20. Anna Meredith - FIBS
Watch: "Inhale Exhale"
19. James Blake - Assume Form
Watch: "I'll Come Too"
Watch: "Can’t Believe the Way We Flow"
Watch: "Barefoot in the Park" (featuring ROSALÍA)
18. Wand - Laughing Matter
Watch: "Rio Grande"
Watch: "Walkie Talkie"
17. Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
Watch: "Cuz I Love You"
Watch: "Good as Hell"
Watch: "Tempo" (featuring Missy Elliott)
16. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
Watch: "Jupiter 4"
Watch: "No One’s Easy to Love"
15. The New Pornographers - In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
Watch: "Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile"
Watch: "The Surprise Knock"
14. Priests - The Seduction of Kansas
Watch: "Good Time Charlie"
Watch: "Jesus’ Son"
13. Denzel Curry - ZUU
12. Aldous Harding - Designer
Watch: "Zoo Eyes"
Watch: "The Barrel"
Watch: "Fixture Picture"
11. Deerhunter - Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
Watch: "Death in Midsummer"
10. Charly Bliss - Young Enough
The pop-punk of the 90s is probably one of my least favorite styles of music. I would not have thought that a throwback to that sound would become one of my favorites for the year, but Charly Bliss found a way to elevate the sound above what preceded it over two decades ago.
Watch: "Young Enough"
Watch: "Hard to Believe"
9. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
I accidentally pre-ordered two copies of this album when it was announced last year. The strength of her music convinced a friend who had never heard her before to take the second copy. Angel Olsen's music has always had a cinematic quality to it, but she takes it to a new level with her fourth album.
Watch: "All Mirrors"
8. Vagabon - Vagabon
There's a gorgeous synth melody underscoring "Water Me Down." The earworm was the major element that drew me into Vagabon's second album. Of course, every moment of every track is great!
Watch: "Every Woman"
Watch: "Water Me Down"
7. FKA twigs - MAGDALENE
FKA twigs videos are just as important an element as the lyrics or music in telling the stories her songs convey. It's one way that she's able to express pain, both physical and emotional, in a way that seems almost sensual. Like with her debut, her sound is a mix of just about everything style out there, but this time through is a much more emotional journey.
Watch: "home with you"
Watch: "holy terrain" (featuring Future)
6. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
I was skeptical about the future of this band when it was announced that founding member Rostam Batmanglij would be leaving. The release of their fourth album removed those concerns. It the largest shift in their sound, certainly, but a number of well-used collaborations with the likes of HAIM and Steve Lacy, as well as Rostam's continued involvement (just not as a band member), make it an amazing listen.
Watch: "This Life"
Watch: "Sunflower" (featuring Steve Lacy)
Watch: "Harmony Hall"
5. Solange - When I Get Home
It still amazes me to think of the cultural forces that both of the Knowles sisters have become. Certainly, Beyoncé has the ear of the masses, but Solange has stood out with a more low-key sound. She produces a sound that evokes jazz while being rooted in old-school R&B, and has followed up one amazing record with another.
4. Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel
There is little I love more than rock sung in a heavy accent, and this Dublin-based band definitely delivers on that. The stand-out track on their debut is its opener, "Big," a short-burst of a punk track with an aspirational feel.
Watch: "Sha Sha Sha"
Watch: "Roy’s Tune"
3. Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Over her past few albums, Lana Del Rey has easily disproven much of the skepticism that seemed to surround her early in her career. Her cover of Sublime's "Doin' Time" alone could be enough to position this album as one of my favorites, but excellent writing and an underscoring sense of California cool seal its position.
Watch: "Doin’ Time"
Watch: "Fuck It I Love You"/"The Greatest"
Watch: "Venice Bitch"
2. Brutus - Nest
An incredible live video for album track "War" initially drew me into this Belgium band. They have a kick-ass lead singer, who also serves as the band's drummer. While I don't use my car very often, this album was my go-to driving record through the first few months of the year.
1. Jamila Woods - LEGACY! LEGACY!
Jamila Woods came onto my radar as a guest vocalist on Chance The Rapper's "Sunday Candy." It wasn't long after that I began to notice her solo work, starting with her debut album, Heavn. With her sophomore record, she moves into a new level among my favorite artists, with a work that honors generations of black creators that came before.