If by now you don’t know that music is one of my love languages, welcome to my life.
Spotify, the music streaming app, has released their annual year in review lists so everyone has been posting online about their top streams, favorite artists, most listened to podcasts, etc. I know it’s all based on an algorithm that Spotify has created, but for the past two years, it’s not as surprising to me because at the beginning of every year I create a playlist where I put my favorite songs into my own playlist. Today, I checked and my top listened to bands were all in that playlist. BUT there are a few missing because a couple bands I listen to released their albums later in the year and there’s just no way they would show up on my “official” Spotify 2019 year in review playlist.
People ask me all the time what kind of music I listen to, and I just say “a little bit of everything” because it’s true. Music has always been part of my life. I was probably four-years-old when this photo was taken. My introverted self, would just put on headphones and listen to whatever cassette tapes we had. Yes, I said cassette tapes. Anyway, to celebrate my love for music, I wanted to share with you my top listened to albums of 2019 (and then some). These are albums that I listen to in their entirety. These are albums I listen to nonstop when I’m at work, or in the car, or at home–you’ll, of course, find me singing along to these songs. Just ask my coworker. Also, these are in no particular order, my hope is that maybe, just maybe, I’ll introduce you to a new artist and that would just be the best Christmas present ever. I’ll explain a little bit, as to why I love this album and/or band and link it, so you can listen as well!
Top 2019 Albums
1. Bringing Balance by Allen Stone
My man Al. I was introduced to Allen Stone back in 2012 or so. I pictured a super funky back dude singing. Imagine my surprise when I saw this blonde haired, blue eyed singer. But man, can he sang. His shows are some of the most fun I’ve been to and I love his lyrics. He’s something special and he sings about real things. Don’t believe me, go listen to “Unaware,” one of his first songs I ever heard. It blew me away. Anyway, Bringing Balance is his latest album that I’ve been anticipating for YEARS and he delivered. This is an album that you’ll groove to, you’ll snap your fingers to, you’ll listen to with the stank face because it’s just so good.
Favorite jams: Brown Eyed Lover, Sunny Days, Lay it Down, Back to the Swing.
2. Moonlight by Johnnyswim
I can’t think of a better duo that has come up on the music scene than Johnnyswim. They’re the type of people, I think, would be so fun to be friends with. I discovered them in the summer of 2012 and instantly fell in love. They basically replaced The Civil Wars after they broke up. But Johnnyswim has a different vibe to them–they’re married, totally in love, have beautiful babies (two of which, they totally kept secret until their birth), have amazing chemistry on stage and make the most incredibly harmonies in their music. Their music makes me feel something different than I do when I listen to most artists. In interviews they’ve said they want people to have fun, but also experience “church” at their shows. I’ve seen them a lot, and not once did I ever regret it. This album is a different sound than their usual acoustic feel–it’s more produced, which I actually really like. They can still pull the acoustic singer/songwriter feel off, but this album is just on another level of amazing.
Favorite jams: Bridges, Lost in Translation, Say What You Will, Back to You.
3. Tryhard by The Band Camino
I came across The Band Camino last year, thanks to Spotify playing related artist after you listen to an album. I’m mildly obsessed with them because of their rock/punk/pop sound which reminds me of my angsty teenage years. The band is originally from Memphis and recently moved to Nashville. They have two lead singers, which I think is different and cool. They’re all really musically talented and sing about love, life, and growing up. I got to see them at Moonriver Festival and had a blast. They’re very energetic on stage and a lot of fun to sing at the top of your lungs to.
Favorite jams: What I Want, Daphne Blue, Honest, See Through.
4. Heard it in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers
If you don’t know Maggie Rogers, you need to. She is a goddess. The songstress went viral in 2016, when she played a song she wrote and produced for music producer, Pharrell, for a masterclass he was teaching at NYU, where she was attending and he was left speechless. When her first full-length album was released in January and it’s been on repeat since then. I got to see her in concert in September and it was a magical experience. There was a moment where she just took in all of us screaming and cheering for her, and you could just see her genuine gratefulness written all over her face. Maggie will be around for a long time. Guaranteed.
Favorite jams: Give a Little, Overnight, Retrograde, Burning.
5. Pep Talks by Judah & the Lion
Judah & the Lion puts on some THE most fun shows I’ve ever been to. My brother introduced me them back in 2012 or 2013. At the time, they had a very different sound. At the time, they were basically a 4-piece band made up an acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, and drums. I first saw them in Chattanooga at a now closed bar, the show was sold out and I was able to sneak in. They sold me when they covered “Ignition” by R. Kelly (I know, I know) and it was still a jam with their sound. Since then, their sound has evolved into a folk, hip, rock ‘n’ roll sound that when you hear it, you think, that can’t possibly be a genre, but when you hear it, it totally makes sense. Their latest is one of the most vulnerable albums I’ve heard in my lifetime. It’s relevant and necessary in the world we live in. Did I mention how fun they are? If you have a chance to go see them in concert, I promise you it’ll be worth all your $$.
Favorite jams: Quarter-Life Crisis, Passion Fashion ft Jon Bellion, Let Go.
6. Betty by Betty Who
I fell in love with Betty Who on a 6-hour work trip to Louisville. I probably listened to her first album for one entire way of the trip. Her 80’s inspired music, made me wish I grew up in the 80s. Her lyrics are fun, but also run deep. Her latest, self-titled album gives you all the feels of growing up in the 90s. I missed her latest tour because I had a throat infection, but I’ve been told her concerts are like one big dance party. Betty is one of the biggest advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and outspoken on social media for women’s rights as well. She studied at Berklee School of Music, which is a big deal and her range is insane. If you want a fun pop album to listen to, this is it.
Favorite jams: Old Me, Just Thought You Should Know, Between You and Me, Ignore Me.
7. Good Luck, Kid by Joseph
I came across Joseph, when I found out they were opening for James Bay when I saw him perform in 2017. Usually, I don’t listening to an opening band before their show because I like to listen to them, live, firsthand. But for some reason, I looked them up and was hooked. They’re a sister-trio from Oregon, twins Meegan and Allie, along with their older sister Natalie. Their harmonies are from another world and can only be explained because they share DNA. Their folk sound has tapped into a little rock, which I’m totally loving.
Favorite jams: Fighter, Good Luck, Kid, Without You, Shivers
8. MAYBE by Valley
I’ll be honest, I just came across this band maybe a month ago, but it’s been a constant spin, especially, while I’m at work. One day, I put it on and didn’t realize it was the only thing I listened to for the ENTIRE day. This indie pop band from Canada is an album you’ll want to listen to when you’re driving. Also, how cool is it that they have a female drummer?! I have a feeling this album listening will spill over into 2020 for me. And I absolutely are going to put them on my list of bands to see in 2020, when they go on tour.
Favorite jams: There’s Still a Light In the House, Closer to the Picture, Push for Yellow (Shelter), A Phone Call in Amsterdam
Guys, I listen to a lot of music. The list above was just my top albums from 2019. But below is a list of recent albums, again in their entirety, that have also been on repeat this year for me.
- Into the Spiderverse soundtrack
- Malibu Nights by LANY
- Magic by Ben Rector
- H.E.R by H.E.R
- Only the Lonely by Colony House
- Before the Sun Goes Down by The New Respects
- Only Human by Calum Scott
- Good Thing by Leon Bridges
- Hallelujah Here Below by Elevation Worship
To end, here’s a link to my 2019 playlist. I know not all of these songs were released in 2019, but they’re the ones that are my go-to bangers. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6qkbRbBU3zD52YXvFoNEAU