversation.

Polydor Records, Interscope Records
The censored cover of Lana Del Rey’s fifth major-label studio album, ‘Norman F*****g Rockwell!’. The uncensored version features the album’s title in full as opposed to abbreviated.

1) Lana Del Rey – Norman F*****g Rockwell!: And, finally, we’ve made it to my number one album of 2019: American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey’s immaculate, late August-released fifth major-label studio album, Norman F*****g Rockwell! As the next best American record, NFR! is a commentary on American pop culture in a 1960s surf rock style that showcases Del Rey’s evolution as an artist and growth as a human. It’s deep, beautifully arranged, and even campy where necessary. Del Rey has crafted yet another perfect body of work, reminding us, once again, that she’s the head witch in charge.

[DISCLAIMER] This article contains the opinions of someone with good taste in music.

As 2019 comes to a close, I look forward to all the promising releases we have scheduled for 2020. Happy new year!

Check out my The Top 19 Best Albums of 2019 playlist on Spotify, which features some of my favorite tracks from the albums discussed in this article: