Top 10 Albums Reviewed for 2019

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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

  1. 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.

Cover art for Collective Soul album Blood

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.”

Grade: A-

Read the entire review: Album Review: Collective Soul – Blood

  1. 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.

Album art for Jimmy Eat World album Surviving

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.

Grade: B+

Read the entire review: Album Review: Jimmy Eat World – Surviving

  1. 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-.”

Album art for My Favourite Head by Geddy Lee

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.””

Grade: A

Read the entire review: Album Review: Geddy Lee – My Favourite Headache (Vinyl)

  1. 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.

Album art for When You Ready by Molly Tuttle

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.”

Grade: A-

Read the entire review: Album Review: Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready

  1. 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.

Album art for Rush In Rio

From the review: “I had forgotten just how enthusiastic the fans were in Rio. Something you immediately take notice of after the needle drops.”

Grade: A

Read the entire review: Album Review: Rush – Rush In Rio (Vinyl)

  1. 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.

Art work for Native Tongue

From the review: Native Tongue sometimes sounds raw, occasionally aggressive but mostly mixes a mellifluous dance inside a 14 song record.

Grade: B

Read the entire review: Album Review: Switchfoot – Native Tongue

  1. 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.

Pet Shop Boys Agenda EP album art

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.

Grade: B

Read the entire review: Album Review: Pet Shop Boys – Agenda

  1. 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.

Album art for Imperfect Circle by Hootie & the Blowfish

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.”

Grade: B

Read the entire review: Album Review: Hootie & the Blowfish – Imperfect Circle

  1. 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.

Album art for Everyday Life by Coldplay

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.”

Grade: B-

Read the entire review: Album Review: Coldplay – Everyday Life

  1. 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!

Album artwork for Kansas album Point of No Return

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.”

Grade: N/A

Read the entire review: Album Review: Kansas – Point of No Return

 

8 comments

  1. Cool stuff Fella!
    I like how you nailed it down to a couple of new ones and reissues. New is new no matter what year it came out as long as you dug it. Rush In Rio on vinyl man that is cool.
    You made Mr. Snow’s day by putting that Collective Soul album at Numero Uno 1. I think I may have to check that one out!

  2. I’ve been intending to listed to Surviving but, like John, I just didn’t get around to it. I’m not familiar with a single note from the others, so there’s some for me to take away and find time to listen to.

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