I don’t review albums all that much, something I’d like to reverse in the future since it costs far less than attending concerts and theoretically I can post more often.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the writing aptitude to regularly review albums especially from bands I know little about or just have a passing interest. I skipped the Who’s latest and I tried to review The Black Keys’ new album but ultimately passed if that gives you an idea of where I fall short. Point being, I have a hard time deciding just how to review an album without repeating descriptions and similar commentary over and over.
Initially, I was going to post the Top 5 Best Albums for 2019 (for just the five new albums reviewed) but nixed that idea and decided not to do anything at all seeing as I missed so many other great releases. But end of the year lists seem quite popular and prove rather fun and easy to put together so I looked at what I wrote for 2019 and found 10 albums.
These 10 albums consist of new releases, re-releases and one really old release therefore can’t really fall under Top 10 Best Albums of 2019. Clearly this falls short of a traditional “Best of List,” however, I will rank these in order of favorite albums reviewed for 2019. How’s that? And, unlike the Top 10 Concerts where I start from 10, I will go ahead and begin with the best album (I reviewed) of 2019.
Best Albums of 2019
Collective Soul – Blood
An amazing album from an amazing band and I have little doubt Blood from Collective Soul would rank at least in the Top 3 for 2019 if I were on my game as a prolific album reviewer. Blood brought me back into the Collective Soul fold and I enjoyed it immensely.
From the review: “In fact, Collective Soul’s 10th studio album Blood outright rocks. And not like the modern rock cliche stuff happening today. Blood fills your veins with hard rocking guitars, great melodies and enough hooks to keep you wanting.”
Read the entire review: Album Review: Collective Soul – Blood
Jimmy Eat World – Surviving
I’ve really fallen for Jimmy Eat World in the last few years and think their music is highly underrated. They seem like a down to earth band, like friends who have a band. Surviving, in my opinion, shows the talent and musicianship of the foursome from Mesa, AZ as they manage to incorporate their classic sound into a whole new direction.
From the review: They don’t deviate too far from the norm overall, but deliver some heavier rock fare, their usual softer melodies and a couple tracks that take a few spins to appreciate.
Read the entire review: Album Review: Jimmy Eat World – Surviving
Geddy Lee – My Favourite Headache (Vinyl)
Released for the first time on vinyl, My Favorite Headache, the lone opus from Geddy Lee – singer, bass player and keyboardist for the greatest band in the universe – offered a great selection of songs, without the guys at work, in 2000 that stood the test of time. My exuberance over listening to the record for the first time in a long time and getting it on Record Store Day on Friday after Thanksgiving prompted me to give it a straight up “A” but in hindsight it probably deserves an “A-.”
From the Review: “Rush never came across as a touchy feely band, maybe one reason for the lack of female fans at the onset and many years thereafter, but My Favourite Headache brings a number of emotional tuggers and the first drops like a hammer on “Runaway Train.””
Read the entire review: Album Review: Geddy Lee – My Favourite Headache (Vinyl)
Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready
Somewhere in our genealogy I cross paths with Molly Tuttle. I don’t know her but when you share the same last name with a music artist it prompts you to take a listen, and so I did. When You’re Ready blends a great mix of bluegrass, pop and country. Tuttle writes, plays and sings – her talent undeniable.
From the review: “She’s talented, has strong musical roots and takes lessons. Forget the reality shows, this is the real deal. From the ground up without all the immature drama.”
Read the entire review: Album Review: Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready
Rush – Rush in Rio (Vinyl)
One of the best live albums from Rush, Rush in Rio finally got the vinyl treatment after 16 years. Though they released nothing extra to entice on-the-fence fans, the entire package was quite handsome that offered some history and the recording bested the digital version.
From the review: “I had forgotten just how enthusiastic the fans were in Rio. Something you immediately take notice of after the needle drops.”
Read the entire review: Album Review: Rush – Rush In Rio (Vinyl)
Switchfoot – Native Tongue
Switchfoot came out of hiding, well not really, they went on a short hiatus leaving many fans wondering how long and suddenly a new album was announced and in January they dropped Native Tongue their 11th studio album. It showed the band finding new direction and remaining fresh after 20 years and though I did not enjoy it as much as previous albums, Native Tongue holds its own.
From the review: Native Tongue sometimes sounds raw, occasionally aggressive but mostly mixes a mellifluous dance inside a 14 song record.
Read the entire review: Album Review: Switchfoot – Native Tongue
Pet Shop Boys – Agenda
Look for a review of the full length album in 2020 but Agenda offered an EP taste of four songs that showed the Boys getting away from the dance pop albums in recent years back to what made them Pet Shop Boys.
From the review: “Agenda sounds like the opposite side of a 20 year bridge from 1999’s Nightlife as the band spent the following decade and more dabbling in other areas like a soundtrack, ballet, remixes and those dance albums that molded 2016’s Super and 2013’s Electric. ”
Read the entire review: Album Review: Pet Shop Boys – Agenda
Hootie & the Blowfish – Imperfect Circle
Hootie & the Blowgfish returned after a 14 year absence with their new album Imperfect Circle which did not rise to the level of their debut Cracked Rearview, but contained elements of singer Darius Rucker’s successful country career, past Hootie and a new direction for the band.
From the review: “This album will probably appeal to a wide swath of fans including country, their core and those who fell in love with them long ago – but it won’t fully satisfy everyone.”
Read the entire review: Album Review: Hootie & the Blowfish – Imperfect Circle
Coldplay – Everyday Life
The double album Everyday Life continued to distance mega band Coldplay from their more somber pop past. It was better than their last two albums, showed signs of Coldplay life but also had some real head scratchers.
From the review: “Everyday Life will leave you questioning the band’s motivation and longing for a bit more. Perhaps, a whole lot more once fully immersed in the new album and glimpses of light shine through as Coldplay takes you to another place you may or may not want to go.”
Read the entire review: Album Review: Coldplay – Everyday Life
Kansas – Point of No Return
The classic Kansas album, Point Of Know Return, released in 1977 fell into my hands after looking through a bin of records at an antique mall. It was a start, of sorts, to hopefully review past releases of albums found used on vinyl. And in an ironic twist, Kansas plans to tour the album next year and I have tickets!
From the review: “Side Two opens with the hopping “Lightning’s Hand” then arguably one of the best rock songs ever in “Dust in the Wind.” Man, is this a good song. So sad and contemplative. Kerry Livgren delivers a mesmerizing acoustic guitar but Robby Steinhardt on violin kills it. Great Walsh vocals too.”
Read the entire review: Album Review: Kansas – Point of No Return