By popular demand, and also by the demands of how long my monthly wrap-up posts have been taking recently, this is a new series in which I’ll be reviewing albums in fives! I do a lot of album listening and am really into music (even though a lot of my actual listening tends to just be whatever I’m currently obsessed with, on loop), and I think this will be a fun series to write!
Here is a list of the albums I have listened to so far on this blog in 2019, most of which are reviewed in monthly wrapups:
→When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019) Billie Eilish (not reviewed)
→Wasteland, Baby! (2019) Hozier (on Feb 2019 wrapup)
→Pageant Material (2015) Kacey Musgraves
→thank u next (2019) Ariana Grande
→Be the Cowboy (2018) Mitski
→LOVE+FEAR (2019) MARINA (on June 2019 wrapup)
→Clean (2018) Soccer Mommy
→Lush (2012) Mitski (on Performance of Pain as Catharsis and Mitski)
→Retired From Sad, New Career in Business (2013) Mitski
→Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014) Mitski
→Puberty 2 (2016) Mitski
→Growing Pains (2018) Alessia Cara (on July 2019 wrapup)
→From the Outside (2018) Hey Violet
→Boygenius (2018) Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers
→Dedicated (2019) Carly Rae Jepsen
This is fifteen albums which honestly? Is more than I expected. But I’m very impressed with myself for how much album reviewing I’ve done on this blog.
I’m not reviewing these but EPs I have listened to this year have included:
→One Heart to Another EP (2019) Maddie & Tae (on May 2019 wrapup)
→Why Am I Like This EP (2019) Orla Gartland (not reviewed)
→Bad Ideas Act One (2019) Tessa Violet (not reviewed)
→Sunset Season EP (2018) Conan Gray (on July 2019 wrapup)
The Five Albums
→Hozier Extended Edition (2015) Hozier
→Singular Act II (2019) Sabrina Carpenter
→Vanity (2019) Lizzie No
→Lover (2019) Taylor Swift
→Heard It In a Past Life (2019) Maggie Rogers
As you can see, most of these albums are recent drops! With one singular exception, so I’ll start with that.
Hozier’s debut album, Hozier, is an album I have been listening to songs off of for years without actually listening to in full. I fixed that! Finally!
- Meh Tier: I like Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene but it’s just… it doesn’t distinguish itself from me. To Be Alone is eerie but not a highlight for me. I just don’t care for Foreigner’s God.
- Good Tier: I really really like new discovery From Eden; the chorus especially is deeply beautiful (also… it’s about the snake from the garden of Eden falling in love and I think that’s just really really hilarious). In the Woods Somewhere is interesting and haunting. I love the orchestrations on Run, a new discovery.
- God Tier: Take Me To Church still fucks in 2019. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover the joyful power of Jackie and Wilson. Someone New has been one of my favorite song for years. In A Week is a duet between corpses and has no right to be so beautiful. Work Song and Like Real People Do are and have always been the two most tender songs of all time and we did nothing to deserve them. It Will Come Back is also a longtime fave and is haunting and also a bop. Cherry Wine has been my favorite song for years and is utterly haunting.
So in conclusion… I was a pretty big fan of this and discovered a couple new faves! I think I like Wasteland Baby a bit better on the whole, but this has more Total Highlights. The fact that Arsonist’s Lullaby didn’t make this onto the album is a crime against me personally.
Sabrina Carpenter’s Singular Act II (2019) is a worthy sequel to last year’s Singular Act I, which had a few huge bops on it. I really like this album as a whole but I’m especially a huge fan of this second half!
- Meh Tier: Take Off All Your Cool has sort of a weird tempo to it that I’m not into, although her voice holds the song pretty well. I just don’t honestly care for Tell Em.
- Good Tier: In My Bed is strangely relaxing but not a fave. I Can’t Stop Me is a bop that I think will grow on me. I debated whether to put these two in god tier but: Exhale is quiet and cathartic. Take You Back uses the term “buyer’s remorse” about a breakup and honestly, iconic.
- God Tier: Pushing 20 slaps so hard and though I am not yet pushing 20 I still felt That. I’m Fakin was my bop for like 2 weeks before this album dropped. Looking At Me is possibly my favorite song off either side of the album (yes even over Almost Love, which got hilariously overplayed last year!! shock!!) I’ve honestly listened to it so many times.
So… all in all. My faves off the album as a whole are Almost Love, Paris, Bad Time, Sue Me, Pushing 20, I’m Fakin, and Lookin At Me. …I can’t decide which side I like more? I think I like the second side as a whole more (I actually only have half the first side in my liked songs) but I like my highlights off the first side more.
Lizzie No’s Vanity (2019) is an album I listened to after falling in love with its opening track, Narcissus, a random Spotify discovery. This is… such a good album. I know it’s ridiculously obscure (the lyrics aren’t even on Genius even though her debut album was critically acclaimed?) but sincerely I love this so much. It’s only nine songs and 34 minutes and it slaps. I feel like the sad songs here are good, but the haunting ones are better.
- Meh Tier: I like the tone shift between two sadder ones to Matthew (“get out of my head for once” hit) but it was sort of in the middle for me.
- Good Tier: Labor Day is a little mournful and very well-written; I’m pretty sure this could graduate to god tier (what if I’ve outgrown! the way that I’ve been living!). Loyalty is fucking sad. Pity Party is also sad and good (every time I play my songs for a couple of friends, it lights a match for dark times to come!!). Channels is just lyrically too good.
- God Tier: Narcissus is, honest to god, of my favorite songs, and deserves listening to. I swear I fell in love with Born and Bred on the first cord (No one taught me how to keep my shit together!) Deep Well Song is haunting and super well-produced. Phantom Limb is so haunting and amazing from the first chord; I love the abrupt end and the musical buildup.
And then there are my two highlights of this last album-listening cycle.
My most anticipated album of the year just showed up and I’m not okay. Taylor Swift’s Lover is actually such an incredible album. I woke up at 12:30 am on the 23rd for absolutely no reason but I think it was the universe trying to get me to listen to this album, which has no right to be as good as it is but it’s incredible.
- Okay Tier: I Forgot That You Existed is sort of a bop (and actually I like it a lot as an album intro?) but I’m not in love with it. I’m gonna say it – I actually kinda like You Need to Calm Down and Me! for their bop quality. (But they’re weaker as the album goes, for sure.) London Boy… is honestly just. I’m lowkey laughing I can’t like this.
- Good Tier: The Man is honestly a bop and a half but the lyrics are comparatively to the rest, kind of simple? (It’s still valid.) I like Afterglow, a song about fighting, a lot, but I think I need to listen to it more. It’s Nice To Have A Friend is cute but sort of just… okay? idk man it’s an interlude I won’t skip it.
- God Tier: Cruel Summer slaps and is really really romantic (I don’t want to keep secrets just to keep you!!!). Lover is literally one of my all time favorite Taylor tracks (it’s on my peak romance playlist) and has been since it dropped. The Archer is absolutely gorgeous and putting it right here, after The Man, is brilliant album ordering; also, I think the production is growing on me more and more (Jack Antonoff I love you). I’m going to say it: I Think He Knows has some of my favorite production of the year (I danced around the kitchen to it). Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince is… way more excellent than I expected (also, liberalism)? Paper Rings was an instant fave and I like it more every time I listen to it (it’s so FUN it’s a BOP). Cornelia Street made me start crying at 1 am (the BRIDGE the OUTRO…). Death By A Thousand Cuts is incredible and heartbreaking but in a cathartic way. Soon You’ll Get Better is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever heard and I will never again listen to it. False God was fighting for gay rights and people were killed. And the ending of Daylight is absolutely one of the most killer album endings of all time I’m going to say it.
If I were to rank them, right now, I would go with this:
- Cornelia Street
- Paper Rings
- Cruel Summer
- I Think He Knows (this made a jump)
- The Archer
- Soon You’ll Get Better (only here because I know damn well I will never be able to listen to this) (this is the TRUE GOD TIER)
- Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince
- False God
- Death By a Thousand Cuts (there are about 40 spaces before the next track)
- The Man
- It’s Nice To Have a Friend (another 40 tracks go here)
- I Forgot That You Existed
- You Need to Calm Down
- London Boy
In conclusion. I loved this. I honestly loved this so much. The way Taylor Swift shifts style every single year is honest to god so impressive and her songwriting is still really good and I also think the decision to just have Jack Antonoff produce most of this really paid off in both the consistency and quality departments (I have a playlist to prove to you that this is true).
And now… it is time to talk about Heard It In A Past Life, Maggie Roger’s 2019 debut album. The most transcendently good debut album I will ever listen to by far. Currently at the very top of my favorite albums of all time list (I put it above Golden Hour). I love her voice so much; more importantly, I adore this album. It’s an album that feels on a liminal space of emotion, somewhere between happy and sad; it’s an album I feel sure hits very differently at 2 am (my favorite genre of music). I had to invent an entire extra tier for this album because several of these songs just made me spontaneously cry and songs that would generally be considered god tier suddenly no longer could because they just didn’t measure up! There are no skips. There are no skips and I don’t make the rules.
- Good Tier: I like the sonics of The Knife a lot; it’s a bop but casually. On + Off is really sonically interesting though more chilled than my taste.
- Really Good Tier: The sonics on Give A Little are brilliant. Overnight feels like it’ll be an amazing moving-on-song. Honestly I just love how Alaska sounds? The background music is transcendently good and feels like a very while-you’re-reading song. The final note of Past Life is glorious. And when the chorus hits on Say It… a moment.
- God Tier: Light On has been one of my favorite songs since the first time I heard it a few months ago — it is so hopeful and wonderful and was the reason I listened to this album. But. The last four tracks on this album are… insane. Fallingwater was an immediate favorite; when that high note hit I was immediately obsessed. As soon as I heard the opening notes of Retrograde I knew it was going to be a fave; sonically this is just TOO excellent, and I love how it subtly echoes the Give A Little notes. As soon as she said I’m in love I’m alive oh I’m burning! I knew Burning was going to be one of my new favorite songs. And then there’s Back In My Body, which — keep in mind, I had already cried at both of the last two songs — made me start crying and giddily laughing at the same time. This time I know I’m fighting! This time I know I’m back in my body!
It’s so important than everyone on my blog listen to the last four tracks of this album in order. Please it is a twenty minute project you will NOT regret it.
I hope that you guys enjoyed this post in which I showed off the fact that I’m still a dedicated Taylor Swift fan, actually, and also cried to Maggie Rogers. Upcoming in the next album review post: hopefully Red Hearse’s debut album because as mentioned, Jack Antonoff is the only man I trust, and then About U by MUNA and Isn’t It Strange by Lauren Aquilina for two of my top blogging friends. And as always, you can find my current playlist here! (Along with many many themed mixes on my Spotify.)