Steed’s Best Albums of 2019

Getting back to new music in 2019 was really fun for me. During the first quarter I listened to five albums each week at random and then after that, I started listening to every new release of the week that was in the new release section on Tidal. I would listen to the first two tracks of every record and if I liked them, would listen to the whole album and if not, simply move to the next. That of course, leads to a shit ton of new music. And since my listening tastes are pretty eclectic, I feel like I can put together a pretty solid best of this year. Below is every album that I ranked 10/10 this year. Unlike my weekly reviews, this one’s in order starting with my favorite. Clink on the links to go back to my original reviews.

  • (#1) Bedouin Soundclash – MASS

There are only four albums in this list ranked 10/10 that I didn’t review and it of course figures that one of them is my favorite of the year. I originally said that I didn’t think anything would beat the Lizzo record for me but here we are! I’ve listened to this record a lot over the last few months and it’s so quirky and unique that I felt I needed to really give this some love. I didn’t write about it because I really didn’t know what to say at the time. But I have to try now – I’m not sure if I should call these guys alternative something or other, ska, reggae, rock, pop – could be any or all of them really. But whatever you call it, it’s been 9 years since their last album and it was well worth the long wait. There’s jazz horns, African music, strings, choirs and well, tons of exciting surprises around every corner. It’s one of those albums that I could talk about for days but you’d really have to listen to it to understand it. So do that and spare me wracking my brain for more words on this unique record.

Bedouin Soundclash, “Salt Water”
  • (#2) Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

Original review here.

Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”
  • (#3) Celine Dion – Courage

If you have told me that a Celine Dion record would be one of my favorites of the year, I would have went all Myles Garrett on your ass. But here we are. And there’s only two explanations. The first is that I’m getting old. I’m all-of-a-sudden in Celine’s wheelhouse. The other is that when Celine Dion comes calling for songs, you bring your fucking A-game. One of, if not the greatest voice of my era, commands only the best songs. And so, there’s really no reason this shouldn’t be fantastic. In fact, I have never listened to a full Celine Dion record before but frankly, every one of them is probably fucking fantastic. Because, Celine Dion. Because, Celine Dion.

Celine Dion, “Perfect Goodbye”
  • (#4) K. Flay – Solutions

Original review here.

K. Flay, “This Baby Don’t Cry”
  • (#5) The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality

This is the third of the four records I didn’t actually review but this one was because I discovered it far after the release date. On the surface, this seems like an odd pairing – Les Claypool from Primus and Sean Lennon – but it works so damn well. This is the second album from the duo and it’s got three elements to it; funky bass-driven material like you would expect from Claypool, Beatleseque songs like you would expect from Lennon and a psychedelic progressive vibe through the disc. The riffs are spectacular, the songwriting top notch and the pairing simply perfect.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium, “Easily Charmed by Fools”
  • (#6) Pup – Morbid Stuff

Original review here.

PUP, “Morbid Stuff”
  • (#7) Gang Starr – One of the Best Yet

The final of the four in the list here that I didn’t review, this new Gang Starr record is the best pure hip-hop release of the year and it comes from a dude that died nine years ago. Guru was one of the greatest of all time and well, the album title is right on point – this record is one of the best yet. I don’t rank albums higher on nostalgia and I don’t need to here. DJ Premier created the beats and formed songs using never before heard lyrics from Guru. The result is an album that would have been one of the best yet no matter what year it was released in. And in an era where rappers mumble their way through records, it’s nice to have the articulate Guru in my ears even if it’s only for one last album.

Gang Starr, “So Many Rappers”
  • (#8) Prince – Originals

Original review here.

Prince, “Make-Up”
  • (#9) Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Servants of the Sun

Original review here

Chris Robinson Brotherhood, “Chauffeur’s Daughter”
  • (#10) The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

Original review here

The Raconteurs, “Help Us Stranger”
  • (#11) Terror Jr. – Unfortunately, Terror Jr.

Original review here

Terror, Jr., “Pretty”
  • (#12) Emily King – Scenery

Original review here

Emily King, “Can’t Hold Me”
  • (#13) Griz – Ride Waves

Original review here.

Griz, “Bustin’ Out”
  • (#14) Howard Jones – Transform

Original review here

Howard Jones, “Beating Mr. Neg”
  • (#15) Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real – Turn of the News (Build a Garden)

Original review here

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, “Save a Little Heartache”
  • (#16) Dorian Electra – Flamboyant

Original review here

Dorian Electra, “Musical Genius”
  • (#17) Mavis Staples – We Get By

Original review here

Mavis Staples, “We Get By”
  • (#18) Jimmy Eat World – Surviving

Original review here

Jimmy Eat World, “Congratulations”
  • (#19) Tuxedo – Tuxedo III

Original review here

Tuxedo, “The Tuxedo Way”
  • (#20) My Life Story – World Citizen

Original review here

My Life Story, “#Nofilter”
  • (#21) Good Fuck – Good Fuck

Original review here

Good Fuck, “Secret Meetings”
  • (#22) UB40 – For the Many

Original review here

UB40, “What Happened To UB40”
  • (#23) Yeasayer – Erotic Reruns

Original review here

Yeasayer, “I’ll Kiss You Tonight”

And there they are. A pretty solid year of music (not counting trap) if you ask me. In 2020, I’ll still be listening to the new releases each week but posting more on a track-by-track basis. And I’ll be expanding more Tidal catalogs out and taking some trips down the musical rabbit hole. Thanks for reading in 2019!

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