We’re a good way into AOTY season and a pattern is starting to emerge in the published lists as aggregated here:
I don’t think there are many massive surprises near the top. I expected Lana Del Rey to be number 1, and I’m pleased and not surprised to see people like Nick Cave and FKA Twigs up there too. I’m slightly surprised to see Angel Olsen’s strangely unsatisfying album rated so much higher than all her great ones, but maybe that’s just me.
There have been a lot of great albums this year and it sometimes seems to me that it is almost random which ones get repeated in the lists at the end of it. Which albums are you surprised to see not in that top 50? I’m not talking about your obscure favourite, but well reviewed, relatively ‘mainstream alternative’ records that you expected to be chosen. Here’s three to start off:
Jay Som - Anak Ko
More or less a perfect indie pop album for 2019 - bright, melodic, clever.
Dawn - New Breed
Along with Solange, perhaps the best forward looking R&B album of the year.
Sasami - Sasami
A wonderful, musically complex but fabulously catchy singer-songwriter album.
I would say those were all relatively obscure, I’d never heard of the second one (will listen today though).
I don’t remember seeing any bad reviews for Charli, and she is selling out Brixton Academy now.
I realise the US-centric sites will never really notice them but the Martha album has barely been mentioned anywhere
That’s probably fair - it’s hard to gauge what is ‘obscure’, I suppose. They are all records that have been reviewed in broadsheet newspapers and (the first and third certainly) have been played in places like 6 Music - I suppose I wouldn’t count that as ‘obscure’, but objectively it probably is.
Still very surprised Girl Band aren’t in that top 50 or even in the Honourable Mentions box below
Slowthai didn’t seem to be getting any love but I’ve seen him in a couple of recent lists so maybe just timing. I assume he’ll only really be on UK lists so at a disadvantage for aggregate lists.
Largely agree with you about Angel, but with some persistence it’s growing on me. But can’t see it ever ranking higher than the previous two which I don’t recall bothering the top of end of year lists.
Callahan’s new one really surprises me that it’s ranking so highly.
But to answer your question it’s Trash Kit and/or Sacred Paws. Both gloriously catchy pop songs, with an edge. Particularly the Sacred Paws should have a massive cross over appeal (as well as a niche one).
Every time a song from that Bill Callahan album crops up on shuffle I really like it, but listening to the whole thing was exhausting. He’s still an amazing songwriter but the length of that album and the absolute consistency of tone, tempo and instrumentation throughout just made it a real slog.
Love him so it’s nice to see it doing so well but yeah only a handful of tracks on there really do it for me and the rest feels pleasant but far from his best work. And as @bornin69x says the length and lack of variation make it tough to get through the whole thing in one go.
I thought it was awful. Any love I may have had for individual songs is lost in the brown morass of the album as a whole.
I think its high ranking may in part be overenthusiasm about him making music again. Not sure it’s one that will be returned to much once the year’s out.
Conversely, I have enjoyed the Angel Olsen record a lot, and was surprised to read that the general consensus on DiS seemed to be that it missed the mark. It might make my top 5, but I’m struggling to settle on a final list.
Not too much love for UK rap music here.
I’m not exactly surprised but I think the Pixies album deserves at least an honorable mention. Just comparing it to acts of a similar vintage I found it a far more enjoyable listen than the Wilco or Sleater Kinney albums, for example.
I suppose you can just compare the aggregated end of year lists with the aggregated review scores:
jpegmafia is the first casualty, although I see he makes the honourable mentions list at the bottom. Richard Dawson and Marika Hackman other notable exclusions.
I really enjoyed Callahan’s album on first couple of listens, but it’s not one that stayed with me during the year.
Having said that I gave it a spin yesterday and really enjoyed it. Don’t think i’ve quite figured out exactly how I feel about it yet.
i haven’t really gone back to it tbh but it did sound like a decent step up from the last two, if still a fair bit off their peak
Otoboke Beaver - Iekoma Hits
American Football - American Football (III)
Pedro The Lion - Phoenix
The New Pornographers - In The Morsecode of brakelights
Speilbergs - This Is Not The End
The National - I Am Easy To Find
The Twilight Sad - It Won’t Be Like This All The Time
The National are #42 in the list…
Richard Dawson and American Football two very good suggestions in this thread.
It’s extraordinary that Dawson’s amazing album isn’t getting more recognition. Not only is it brilliant (and very accessible) but it actually addresses the modern world in a way few other records do.
Unloved - Heartbreak
Given that it features heavily on flagship on a bbc drama (i dont say this as proof of its quality, more on how widely heard its been) and features the talents of David Holmes i thought this would have done better in the end of year polls. It’s also an immensely enjoyable and addictive listen imo, that’s going to end up just in or out of my own top 5.