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The albums of the year! 10-6

Written by Culture, Music

We asked our writers to vote for what they think should be the albums of the year. Here’s what they decided

10.Charlie XCX – Charli


Charli XCX had one of the most surprising albums of the year with Charli. The British pop princess had been hovering outside of the mainstream for much of her career, occasionally making a fleeting appearance in the charts. However, on her latest album Charli truly blossomed into a star with energetic hits like 1999 and Blame it on Your Love which have cemented her star status. Charli incorporated impressive collaborations such as Lizzo, Troye Sivan and recent star Clairo which added something to the album which was previously missing from Charli’s work. The production on the album was tight and crisp which complemented well with Charli’s vocal performances on the album which were mixed in a way that they were far more interesting than on her pervious work. Charli is truly deserving of a place on the top 10. Dominic Lee

9. Hozier – Wasteland, baby

Five years after the worldwide success of Take Me To Church, Hozier dropped his sophomore album, Wasteland, Baby! on 1 March 2019. Building on the sound that captivated audiences on his debut, Hozier has stuck to his songwriting guns but falls somewhat short upon his much anticipated return.Without doubt, there are glorious moments (Shrike, Nina Cried Power and the title track) but they are fleeting. Clocking in at just under an hour, the 14 tracks feel like over compensation for the past few years of radio silence. With his powerful cathedral-like voice, Hozier waxes lyrical about religion and sex throughout, but second time around it just feels a bit disappointing. At its worst, the album has filler songs with big choruses aimed at the stadium crowds. But Hozier is at his best when he’s at his most tender or most passionate. With that said, Hozier blues guitar playing remains exquisite on the album – if not better – and if his most recent protest song Jackboot Jump is anything to go by, Hozier will be even better on the next album. It shows that an artist doesn’t have to fit the ‘pop’ singer songwriter that seems to be bloating music in 2019. Hozier is a bit of an outsider; his blues and folk style and his willingness to tackle taboo matters in contemporary society set him aside from the rest. Phil Etchells

8. Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride

Vampire Weekend have been at the top of the indie-pop game now for over a decade. On May 3rd, the NYC natives released their fourth studio album Father of the Bride to widespread acclaim. But, what makes the latest effort from Ezra Koenig & Co worthy of a place on this list?The Ariel Rechtshaid-produced album caught some fans by surprise with its odd, but highly effective combination of socio-political lyrics and world-beat inspired funkiness. Six years after the release of their seminal masterpiece Modern Vampires of the City, Father of the Bride completes the bands transition from a group of grammar conscious college punks to summertime fun boys.The albums first single ‘Harmony Hall/2012’ showcases the bands new-found soul and is renunciant of Afro-beat era Paul Simon. The album’s best songs ‘Sunflower/Big Blue’ combine elements of free-form jazz and psychedelic stylings reminiscent of early Grateful Dead. Father of the Bride‘s final singals ‘This Life/Unbearably White’ feature the bands most political lyrics ever, which are overlaid on some pretty simple, sunny pop melodies, to great effect.It may not be the trio’s best album overall, but I defy you to find a more upbeat, summer-sun filled effort from 2019. Father of the Bride has been nominated for Album of the Year and Best Alternative Music Album at next years Grammy’s and has a good chance of taking home both accolades. Joe Holloran

7. FONTAINES DC – Dogrel

Dogrel is an eclectic fusion of post-punk and modern romanticism. It tackles how modernity changes everything that was once held so familiar and explores a variety of styles leading to an incredible listening experience. FONTAINES DC take on a different approach to punk and don’t make their songs completely political. They target how their home town of Dublin is forever changing and how they need to adapt to it.Rather than sticking to one formula of song that works, FONTAINES switch up their style in nearly every track. ‘Sha Sha Sha’ wouldn’t be out of place on The Cures first album and ‘Dublin City Sky’ is a modern day Irish folk song to sing together in the pub after last orders. Dogrel is an almost perfect album. It takes everything great about post-punk as a sub-genre and adds more. The snarling vocals over the incredible slew of instruments cement Dogrel as a definite album of the year, and perhaps for me, an album of the decade. Joe Smith

6. Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell

After the inconsistent patchwork of genres in Lust for Life, Lana Del Rey has driven back to her sadcore comfort zone with Norman Fucking Rockwell. The twice nominated Grammy album is an orchestral celebration of Americana love, laying hypnotic vocals over romantic strings to reaffirm Del Rey’s superiority at ballad curation.While she infamously teeters on the borders of boring, NFR catches many moments of experimentation; the title track opens with fearless, sexually liberated lyrics, followed by ‘Venice Bitch’ which juxtaposes a haunting yet witty chorus with an electronic interlude to create a ten minute masterpiece.However her greatest triumph has to be ‘Cinnamon Girl’ where blunter, monosyllabic lyrics replace Del Rey’s often elaborate and referential imagery; this simplicity brings her vulnerability to the forefront. She finally strips herself of the pretentious Hollywood pastiche that dominates her other tracks, presenting herself simply as a woman yearning to be loved. NFR is a delicate and intelligent exhibition where Del Rey flaunts her musical skills and industry experience. While predictable in places, her effortless melancholy, raw poetry and enchanting orchestrations make it a strong contender for album of the year.  Jess Herbert

Last modified: 11th June 2020

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