On Boxing Day, a person used the submission form at the bottom of the page. Literally, a person, they gave their name as...A. It read:
"No top albums of the year list? Ridiculous for a music journalism website. You have no good ideas"
Merry Christmas to you too!
No good ideas at all seems a little harsh, but nevertheless, A had a point. Albums of the year lists are as synonymous with music websites as Liverpool are with Champions League titles, so we really should do one. A final, bonus article before the new decade begins? In the famous of words of Eddie Hearn, "oh, go on then".
5: Feeder - Tallulah
Feeder's latest release was a quintessential Feeder album, featuring all the catchy hooks, rousing melodies and high quality music that they're almost guaranteed to put out, time after time. The band's consistency and ability to maintain their standards on countless albums is impressive, and this album completed their return to the top, hitting #4 on the charts - their highest chart position since 2006. It's fair reward for Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose, who have managed to keep their Brit-rock band rolling and successful since the 1990s, while so many of their peers have fallen. If all you know of Feeder is "CD player, player, player...", you have a lot of catching up to do, and Tallulah wouldn't be a bad place to start.
4: Billie Eilish - When We ALL Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Eilish's music is a product of the social media age. She started her career on Vine, with a few videos going viral, before she switched to a music career. Her lyrics are a reflection of the young people of today, with topics including mental health, suicide and heartbreak, as well as drug addiction and even climate change. It's an important record, one that holds more to it than meets the eye. Her lyrics have been criticised by some, but the truth is that they are worth hearing if you want an idea of where youth culture is at right now. In addition, her dark pop style and blending of genres, combined with an almost ASMR vocal delivery, make the listen itself more than worth your while. An original, intriguing album with messages that are certainly worth taking note of.
3: Tygers of Pan Tang - Ritual
Of all the elder statesmen of heavy metal who came out with an album this year, the Tygers of Pan Tang firmly take the
cake. Ritual was an album chock full of thunderous riffs, soaring vocals and simply brilliant songs. To sound this energised and enthusiastic after decades of releasing material is a true rarity, as is the fact that it's certainly up their with their best work. If this album had been released in 1989 instead on 2019, it'd be seen as a legendary piece of work. Slightly out of time it may be, but that doesn't change the fact this album is a feast for the ears, and a must for absolutely every metalhead the world over.
2: Stormzy - Heavy is the Head
With Heavy is the Head, Stormzy solidified his place as the current king of British music. Forget Adele, forget Ed Sheeran (who features on this album), Stormzy is now the head honcho and he will only grow bigger. This isn't just a Grime album; he meshes together a range of genres and delivers his lines with a confidence and swagger that is only rivalled by the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Stormzy knows where he stands, and everything about this album reflects that. A superb piece of work - the 2020s are going to be huge for him.
1: Nina Nesbitt - The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change
Scottish sensation Nina Nesbitt was recently namedropped by her hero Taylor Swift, and with good reason. Following her debut album in 2013, she made the brave decision to leave her pretty big record label and take back control of her own life and music. This, her sophomore album, was six years in the making but the wait was worth every second. From the early 2000's, Destiny's Child influenced bop Loyal to Me to the atmospheric power of Empire, this album is a work of passion, of hard work, of honesty and of quality. Her talents have always been clear to see, but with addition of total free rein over her work, she was able to push her boundaries and release her true self. The album is a self-reflection of how much she has grown as an artist in the six years that preceded it, and the title track - and album title itself - is fittingly positive, proving that no matter how tough things might get, there's always a light coming.
The fact that this album didn't even breach the top 20 in the UK is a crime. It's a breathtaking album, up there with the very best, and deserves to be recognised as such.
The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change by Nina Nesbitt is Up to Eleven's Album of the Year for 2019.
It was a strong year for music, as was the decade. Let's hope the 2020s deliver some new gold as well. Happy decade, everybody.