We asked members of our team to submit their nominations for the top release of 2019, and here are their picks! Do you agree with them? What do you think is the #1 release of the year? Better yet...of the decade?! Let us know!
“Ruby” by Mat Kerekes
When my favourite artists release new music, I often times am nervous prior to listening that it will be “too different” from their previous releases. With Ruby, Mat Kerekes fans were presented with an album that checked off every box when listening to a new album - as a whole, Ruby was still very authentic to Mat’s prior solo releases, but didn’t leave me feeling like I’d heard it already. Starting the album with some more upbeat tracks like “Ruby” and “Diamonds” definitely gave listeners a refreshing introduction to a newer energy Mat would express on this album. With the heavier piano presence I’d say this album by far gets me moving the most out of any of his releases, yet it still maintains the coziness he magically puts out in his solo work. Ruby is suited to listen to in an array of circumstances, whether you’re driving through the sun to work in the morning, or it’s past your bedtime and you need a melodic story to listen and reflect to.
“Igor” by Tyler the Creator
This album is so emotional and relatable for me. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard and the mosaic of sounds and styles is beyond impressive. Listening to the album all at once is such a unique experience and really takes you on a ride through Tyler the Creator’s mind. You can dance to it, cry to it, scream to it, sing to it.
“Nella Vita” by Grayscale
This album took a few steps back from Grayscale's usual pop-punk style in order to explore a more "pop" sound, and, much as I am a sucker for punk music, I can't help but absolutely love it. There is no denying how well received this album was. "Baby Blue", "YOUNG", and "In Violet" are three of my favorite songs to be released this year. This album is upbeat and feel-good, yet emotionally deep and impressively cohesive. This album, in addition to the hype the band has been getting surrounding merch, this has been an iconic year for Grayscale.
“Norman Fucking Rockwell!” by Lana Del Rey
The emotion and beauty this album exudes and also brings out of me is a brand new experience for me, truly the most beautiful and blissful piece of music I've ever heard.
“Ginger” by Brockhampton
Personally, I had high expectations of this album, and Brockhampton blew exceeded all of them. I think this is album is their best to date and has a song for every mood or time. “St. Percy” is such a hype song and “Ginger” is so lowkey for late night drives or smoking with friends, and that variation is exactly what I want in this style of music. There are some songs on this album I have listened to daily since its release, and it is without a doubt my favorite album release of 2019.
“The Fall of Hobo Johnson” by Hobo Johnson
This album evokes so many emotions while staying true to Hobo Johnson's unique style that made me fall in love with his music originally. Love, love LOVE this album!
“Cosmic Thrill Seekers” by Prince Daddy and the Hyena
Prince Daddy really just defined my year. starting by seeing them with mom jeans in March, I went from Massachusetts to Michigan for bled fest and caught their set there, also saw them in north adams, ma. The few conversations with them made me feel included in DIY even though they're the literal kings of the scene. The album itself though can be put on repeat easily since everything flows into each other, but I definitely chose to listen to it hundreds of times. It's a masterpiece of a conceptual album, gets a crowd going crazy, and I would do anything to go and see them play it live again. it's a major step up from their album before which was also my favorite. This band really means the world to me and has really changed my view on emo and diy and has inspired me to make art as meaningful.
“-” by Jetty Bones
This is my pick because once again, Jetty Bones has written some of the most relatable, emotional, and healing pieces of music and those were included in this EP. I've been able to connect on very personal levels with past releases from Jetty Bones, and this one seemed like a continuation of that story. It's her story, but it always feels like it could be my story and just written and sung in someone else's words/voice.
On top of this, she writes about very difficult and triggering subjects. "Better" is a song that touches on one of the hardest subjects that many women/non-men deal with on a daily basis - domestic abuse. Sometimes we don't like to be reminded of our hardships and of traumatic events in our lives, but "Better," to me, is a song I feel a lot of people can (unfortunately) relate to and instead of just being a trigger for those memories, to me it's a song that makes us all feel seen. Seen and heard. And that is so important these days, especially in a male-dominated and rather misogynistic industry.
The music itself slaps, too. While touching on some difficult topics, songs like "Bringing it Up" and "To Know You" still have me on my feet moving and dancing. Some songs are upbeat and poppy, while some songs deliver the sad, somber tones we all need as well. Definitely a record to pick up if you haven't yet.