Here are my quick takes on this year’s list (a slow work in progress)
Here’s Paste Magazine’s list, in case you want to read how professional reviews are written instead of what’s below.
#50 – #46:
#50 – JD McPherson- Undivided Heart and Soul. I’m going with “upbeat modern rockabilly”. It’s not at all like modern country, but there’s a tinge of down-homeiness going on here.
#49 – Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer – Not Dark Yet. This sister folk duo surprised me with the light lyricism and superb musicality. A great listen to kick back to on a night at home!
#48 – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – Matter of Time. I started off my treadmill action in 2018 with this beauty this morning. Jones excels again with this record filled with positive vibes in a turbulent time in the US. I highly recommend checking out this one when you need a boppy pick-me-up!
#47 – Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights – I’m a sucker for soft-toned female singer-songwriters. If that’s sexist, I’m sorry. I’m among the newest Julien Baker fans, however, after listening to this gorgeous album. There are suggestions that this album is about the ending of a relationship, but I also caught a glimpse of satisfaction and renewal intertwined in the lyrics.
#46 – Weaves – Wide Open. This one didn’t really grab me, even though it had all the normal pre-requisites to be right up my alley: A Canadian band with some boisterous lyrics and heavy guitars. I’m glad I gave it a shot, but this album felt too teeny-boppy (hints of early Weezer and Oasis come to mind) for my taste. Perhaps I was just in the wrong mood when I listened.
#45 – Wand – Plum. This….was interesting. There were 2-3 intentional lulls of sound that acted as preludes to a tune. Some of the songs were catchy and probably become more tolerable with consequent listens. I wasn’t hooked, but there were some bright spots along the way.
#44 – Sallie Ford – Soul Sick. This is overall some easy-going, boot-tapping, gritty rock. There is some dark imagery and lyricism, but there are other very moments where the upbeat tempo gets me outta my seat and bounce around the room.
#43 – David Bazan – Care. I did about five minutes of research, but I couldn’t place where I know this voice. I was very confident it was on a soundtrack from the late 2000s–possibly starring Zach Braff or Jason Bateman. Anyway, I can see this type of singer-songwriter on those sorts of higher-budget indie films about 30-40 year-old men going through some type of crisis. This pinpointed identity may not appeal to all readers, but rest assured, Bazan’s album is still worth the listen.