2019 brought us strong hip-hop releases from the likes of Young Thug and Travis Scott, who found his way on to the charts via his single "HIGHEST IN THE ROOM." Pop sensations Ariana Grande, Normani, Lizzo and Billie Eilish all created special moments with their respective releases this year. 2019 started with Grande’s “thank u, next” and followed up with quite possibly the biggest break out from a pop artist in a long time — Eilish's "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" People celebrated when Normani dropped her first solo record “Motivation,” which successfully channeled 90s and 2000s pop both sonically and visually. Most of the aforementioned stars are already household names across America, but we're here to celebrate some of the new personal music discoveries we've made.
We made a list of albums that helped us make this long year go by a little faster in hopes that it might help you in times of need. So whether you're on a long drive or just kicking back, throw on a pair of headphones, and take a listen to our favorite albums from 2019.
Ivelisse Diaz - “Igor” by Tyler, the Creator
I would say "Igor" by Tyler, The Creator. I knew who Tyler was before and a lot of his albums followed a certain formula that Tyler created, but it kind of switched with "Igor." I don’t even know how to describe it, it just sounded so different from anything that he had done before. It felt like Tyler was walking between different genre lines. In some songs, it could be considered rap, in some songs R&B, and others I don’t even know, alternative? My favorite track is probably "Igor’s theme.” When I first started listening to it I was confused, because it was this really intense bass that was just one note for so long. I also really like the melody and how it meshed with the intensity of the bass. I’ve been listening to Tyler for a pretty long time so seeing the progression from the beginning to now is awesome. I think Tyler's "Igor" reminds me of alternative music and helped me start exploring alt-music again.
Noumaan Faiz - “Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone
Post Malone's "Hollywood’s Bleeding" was my favorite album this year because of the production on the album. I like the features as well, especially the feature with Ozzy Osbourne cus he’s one of my favorite rock stars ever and I thought it was a really cool crossover of genres and eras. Overall I was a huge fan of Post Malone before and became an even bigger fan with "Hollywood's Bleeding." My favorite track was the title track because of several different beat switches. I think there are three points where the track and the vibe just completely change. Post Malone's flow, the simplicity, it’s really catchy, I memorized the entire song just three times after listening to it. It’s also a really good intro track, it gets you hyped up for what's to come. This is nothing new, I’ve been listening to Post Malone since his first album "Stoney" and it was actually the first-ever physical CD I purchased. Which is definitely a little odd for me because Post Malone really isn’t like my top artist. I think it’s an album where there’s a lot of experimentation which is something I usually do whenever I’m producing music, and Post Malone definitely experimented with this album. It was a really good way of experimenting, he implemented a lot of different styles of music and production and different artists, a very wide range of artists were featured on this album. DaBaby was on it, SZA was on it, Ozzy Osbourne, Travis Scott, they were all on it. I enjoyed the diversity within the album in terms of artists and styles of music and different flows.
Eli Arbreton - “Anarchy” by Lil Tracy
I think my favorite is called "Anarchy" by Lil Tracy. I just really like the feeling of it, his music he just keeps getting better so it was cool to listen to a whole project. My favorite track is probably the first track, its called "Alone In My Castle." I like how he’s singing, and the combination with that with the music and it reminds me of older songs that he made with Lil Peep that I liked. It’s just interesting, I don’t know that it’s so meaningful but I like some of the lyrics. One of the lyrics is “I have less friends than switchblades,” and the chorus is super interesting. Its almost like he’s like a princess or something, trapped in a castle. The album feels sad but the production is upbeat, so the contrast feels unique, I was super inspired by it.
Christian Romo - “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” by JPEGMafia
I would say my favorite album from this year would be “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” by JPEGMafia. Although JPEG managed to give us a toned-down version of his signature experimental production while still keeping his style within that relaxed version of himself. He said this is his most true-to-self album. I was introduced to him by his previous project, “Veteran” and then after that, I went back and listened to the rest of his discography. I've grown to like him as a more aggressive artist but this new project, he does way more singing, I appreciated that. It differs from his usual stick, it was just different and hella unique. He just goes crazy with the samples and he dives into wild instrumentation throughout the whole project. My favorite track is probably “Thought Tactics,” cus I never thought he would’ve sung that and I really like the hook and how it changes up. It’s important to me because it’s inspired me to not hesitate to be my own artist, cause when I go into making music I might wanna rather than sticking to what I think slaps.
Shanniah - “Over It” by Summer Walker
I think my favorite 2019 album was “Over It” by Summer Walker. It was my favorite album because I guess you just got to know her better on a musical level and I like almost every song off the album. It’s kinda hard to pick a favorite, but one that stands out is probably “Come Thru” featuring Usher. I like how she used the sample, it’s kinda throwback in the fact that she got Usher on her album, that’s not an artist that I would have expected to hear. I’ve been listening to her since she came out, I heard about her kind of on Instagram and just on the internet and then I just went to YouTube and started listening to her. This is significant for her because it’s her first album and it’s doing really well for her first album. And for me, the significance is that I get to know her better on a musical level and her variations in music.
Stoney Creation - “I Love You, Hook” by Hook
My favorite album is "I Love You, Hook" by Hook. It's one of my favorite albums this year because she has this unapologetic energy about her. She doesn't care about anyone’s feelings or what anyone is doing. She's living her life, and she's expressing her character through her songs. I started listening to Hook four months ago. My friend Vala put me on to her, he was like "Yo you gotta check out this artist." and he showed me the video, and I was like "Woah, who is this?" I followed her ever since. She had dropped a full album before this called "BULLY" but I think "I Love You, Hook" is better. It's just carefree, real turnt femme energy with potent yet simple lyrics. She doesn't care about being hella in-depth, she'll use very simple words and the flow will be simple, but hyped.
Chaz - “So Much Fun” by Young Thug
My favorite album from 2019 is “So Much Fun” by Young Thug. I’ve been listening to a lot of albums with a clear-cut structure and it was nice to get a break with a collection of songs that match the name, "So Much Fun." They’re all kind of trappy and upbeat, but they all have different approaches with the features and the different production styles on it. There are lots of Pi'erre Bourne beats on it and Young Thug hasn’t done much with Pi'erre other than "So Much Fun" so it was nice to see this relationship blossom. “Ecstasy” was probably my favorite track. It felt kind of haunting and kind of like a black magic chant. I’ve been listening to Young Thug since 2016. I play a lot of video games and EDM music is usually paired with that, and I used YouTube at the time to listen to music and I was switching the song and in the recommendations bar was Young Thug’s “Hercules” and I clicked on it and thought it was kind of crazy. After that, I started listening to Thug a lot more. I think the tape is significant because statistically, it sold a lot of copies, like 130,000. It was a big jump compared to his other tapes and I feel like it got Young Thug’s name out there more. He released it with a completely different motive. He just wanted to have fun and make the listener have fun, and I definitely had fun listening to it.
Ajani Torres - “Hot Pink” by Doja Cat
Right now my favorite album of the year is “Hot Pink” by Doja Cat. I think the reason why I like it is that every single song on the album is completely different and it felt like I was listening to a completely different artist every single song. I thought it was versatile. “Streets” is my favorite song off the album. She puts me in a bossy mood, it makes me feel super confident, I just feel like I’m running shit. Like I’m walking down the street in some fire fit, it’s just empowering. I’m proud of her come up, she’s had a crazy journey too, she has songs from like 2010 and no one knows. I feel like a lot of music artists are in the game for so long then they get one thing that puts them on the map and they’re just set and I feel like for her even though “Mooo!” was not one of her first songs that one really put her on the map. People love Doja because she’s not like anybody else. She’s quirky and fun and over the top and she’s just the best. For me, it’s just that I listen to a lot of hip-hop and rap so it was nice to hear something from a woman that was just so strong and so different. She raps, she sings, she kinda gives you everything and that’s really what I like about her.
Anders Knut - “IDK WHERE” by Yeek
I’m going with “IDK WHERE” by Yeek. I just really like the production style on it and I think it was a really good next step in Yeek’s progression as an artist. Apparently, he spent a lot of time on it and I feel like you can hear the difference when you listen to it. It’s easy to bop your head to, Yeek has a very indie bedroom pop kind of vibe with a lot of R&B vocals. His vocal harmonies, as well as the use of guitar effects and bass and processing, is really cool. It’s if like an indie-rocker didn’t have a band and only relied on themselves to make the music, that’s sort of the vibe it is. I really appreciate that as an independent artist. I’ve been following Yeek for a couple of years so I was waiting for the drop, he released a couple of singles from it and I was getting all hyped from it. I was waiting for it and enjoyed it when it came out. I just liked how intimate it was at the time, it was nice to sort of feel like the artist was talking to you directly. This album felt a lot more refined, it was nice to have someone speaking to you directly but he still put a lot of work into the whole project.
Miguel Anderson - “MAGDELENE” by FKA Twigs
My favorite album of 2019 is FKA Twigs's "MAGDELENE." It’s a meticulously crafted record that bears a lot of emotions. There is a deep sadness embedded in each song; you literally feel her pain. Not to mention the stunning production. The pianos, harmonies, dramatic synths and Twigs’ signature soprano voice all work together to keep “MAGDELENE” angelic, pristine and sophisticated. The album has a classical feeling that makes you feel rich, not new money rich, but like old money generational wealth rich. I imagine being draped in the finest of fabrics, while someone is feeding me grapes when listening to this album. The classic feeling is paired with FKA Twigs’s innovative, experimental touch. Overall, it’s a well-crafted album; I can’t get enough of it. I love how exquisite and rich the sounds are.