It's that certain time of year when everyone starts naming "the best" things from the past 12 months.
I used quotations because of course best is a subjective concept, and even where there's critical consensus it's often a case of monkey-see-monkey-do. So end-of-year (or end-of-decade) lists are not any definitive mark of quality.
Then why make one? Well, mostly I like having an archive to look back on. But more broadly, end-of-year lists are a great way to discover something new. Especially now that music is so easy to access - via YouTube or a streaming service - you can give an album a full listen without paying for it directly. You no longer have to buy blindly, or make a judgement call based on a series of 30-second clips or after standing at a listening booth in a record store for an uncomfortable amount of time (like I used to do).
So, here are the albums I enjoyed the most in 2019:
Get Up Kids - Problems
Carly Rae Jepsen - Dedicated
Jimmy Eat World - Surviving
Jenny Lewis - On the Line
New Pornographers - In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
Pronoun - I'll Show You Stronger
Ra Ra Riot - Superbloom
Radar State - Strays
The Rubinoos - From Home
Weezer - Weezer (the teal album)
Weezer - Weezer (the black album)
And here is my annual mix of favorite songs of the year. You might notice I went with a "loved and lost" theme (the other choice was "the whole world is going to hell," so I think I made the right call).
The album cover is an homage to the great K-Tel compilations of the 1980s.
1. Ra Ra Riot - "Bitter Conversation"
2. Carly Rae Jepsen - "Happy Not Knowing"
3. Jonas Brothers - "I Believe"
4. Radar State - "Making Me Feel"
5. Weezer - "Living in L.A."
6. New Pornographers - "Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile"
7. Taylor Swift - "I Forgot That You Existed"
8. Jimmy Eat World - "All the Way (Stay)"
9. Pronoun - "Stay"
10. Kaiser Chiefs - "Lucky Shirt"
11. Vampire Weekend - "This Life"
12. Jenny Lewis - "On the Line"