My Top 9 Albums of 2019 So Far

MMC Writers look back at the last six months in music

1. Helado Negro: This Is How You Smile {Review}

Sometimes there comes an album that completely transports you to another place and time. I doubt whether another album this year will unseat this one, but we’ll see.

2. Jamila Woods: Legacy! Legacy! {Review}

Joyous, defiant, Jamila Woods is a vibe for all moods and times.

3. Big Thief: U.F.O.F. {Review}

It’s rare for a band to execute their vision this flawlessly. These tranquil tunes get stronger and stronger with each listen.

4. Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow {Review}

The transition from guitar music to a more synth-based sound can be a rocky one for many musicians (just look at the ’80s), but it works when the songwriting is this strong. It almost doesn’t matter how these songs are arranged. This album was going to kick ass regardless.

5. Choosey & Exile: Black Beans

The hip-hop here is like comfort food. I honestly didn’t realize why the title was Black Beans until writing that sentence.

6. Tyler the Creator: IGOR {Review}

Tyler put Odd Future on the map by playing on shock value. But as he becomes more honest and personal with each release, the music keeps getting better.

7. Billy Woods: Hiding Place {Review}

In a way that reminds me of my obsession with Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein in early 2002, rapper Billy Woods and producer Kenny Segal have created a cold, dark and endlessly interesting world that I keep finding myself traveling back to.

8. Boogie: Everythings For Sale {Review}

Introspective, slow and smooth sing-along rap. Even on the two or three turn-up tracks, this is an intimate listen were we get to eavesdrop on Boogie’s innermost thoughts.

9. Mndsgn: Snaxx

This spot is more or less a four-way tie: Karen O, Flying Lotus, Denzel Curry and this. I’m surprised at the cool reception to FlyLo’s latest; I kind of love it. Danger Mouse’s production paired with Karen O is perfect. I can’t stop listening to Denzel Curry’s “Speedboat.”

But I’ll give it to L.A. beatmaker Mndsgn. His last beat-tape got a lot of press, but as much as I tried to love it, I found that project too spacey and unfocused. Maybe I should go back because Snaxx is the vibe. Creating lo-fi beats that feel unique, full, and (actually) catchy is harder than it looks.