It’s not been the greatest year for big pop tunes in my opinion but there’s still been a lot that I’ve loved, with a strong showing in indie-pop and electronica. Here’s my top picks from 2019:
Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey
Remember The Future – Ionnalee
Handfuls of Night – Penguin Cafe
First Contact – US
Fine Line – Harry Styles
Sacred Dreams – Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation
Caligula – Lingua Ignota
Silver Eater – Grace Lightman
Five V2 – White Lies
Cry – Cigarettes After Sex
The Center Won’t Hold – Sleater-Kinney
People – The 1975
DHL – Frank Ocean
Divided Cities – Mark Fernyhough
Blinding Lights – The Weeknd
Resentment – Kesha
The One – Marika Hackman
Nothing Breaks Like A Heart – Mark Ronson / Miley Cyrus
Paradise – She Drew The Gun
Ice Tea Liberace – Phebe Starr
My Name Is Dark – Grimes
This year has been a blast musically and it was tough to narrow it down, but here’s my favourites from 2018:
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships – The 1975
Continuing to teeter wonderfully on the precipice between meme, pretension and credibility this is a great mix of solid pop and genre mixing electronica.
Berlin Archives – Mark Fernyhough
This limited release collection is a fantastic introduction to what Mark has been up to over the last few years and an appetite whetting tease for his debut-proper to come soon.
Chris – Christine and The Queens
Gorgeous, sensual sophistipop with enough grit to save it from blandness.
Dancing Queen – Cher
It should be terrible, I guess it sort of is, but it’s also completely irresistible.
Dirty Computer – Janelle Monae
Prince meets Robyn meets M.I.A meets (literally) Brian Wilson – chic, hooky and funky.
Hunter – Anna Calvi
Anna Calvi has a voice you can dissolve into and this record uses it to great advantage on swooning moody ballads and retro tinged rock.
Hymn – Sarah Brightman
A return to form after a couple of less exciting releases this is and a near perfect and suitably eclectic capsule of what Sarah does best.
Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John – Juliana Hatfield
I never knew how much I needed this in my life until I had it.
Negative Capability – Marianne Faithfull
Another soulful and moving record that evokes the same kind of mournful ache as Leonard Cohen or late-career Johnny Cash.
The Blue Hour – suede
A more than worthy follow up to Night Thoughts, suede scrape around in the scrub of rural England and somehow come out with an epic and occasionally gothic masterpiece.
Bedtime – Toothpaste
Black Car – Beach House
Creep City – Jake Shears
Hot Pink – Let’s Eat Grandma
I Need You – Paris Hilton
Mariners Apartment Complex – Lana Del Rey
Negative Space – Hookworms
Shallow – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
The Light (IYEARA Remix) – LUMP
Voyager – US
There’s been a lot of great stuff out this year so I’m going to do both an albums and a singles/tracks list.
Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie: Exactly the kind of collection of romantic harmonies, hooky choruses and Americanna love stories you would hope for from this collaboration.
Highlight Track: Red Sun
Black Honey – Cadillac
HMLTD – Satan, Luella & I
Marika Hackman – Boyfriend
Sinkane – Telephone
Cloves – California Numb
Harry Styles – Sign of the Times
ionnalee – NOT HUMAN
Mark Fernyhough – Steal My Love
Arca – Desafio
Miley Cyrus – Younger Now
Liam Gallagher – Wall of Glass
Us – Till the Dying of the Light
Pumarosa – Dragonfly
Penguin Cafe – Cantorum
Grandaddy – Way We Won’t
Joe Goddard – Human Heart
Toothpaste – TV Years
Kesha – Old Flames (can’t hold a candle to you)
Morrissey – Jacky’s Only HappyWhen She’s Up On Stage
Veda Rays – False Coloured Eyes
Prepare your rotten tomatoes of disagreement…
I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it – The 1975
Joanne – Lady Gaga
Heavy Entertainment Show – Robbie Williams