OK!Good’s Favorite Albums of 2019 So Far!

The team at OK!Good Records breaks down their favorite albums of 2019!

As the music world recalls their favorite albums of the year so far (can you believe we’re halfway through 2019?!), the team at OK!Good Records decided that we had to curate our own lists featuring our personal favorite albums of 2019. Our list features a combination of musical powerhouses like Beyoncé and Carly Rae Jepsen, to independent musicians like Dead Bars and Shin Guard. Check out what the team has been listening to!

Matt
Quelle Chris: Guns 

This is one of the most in-depth meditations on not just guns, but weapons in general and the unfortunate role they play in society. The album’s full of zany production and dark humor, but doesn’t hesitate to turn up the emotion when reflecting on the loss that’s inseparable from such a topic.

Favorite Tracks: Mind Ya Bidness, It’s the Law, Obamacare

Anderson .Paak: Ventura

Super bright and summery album from one of the industry’s best vocalists, reflecting on the ups and downs of life, relationships, and esteem. It was recorded at the same time as last year’s Oxnard; but while that album went in a more experimental direction, Ventura takes a more conventional and poppy approach.

Favorite Tracks: Make it Better; Winner’s Circle; Jet Black

Xiu Xiu: Girl With Basket of Fruit

Dark, experimental noise rock release from an act that’s been pushing the envelope for nearly two decades. After years of sounding more and more accessible (by their standards), this latest release is a massive leap in the other direction: abrasive, gritty, and even scary. Not one for the faint of heart.

Favorite Tracks: It Comes Out as a Joke; Pumpkin Attack on Mommy and Daddy; Scisssssssors

Mike Posner: A Real Good Kid

Perhaps a bit lyrically heavy-handed at times, but necessarily so. The close friend of the late Avicii reflects on the loss of his friend, the loss of his father, and the loss of his relationship while juggling the inherent pressures that come with being a public figure. It’s a sad and emotional album that uses Posner’s pop sensibilities in a whole new way.

Favorite Tracks: January 11th, 2017; Drip; How It’s Supposed to Be

Boogie: Everything’s For Sale 

The long-awaited debut from the moody Compton rapper is full of emotion, reflection, and a bit of self-depreciation. The stereotypical hip-hop debut is confident and bold, with its goal being to make a statement. Boogie instead chooses to enter the fray with an intentional whimper: focused far more on saying something meaningful and substantial.

Favorite Tracks: Silent Ride; Soho; Whose Fault

Alex
Carly Rae Jepsen: Dedicated 

Question: How do you top an album as pure and perfect as E·MO·TION? Answer: By keeping the catchy lyrics, upping the production quality, and making the whole thing look effortless while doing so. She’s the Queen of Pop for a reason, y’all.

Standout tracks: Julian (sounds like a magical girl transformation sequence) Feels Right (we love a complicated romance)

Beyoncé: Homecoming 

Honestly, what can I even say? My Spotify 2019 playlist is going to be this whole album. Un-Follow Me Now, This Is Gonna Be The Only Thing I Listen To For The Next Year.

Standout tracks: Drunk in Love/Swag Surfin (easily surpasses the original), Get Me Bodied (SOLAAAANGE!!)

Zach
Lotus: Frames Per Second

A collections of songs Lotus worked on during live shows until they were ready for the studio. This album perfectly captures their signature sound –instrumental improvised jams with a taste of electronic dance.

Favorite Tracks: Aquamarine

Lettuce: Elevate

Funk all-stars Lettuce delivered their first full-length studio LP in almost 4 years – another smooth and soulful collection of songs to add to their funky opus.

Favorite Tracks: Everybody Wants To Rule the World

Trey Anastasio: Ghosts of the Forrest

Following the loss of a close childhood friend –Phish front man Trey Anastasio recorded this LP in just 3 days. The album features songs that he feels his friend would have liked, “built around psychedelic guitar liftoffs, ambitious arrangements and extremely personal lyrics”.

Favorite Tracks: Ghosts of the Forrest

Brady
Palamino: Self-Titled

Indie/Alt rock from Montclair, NJ

Palamino’s debut self-titled album features layered octave vocals, thick bass and drum tones, and clean reverb-y guitars, creating a distinct wall of sound. Combined with the open and vulnerable lyrics, this album is bittersweet in the best possible way.

Favorite Tracks: Tip of My Tongue, Edge

Shin Guard: 2020

Screamo/Post-hardcore from Pittsburgh, PA

Shin Guard’s 2020 is equally abrasive and ethereal. Harsh screams and heavily distorted guitars transition seamlessly to atmospheric post-rock sections; this album is not “one-tone” by any means. As the title suggests, 2020 has deep political themes and is a great listen for anyone who feels personally affected by this current administration.

Favorite Tracks: Motorcade, Kennedy

LITE: Multiple

Instrumental math-rock from Tokyo, Japan

LITE’s Multiple blends virtuosic guitar playing, complex rhythmic and time signature patterns, and hip-hop inspired production style to create a very unique and captivating listening experience.

Favorite Tracks: One Last Mile, Blizzard

Nick
Dead Bars: Regulars

Dead Bars writes music that makes you want to sing along on your first-listen. Their rock ‘n’ roll inspired brand of punk rock is filled with heavy riffs, pounding drums and singer, John Maiello’s snotty yet hook heavy vocals. On Regulars the Seattle-based band amplifies everything that made their debut album so great. Turn this up to 11 and rock out.

Favorite Song: I Need You

PUP: Morbid Stuff

I was a little underwhelmed with this record at first but my fiancé immediately became obsessed with it. Now, after hearing it in the apartment +500 times Morbid Stuff has more than clicked with me and I’d say PUP has gone 3 for 3 with their albums so far. Anthemic pop punk with tons of catchy choruses to get stuck in your head.

Favorite Song: Kids

Anderson .Paak: Ventura

Just five months after releasing Oxnard, Anderson .Paak follows it up with the more focused and cohesive LP, Ventura. It’s a smooth and laid back album that takes more cues from his 2016 breakout Malibu, seamlessly blending neo-soul, hip-hop, R&B and funk. Some great features throughout the record from André 3000, Smokey Robinson, Brandy, and even some posthumous vocals from Nate Dogg.

Favorite Song: Jet Black

Carly Rae Jepsen: Dedicated

I got on the Carly Rae Jepsen hype train after falling in love with her last album, E·MO·TION and my expectations were pretty high on this one. Luckily Carly delivers again. Dedicated is filled with irresistibly catchy synth-pop that feels both nostalgic and fresh at the same time. Simply the best pop record of the year.

Favorite Song: Now That I Found You

Maxo: Lil Big Man

Absolutely love the production on this record. The soulful and jazzy beats create a great vibe to back up Maxo’s introspective lyrics and it’s been a go-to for late night walks around the city. Definitely a record to listen to with headphones on. With this being Maxo’s label debut I’m excited to see what’s next.

Favorite Song: In My Penny’s

Tricia
Kelsey Lu: Blood

Kelsey Lu’s debut album can only be described as a spiritual experience. Lu transcends genres, expertly utilizing—but not leaning on—her background in classical cello, and creating a sonic landscape that encapsulates years of pain, love, and beauty, with her serene vocals narrating these instances like an otherworldly being. The tracks bounce from atmospheric soundscapes in Kindred I and II to pure disco in Poor Fake. Kelsey Lu is an artist’s artist—you can’t approach her nor this album expecting easy listening or pop hits—it’s a disservice to her and her music.

Favorite Tracks: Push Against the Wind, Too Much, Down2ridE

Billie Eilish: WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?

Despite being an avid listener to anything that could be categorized as “sad girl pop”, I was reluctant to give this album a listen. I was put off by Eilish’s viral success and snarky attitude and even during my first listen of the album, I wasn’t terribly impressed. While it only takes a few minutes to understand the album’s widespread success, noticing the nuances of the album take some careful listening. The truth is, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is borderline cinematic—it uses of sound design as musical elements to create a vivid, hypnotic atmosphere that’s solemn, melancholic and deeply personal as it is detached, aloof, sarcastic and self-aware. Eilish and her brother Finneas where intentional with every choice on this album, from the intonation of Eilish’s voice, to the use of distortion in songs like xanny. For me, the album is far from perfect from start to finish—there are songs within it that miss the mark for me. But it’s hard to ignore how carefully and diligently this album was crafted, and I can’t wait to see Eilish’s growth as an artist.

Favorite Tracks: bury a friend, ilomilo, i love you

Wanna hear them all? Take a listen to our standout tracks in the playlist below!

What do you think? Do you LOVE any of the albums we chose? Do you vehemently disagree with our list? Did we miss any iconic works?

Leave us a comment and let us know!



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