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MNN’s Albums of the Year 2019

It’s that time of year that all music nerds love; the chance to agonise over ranking your yearly listenings before sharing them with the world. Getting to look back over the year and reminisce on the albums that have captivated you, remember gems that you’ve forgotten about and realise that you’ve spent the equivalent of two whole days listening to Lana Del Rey moan about the American Dream (oh, just me?!). The truth is that often our albums of the year tell a story about a chapter of our life and they can be very personal for the moments they hold. And here are the records that we’ve not been able to get enough of in 2019.

Paris Fawcett (Editor)

1. Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!

To put it simply, Norman Fucking Rockwell! sees Lana Del Rey take the highs of her ten-year career and top every single one of them. 10 years of poetry, melancholia, compelling narratives and wonderous characters all coming together to form an album that’s as much music as classic literature. Del Rey transcends every limitation set upon modern artists and has made the kind of masterpiece that makes you question the validity of every other album you’ve given the same title.

2. Chris Farren – Born Hot

3. Proper – I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better

4. Pkew Pkew Pkew – Optimal Lifestyles

5. White Reaper – You Deserve Love

6. Puppy – The Goat

7. Nervus – Tough Crowd

8. Clairo – Immunity

9. Hernameiscalla – Animal Choir

10. Martha – Love Keeps Kicking

 

Billy Padmore (Writer)

1. The Valley – Whitechapel

On album no.7, Whitechapel have released their strongest record to date. Demonstrating versatility and bringing depth to a genre that is often considered one-dimensional, the deathcore heavyweights have taken an alternative rock influence with The Valley, showing off Phil Bozeman’s incredible singing voice to contrast his signature growls. Less of a gimmick and more an evolution of their sound, Whitechapel have created their freshest release since the seminal This Is Exile, and have established a new milestone for modern deathcore records to be measured against.

2. SeeYouSpaceCowboy – The Correlation Between Entry and Exit Wounds

3. Full Of Hell – Weeping Choir

4. Knocked Loose – A Different Shade of Blue

5. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

6. Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!

7. Ithaca – The Language of Injury

8. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography

9. meth. – Mother of Red Light

10. Injury Reserve – Injury Reserve

 

Kevin Lay (Writer)

1. Holding Absence – Holding Absence (Deluxe Edition)

When compiling this list choosing top spot was actually the easiest part of it all. That is meant with no disrespect to the 9 other fantastic records mentioned, but Holding Absence created something truly beautiful with their self-titled debut album. It’s an album full of raw emotion, anthemic choruses and the most perfectly written lyrics. The deluxe edition of the album features a previously unreleased track in ‘Here Forever’ and it speaks volumes of the rest of the album that it somehow never made it onto the original release. Standout tracks such as ‘Your Love (Has Ruined My Life)’, ‘Like A Shadow’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Monochrome’ are given flawless acoustic outings to top it all off. If you haven’t checked Holding Absence out already, what are you waiting for?

2. Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

3. The Gospel Youth – Thoughtless

4. Roam – Smile Wide

5. Mallory Knox – Mallory Knox

6. While She Sleeps – So What?

7. As It Is – The Great Depression (Reimagined)

8. The Dangerous Summer – Mother Nature

9. PVRIS – Hallucinations

10. Sleeping With Sirens – How It Feels To Be Lost

 

Liam McDonald (Writer)

1 . St Pierre Snake Invasion – Caprice Enchante 

Despite having one of the best names in modern music, St Pierre Snake Invasion have been a band who have been flying well below the radar for most of their career so far. Although Caprice Enchante is unlikely to change that, it should at the very least give them that cult status of a band respected for being unwilling to compromise. This is one of those wonderfully inventive hardcore records that shows there is still so much left to do in the genre. From the riotous opening of ‘The Safety Word is Oklahoma’ to the melodica solo that closes the record, there is always something unexpected lurking around the corner. The band’s dry, sardonic humour reaches its peak on ‘The Idiot’s Guide to Music’, and although the hooks take a little while to worm their way into you, once they are there there is no escaping them. Ultimately though it is originality and personality that has made this the top album of 2019. 

2 . Pkew Pkew Pkew – Optimal Lifestyles

3. The Menzingers – Hello Exile

4 . Employed to Serve – Eternal Forward Motion

5. Cultdreams – Things That Hurt

6. Pup – Morbid Stuff

7. Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

8. Petrol Girls – Cut & Stitch

9. Venom Prison – Samsara 

10. Puppy – The Goat 

 

Milo White (Writer)

1. Covert Contracts – Control Top (Get Better)

The debut album by Philly three-piece Control Top, Covert Contracts is a 30-minute feast of explosively vicious attacks on society. Vocalist and bassist Ali Carter’s knack for new-wave melodies over post-punk grit makes tracks like Straight Jackets (every bit the assault on heteronormality that the title suggests) and Office Rage (enough to make you want to eat a keyboard) equally catchy and incendiary. Meanwhile, the brutal drum patterns and acidic distorted guitars filled the soundscape with jagged metal spikes, resulting in an infectious listen that doesn’t let up.

2. Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits
3. black midi – Schlagenheim
4. The Desert Sessions – Vols 11 & 12: Arrivederci Despair/Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels
5. Heavy Lungs – Measure EP
6. Crows – Silver Tongues
7. Uboa – The Origin of Depression
8. Venom Prison – Samsara
9. Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
10. JOHN – Out Here On The Fringes

 

Sam Stephenson (Writer)

1. Tool – Fear Innoculum

With Fear Innoculum Tool achieved the unachievable. After the 13 year wait and hundreds of false alarms, they finally delivered the most sublime, intangible and understatedly beautiful record of their career. Sinking the listener into a soothing ocean of musical and emotional complexity, the message is one of hope: overcoming “fear” in whatever form it takes. From the production to the lyrical narrative, it feels like every second of Fear Innoculum has been chipped away to absolute perfection, forgoing all cliches to create a totally immersive experience. As a Tool fan, I couldn’t possibly have asked for more.

2. Blood Incantation – Hidden History Of The Human Race

3. Baroness – Gold and Grey

4. Torche – Admission

5. Knocked Loose – A Different Shade Of Blue

6. Dinosaur Pile-Up – Celebrity Mansions

7. Alcest – Spiritual Instinct

8. Venom Prison – Samsara

9. Whitechapel – The Valley

10. Shadow Of Intent – Melancholy

 

Kaine Crilley (Photographer)

1. Counterparts – Nothing Left To Love
2. Holding Absence – “ “
3. Alpha Wolf – Fault
4. Varials – In Darkness
5. Borders – Purify
6. Lotus Eater – Social Hazard
7. Dealer – Soul Burn
8. Knocked Loose – A Different Shade Of Blue
9. Northlane – Alien
10. Employed to Serve – Eternal Forward Motion

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