The Best Albums of 2019 (So Far)

Written by on November 1, 2019

Article Via: Rolling Stone

1. Lizzo, ‘Cuz I Love You’

Lizzo, 'Cuz I Love You'

Born in Houston, nurtured in Minneapolis, Lizzo drops Cuz I Love You on the edge of turning 31. (She was born just a few days after Prince dropped “Alphabet Street,” which may help explain her superhuman levels of Paisley Park-dom.) It’s a flawless major-label debut, after she grabbed ears with her indie gems Lizzobangers and Big Grrrl Small World. No filler here — just 33 minutes of twerk-core, hip-hop self-love anthems, torchy soul ballads, plus the occasional moment where she busts out her inner Tull to play flute hero. Lizzo’s woodwind muse, Sasha Flute, has its own Instagram, becoming the most iconic axe to rock the hit parade since guitars like B.B. King’s Lucille or Neil Young’s Old Black.

2. Bruce Springsteen, ‘Western Stars’

Image result for Bruce Springsteen, ‘Western Stars’

There have been times throughout Bruce Springsteen’s career when California has called. He named a song for the state after his parents moved there in 1971, and he’d return to it, in life and writing, repeatedly, chasing his dreams like Steinbeck’s Tom Joad. Western Stars(out June 14th) is the latest visit: a lushly orchestrated set of a throwback, country-tinged folk-pop that, despite some resemblance to previous works like Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad, sounds like little else in his catalog. Frankly, its sheen is off-putting at first. But once you settle in, the set reveals some of Springsteen’s most beguiling work ever.

3. Billie Eilish, ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’

Image result for When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’

Recorded with the help of her older brother Finneas in their family home in Los Angeles, it’s an album full of dressed-down avant-pop with D.I.Y. immediacy and intimacy that can still hold its own amid Top 40 maximalists like Ariana Grande and Halsey. Eilish’s sound is hyper-modern, but still feels classic; evoking another Billie in history, she sets the jazz-aware swing in her vocals over skittering trap beats and doo-wop piano asides. Yet for reasons that are unclear — perhaps her taste for the macabre, or her aesthetic as a tomboy par excellence — Eilish’s roguish pop has lead to a double life on the male-heavy rock and alternative charts.

4. Vampire Weekend, ‘Father of the Bride’

vampire weekend

Father of the Bride is so zealously detailed and meticulously contoured that you easily sink into its inventions: the whirl of country picking, surf-guitar twang and classical interlude in “Harmony Hall”; the loopy hip-hop of “Sunflower” with its creeping-vocal riff; the Soweto-like bounce and AutoTuned-Beach Boys-style chorale in “Flower Moon.” But this is ear candy loaded with trouble. Frustration, helplessness and romantic crisis come just like the songs, in grenade-like bursts, as Koenig delivers bad news like the “wicked snakes” in “Harmony Hall” (“Inside a place/You thought was dignified”) with disarmingly clean-cut vocal brio.

5. Beyonce, ‘Homecoming’

beyonce, homecoming

In the Netflix documentary Homecoming, her diligent, meticulous preparations for such a show as a performer and a creative director offers insight into the type of hard work it takes to be Beyoncé. As the behind-the-scenes footage in the concert film progresses, her role as director comes with the particular challenge of translating the energy of the massive performance, not only to the live audience but to the people either watching the show’s livestream or even the just-released concert film. Listening to the live album version of Homecoming, which was dropped as a surprise-release on all streaming platforms the same morning as the documentary, it’s clear that Beyoncé and her musicians met the call. —Brittany Spanos

Read the other top albums here:

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