Albums of the Year 2019

Fooled around and fell into the Emergency Room on the day after Christmas. If that cough ain’t going away, kids, I urge you to have it looked at before you actually hack up a lung.

It’s been ten years now since I was working in sports media full time. And I’ve thought a lot this year about the differences of that world and the one I have since gravitated toward. Sports may be the most objective form of entertainment on earth. There’s a winner and a loser. It really doesn’t require a lot of discussion, but somehow, we’ve turned it into 24 hour radio, television and more blogs than there were total websites 20 years ago. And for what? It’s like the one thing in this life that works almost entirely in absolutes. Someone wins; someone loses.

But for some reason, fans of this form of entertainment have become more involved than fans of any other thing. More than film, more than music, more than television, more than art, more than food.

If the director isn’t making movies that you like anymore, you stop buying the ticket.

If the band you like isn’t making music that sounds the way you remember, you stop going to the shows.

If the TV storyline gets a little stale, it gets canceled.

If the art isn’t as captivating as the last piece, you skip the next opening.

If the food isn’t good, the place closes in two months and no one notices.

Why is it that way with sports? And why is it the complete opposite with music? Because nothing in entertainment may be more subjective than music. A lot of things out there aren’t for me, but I try not to trash most things because…it’s for somebody. Folks quite enjoy using Nickelback as a standard bearer for “bad music,” yet the Canadians have sold more albums in the United States than any international act not named the Beatles.

So…they’re for somebody.

By that same notion, I’ve always found it strange how sheepish people are about sharing their favorite albums of the year. This is my list. And I have little things that I do with my lists. I’m always going to begin with what I can’t deny. And I’m always going to sneak in one or two albums that I hope people that take an occasional recommendation from me might not have heard, so that I can expose someone to something new. But you have your list. And I want to see it, too. I want to see all of the lists: from Pitchfork to Garden and Gun to Sam that I sat beside in 11th grade homeroom. Because there’s a lot of amazing music and I know that I didn’t hear all of it.

Sports talk is wild because it’s about an objective topic and we are forcing it to be subjective for the sake of being argumentative. Music talk is wild because it’s completely subjective and for some reason, we feel like there’s some level of objectivity in it and we may be wrong about it, so we shy away from sharing what we think. I want to know what you think. I want  you to turn me on to new things.

I guess that’s all I have for now. I’ve enjoyed writing a lot less. I’ve enjoyed seeing and doing a lot more. And I do finally have book number two finished and it’ll be available in the first half of 2020.

Here’s my top 10 albums of 2019:

  1. Purple Mountains
  2. Mike and the Moonpies – Cheap Silver & Solid Country Gold
  3. Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
  4. FKA Twigs – Magdalene
  5. Orville Peck – Pony
  6. Pup – Morbid Stuff
  7. Alex Lahey – The Best of Luck Club
  8. Robert Ellis – Texas Piano Man
  9. Brittany Howard – Jaime
  10. Karly Driftwood – Too Mean to Die

Honorable Mentions:

  • Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
  • A Tuba to Cuba (Original Soundtrack)
  • Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent
  • Tanya Tucker – While I’m Livin
  • George Strait – Honky Tonk Time Machine
  • Jenny Lewis – On the Line
  • pronoun – i’ll show you stronger

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