Top Ten Albums of 2019

I try to do something different every year for my album of the year list, so this year I wrote a little poem for each of my top ten albums. Let me know which albums you loved this year in the comments!

Honorable Mentions

The Saint of Lost Causes – Justin Townes Earle, New Age Norms 1 – Cold War Kids, Light’n Up – Matthew Logan Vasquez, Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) – Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, The Valley – Charley Crockett, K.R.I.T Iz Here – Big K.R.I.T, The Highwomen – The Highwomen.

10. Jaime, Brittany Howard

We are blessed to live in the time of Brittany Howard

The Alabama Shakes’s lead singer keeps moving forward

Her solo debut is full of brilliance, beauty, and fire

But it’s a bit uneven, keeping it from ranking even higher

Watch this performance and ascend into heaven.

I already feel, like doing it again, honey


9. Better Oblivion Community Center, Better Oblivion Community Center

Putting Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst together created an album full of promise

At times quiet and slow, it swells to a roar on songs like “Dylan Thomas”

Others, like “Exception to the Rule” and “Chesapeake”

Are the types that sit with you for a week

I’m getting used to these dizzy spells
I’m taking a shower at the Bates Motel
I’m getting greedy with this private hell
I’ll go it alone, but that’s just as well

8. Wilder Woods, Wilder Woods

The NEEDTOBREATHE frontman’s sneaky solo debut

Tells stories from a different point of view

With a new sound that surprised many

This funk, soul, pop album has delights aplenty

When the night’s too much
And you need a touch
Maybe I can kiss you right
Try a little supply and demand


7. JESUS IS KING, Kanye West

Ye is back with a new belief

For fans who hoped for redemption this was quite a relief

He reunited Clipse so we could hear No Malice and Pusha T

But only Kanye could pair them with the smooth sax of Kenny G

They give you Wraith talk, I give you faith talk
Blindfolded on this road, watch me faith walk
Just hold on to your brother when his faith lost 

6. I Am Easy to Find, The National

It’s a little self-indulgent and overly long

But the inherent genius of The National makes the work so strong

Matt Berninger’s baritone vocals harmonize perfectly with guest voices

Songs like “The Pull of You” and “Hairpin Turns” are top choices

What are we going through, you and me?
Every other house on the street’s burnin’
What are we going through, wait and see
Days of brutalism and hairpin turns

5. Room 41, Paul Cauthen

The baritone country bad boy’s album gets it right

fluctuating from a drug-fueled party

to a cry for help on a lonely night

It’s everything a country album should be

You know I can work real hard
Keep a roof right over our heads
And make sure the lights stay on
And keep the baby fed
But that’s only in my dreams
You’ve been gone for quite some time


4. SOUND & FURY, Sturgill Simpson

Doing the unexpected is how Sturgill has made his name

Instead of saving country music, this one is hard rock

that laments fake friends and the endless quest for fame

At this point, nothing Sturgill does is a shock

Mercury must be in retrograde again
But at least it’s not just hangin’ around, pretendin’ to be my friend


3. Ghostseen, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Dense, dark, deep, unyielding

You expect nothing less from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

But wrestling with the death of his son packs this with even more feeling

Honest, vulnerable, quality art is what the world needs

A priest runs through the chapel, all the calendars are turning
A Jesus freak on the street says He is returning
Well sometimes a little bit of faith can go a long, long way
Your soul is my anchor, never asked to be freed

2. “Let’s Rock”, The Black Keys

The modern kings of rock and roll made a surprising comeback

With a hard-driving, fun, and fast rock attack

The lyrics mean nothing and that’s alright

Dan and Pat just want you to have a good night

No one really knows
Where it goes from here
But we all decompose
And slowly disappear

1. The Thunderbird, Beau Jennings & The Tigers

It’s hyperlocal and Oklahoma-centric

But The Thunderbird’s universal truths make it less specific

Often you’re dropped into a time and place in unfamiliar company

Where you encounter deep feelings of nostalgia, longing, and empathy

Jimmy Houston hosted a fishing show for decades

Only Beau could write a song about him that brings up past heartaches

Dairy Queen serves Blizzards and steak fingers

So why does Beau’s song about it create a feeling that lingers?

It’s only been three years since Kevin Durant played for OKC

But a name-check on “Back In Town” feels like a reference from another century

Nostalgia is a powerful weapon and Jennings wields it right

Not cheaply, but in a way that makes you feel alright

In these polarizing times where it’s easy to be snide

Jennings even offers a hand to “The Other Side”

Tonight the Empty Bottles got us all a little closer to heaven
The basketball game’s on the TV at the bar and we’re praying to this kid named Kevin




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