Spinning Thoughts is proud of the music diversity found throughout the many contributors on our team. With each “Top 10 Albums of the Year” list shared, we hope to encourage a dialog that inspires the sharing of music with others. 2019 had some really amazing moments for new music. The beauty is in how these bands/artists impact us all differently, and even better, how they bring us together.
Kalie Tomlinson | Contributor
10. TWIN XL – How to Talk to Strangers
I didn’t find this album until late November but that didn’t stop it from quickly becoming one of my favorites for the year. TWIN XL’s sound is one that’s so unique, blending synth sounds with fun guitar lines and drum fills that makes for a standout album. “Neon Summer” would sound right at home blasting through the speakers of your car on a warm night, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound just as good in the middle of December.
Standout track: “Neon Summer”
9. Blink-182 – NINE
I’m always excited when blink-182 puts out new music, and NINE is no exception to that. “Blame It On My Youth” quickly became my favorite on the album. Let’s be real, “You can never block my shine/ I’ve been lost since 1999” is a great lyric to scream (even if you were still in diapers in 1999).
Standout track: “Blame It On My Youth”
8. Jonas Brothers – Happiness Begins
I was just as excited as the next person when the Jonas Brothers announced their reunion earlier this year and their album absolutely blew my expectations out of the water. There isn’t a bad song on the album. They’re still the three-piece that had girls screaming, but the only difference now is that the girls are in their mid-20s instead of mid-teens. It’s impossible to listen to the closing track “Comeback” without realizing this reunion means everything to both the fans and the brothers.
Standout track: “Comeback”
7. Issues – Beautiful Oblivion
Issues is one of my favorite bands simply for the reason that you never really know what to expect when they release an album. “Tapping Out,” the lead single from the album, had a “normal” Issues sound, but then they took a hard left when they released “Flexin.” Beautiful Oblivion is a mashup of so many different sounds, and for that reason, it ended up on my AOTY list. “Find Forever” is one of those songs that I’ll find myself humming on any given day. Punk, jazz, gospel, it’s got a little something for everyone. What’s not to love?
Standout track: “Find Forever”
6. I Prevail – TRAUMA
I have to show some love to my hometown heroes in I Prevail. TRAUMA, which released on the same day as my #1 on this list, caught my attention so quickly. Similar to Issues’ Beautiful Oblivion, there isn’t really a set genre on this album. It goes from the heavy-hitters like “Gasoline” and “DOA” to ballads and interludes like “I Don’t Belong Here” and “Goodbye,” but again, that’s part of the beauty of it. “Every Time You Leave” didn’t really stand out to me until I saw I Prevail perform it live. Something about the lyrics allow everybody to connect to it, and guitarist Dylan Bowman’s feature on it during their performance just make it that more amazing.
Standout track: “Every Time You Leave”
5. Set It Off – Midnight
Set It Off keeps getting better with every album they release and I’m not sure how they’re doing it. Midnight showcases a more mature sound that they haven’t had on any previous album, all while still staying true to their roots. “Killer In the Mirror” and “Dancing with the Devil” are proof that Set It Off still has the ability to have the dark sound that brought them onto the scene, but songs like “No Disrespect” and “Happy All the Time” bring a new sound to the band. “Stitch Me Up” is a fun and upbeat addition to Midnight that you can’t help but want to dance to.
Standout track: “Stitch Me Up”
4. Sleep On It – Pride & Disaster
Sleep On It’s new album has blown their past albums away. Pride & Disaster is on another level, and I found myself listening to it nonstop once it was released. Picking a favorite from this album was extremely hard for me- “Babe Ruth” begs to be yelled at the top of your lungs, “Racing Towards a Red Light” is an absolute powerhouse of a song and “Logan Square” makes me want to go explore Chicago on a chilly fall day. In the end, the finale track “Lost & Found” is untouchable. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful, and my favorite lyric of the year can be found in this song’s second verse: “Home is the place your heart calls you back to.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Sleep On It is fantastic at any time of the year, but something about the cool fall and winter air gives their music a little something special.
Standout track: “Lost & Found”
3. All Time Low – It’s Still Nothing Personal: A Ten Year Tribute
Yes, my third favorite album of the year is a rerelease- sue me. Nothing Personal is one of my favorite albums of all time, and this ten year tribute is more than I could have asked for. You don’t really realize how much your favorite artists change over a decade, but this album put that into perspective for me (and all of All Time Low’s other fans!). They took the songs I grew up with and put a twist on them- not so much to make them unrecognizable, but enough to make them feel new and exciting. There isn’t a bad song on the album but “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)” stands out, especially the last 30 seconds. If you have some time, watch the tribute documentary on YouTube- it gives you some insight as to why they chose to do certain things with their songs and it’s a fun way to spend 45 minutes.
Standout track: “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)”
2. Grayscale – Nella Vita
With their last release being Adornment in 2017, it’s not being dramatic to say that Grayscale fans were more than ready for new music in 2019. Nella Vita was well worth the wait. Grayscale mixed their old pop-punk sound with an almost The 1975-esqe style (see tracks like “Baby Blue” and “In My Arms”) for one of the most exciting albums of 2019. They sound so much more sure of themselves as a band and gave the fans everything they asked for in this new album. “Tommy’s Song” takes the award for most heartbreaking song of the year and it’s nearly impossible for me to listen to it without shedding a tear or two. “Twilight (My Heaven)” is not only my favorite song on Nella Vita, but one of my top songs of the year.
Standout track: “Twilight (My Heaven)”
1. The Maine – You Are OK
If you’ve talked to me for even five minutes this year, you’ll know that You Are OK coming in as my top album of 2019 is no surprise. I have listened to at least four songs off of this album every day since it was released in March, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Every song on this album offers something new, something fun, something exciting. The Maine is never a band to do something halfway, but they’ve taken their dedication with this new album to a new extreme. This is The Maine’s best work to date, and to be quite honest, I don’t know how they’ll ever manage to top it. “Heaven, We’re Already Here” was a fast favorite for me, with string accompaniment throughout the song and lyrics that deserve to be yelled at the top of your lungs in a crowd of your best friends. The Maine did something amazing with this album. You Are OK. If you aren’t right now, you will be soon.
Standout rack: “Heaven, We’re Already Here”
What are your thoughts on Kalie’s Top 10 Albums of 2019? Let her know on Twitter: @kalie_rae