A collection of great albums from 2019

Megan Woolard

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Cameron Iizuka

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IGOR – Tyler, the Creator

Though Tyler, The Creator has a prolific reputation as a rapper, his summer-debut album “IGOR” is a standout album of 2019 for its ability to meld pop, rap, hip hop and low-fi together. As well being Tyler’s most outrageous album, with collaborations with the likes of Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Solange, Ceelo Green, Kid Kudi and many more, it  is also entirely written and produced by him. “IGOR” will be remembered for its linear story-telling, beautifully reminiscing of one of Tyler’s broken lovers, a man who in the end rejects him and, after putting aside malicious thoughts, seeks friendship in the end. The album is remarkable for its ability to rely more heavily on his collaborators voices than his own, the lyricisms and double meanings of each song, the intra-connected story-building, and the range of the songs with “WHAT’S GOOD” and “NEW MAGIC WAND” being on the “SICKO MODE.”

Lover – Taylor Swift

“Lover” is the seventh studio album from Taylor Swift and her first album since her highly publicized split with Big Machine Records. Throughout the album Swift takes you through the ups and downs of love. She recounts how painful it is fighting with a lover in “Afterglow,”and vows that she’d “ … marry you with paper rings” on the eighth track “Paper Rings.” At the end of the day,“Lover” is an 18- track love letter to Swift’s lover. “Lover” confirms that Swift is terrible at picking singles. Tracks like “ME!” and “You Need to Calm Down,” while catchy, do not reflect the lyrical depth that is present throughout the rest of the album. This album makes our list because of its lyrics. On “Lover” Swift returns to what made her famous, meaningful lyrics that spark grand emotion while listening. “Lover” is a must listen for any pop music fan.

Fine Line- Harry Styles

“Fine Line” is the second solo album from former One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles. “Fine Line” shows Styles true development as both an artist and a performer. Styles takes a lot more risks on this record, and they pay off. “Fine Line” is 12 tracks of easy to listen to songs that establish Styles as way more than a former boybander. “Fine Line” catapults him into rockstar status and cements his prowess as a songwriter. Tracks like “Watermelon Sugar” are catchy and at the same time pay tribute to an ex lover. “Falling” on of the more emotional tracks on the album describes not wanting to fall in love, but already being in too deep. Ultimately “Fine Line” is a feel good album and a collection of creative tracks that show off Styles vocal range and creative excellence.

The Search – NF

“The Search” is a deeply introspective album from rapper Nate Feuerstien (NF). NF invites listeners into his dark mind. It’s a deeply personal album that describes Nate’s internal battle with himself and explores how that battle affects his interactions with others. On “Change” Nate proclaims “last year I felt suicidal this year I might do something different like talking to God more.” On “Time,” one of the more commercially successful tracks, NF speaks to his wife saying “Going to therapy for you somethin’ that’s worth doing.” NF has built his career on his dark depressive thoughts and the way it affects the view he has of himself. “The Search” is different from his past work as he acknowledges his fight with depression and suicidal thoughts and actively searches for where these problems originated. “The Search” is a dark album, but a must listen for any music fan.

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish

Though Eilish’s first album, it’s arguable that “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” is one of the best overall albums of the year. Whether you like Billie Eilish’s style, music, or attributes or not, it remains indisputable that the work she’s been doing, now at 17 years old, is extraordinary. Even greater, the album was actually very good and chronicled similar styles to that of her previous EP and singles, but now came out with an even darker tone filled with thoughts of death, mental illness and even suicide. With select songs being darker than others, such as “goodbye” and “bury a friend,” the album can maintain its track diversity with “bad guy” and the intro audio “!!!!!!!” where she says “I have taken out my Invis-Align and here’s the album” and begins to laugh for a moment with her brother Fineas. Her humor and use of language creates an ominous, but youthful tone that is refreshing and enlivening.

When I Get Home – Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles’ “When I get Home” offers rhythm and blues soul that musically transcend the world of the black female identity and her own history growing up in Houston. Though she features several well-known musicians on the album (such as Tyler, the Creator, Playboi Carti and Chassol), her producing never ceases to support her vocals and lyrics to sound herself. She offers a provocative and tasteful look at growing up, one that shuns the superficiality of fast-fashion and wealth with songs like “My Skin My Logo” and personifies our deepest emotions with “Dreams.” From the moments of quiet solemn vocals of “Can I hold the mic” and “McGregor” to the livelier, more traditional pop aesthetic of “Stay Flow” and “Almeda,” the album never loses its focus on storytelling and developing her identity.