If you really know me well, you’d surely know that one of the most important things in my life is music. You see, music for me is not just a form of entertainment, it’s so much more than that. It’s sort of like the friend that’s with me every step of the way and just doesn’t know how to leave. It comes like a warm hug in the cold winter, it holds all of my memories and secrets safe within itself, and every single period in my life has had a specific soundtrack playing in the background. In a recent post, where I listed things I am grateful for this year, ‘songs that mend my heart’ were some of the many things I recognize have a great impact on my life.
My Spotify playlist would probably give some people a bit of a headache because the songs I listen to differ both in language and genre. I’d say about 75% of all the songs I listen to are in English, however, the other 25% is pretty much a melting pot without boundaries. As most of you know already, I was born in Nigeria, grew up and was raised in Italy, and now I reside in Manchester. The music I listen to is, therefore, representative of that mix and so much more. So, yes, I do go from Post Malone to Michael Bublé to Carrie Underwood to Tiziano Ferro to Yemi Alade in no time – and that’s just on any normal Tuesday.
I do feel though, that a lot more people listen to music in a more fluid way now regardless of genre or language barriers mainly thanks to how the internet and streaming platforms have made the world seem even smaller, and music more accessible.
With all that being said, I thought a cool way to wrap up this year of, in my opinion, amazing projects and albums would be to list a few favourites that left me feeling understood, sad, happy, introspective, curious, or those that were just easy to bop to. Whilst I pray 2020 brings us a lot more Halsey and Normani’s debut album, in no particular order, here are my current picks:
Sucker Punch – Sigrid.
According to my Spotify Wrapped, Sigrid was the number one artist I listened to throughout the year. The realisation didn’t come as a shock in any way because, in most of my bedroom jamming sessions, I was surely playing a song of hers on repeat.
Sucker Punch was an album that was on a loop from the day I heard it in March till, frankly, today still. There is something so relatable and vulnerable in her lyrics and I just think she has a way of making pop music not sound as generic.
Favourites: Mine Right Now. Basic. In Vain.
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish.
Billie Eilish pretty much dominated the year 2019 for sure and it is mind-blowing that she just turned 18 a few days ago.
If the album title didn’t hit hard enough already, all the songs on the tracklist have immense depth to them. There’s just something about when an album sounds super cohesive and put together, as it takes you on its own journey. Truth is, I know you’ve already heard about 97% of this album by now, so I won’t rant on any longer and will now pick three favourites just because I decided it was a thing I’d do.
Favourites: Xanny. Wish You Were Gay. When The Party Is Over.
Happiness Begins – Jonas Brothers.
My preteen self couldn’t have been happier when the Jonas Brothers reunion was announced, and heck, they sure didn’t disappoint. The album was an adult version of the band we once knew and loved, and it was on heavy rotation this year. Happiness Begins had a fresh, vibrant feel to it, and it did make me feel ~guess what~ happy.
Favourites: Don’t Throw It Away. Happy When I’m Sad. Strangers.
11:11 – Maluma.
I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of in love with Maluma and have been ever since his album F.A.M.E last year. He gave hits like El Prestamo and Felices Los 4 and I looked forward to his next project anxiously. To my surprise, I listened to 11:11 even more than the one before which I wouldn’t have thought humanly possible.
Favourites: 11 PM. Me Enamoré de Ti. Te Quiero.
Thank u, Next – Ariana Grande.
This one almost didn’t make the list because I had sort of forgotten it came out early this year. It honestly felt like the gap period between Sweetener and Thank u, next was about a literal minute as no one really saw a follow-up album coming so fast. She’s the queen though, so who can really stop her! As much as I love the Sweetener era, I do feel as though I listened to this album a lot for a lot longer.
Favourites: NASA. Bloodline. In My Head.
On My Messy Mind – James Bay.
This EP had only four songs, and they were four songs I played over and over and over again. The whole thing is mainly acoustic-based and damn, I love a good guitar-voice track. It was perfect. Period.
Favourites: Peer Pressure. Bad. Break My Heart Right.
Lover – Taylor Swift.
There are probably only a few lyricists in pop music who can write music as vividly, poignantly and creatively as Taylor does. She’s been on my playlist ever since the release of ‘Our Song’ in 2006, over a freaking decade ago.
I actually just love the thrill that comes with analysing the lyrics with every single release she puts out and Lover was no exception. With Taylor, somehow though, I do end up loving the rest of her albums so much more than her chosen singles almost every time, but heck, as long as I’m getting new music, I’m good.
Favourites: Cruel Summer. The Man. Daylight.
Map Of The Soul: Persona – BTS.
Yes. This year K-pop continued to move from being a niche a group of people listened to, to frankly taking over the world with groups like BTS, BLACKPINK and Monsta X who made it big on an international scale. Boy With Luv was probably one of the few BTS songs I became completely obsessed with after the first listen. The track, video aesthetic and Halsey’s part in it just made it a perfectly packaged mainstream hit.
Favourites: Persona. Boy With Luv. Dionysus.
Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent – Lewis Capaldi.
There’s something about Lewis Capaldi’s voice that makes me nostalgic for everything I’ve ever felt and never felt at the same time. The melodies, the raw and honest lyrics, the way you can hear every single emotion in his voice; those are just a few things I loved about the record. Also, can we take a moment to acknowledge that amazing album title! I was thoroughly impressed by this album, to say the least.
Favourites: Hold Me While You Wait. Forever. Fade.
Léon – Léon.
I feel like a lot of the albums I loved this year came out sometime around spring, and this one was also overplayed about a thousand times since then. Léon is a Swedish singer-songwriter I think I discovered pretty randomly with her track ‘You And I’, which I literally know every word to at this point. To be fair I knew all the words three days in, but it’s no competition, I guess.
Favourites: Lost Time. Hope Is A Heartache. Pink.
Blood Harmony – FINNEAS.
Not only is he the big brother to Billie Eilish, he is also producer of all her music as well as co-writer of her tracks. I remember sitting in my bedroom as my sister and I watched the video to his song ‘Break My Heart Again’, and it was chills down my spine and three-minutes of complete silence. The video was pretty simple, but I think the simplicity of it all was what got me.
With every song where FINNEAS is credited, I find myself constantly listening so attentively for the things he does with each track. Whether it’s the way he uses everyday sounds to evoke certain emotions or the way he uses his voice differently in parts of a song. I have so much praise for him honestly so choosing three favourites on his EP was genuinely just for fun.
Favourites: I Lost A Friend. Partners In Crime. Die Alone.
Fancy You – Twice
If you are a K-pop fan then you probably know ‘Fancy’ was the real K-pop song of the year (at least to me), and for that reason alone, the EP made this list. There was something so addictive about the song and even after I heard it about a couple million times, I still don’t hate it which is both completely odd and scientifically Impossible. Or, is it?
Favourites: FANCY. Girls Like Us. Turn It Up.
Inner Monologue Part 1 & 2 – Julia Michaels.
It’s no secret that Julia is a fantastic songwriter. Her songs all feel like an open diary or truth spilt at a therapy session and sometimes, it can come off as a little too honest even. On all her songs, she comes off as super relatable, even in a way that can feel almost pathetic, but I feel like she’s just saying what the rest of us won’t anyway. I think my favourite EP out of the two parts was the first, but I also really loved the second too.
Favourites: Anxiety. Deep. Hurt Again.
Lips On Lips – Tiffany Young.
After having a mega-successful career as a member of Girls’ Generation, Tiffany returned to America, where she was born, to try her hand at a solo career in the States. She seems to be doing pretty well so far and was able to work with Grammy award singer and producer Babyface on the song Runaway. Lips on Lips is also one of my favourite songs to sing along to. Damn, that chorus!
Favourites: Born Again. Lips On Lips. Runaway.
Fine Line – Harry Styles.
On the 13th of this month, Fine Line, Harry Styles’ sophomore album was released, which is why it’s the last on the list, but trust that is not an indication of how much I love it because I love it – a whole lot. In fact, the critic in me would rank it as one of the best on this list.
It’s like Harry really came into his own with this album, as it just feels completely natural for him to be the one singing the songs on the record. He’s sound seems to be constantly evolving, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes in the future.
Favourites: Adore You. Falling. Sunflower, Vol. 6.
At risk of adding even more records to this and making it even longer than it already is, I’ll stop here. This year, I believe was a great one for music. I always had a different album to latch unto and absorb the rhythm out of. I got to listen to my favourite tracks on an endless loop until I got tired of them (some of them!). I hope 2020 brings even more amazing music that will follow me around all through the year.
What albums did you jam out to this year and would have loved to see included in this listing?
Your restless romantic roamer