OPINION: Our favorite albums of 2019

Brooke Uhlenhop

2019 was a big year for music and a good one at that. 

Scrolling through my music library I see all these albums that came out and forget they came out this year, either because so much was released or because I listen to them so much they feel like they have been out forever. 

A lot of artists came back this year, which excited fans everywhere. Tool released an album for the first time since 2006. My Chemical Romance announced a comeback, which is a win for everyone. 

This year also saw the return of the Jonas Brothers, which was one of the best things to happen to me. “Sucker” was arguably the biggest song of the year and not only gave them their first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, but also the first No.1 by a boy band, according to Billboard

Their album “Happiness Begins” was one of my favorite albums that came out this year. When the JoBros broke up in 2013, I never thought I would hear music from them as a group ever again.

I was a big fan of Joe’s group DNCE and Nick had a solid solo career, but them making music together is magic. When they announced they were releasing a new song and album I fell on my kitchen floor and started crying. 

I wish I was joking.

Their mature sound and lyrics perfectly aged with their fans who were ready for their comeback. I like to joke that “Only Human” is the more mature older brother of “Burning Up.” They are in the same place in life as a lot of their fans and people can relate to their lyrics more now. 

The album title does not lie – “Happiness Begins” truly brings happiness, at least to me. The level of joy I get while listening to “Rollercoaster” is unreal. It makes me feel nostalgic about going to a Jonas Brothers concert for the first time in 2007 and all the memories they have brought me over the years. 

Other stand out songs are “I Believe,” “Strangers” and “Don’t Throw it Away.” 

Another album I loved this year was “Cheap Queen” by King Princess. 

King Princess is a genderqueer and gay artist who sings about her true self and that is why I love her and her music. She also had a hand in producing the album, which is huge for an artist — to have full creative control over their work. 

The titular song has a beat that makes you start grooving without even realizing. The whole album is indie-pop and makes you want to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down. 

Some other albums I had on heavy rotation throughout the year were “Heard It in a Past Life” by Maggie Rogers, “Social Cues” by Cage the Elephant and “Dedicated” by Carly Rae Jepsen. They all made me want to dance around in my kitchen at midnight. 

As a follow up to the State Hornet’s Top Summer Songs, I have compiled a list and playlist of some Hornet staffers’ top songs from their favorite albums that came out this year. 

Enjoy songs from the responses and other staffers in the playlist above, including the song “Pretty Girls Get Nervous Too” by Gr8tness, The State Hornet’s very own Anthony Shorter.

“Lover” by Taylor Swift – Brooke Uhlenhop, Staffer

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Taylor and how big it is for me to say this album instantly became my favorite album she has ever released. I honestly think it has some of her best lyrics which is saying something and “Death by a Thousand Cuts” is easily one of her greatest songs.

I also love how it is a mega-pop album but it still has a country song and a song with a jazz influence, and it all together sounds more alternative which is a direction I would love for her to go.

“The Man” is about sexism and double standards and it makes me so happy that she made a feisty song about that because it fuels my feminist heart. She finally talked about deep subjects in her songs which I’ve been waiting for and made them amazing songs. I could write an essay on all the reasons why I love this album but long story short it is just really REALLY good.

“Apollo XXI” by Steve Lacy – Margherita Beale, Editor-in-Chief

“Apollo XXI” is a stylishly executed and dreamy blend of genres, a peek into Steve Lacy’s interior self. In late October, I had the opportunity to see him live, while on tour performing this very album. What the concert showed me is that Lacy is more than an excellent musician (he plays most of the instruments on the album) — he’s a performer, one that has the ability to captivate an audience and leave it hanging on his every move made, his every word sang, his every note played.

One of the most important aspects of this album is that it preaches inclusivity, particularly as pertains to the LGBTQ+ community. This album has the unique ability to not just make me feel, but to make me happy, any time I play it.

“Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone – Shikhar Mohan, Staffer

I’ve always believed that Post Malone’s choruses in songs are incredible. I like the featured artists in this album. Ozzy Osbourne was a huge surprise and as someone who listens to a lot of hip-hop, there is no one else who fit better than him on “Take What You Want.” People might say Post Malone’s writing was lazy in some songs but not every song is going to be a hit. The tracks are really catchy and I find myself going through this album time and time again.

“Hallucinations” by PVRIS – Leticia Sanchez, Staffer

It’s my favorite because it’s so different than their previous albums and it touches my heart in a lot of ways. They’re one of my favorite bands and they said themselves that people may not like the new release because it’s so different, but I disagree. It’s so good and different is good. It’s still PVRIS. It touches on emotional ventures and about getting better, which is just such a beautiful thing. I can relate to some of the things in the songs which makes me love it that much more.” 

“Chapter 2” by girl in red – Kayla Brown, Staffer

There is a need for queer female artists and girl in red really puts out amazing music for queer girls. Her sound is so soft and it’s soothing but it also reminds you, like, “I’m here, I’m queer and that’s OK.” If you listen to her “Chapter 1 EP” before this it makes it a hundred times better.

“Shea Butter Baby” by Ari Lennox – Shiavon Chatman, Opinion Editor

I’ve been going back and forth trying to find THE album that is going to define my 20s and I always thought it would be “CTRL” by Sza (I still think it will be) but “Shea Butter Baby” made me feel seen. As a woman who bounces around, the notion of loving my independence and feeling obsolete and lonely without companionship, this album gave me comfort and reassurance. Plus we have the same birthday. Big Aries energy for the win.

“Ocean” by Karol G – Herminio Espinoza, PRMA Staffer

Honest response? So the list could have a Hispanic artist. A more serious response? Because she showcased her diversity as an artist by including genres other than reggaeton such as pop, ballads and reggae.