This is the list you’ve all been waiting for, well, sort of. This is my Top 20 LPs of the year. Admittedly, there’s none of the high profile hitmakers on here, but that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy those albums. I loved Purple Mountains just as much as the next person, same with Weyes Blood, but in a pickle, would I choose it over that Martha LP? Uh, absolutely not. Plus, I ran a lot this year because I got tired of being fat, so the majority of this stuff is pretty upbeat and “runnable.” There’s no order because all are equal under my ears.
It’s super-hard to really nail down your favorite albums, especially when its only July and the whole thing seems pretty arbitrary, to put it lightly. But, like all your favorite sites, hits matter; they make you feel cool. So, I have concocted my own list of the Best Albums of 2019…so far. This in no way is a representation of the whole of the site contributors, and merely exists as poor commentary by a blogger with too much time on his hands. Enjoy!
I’ve pretty much been riding high on the Stella Donnelly train since her performances at last year’s SXSW festival. Luckily, her Beware the Dogs LP isn’t too far off in the distance, so why not celebrate with another gem. This number has a little bit more spirit in the way the guitars cut across the tune; her voice still sparkles, no matter whether she’s delivering lines or drawing out the chorus. I think ultimately, her delivery of everything’s quite smart; she seems to have this sly wit and playfulness that draws in listeners and begs them to be better humans…it’s a theme throughout the LP, in my opinion. Secretly Canadian will release the album on March 8th.
Last year, when we were treated to several Stella Donnelly sets, I was left greatly impressed; she stunned with little more than her voice and guitar amidst drunken crowds crammed into non-traditional venues. But, while spending a good amount of time with Beware of Dogs these past few weeks, I’ve been really impressed with the arrangements throughout, just as you’ll hear on “Lunch.” There’s Stella up front with lightly strummed guitar, but behind her hangs this solemn piano tune while strings sweep in all the emotions you’d ever want in a song. The drums have this almost splattered sound, like an egg crashing into a wall, but it fits the tune perfect, as do the backing vocals chiming in at various points. For those of us who only got to see her solo sets, you’re going to really fall in love with her work when you hear all that’s gone into the sounds on the new LP, out March 8th.
If there’s one thing last year’s SXSW showed us it was that Stella Donnelly has a bright career in front of her. She could hold a room on her own with her presence, but more important was her biting wit. She’s not afraid to call people out in song, but she doesn’t do it in a fashion one would find laborious. In her first single from her debut, she’s calling out men and their inappropriate behavior; I appreciate how she approaches her views through a certain pop sensibility, stuck in your head all day and forcing you to listen to what she has to say. Beware of the Dogs will be out on March 8th via Secretly Canadian.