Now that 2019 has ended we can look back and see the albums that made this year special. Here are some of WEGL’s top 3 albums and why they are so special
3) John Paul White - The Hurting Kind
Alabama native and former member of the Civil Wars, John Paul White practically breathes country music. Sharp lyricism hits deep on this album, it certainly lives up to its name, but when paired with John’s bone-chilling vocals one cannot help but fall in love with the music. Add in that old Nashville sound and you’re in for a treat
2) The Moth & The Flame - Ruthless
On their third studio album, L.A. experimental rockers The Moth & The Flame certainly do not disappoint. Poetic lyrics that really creep into your mind are the biggest draw to the album for me. Frontman Brandon Robbins’ district vocal delivery and the avant-grade instrumentation really elevates the potency of the album.
1) Cold War Kids - New Age Social Norms 1
Another L.A. based band comes in to snag my number one. Cold War Kids, now we’ll into their career, have just released part one of what is going to be a three part series of compact albums (an inspiration taken from Kanye West’s series of albums in 2018). Part one is undeniably catchy, the band has evolved their sound to a groovier sound, one you cannot keep from dancing to. While a quick listen, only 30 minutes across 8 tracks, you quickly find yourself caught firmly, captivated in the album.
Host of “Are We Doing This Right” and “Sad Boi Hours”
3) Caravan palace - Chronologic
I've been a caravan palace fan for years and they've just gotten better over time. Chronologic builds on and expands every good characteristic of their previous album.
2) Patricia Taxxon - Foley Artist
Foley artist is a departure for Patricia and it takes a much stronger industrial and ambient flavor than any of her previous work. Anyone who doesn't get this kind of music should listen to the first track and their minds will be changed instantly.
1) Girlpool - What Chaos is Imaginary
This album experiments with the previous style of Girlpool and expands it in all the right ways. The album has something for every mood and every listener while still managing to feel coherent when played together.
Host of “Generation Gap”
3) Ow - Pom Pom Squad
Pom Pom Squad is picking up steam in New York City, and I'm sure it won't be long before the whole country knows their name. The brain child of Mia Berin, Pom Pom Squad is a post-punk powerhouse with a killer feminine edge. Ow is simultaneously symphonic and gritty. The sensory overload of "Heavy Heavy" is balanced with the hypnotic drone of "Cherry Blossom". Berin has a knack for coming up with lyrical hooks that cut right to the heart of a song. From "Intro" to "Owtro", this album is an emotional experience.
2) Fever Breaks - Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter is one of the best folk songwriters of the age. He has the rare ability to wind the existential questions of life into digestible stories. However, I have found his previous work to be lacking musically. His latest album, Fever Breaks, clears that hurdle with feet to spare. The songwriting, especially on "Ground Don't Want Me", "Silverblade", and "All Some Kind of Dream" are still as vivid as any other great Ritter song. Additionally, he combined forces with Jason Isbell to make the guitar work and sound production more interesting. The two are a perfect fit, and I hope they continue to work together in the future.
1) NINE - Blink-182
This album subverted my expectations in the best way. The singles released before the album came out were not bad, but when the full album came out I realized that they were not indicative of the album at all. This album showcases each member's strengths. "Ransom" shows off Travis Barker's dizzying skill on the drum kit, "Darkside" encapsulates Matt Skiba's aggression, and "Happy Days" highlights Mark Hoppus's introspective songwriting. Overall, the album is sonically fresh, but tonally and lyrically familiar for blink-182 fans.
Host of “Auburn City Limits”
3) Mac Demarco- Here Comes the Cowboy
Mac Demarco’s latest album Here Comes the Cowboy is an album full of really good moments. While it may not be anything new or unique from Demarco, that’s kind of what I like about it. There’s something nice about an album where you don’t have to worry about if the artist is having some kind of mental break (FKA Twigs and Grimes looking at you). The production is simple and stripped down and very pretty. Some songs are kind of happy, some are kind of sad, but it never reaches either extreme. It just sounds like a guy sitting on his porch with a guitar singing something that’s been stuck in his head and that’s exactly its charm.
2) Beyonce- HOMECOMING: THE LIVE ALBUM
Beyonce’s live recording of her 2018 Coachella performance is a career-defining moment. Beyonce is an artist who refuses to settle into the comfort that fame provides. As an incredibly powerful and established artist of the past 15-ish years, it would be easy for her to play a thoughtless set of crowdpleasers to satisfy her Coachella crowd– I mean she is Beyonce. However through this series of remixes from her own catalogue and marching band instrumentals , Beyonce cements herself as an artist dedicated to constantly reinventing herself while remaining faithful to her muses. Beyonce’s Homecoming album is essentially an index of her influences as an artist with nods from hip hop legends UGK and O.T. Genesis to Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison.
1) Vampire Weekend- Father of the Bride
Vampire Weekend’s highly anticipated fourth album is the diary of a band moving from one stage of their career to another. After the third LP Modern Vampires of the City, VW took a break (to the dismay of their fans) for about 5 years. I think in our current culture, we tend to expect artists to continually provide us new content as soon as we get bored of what they have. Artists are pressured to go from touring to writing to recording back to touring with little time in between. FOTB is the product of a band taking time off just to exist outside of the vicious cycle of recording/touring. It has a simple and more mature sound, losing VW’s signature classical/poppy production and intricate lyrics in exchange for stripped down guitar and simple Americana lyrics resembling the Grateful Dead. Their live shows are now moving toward a jam band style, in which some songs transition into others with improvised guitar solos in between. Overall, Father of the Bride is really Vampire Weekend moving from their reputation as preppy college kids into a more mature, content band relying less on juxtaposing production and more on their nostalgia for 70’s soft rock.
Host of “Soak Season”
3.) Arizona Baby - Kevin Abstract
This was my summer soundtrack. Despite its creator being in a rough spot mentally during its creation, the album gives you the feeling of driving around on a summer day with your friends without a care in the world.
2.) When I Get Home - Solange
When I Get Home is high art in the form of chopped and screwed jazz elements. I feel like I’m drifting through space and just looking around when I’m listening to this album.
1.) IGOR - Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator made a name for himself bucking the status quo and IGOR takes that to a new level. It’s pop meets edm meets hip hop meets soul meets funk. What’s not to like?
Host of “Wigwam Weekend”
3) 1000 Gecs – 100 Gecs
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2) Atlanta Millionaires Cub – Faye Webster
The perfect blend of country and r&b. Gripping from beginning to end, there was not another release this year that sounded like it.
1) Suffer On – Wicca Phase Springs Eternal
Every emo rap album has led up to this one. From acoustic ballads to EDM bangers this album blended multiple genres into one amazing project.
Host of Soak Season
3) Igor - Tyler the Creator
This album was a great pick me up in the beginning of the summer and has been the first Tyler the Creator album I have fully been able to sink my teeth into. I loved the melodic direction he took the album straying away from his past material. This album hosted my summer anthem
2) Charli - Charli XCX
This much anticipated Charli XCX album has been building over the years of her releasing her popular mixtapes. Pushing the boundaries of pop with the help of many contemporaries, Charli has set the bar high for the genre for the following decade.
1) 1000 Gecs - 100 Gecs
My favorite album of the year! 100 gecs packs this 20 minute album with a huge range of sounds that reach across the spectrum. I am excited to see what this hyperpop duo can do as they expand their carrer.