Members of our Saint Audio team picked their favorite songs and albums from 2019. Listen to our Spotify playlist with selections from the best of the year.
Best Songs of 2019
Selected by Boocatti:
1. “I’m Not In Love” – Kelsey Lu
2. “Old Town Road – Remix” – Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus
3. “Don’t Miss It” – James Blake
4. “Tempo (feat. Missy Elliot)” – Lizzo
5. “PUPPET” – Tyler, The Creator
6. “Cool” – Jonas Brothers
7. “Realer” – Megan Thee Stallion
8. “Freelance” – Toro y Moi
9. “Make It Better (feat. Smokey Robinson)” – Anderson .Paak
10. “Eve of Destruction” – The Chemical Brothers
Selected by Elisha Chauhan:
1. “mary magdalene” – FKA twigs
2. “I THINK” – Tyler, The Creator
3. “Atypical (feat. GiGi)” – Manila Killa
4. “Benzo” – Blood Orange
5. “Dreams” – Solange
6. “NO HALO” – BROCKHAMPTON
7. “Fake Names” – Freddie Gibbs and Madlib
8. “Do Not Disturb” – Mahalia
9. “ilomilo” – Billie Eilish
10. “Up in Smoke (feat. Reo Cragun)” – Louis Futon
Selected by Staley Sharples:
1. “Deal Wiv It (feat. Slowthai)” – Mura Masa
2. “Evil Like Me” – Hex Cougar
3. “Too Sad To Cry” – Sasha Sloan
4. “Time to Go” – Emiranda
5. “Cellophane” – Emeryld
6. “Disco Shit” – Freddie Gibs, 03 Greedo, Kenny Beats
7. “Drift (Acid Mix)” – G Jones
8. “Con Altura (feat. J Balvin)” – Rosalia
9. “Jesus Is The One (I Got Depression)” – Zack Fox and Kenny Beats
10. “Gum Body (feat. Jorja Smith)” – Burna Boy
Selected by Sophia Zengierski:
1. “To Be Human” – Marina
2. “Late Night Feelings (feat. Lykke Li)” – Mark Ronson
3. “Light On” – Maggie Rogers
4. “The greatest” – Lana Del Rey
5. “1999” – Charli XCX and Troye Sivan
6. “Ain’t Together” – King Princess
7. “Designer” – Aldous Harding
8. “Issues” – Sensu and Ryck Jane
9. “bad guy” – Billie Eilish
10. “Milagro” – The Lagoons
Best Albums of 2019
Selected by Boocatti:
1. Blood – Kelsey Lu
Kelsey Lu is my favorite discovery of 2019. Her album Blood is an absolute masterpiece that travels beyond time and space. I’ll never forget listening to this song at dusk while driving Sequoia, surrounded by the forest and vast quiet. For a moment in time, “I’m Not In Love” had me transcend to a higher realm.
2. 7 – Lil Nas X
No song ruled over the music world as much as “Old Town Road” and the endless remixes released this year. It was a major hip hop country crossover when Billy Ray Cryus jumped on the track, and the song brought a wave of unconditional love and support to our cowboy of the year, Lil Nas X. The song is officially 2019’s #1 Song of the Year on Billboard, and no one deserves the spot more than Lil Nas X.
3. Assume Form – James Blake
James Blake is known for his deeply emotional and personal ballads, but “Don’t Miss It” delves a layer deeper into the personal world of James and his mental health. His latest album Assume Form is his road to recovery, as he continues the daily battle with his depression, with “Don’t Miss It” as a self-reminder to persevere and not cave in to old unhealthy habits.
4. Cuz I Love You – Lizzo
2019 was the year of Lizzo. The recognition is long overdue as she’s been in the scene since 2016 with now infamous hit “Truth Hurts” (you know, we’re now all “100% That Bitch“). “Tempo,” however, proves that Lizzo is no late bloomer or one-hit-wonder; she has the ability to continue making hit bops that not only feature her playing the flute, but will be endless dancefloor hits. A lot of people snoozed on Lizzo in her early years, and now is the time to catch up to the tempo.
5. IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
IGOR is Tyler’s latest evolution in his musical self-expression. The growth this album displays of Tyler’s skill as a producer cannot be ignored. Exploring his vulnerable and emotional side, “PUPPET” tells the story about love with all the strings attached.
6. Happiness Begins – Jonas Brothers
Some (most) people might be surprised to see this in my top 10 list this year, but when it comes to boy bands and their ability to succeed with a refreshing take on their image, no one comes closer to delivering the best this year than Jonas Brothers. For all the fangirls out there like me, I thought my years of the JoBros were left in high school, but the boys grew up, took off their purity rings, got married, and gave the boy band another shot. But this isn’t a replay on where they left off—this is boy band all grown up. “Cool” is a feel good song about you. Just be happy to be you and all the things you’ve accomplished since you last heard “Year 3000”. The Jonas Brothers are proud of you.
7. Fever – Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion is the latest female raptress to take the scene by storm. With her latest album Fever, her effortless and hard hitting lyricism in “Realer” proves why Megan claimed her spot in XXL’s Freshman Class of 2019.
8. Outer Peace – Toro y Moi
Outer Peace is Toro y Moi’s 6th studio album that takes a huge leap from the chill and lo-fi sounds of Boo Boo to a more funky-upbeat tempo. “Freelance” mixes retro electronic computerized beats with lyrics about the mundane 9-5 and the escape from the corporate world to pursue creative freedom in order to reconnect with the world.
9. Ventura – Anderson .Paak
Ventura is Anderson .Paaks’s pairing album to his 2018 release Oxnard. “Make it Better” is a soulful and smooth drive through a scenic and laidback album.
10. No Geography – The Chemical Brothers
This album is an indulgence of electronic disco funk and a great introduction to The Chemical Brothers. They will have you doing fancy footwork and grooving along like a future funk robot.
Selected by Elisha Chauhan:
1. MAGDALENE – FKA Twigs
Carving out a niche as a singer/songwriter, FKA Twigs breaks the mold amid a pop-saturated era. The English songstress cuts through an unconventional song structure with her angelic voice. Inspired by Biblical connotations, FKA Twigs uses Mary Magdalene as a metaphor to describe her perspective on love. As a dichotomy between heartbreak and true love, the album is a cathartic journey of finding strength through fragile circumstances.
2. Norman Fucking Rockwell! – Lana Del Rey
After a slew of sizzling singles last year, Lana Del Rey draws inspiration from the multi-talented artist of the same name for an aural experience filled with nostalgia. Refining her sound from previous albums, her melancholic vocals over psychedelic production exude ’50s and ’60s Americana vibes.
3. Bandana – Freddie Gibbs and Madlib
As a follow up to their joint effort Piñata, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib seek to revitalize a stagnant hip hop scene with a raw, unadulterated sequel. Freddie’s guttural voice on Madlib’s sample-based production emphasizes intricate flows and dense bars. Reinforcing Bandana’s erratic song structure, beat switches introduce new ideas and provide replay value for hip hop heads.
4. WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? – Billie Eilish
After a breakout year in 2017, Billie Eilish continues her success as an artist with a Grammy-nominated debut album. At the helm of production, her brother Finneas O’Connell created a masterful blend of pop and industrial music. Stitching Billie’s somber tone and Finneas’ eerie instrumentation together results in the album’s horror-esque ambiance.
5. Angel’s Grove – Blood Orange
Although concise at a mere thirty-two minutes, Blood Orange presents a sampler that hones in on his versatility as an artist. Without overstaying its welcome, each track is a stream of consciousness that highlights his silky voice on stripped-down production.
6. When I Get Home – Solange
Under the guise of soul and jazz, Solange may very well be under the radar with her ode to chopped and screwed music. Synonymous with her prowess as an R&B artist, slow tempo and mellow production provides the perfect landing spot for Solange’s languorous voice. Hip hop elements, such as 808s and interwoven flows, pay homage to the Houston music scene.
7. IGOR – Tyler, the Creator
After his departure from a much-grittier sound that connotates controversy, Tyler, the Creator attempts to bridge the gap between his shift in mellow production and a darker soundscape in his latest project, IGOR—and succeeds. Sprinkled with raw emotion from a plethora of features, vocal manipulation is a prominent feature that showcases a psychedelic aesthetic. Riddled with a variety of effects and beat switches, his undaunted approach in production highlights his growth in musicality.
8. Way Back When – Louis Futon
Notorious for his how-to videos of unofficial remixes and flips, Louis Futon’s incorporation of acoustic instrumentation is a prominent feature in his debut album. An amalgamation of jazz, funk, hip hop, R&B, and EDM highlights the producer’s musicality that differentiates himself from the fray.
9. uknowhatimsayin¿ – Danny Brown
Sprinkled with zany production and strong lyricism. Danny Brown’s vocal timbre shines on his latest effort uknowwhatimsayin¿. Juxtaposed with slick penmanship, humorous overtones captures the listener’s attention throughout the album.
10. GINGER – BROCKHAMPTON
Reminiscent of pop music in the late 90s and early 00s, BROCKHAMPTON embraces their roots as a boyband with a refreshing twist on the genre. Revisiting their fusion of hip hop, R&B, and pop, GINGER is the collective’s strongest album since the SATURATION trilogy. Compared to the ambiguity on iridescence, Kevin Abstract and the crew provide commentary on past issues through a shift in sonic direction.
Selected by Staley Sharples:
1. Crush – Floating Points
Made in just five weeks without the use of any live instruments, Crush cracks open the hard shell of electronic music to reveal a glittering, mesmerizing core.
2. Giant Swan – Giant Swan
The self-titled debut from Bristol techno-punk duo Giant Swan is brash and unapologetic.
3. I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream. – The Tallest Man On Earth
The Tallest Man On Earth’s first release in four years finds him traversing the most mysterious terrain of all: his own inner life. I Love You. It’s A Fever Dream is an album that reveals all the beauty and complexity in the way time shapes us.
4. Immunity – Clairo
Delicate restraint and youthful wistfulness tinges the soft, yet strong, debut from singer-songwriter Clairo.
5. African Giant – Burna Boy
Paying homage to the musical diversity of Africa and its diaspora, Nigerian artist Burna Boy zeroes in on his experience as a musician and a countryman in this stirring modern classic.
6. Something Like A War – Kindness
Electrifyingly incisive in both its subject matter and production, Something Like A War is a hidden gem from 2019.
7. Dolos – Murlo
Murlo’s ambitious concept album focused on world-building throughout every aspect of Dolos—drawing from futuristic realms and scenes of nature, the album and accompanying art is exemplary of Murlo’s unique vision.
8. Punk Adjacent – Bloodboy
The debut album from LA’s Bloodboy was all written, produced, and performed by the artist herself. The bitingly relevant angst and tongue-in-cheek lyrics pair perfectly with Bloodboy’s surf-rock-on-acid guitar.
9. Death Race For Love – Juice WRLD
Juice WRLD’s debut album showed a vast amount of promise from the talented rapper. His tragic death cut short a blossoming career, but his legacy will live on through his music and his impact on modern hip hop.
10. The Paralian – Andrew Wasylyk
Following a residency invite to Hospitalfield, Abroath, Scotland to create music on a restored 19th Erard Grecian harp, The Paralian paints a vignette of a historic mariner’s life upon the North Sea.
Selected by Sophia Zengierski:
1. Love + Fear – Marina
Philosophical yet entrancing, Marina’s new style is a hit with its fierce authenticity and vulnerability.
2. Heard It In A Past Life – Maggie Rogers
Airy and graceful, Maggie Rogers delivered a delicate singer-songwriter album that taps into universal emotions. .
3. WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? – Billie Eilish
With a dark and mesmerizing style, Billie Eilish stepped into the mainstream with a powerful debut.
4. Bad Ideas – Tessa Violet
Crisp and deliberate yet thoughtful pop, listening to Tessa Violet’s debut album is anything but a bad idea.
5. Norman fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Ray
From the piano to her enchanting voice, Lana Del Rey’s new album proves that the girl who caused a splash at the start of decade is still at the top of her game.
6. Hearing Colour – Svrcina
With skillful synths and catchy beats, this album is sure to get caught on repeat.
7. When I Get Home – Solange
Full of jazz influence and trap beats, Solange’s album owes a debt to Houston, where she grew up.
8. Assume Form – James Blake
Blake’s detailed arrangements set a standard few others can compete with, and Assume Form is no exception.
9. Good at Falling – The Japanese House
Synth electronica meets soft rock on this album, and it’s a match like none other.
10. Designer – Aldous Harding
For the singer-songwriter album, New Zealand’s Aldous Harding brings a freshness and simplicity to the genre.