The 20 best albums of 2019
30 December 2019, 08:00 | Updated: 30 December 2019, 08:01
Radio X picks the best albums to be released in 2019: from the experimentation of Foals and The S.L.P. to the rise of the singer-songwiter with Sam Fender and Jade Bird.
2019 has been another massive year for music, so Radio X has picked a score of the best albums for you to add to your collection - if you haven't got them already. Here, in strictly alphabetical order, are our Albums Of The Year.
The Amazons - Future Dust
Reading's Amazons conjured up a confident debut in 2017's self-titled album, and Future Dust sees the guitars turned up and a classic blues-rock influence creeping in. Their next step should be interesting.
Blink-182 - Nine
Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker came to terms with losing founder member Tom DeLonge on their last album, California, with Matt Skiba fitting in nicely as part of the unit. The follow-up still has much on its mind - titles like Happy Days, Darkside and I Really Wish I Hated You feature on the record - but this is a textbook example of how to mature gracefully.
Jade Bird - Jade Bird
One of Britain's most distinctive voices of 2019, this is a slick folk-rock debut, from the strident call to action of I Get No Joy, to the confrontational Uh Huh and the yearning ballad Lottery.
The Black Keys - "Let's Rock"
It's been five long years since Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney released Turn Blue, but it's as if they've never been away. There's no great reinvention here, but just a solid set of soulful blues-rock tunes that deserve to be played loud.
Catfish And The Bottlemen - The Balance
Album three for the songwriting talent that is Van McCann; The Balance builds on the Catfish sound that was deployed on The Ride and The Balcony. McCann's lyrics hint at a growing maturity, with tracks like Longshot and Conversation boasting a bold guitar attack that's been honed over dozens of live shows across the year.
Circa Waves - What's It Like Over There?
After the shining indie pop of their first two albums (Young Chasers and Different Creatures), the third outing from the Liverpool band sees the guitars get fuzzier and the atmosphere getting darker and more mysterious. Times Won't Change Me is a piano-led gospel-influenced epic.
Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Backed by everyone from Dave Grohl to Thom Yorke, Billie Ellish truly owned 2019. On When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go, Ellish fused electro pop sensibilities with emo aesthetics; an anxious love letter to Generation Z. Billed as the most important musical voice of recent years, it's safe to say this 17 year old phenomenon is going nowhere.
Sam Fender - Hypersonic Missiles
The 25-year-old singer-songwriter from North Shields caught the mood of the nation this summer with the zeitgeist-embracing title track. delivered with passion and a voice that soars. Fender wears his Springsteen influences on his sleeve, but that's a good thing; the poignant thumbnail of Will We Talk? and the moving Dead Boys confront everyday life head on.
Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
Foals returned in 2019 with the first part of their Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost double bill. From the ethereal opening soundscape of Midnight, to the melancholic closing piano of I'm Done With The World (And It's Done With Me), what lay before us what a band finally ready to conquer the world The 10 song record is proof that, yes, mainstream guitar music can still be interesting.
Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2
Everyone was expecting a great record from Foals in 2019, but two? Now you're spoiling us, lads. After the success of Part 1, we could have forgiven Yannis and co for indulging themselves on Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2. Instead what was delivered was a record as accomplished as the first. It had bigger riffs, more distortion, and louder shouting, but at its heart Part 2 maintained the sensitivity of its sister LP. A unquestionably perfect bookend to a decade of innovative music from the Oxford outfit.
Kaiser Chiefs - Duck
People Know How To Love One Another, says Ricky Wilson on the Kaiser's seventh studio album; it's a rabble-rousing look at Britain, the world, the internet and other going concerns, all wrapped up in irresistible songs.
Liam Gallagher - Why Me? Why Not
After the false start that was Beady Eye, Gallagher Jr came back with his first solo album in As You Were in 2017. The follow-up is helmed by the acclaimed Greg Kurstin and lifts the lid on Liam's psyche: from the no-nonsense Shockwave to the "is it about Noel?" epic One Of Us. A strong collection.
The Sherlocks - Under Your Sky
2019 is definitely the year of the no-nonsense guitar rock band. This Bolton quartet's second album (after 2017's Live For The Moment) sees frontman Kiaran Crook relate tales of touring, life and love over a dynamic, anthemic rock sound.
The S.L.P. - The S.L.P.
Kasabian are on downtime, so here's Serge Pizzorno breaking out of the guitar rock genre and gettin' experimental. The S.L.P. sees Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno allowing his creative juices to flow freely - featuring a cosmic dance banger in Nobody Else and a rap-infused Little Simz collaboration in Favourite.
Stereophonics - Kind
After 2017's Scream Above The Sounds album and this year's politically-charged standalone single, Chaos From The Top Down, the Welsh rockers were finally ready to unleash their eleventh studio offering with Kind. Despite taking things back to basics, the record sees Kelly Jones produce some of his most personal songwriting yet- with lead track Fly Like An Eagle inspired by his daughter's coming out story
Ten Tonnes - Ten Tonnes
Otherwise known as Ethan Barnett, the 21-year-old from Hertford comes from a musical family - his brother is George Ezra. With former Maccabee Hugo White on production duties, Ten Tonnes' debut is fresh and witty.
Two Door Cinema Club - False Alarm
Three years after Gameshow, Two Door return with an album that proves they've not lost their knack for a killer chorus, while continuing to hone their style. The highly-stylised cover art shows the trio are older, wiser, but still as individual as ever.
Vampire Weekend - Father Of The Bride
Six years out of the loop, so how would 2019 greet the return of Vampire Weekend? Well, pretty warmly actually. Ezra Koenig has crafted a warm, ambitious and emotionally involving set of songs that pushes the group into new and exciting areas.
Weezer - The Teal Album
Rivers Cuomo and his team released their 13th studio album this year (The Black Album), but the one getting all the attention was this would-be joke LP. It's actually a great selection of covers from 80s cheese (Take On Me by A-ha and Jacko's Stand By Me) to yacht rock classics (Toto's Africa and ELO's Mr Blue Sky). It's so ironic that it's not ironic any more.
Yonaka - Don't Wait 'Til Tomorrow
Brighton four-piece Yonaka have crafted a debut album of distorted, beats-heavy guitar rock, with a stunning performance from singer Theresa Jarvis. One of the best live bands of 2019, the band's energy translates to the studio with ease.