AF 2019 IN REVIEW: Our Favorite Albums & Singles of The Year

Lizzo press photo by Luke Gilford, courtesy of Atlantic Records.

Every year I keep a running list of new album releases. The idea is that I’ll have new stuff on my radar, along with a go-to playlist if I’m feeling adventurous (or bored) and want to hear something new. This year that list grew to nearly 9,000 songs, and I’m still adding stuff I missed from this year to it. When it came time to make my year-end list, I had some ideas about what would be on it, but I decided to do something more immersive than I’d done years prior (basically narrowing my list down to ten albums). This year, I decided to rank every record I listened to that came out in 2019, resulting in a list of more than 200 albums. That’s a lot, certainly. It’s my job, of course, to listen to music. But what was more mind-boggling was that, when I made a separate list of albums I hadn’t had a chance to listen to or simply didn’t stick in my mind, it was more than double that number. Y’all, a lot of music came out in 2019. And a lot of it was really, really good.

I think our list at Audiofemme is unique in that it gives each of our regular writers (and some of our contributors) complete ownership over their favorites, and that makes our list unusually eclectic. That’s especially true this year; last year’s lists featured a lot of love for Mitski and Janelle Monae, while this year’s lists were so disparate there’s very little crossover from list to list. So while it’s hard to choose one overarching narrative around who slayed hardest this year – Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen releasing the best albums of their careers, Big Thief releasing two amazing records, Jamila Woods and FKA Twigs going big on concept albums – I think we all know that person was Lizzo.


  • Marianne White (Executive Director)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
    2) Big Thief – Two Hands
    3) Boy Harsher – Careful
    4) FKA Twigs – Magdalene
    5) Cate le Bon – Reward

  • Lindsey Rhoades (Editor-in-Chief)

    Top 10 Albums:
    2) Hand Habits – placeholder
    3) Crumb – Jinx
    4) Pottery – No. 1
    5) Orville Peck – Pony
    6) Cate le Bon – Reward
    7) Kim Gordon – No Home Record
    8) Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
    9) Black Belt Eagle Scout – At the Party With My Brown Friends
    10) Big Thief – Two Hands
    Top 10 Singles:
    1) Sharon Van Etten – “Jupiter 4”
    2) SOAK – “Valentine Shmalentine”
    3) Jonny Kosmo – “Strawberry Vision”
    4) Mineral – “Your Body Is the World”
    5) Drahla – “Stimulus for Living”
    6) Mattiel – “Keep the Change”
    7) Girlpool – “Minute in Your Mind”
    8) Charlotte Adigéry – “Paténipat”
    9) Weyes Blood – “Andromeda”
    10) Palehound – “Killer”

  • Mandy Brownholtz (Marketing Director)

    Top 5 Albums (in no particular order):
    Summer Walker – Over It
    Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
    Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
    Mannequin Pussy – Patience
    Raveena – Lucid
    Top 3 Singles:
    Summer Walker – “Anna Mae”
    Solange – “Binz”
    Jamila Woods – “ZORA”


  • Alexa Peters (Playing Seattle)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Guayaba – Fantasmagoria
    2) Ings – Lullaby Rock
    3) The Black Tones – Cobain & Cornbread
    4) Lemolo – Swansea
    5) Stephanie Anne Johnson – Take This Love
    Top 5 Singles:
    1) Lizzo – “Juice”
    2) Karma Rivera – “Do More Say Less”
    2) Heather Thomas Band – “When I Was Young”
    3) Stephanie Anne Johnson – “Never No More”
    4) Sarah Potenza – “I Work For Me”
    5) Ariana Grande – “Thank U, Next”

  • Sophia Vaccaro (Playing the Bay)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Charly Bliss – Young Enough
    2) PUP – Morbid Stuff
    3) Kim Petras – TURN OFF THE LIGHT
    4) Microwave – Death is a Warm Blanket
    5) Caroline Polachek – Pang
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Jess Day – “Rabbit Hole”
    2) Ashnikko – “Hi, It’s Me”
    3) Saweetie – “My Type”

  • Cillea Houghton (Playing Nashville)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Yola – Walk Through Fire
    2) Louis York – American Griots
    3) The Highwomen – The Highwomen
    4) Sara Potenza – Road to Rome
    5) Rising Appalachia – Leylines
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow”
    2) Louis York – “Don’t You Forget”
    3) The Highwomen – “Crowded Table”

  • Luci Turner (Playing Atlanta)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
    2) Harry Styles – Fine Line
    3) Brittany Howard – Jaime
    4) MARINA – Love + Fear
    5) Death Mama – High Strangeness
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Sam Burchfield – “Blue Ridge June”
    2) Pip the Pansy – “Siren Song”
    3) 5 Seconds of Summer – “Teeth”

  • Victoria Moorwood (Playing Cincy)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy
    2) Wale – Wow… That’s Crazy
    3) Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
    4) DaBaby – KIRK
    5) NF – The Search
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) DaBaby – “Intro”
    2) Polo G – “Pop Out”
    3) Lil Baby – “Yes Indeed” (feat. Drake)

  • Amanda Silberling (Playing Philly)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Palehound – Black Friday
    2) Great Grandpa – Four of Arrows
    3) Charly Bliss – Young Enough
    4) T-Rextasy – Prehysteria
    5) Leggy – Let Me Know Your Moon
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Mannequin Pussy – “Drunk II”
    2) Charly Bliss – “Chatroom”
    3) (Sandy) Alex G – “Southern Sky”

  • Tarra Thiessen (Check the Spreadsheet)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
    2) FEELS – Post Earth
    3) Francie Moon – All the Same
    4) Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
    5) Crumb – Jinx
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Dehd – “Lucky”
    2) Bodega – “Shiny New Model”
    3) Y La Bamba – “Entre Los Dos”

  • Natalie Kirch (Pet Politics)

    Top 5 Albums (in Chronological Order):
    1) JANITOR — She Hates The Hits
    2) Haybaby — They Get There
    3) Holy Tunics — Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree
    4) Bethlehem Steel — Bethlehem Steel
    5) Francie Moon – All The Same
    6) SUO – Dancing Spots and Dungeons
    Top 5 Singles (in Chronological Order):
    1) Big Bliss – “Contact”
    2) Gesserit – “Silence”
    3) Vanessa Silberman – “I Got A Reason”
    4) New Myths – “Living Doll”
    5) Miss Eaves – “Swipe Left Up”


  • Liz Ohanesian

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Hot Chip – A Bath Full of Ecstasy
    2) (tie) Chelsea Wolfe – Birth of Violence // K Á R Y Y N – The Quanta Series
    3) !!! – Wallop
    4) Yacht – Chain Tripping
    5) Chromatics – Closer to Grey
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy”
    2) Roisin Murphy – “Narcissus”
    3) Boy Harsher – “Come Closer”

  • Lydia Sviatoslavsky

    Top 5 Albums:
    1)  Xiu Xiu – Girl With a Basket of Fruit
    2) slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
    3) Boy Harsher – Careful
    4) Thee Oh Sees – Face Stabber
    5) Sylvia Black – Twilight Animals
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Squarepusher – “Vortrack – Fracture Remix”
    2) Coyu & Moby – “I May Be Dead, But One Day The World Will Be Beautiful Again”
    3) Cocorosie – “Smash My Head”

  • Tamara Mesko

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Bad Books — III
    2) Pedro The Lion — Phoenix
    3) Laura Stevenson — The Big Freeze
    4) An Horse — Modern Air
    5) Black Belt Eagle Scout — At the Party With My Brown Friends
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Kevin Devine – “Only Yourself”
    2) Rain Phoenix feat. Michael Stipe – “Time is the Killer”
    3) Sigrid – “Strangers”

  • Erin Rose O’Brien

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Stef Chura — Midnight
    2) Angel Olsen — All Mirrors
    3) Lisa Prank — Perfect Love Song
    4) Carly Rae Jepsen — Dedicated
    5) Cheekface — Therapy Island
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Caroline Polachek — “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”
    2) Priests — “Jesus’ Son”
    3) Lana Del Ray — “The Greatest”

  • Katie Wojciechowski

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) The Highwomen — The Highwomen
    2) Better Oblivion Community Center — Better Oblivion Community Center
    3) Various Artists — Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’
    4) Vampire Weekend — Father of the Bride
    5) J.S. Ondara — Tales of America
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) MUNA — “Good News (Ya-Ya Song)”
    2) Lizzie No — “Narcissus”
    3) Noah Gundersen — “Lose You”

  • Micco Caporale

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Orville Peck — Pony
    2) Boy Harsher — Careful
    3) Lingua Ignota — Caligula
    4) Heterofobia — Queremos Ver El Mundo Arder
    5) Knife Wife — Family Party
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Dorian Electra – “Flamboyant”
    2) Orville Peck – “Dead of Night”
    3) Solange — “Binz”

  • Jason Scott

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Allison Moorer — Blood
    2) Gabriella Rose — Lost in Translation EP
    3) Emily Scott Robinson — Traveling Mercies
    4) Girl Wilde — Probably Crying EP
    5) BHuman — BMovie
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Dua Lipa – “Don’t Start Now”
    2) The Highwomen – “Redesigning Women”
    3) Katy Perry — “Never Really Over”

  • Ysabella Monton

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) King Princess – Cheap Queen
    2) Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
    3) Tyler, the Creator – IGOR
    4) Kim Petras – Clarity
    5) Charli XCX – Charli
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) King Princess – “Hit the Back”
    2) FKA Twigs – “holy terrain”
    3) Charli XCX – “Gone” feat. Christine and the Queens

  • Holly Henschen

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Marielle Allschwang & the Visitations – Precession of a Day: The World of Mary Nohl
    2) Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
    3) Sudan Archives – Athena
    4) Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
    5) Sigur Rós – Sigur Rós Presents Liminal Sleep
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) King Princess – “Hit the Back”
    2) Sleater-Kinney – “Hurry on Home”
    3) Lizzo – “Tempo”

  • Erin Lyndal Martin

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love
    2) Mariee Sioux – Grief in Exile
    3) Carolina Eyck – Elegies for Theremin & Voice
    4) Julia Kent – Temporal
    5) Rhiannon Giddens – There is No Other (with Francesco Turrisi)

  • Rebecca Kunin

    Top 5 Albums (in no particular order):
    Mal Blum – Pity Boy
    Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
    Durand Jones and the Indications – American Love Call
    Tony Molina – Songs from San Mateo County
    Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
    Top 3 Singles:
    Brittany Howard – “Stay High”
    Angel Olsen – “New Love Cassette”
    Jacky Boy – “Get Along”

NEWS ROUNDUP: A Shake Up in Streaming & More

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Tidal press conference, 2015. Courtesy of Time.

A Shake Up in Streaming & More

By Jasmine Williams

A Reckoning?

Last week #MuteRKelly gained speed as Time’s Up’s women of color added their support and yesterday the movement got a boost from a Spotify. While the streaming giant did not cut all ties with Kelly, Spotify did announce that they will remove the alleged sexual abuser from all playlists and other suggested conduct so he will no longer be actively promoted on the platform although his discography will still remain and be searchable. The move comes as the result of Spotify’s new rule pertaining to artists accused of misconduct or of having songs with objectionable lyrics. Spotify tapped consultants from the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, GLAAD, and other advocacy groups to create their “hate content and hateful conduct” policy which addresses “hate speech” in music and states that “when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.” In response to Spotify’s action, R. Kelly’s team accused the company of engaging in an “attempted public lynching.” His PR team’s use of the historically-loaded phrase in defense of the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer has sparked a separate controversy.

Spotify’s new policy is making waves in the industry and has many wondering what other musicians will be affected. Perhaps Chris Brown and Young Lo? Let the censorship debate begin!

In other pay-for-play streaming news, Tidal has been accused of faking millions of plays in an effort to make it look like Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s Life of Pablo were streamed more than they actually were. Norwegian paper, Dagens Nærengsliv obtained a hard drive with Tidal data reports that showed many users streaming the albums a suspiciously large number of times in one day.

Based on the obtained information, each of Tidal’s claimed three million subscribers would have had to play West’s Life of Pablo eighty-three times. Knowles and West both have business stakes in Tidal. Nærengsliv contacted one Beyoncé fan who was in Tidal’s records as having streamed Lemonade fifteen times in one day. She verified their suspicions of fabricated plays, saying “I love Beyoncé — but 11 hours? No.”

In traditional radio, it is illegal to pay DJs and promotors to play certain songs but streaming platforms still exist in a legal grey area – labels and artists can purchase slots on playlists. Perhaps the accusations against Tidal will lead to a change in the way all streaming services conduct business. Watch out Discover Weekly – they’re coming for you!

In a separate report, Tidal has also been accused of inflating their number of subscribers.

That New New

Arctic Monkeys head up the big releases of the week with their new studio album. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is the British band’s first full-length in five years. Arctic Monkeys refrained from dropping any singles ahead of the album’s release so the sound is completely new to fans.

Christina Aguilera released the second single off of her upcoming album Liberation. “Twice” sees the singer return to form with soaring vocals and personal lyrics. Christina heads on tour this fall; she’ll play two dates at Radio City in October.

French duo Justice are also back with a new release. They just announced the date for their upcoming live album, Woman Worldwide, out August 24 via Ed Banger.

Sigur Rós dropped a mixtape of “endless” ambient music this week. Liminal is an hour-long collaboration between Jónsi, Alex Somers, and Paul Corley.

End Notes

  • NYC fans of Superchunk  and The Breeders are about to get reacquainted with the seasoned musicians. Both bands play free shows in Prospect Park. Start the season off with Superchunk on June 20th, close it out with The Breeders on August 11th.
  • Random couple alert – Grimes and Elon Musk showed up at the Met Ball together on Monday night. Grimes wore a Tesla choker to the exclusive event. The next day Musk tweeted that his favorite Grimes songs are “Flesh without Blood” and “Kill V Maim.”
  • Legendary hip-hop label Loud Records is coming back. Founder Steve Rifkind is starting it up again, this time with Sony and RED. The trio is debuting a brand new sound for Loud’s rebirth! Just kidding – one of Loud’ first projects will be a remake of an iconic release. They’re bringing back Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) but this time contemporary hip-hop artists will play the characters of the classic LP.


NEWS ROUNDUP: St. Vincent, Kim Gordon & More


  • St. Vincent Times Three

    St. Vincent, has been in the news this week for several reasons. First, she’s releasing a line of signature guitars with Ernie Ball. The uniquely shaped guitar has with three humbucker pickups and a whammy bar, and comes in four colors (Clark gives a nod to Bowie by referring to the white model as the Thin White Duke). Here’s what it sounds like. Second, she’s directed a segment of a horror series that feature women directors. Hers is titled “Birthday Party,” and features Melanie Lynskey of Togetherness, Heavenly Creatures and But I’m a Cheerleader. Keep scrolling to watch the trailer for all four short films, but prepare to be creeped out. Third, her new album, which she describes as her deepest and boldest, is due sometime in 2017.


  • Watch A Kim Gordon Interview/Interrogation

    Opening with the text “It is well known that Kim Gordon does not like to be interviewed,” the next shot shows the artist, blindfolded. The voice that asks such questions as “When did you know you wanted to be an artist?” and “How many fingers am I holding up?” (too many, she says) is the voice you would use to demand ransom, warped by a computer to be unidentifiable. Some shots place us in the room with her, some show video surveillance of the room. Check it out via Huck:

  • Scientists Are Covering Sigur Rós’

    From their website: “The International Space Orchestra (ISO) is an assembly of star-spangled space scientists from NASA Ames Research Center, Singularity University, and the SETI. The International Space Orchestra is the world’s first orchestra of space scientists… [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][adapting] science to our creative needs.” They’ve performed with Beck, Damon Albarn, and Bobby Womack and now, by covering the Sigur Rós’ track  “Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása” they aim “to reach the final frontier.” Download the track here and listen to the original below.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


Every Thursday, AF profiles a style icon from the music world. This week, check out the beautiful boys of Sigur Ros, whose inimitably dark and mysterious ethos have ladies (and gentlemen) across the globe swooning.

Sigur Ros Loud&Tasteless

I’ve honestly never read 50 Shades of Grey, despite the swarm of girls flocking to a Barnes and Nobles to retrieve a copy. Of course I heard (and endlessly saw on Facebook), all about women dreaming of that perfect man while discovering their sexuality. Luckily, I didn’t need that book for either. And if I was still in middle school and needed to read something to spark my inner fantasies, it would certainly be about a boy in a band, dressed in all spectrums of dark. When it came to attitude, he would certainly be a “bad boy.” But what would he wear? I’m thinking of a bandmate who can literally pull off all fifty shades of grey. He would be professionally and classically decked out with hints of rebellion. His music would reflect in his fashion: dark, mysterious, clean, held together with military buttons. I don’t think any of us can pronounce their names quite as melodically as their music sounds, but I think the members of Sigur Ros dresses like that man.

Formed in the largest city in Iceland, current members Jón Pór Birgisson, Kjartan Sveinsson, Georg Hólm, and Orri Páll Dýrason, nailed it after two decades; their style is eloquently elusive. They can sport blue jeans, but rock black slacks with more sophistication, which are usually paired with a wrinkle-free sweater, dark button-up, or a Sherlock Holmes-esque blazer. However, Sigur Ros dresses down too- unwinding with solid v-necks, bright plaid patterns, and stripes. Their clothes are unfailingly form-fitting; they invariably look sharp in every photo shoot. The experimental band carries that shadowy style with them on stage, too. There’s an appreciable amount of live videos that underscore their aphoristic stage presence. Their shows can seem opaque and very dark, but think of it as a nebulous glow, seeing and hearing space, delicately.

Get sartorially inspired by the group’s dapper look, via our Pinterest page. And while you’re at it, listen to ekki múkk via Soundcloud, here:

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