Inkwell’s favorite albums of 2019


photo courtesy of Reagan Easter

Looking for music to take you through the end of the decade? Inkwell has you covered.

Reagan Easter, reporter

In an era where music streaming is at an all-time high, it can be hard to know which albums are worth your time. Inkwell has you covered. As the year comes to an end, the Inkwell team offers our 2019 picks for a range of music tastes.

Big Wild, Superdream
This album is easy to love. It is the kind of album that makes a lasting impression on you after the first listen. Superdream is an inextricable mix between electronic and dance, everything from funk guitar to synth-pop. This balance between love and labor makes for great sounds. There’s even some Prince-like “purple” in the song “6s to 9s” through its expansion on pleasing sonic sounds.

AJR, Neotheater
The effervescence of this album totally goes against conventional music norms. AJR mixes hip-hop sounds with strings, in turn producing perfect sing-a-long tracks. It is a well-balanced album of social commentary, fresh hooks and young beats.

Ariana Grande, thank u next
No doubt that Ariana absolutely kills each track with her powerful vocals and undeniable talent. The album’s songs are a sublime contrast with her previous albums. It’s technically adept and a blend of self-affirmation and reclamation following the aftermaths of previous relationships, hence the reason that Grande’s thank u next, deserves a spot on this list.

Maggie Rogers, Heard it in a Past Life
The narrative Rogers beautifully crafts through this album has established her sound aesthetic that stretches the boundaries of music genres. It represents a semblance of folky songwriting with a crisp pop spin. Her falsetto-layered lyrics and euphoric feel make her songs earthbound. Hear it in a Past Life is a compelling album and one not to be dismissed.

Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (the Broadway musical)
Originally produced in 1995, this album now comes with new voices and styles to the Broadway stage. Despite some darker themes embedded in the lyrics, the new Broadway actors’ vocals charm an array of audiences. The songs come into a new light by taking the meanings of the original songs into the 21st century and producing a personal and generation-defining set of tracks.

Following Kanye’s religious rebirth, on his ninth album, Jesus Is King, gospel-like sounds and passionate vocals separate it from any of his previous works. This characteristically distinct rap format is focused and popularized with gospel-soul tracks, like “God Is.” The confrontational tone that is paired with the echoes of battle drums drives the pace of the song “Selah” which has become Kanye’s 4th most listened to song on Spotify.

Lana Del Rey, Norman F****** Rockwell!
This album is defiant and an embodiment of the American psyche. Del Rey tells a tale of falling in and out of love, with this poetic masterpiece and fluid craft of melancholic beats. She ends the album on a cautionary but unnerving optimistic note, summing up the general theme of the album: “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it.”

Various Artists, Rocketman Soundtrack
The narrative of this album is a foundational platform in itself, that drives the beloved Elton John’s biopic masterpiece, Rocketman. It does a fantastic job at highlighting the different highs and lows of Elton John’s extensive career, all the while complementing the visually appealing movie.

Tyler, The Creator, Igor
Igor is Tyler, The Creator’s sixth full-length album. Its ability to diverge from the traditional pop arc makes for a dynamic listening experience. Tyler constructs layers of melodic keys and harmonizing vocals. Throughout the tenure of the album, he creates a narrative of progression from denial to acceptance. The track, “A BOY IS A GUN*,” has a varied tone and tempo reflecting Tyler’s self-volatility. This album is a surreal and impressive self-monologue, that makes for an overall great album.

FKA Twigs has an intricate approach to blurring the lines between avant-garde and electronic sounds. Her album itself is visceral and oscillating. The imagery she builds within each lyrical frame accompanied by the complex and artistic music videos, reveals in-depth songs about racism, misogyny, pain and heartbreak. The album is a testament to her talent and a work of art.

André Rieu, My Music, My World — The Very Best of André Rieu
For those unfamiliar, Rieu is a Dutch violinist and conductor best known for creating the waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra. This collection of his very best pieces is beautiful and riveting. It is a compilation of his greatest hits, everything from waltzes, operas and musicals to movie themes.

Ben Platt, Sing to Me Instead
Platt’s soulful voice extends his storytelling skills from portraying his raw emotions with a refreshing textured narrative. Sing to Me Instead allows Platt to stray beyond the theoretical realm into a realm of authenticity. Through this 12-track album, Ben Platt will tug on every one of your heartstrings.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Bon Iver, i,i
  • The Head and The Heart, Living Mirage
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated
  • Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
  • Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • Taylor Swift, Lover
  • Beyoncé, Homecoming: The Live Album
  • Fletcher, you ruined new york city for me