This was a superaltive year for music, particularly by female artists such as Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves and Cardi B, who made many music critics' top of albums of the year lists. While my list is still mostly female-centric (well done, ladies!), I tend towards the indie and depressive in taste. Below are my five favorite albums of the year, definitely worth checking out whether you share my lugubriousness or not:
Yay! Swedish pop star Robyn is back from an eight year-hiatus with an album about loss, grief and recovery that somehow manages to be both life affirming and danceable.
Mitski- Be the Cowboy
Exploring the darker, toxic side of love through a series of vignettes, this album has a dark edge that’s not softened by Mitski’s icy vocals. But with fuzzy 90s shoegaze guitars, a black sense of humor, and a propulsive beat, there is a lot to enjoy!
Lucy Dacus- Historian
This album is currently in heavy rotation at my house. Sound-wise, Dacus’s warm vocals, literary lyrics and bigger rock sound remind me of later albums by Sharon Van Etten. Opening track “Night Shift” is one of the most perfectly rendered break-up songs ever.
Blood Orange- Negro Swan
Anxiety pulses through the tracks on this sublime R&B album, which explores feelings of being a marginalized person in today’s environment, including spoken word narration between songs by trans activist Janet Mock.
Ariana Grande- Sweetener
Grande has had a tumultuous couple of years, including having a terrorist attack at one of her concerts and losing a former boyfriend to drug addiction. However, Sweetener transcends the sorrow and is a joyful listening experience. Grande’s vocals and rhythms do a good job of capturing the fun of early 90s R&B tracks, with a positive feminist message.