When listing the best albums of 2019 it is difficult to ignore the voice of the critics. Most people will agree to a large extent with the critics, some, like me, with a strong dislike of authority, will take the opposite position, and claim critics only follow each other and are more focused on being culturally relevant than on selecting the best music. To circumvent the problem, I decided to do it differently this year, and just make a list of what I actually listened to (Thank you Spotify!). Following this method, my personal Top 5 must be:
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Sharon van Etten – Remind me tomorrow
Blanck Mass – Animated Violence Mild
Which proves a couple of things: (1) I’m biased towards Caucasian, (2) I’m biased towards Western, Anglo-Saxon culture, (3) after a couple of years of fighting, I successfully conquered my male bias, and (4) much as I enjoy loud and aggressive music, I suffer from contemplative bias when it comes to the music I listen to most (I personally call this the Leonard Cohen bias).
So…sue me, I’m not gonna apologise anymore. To make matters even worse, the biggest disappointment of 2019 was Solange’s ‘When I get Home’. Too studied, too clinical, too much of a concept. Again, just my opinion, what do I know…?
Not even talking about Vampire Weekend, did that before already (‘What’s wrong with Vampire Weekend’)
Thom Yorke (Anima) just didn’t make the cut, and given time Angel Olsen (All Mirrors) and FKA Twigs (MAGDALENE) would for sure join the ranks of the five mentioned above
It was a good year. The closer we get to the abyss of (environmental, political) destruction, the better the music gets. Guess we are all living in extra time.
In that spirit, lets follow Black Midi’s example (Love me…Please!) and have more experimental, unsettling and weird concerts in 2020. The time of (instant) gratification is over.
I want to close this post (and year) with one of the most beautiful songs of last year, one for the wee hours after Midnight, when the party’s over and the champagne is finished…