Saturday Deluxe / 21 December 2019

Do you have time for ‘new’ music?

Soon it will be Christmas and as the year end approaches everyone starts to consider what their ‘albums of the year’ are.

I can tell you that over the festive period I will be publishing various SDE posts summarising some 2019 highlights, but I have to admit that when it comes to new albums, this year has been a bit of a struggle for me. I see people publishing lists of their ‘top 25’ new albums of 2019 and in true sitcom fashion end up spluttering into my SDE cup of tea. I’m struggling to recall 10 new albums I really liked.

Why? Well, I’m now in my fifties (13 days in, to be precise), have a busy family life (two teenage daughters), a demanding job (you know the one…) and can hardly find the time to listen to life-changing albums I’ve loved for decades, never mind checking out something brand new. And of course you have to factor in all the new box sets and deluxe editions that have come out – that it’s my job to digest. There are ‘previously unreleased demos’ to be listened to, 5.1 mixes to be ‘immersed’ in and so on.

SDE is primarily about reissues, so professionally it’s not exactly crucial that I stay abreast of new stuff, but I do like to try and keep my hand in and I would acknowledge that LOVING some new album, or discovering a fantastic new artist generates a buzz that is hard to beat. But with a shortage of valuable free time to properly listen to music, are you going to try to ‘get into’ the last Cranberries record or put on Innervisions? I’ve heard good things about that Cranberries album, by the way, but the reality is that it’s WAY down my list of priorities.

It’s rather like going to the cinema. If you only manage to get out with your other half once every couple of months, do you take a risk with the acclaimed but ‘challenging’ subtitled European drama or do just go and see the new Star Wars?* (*delete as appropriate and insert similar ‘franchise’ movie here).

Life changes. When I was young (late teens, and all of my twenties) music was everything. Yes, I was into The Beatles, getting into Neil Young etc. but there was so much more focus on the new, the current. In 1993 I was 23 years old and listening a lot to NEW albums like Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish, Crowded House’s Together Alone, Terence Trent D’Arby’s Symphony Or Damn, The The’s Dusk, INXS’s Welcome To Wherever You Are, Jellyfish’s Spilt Milk, The Auteurs New Wave, Duran Duran’s ‘Wedding Album’, Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales, Suede’s debut, David Bowie’s Black Tie White Noise (and The Buddha of Suburbia), Tears For FearsElemental, Manic Street PreachersGold Against The Soul, U2’s Zooropa, Bjork’s Debut, Paul Weller’s Wildwood, Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club, a-ha’s Memorial Beach and Nirvana’s In Utero. That’s some list and many of those records stayed with me for a lifetime. In terms of reissues, I remember enjoying The Police’s Message in a Box, and Prince’s The Hits/The B-Sides, but let’s be honest, the industry was almost 30 years younger than it is now and there simply wasn’t as much focus on the past.

Without wanting to sound like an old fart (failed, I know…), it’s impossible for me to imagine 2019 was full of such quality and variety. And even if it was, with virtually no music coverage on TV in the UK how do you find out about it? In theory, it’s never been easier. I had to physically BUY all those albums, spending £12.99 or more for a CD (I wasn’t earning much, so that was a big deal), but in 2019 you just open up Spotify (or another streaming service) and off you go. If I look at ‘new releases’ in Spotify today I find the following artists being ‘promoted’ at the very top: Stormzy, Popcaan, KAYTRANADA, Ms Banks, Sody, Camilia Cabello, Celeste, Bugzy Malone, Geko, French Montana, Jack Vallier etc. Okay, I know Stormzy, but in general my reaction is WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

They are presumably connecting with millennials and generating massive amounts of streams via social media, youtube etc. I feel old. Nearly 30 years ago there was room for new and established acts in the mainstream pop charts. Suede, Blur, The Auteurs, Nirvana, Sheryl Crow were rubbing shoulders with Sting, U2, Duran Duran, INXS and Tears For Fears. ‘Old’ acts were still innovating, with U2 and INXS arguably producing some of the best records of their career between 1991 and 1993. It wasn’t a one-or-the-other scenario.

Last week, I read that a song called ‘Dance Monkey’ by an artist called ‘Tones and I’ had been at the top of the UK chart for 11 weeks!! The first female artist to spend more than 10 weeks at number one (Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ was at the top for 10 weeks). I had no awareness of what the UK number one single was, and had no idea that this one track had enjoyed a record breaking run. I HAVEN’T EVEN HEARD THE SONG, which maybe tells you everything you need to know. In the ‘old days’ massive chart runs (think Bryan Adams, Wet Wet Wet) were high in the public consciousness. People were talking about it. You’d moan in the post office queue or at the ‘water cooler’ at work about being sick of ‘that song’. The event became general knowledge, and a fact written on a future Trivial Pursuit question card. EVERYONE knew that ‘Love Is All Around’ was one week short of matching the 16-week run of ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’. If you didn’t know, then hang your head in shame. Turns out ‘Tones and I’ is an Australian artist called Toni Watson. This is her second single and no one had heard of her 12 months ago. Sigh.

I’m not a complete old fogey. In 2016 I was really enjoying new music from Swedish musician singer and songwriter Skott. Her first few singles were amazing: ‘Porcelain’, ‘Amelia’, ‘Glitter & Gloss’ and ‘Lack of Emotion’. I’ve seen her live a few times. Nearly four years later and we’re still waiting for the first album and I’m starting to lose a bit of interest, to be honest. She was signed to Chess Club records in the UK, and even released a few seven-inch singles early on, but now seems in a rut of collaborations and constantly ‘dropping’ new songs. So even when – against the odds – you do find and engage with a new up-and-coming artist with apparent real talent – they still don’t deliver what you want. A 10-track CD or vinyl record that you can play.

SDE’s favourite new albums of 2019 list will be published in the coming week.

202 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 21 December 2019

  1. Wayne Olsen says:

    Paul, it is the sixth day of Christmas, so it’s not too late to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020. Thanks for all the great stuff you do!

  2. Branny says:

    In a word, no. Even though music is more accessible than it’s ever been it doesn’t seem as important to the younger generation as it was to me in my teens. There’s no TOTP or The Chart Show on a Saturday morning. Those shows along with the top 40 rundown were my main sources of discovering new music and from around 1979 to the late 80s the majority of my purchases were 7″ or 12″ singles which were played to death on a £50 1.5w per channel record player from Argos. I bought very albums at that point due to cost and my attention span rarely holding out long enough to get through an lp.

    When I started working i bought myself a Jvc ghetto blaster and started buying cds. In the mid 90s I bought myself a Pioneer separates system which cost me circa £1500 and have continued upgrading over the years.

    My buying habits have changed too. My purchases of new music have been in decline since the start of the century and I now mainly buy stuff from the 70s and 80s that I missed first time around along with box sets of my favourites which with remastering and a decent system are taken to a whole new level compared to when i was a teen.

    Time is another constraint too. I have a 12 yr daughter who has a fair few extra curricular activities so family time takes up a lot of spare time. When you finally get around to that album you bought a couple of months ago you then realise that it was actually a couple of years ago when you bought it, not months.

    I’ve never stopped buying cds and have accumulated a decent sized collection and it does contain a hell of a lot that i have never got around to listening to. Retirement is only 7 years off so my plan is one day per week solely dedicated to a musical catch up. In the future that may or may not comprise of new music. Who knows?

  3. David says:

    While busy living life, I noticed I was now in my mid-60s. As a kid, my parents listened to Mel Tormé, Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, and a “new” artist they both discovered, Johnny Mathis. Then Elvis and The Beatles came along. OMG my mom was horrified how awful, loud, rude, disrespectful these “acts” were. Suddenly my music all sounded like “yeah, yeah, yeah” to them. My sister and I were forbidden to listen to that “crap” in their presence.
    Fast forward to 2020, and music discovery has gotten more complex. We now have so many more artists, genres of popular music that cannot possibly get exposure on just one radio station, TV talent show, late-night appearance, night club, music service, or stream. We must seek out other avenues like live performances, social media, YouTube, Amazon or other web site’s samples and other internet resources, numerous public radio programs, as well as our friends, family, and coworkers. To paraphrase Peter dB, I have always maintained a “toe in today’s music; a foot in the past” to not become musically clueless like many of my friends who are stuck in the past. So, it’s no surprise that one commenter hadn’t heard Boyz II Men’s “End Of The Road” which was the top song of 1992; #1 for a record-breaking 13 weeks (when it bumped off Presley’s “Hound Dog”/”Heartbreak Hotel” for that long-held honor), or “I’ll Make Love to You” in 1994 which spent 14 weeks at #1 on Billboard. These were played all over top 40, R&B, and AC radio back in the day. If one lives in a vacuum or doesn’t exert the effort to expose yourself to current music, and tolerate tunes you don’t particularly like, you won’t discover anything new.
    For those who believe music industry charts will just “go away”, you’re fooling yourself. Charts are the barometers to measure the success of current songs and albums being “worked” by the music industry. Without these sales and promotional tools that reflect airplay and sales, industry tastemakers will have no guide as to public consumption and taste. Realize that each industry chart is compiled by radio, video, club, and streaming airplay by different key reporters with record sales and streams often factored in using some complex algorithm in many cases (like Billboard, which has changed several times since its inception). This is just a sample that may not reflect your channel or station; it also doesn’t include TV appearances, radio & TV commercials – where publishers whore out your favorite songs to sell products, as well as PA systems at public venues that might accidentally expose one to new music.
    Enter today’s newest performing sensation: Toni Watson, known professionally as Tones and I, a 19-year-old Australian busker who was discovered a year ago. Her hit “Dance Monkey” has reached #1 in over 30 countries; spent 21 weeks at #1 in her home country; a record run at #1 in the UK; and even hit #9 in the US. The song reminds me of an annoying ditty like “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep” that will become an ear worm once you’re exposed to its diabolical plot to control your consciousness. Perhaps it will just be another one-hit wonder – like recent smashes like “Baby Shark”, “Gangnam Style”, or “Harlem Shake”. I can only imagine how Elvis assaulted my parents’ ears, as they were musically narrow minded.
    Let’s face it: most of the albums mentioned in these comments won’t ever appear on the numerous charts as they appeal to narrow tastes, are unlikely to get airplay, or are obscure because of lack of promotion & exposure by their respective labels. That doesn’t mean you won’t like them. It will take your effort to discover them.
    To quote Mick Jagger from Mother’s Little Helper, “what a drag it is getting old”. He outta know.

  4. TheMisnomers says:

    Great article! I even spent the time to read the whole thing. There is certainly a different era of music in our midst but I feel like it’s akin to the 50s when singles were king and producers ruled the hit parade. It’s all cyclical I suppose.

  5. Danny says:

    Yes I also have time for new music. Here are 5 albums i loved this year.

    1. All Mirrors by Angel Olsen
    2. Quiet Signs by Jessica Pratt
    3. The Curse by The Spyrals
    4. A State Of Flow by Ishmael Ensemble
    5. Cross Record by Cross Record.

    Also I would recommend the brilliant https://aquariumdrunkard.com/ website for keeping up to date with new and old music alike

    Its my second go to website – after SuperDeluxe of course!

    (oh and my own little tumblr tries its best too… https://woodencup.tumblr.com/ )

  6. Timmy the Dog says:

    A very interesting post with some great responses. I unfortunately also find myself “Time poor” so when I do have the time to play an album, that’s a whole album for the album experience, I am more lightly to play something I love from the past that I just haven’t had time to play. When I read this post for the 1st time a few days ago I had “Heroes” by Bowie on & it still blows my mind. It made me think about what I have actually bought this year that is new? The only person who impressed me was Sharon Von Etten so I bought her album “Remind me tomorrow” & I loved it & it’s one of my most played albums of the year. I have the new Nick Cave album but have not have the time to give it the hopeful respect it deserves. This made me realise that I’m just not interested in new music because so much of what I’ve heard has just been shite. Music has to find me. I’m not going to actively go looking but instead I will go back in time & buy a CD of something I’ve previously missed. I’ve not long bought “House of the Holy” by Led Zep & “ Paul’s Boutique” by the Beastie Boys. I can appreciate that I’m a Gentleman of a certain age now & maybe this post does make me sound like an old fart but Hey ho, I’m happy with my choices. I can appreciate the noise around Billie Eilish, yes it’s different & good on her for being successful but I don’t like it. But, I’d rather that than what a recent look at the album chart revealed, dripping wet farts & Christmas Turkeys. Happy New Year everyone & keep up the great work Paul.

  7. Fred says:

    No new artist for me since 6 or 7 years. (Lindemann if considered as new artist) .. I’m gay, 43, no children,a collection of 4000 cds… I have no time for new music and i’m not interested by new artist… I prefer discovered old music that i don’t know… I listening 3 or 4 albums per day because I don’t watch TV… Vive les reissues….

  8. michal says:

    As a foreigner living in London I can only say: yes, British music scene is not cool any more. Probably there are more interesting acts in Poland now than there are in UK. I reckon the 90s were fantastic but then, from the 2000s everything started to implode. Obviously it correlates with every government that has been in power since. New Labour and Tories destroyed your country on so many levels but the damage is most tangible for the youth. If you live in a city when average house costs 0,7 million pounds, the rent for studio is like 1200£, your student debts = 40K you don’t think about having a year off (to perhaps embark on something new and subversive) or simply being a creative person for some time, you just have to start earning money at the earliest opportunity. By voting conservatives this year it is you – the boomers (aka useful idiots) – who made it even worse. That neo-liberal roller will keep on ravaging conditions for all of these new and potentially exciting musicians, painters, film directors that could emerge in a future. And you are moaning the music scene is dead in UK. It is dead, so is your capital – totally gentrified and less and less exciting with each passing year.

    * Obviously occasionally a miracle can happen, like this year with Michal Kiwanuka’s mind-blowing new LP.

  9. Chris Weeks (@popintherealworld) says:

    It’s interesting, my experience is the polar opposite of yours. There’s so much new music out there I want to try I don’t have time for classic albums. Just trawling the end of year lists and reviews has lined up for me so many records to try including Crumb, Drab Majesty, Geowulf, Levitation Room, Orville Peck, Porridge Radio, Rose City Band, The Japanese House and many more. I have no idea if they’re good or not. Some will be a disappointment, most will be well worth a listen and a couple may become lasting favourites. None of it will chart; most will not be heard on mainstream radio. Finding the jewels though – that’s still a big part of the pleasure intake from music. (And I should say, I’m 58!)

  10. Alan Mitchell says:

    Born in 71, laid in 85, long hair rocker by 90. I can honestly say i rarely, if ever, listen to the music i was growing up with. The odd bit of Maiden if the wife’s out, 80s hits if she’s in the mood, Prince every now and then. Chris Rock’s theory doesn’t always hold up.

    No, for me, my collection is primarily made up of music from the sixties, seventies and tens. Lots of funk, soul, rock and folk. War through to Father John Misty, Lindesfarn through to Jon Hopkins, Sergio Mendes through to Yuna. Keep on trying to broaden my mind with real music both old and new. Keep on getting called a music snob. I’m cool with that ;)

    Loads of comments here with most people I’d say trying to push themselves but up against the barriers of age and new ways of discovering and listening. For the young they can now focus on the genres they like and explore them to a far greater degree than we ever could. It comes at the cost of variety i guess and makes the old system kind of collapse. For the majority of us older folks I’d argue we find ourselves left out of the loop. I’m also cool with that. I’m never gonna live long enough to hear all the music i should have let alone should be. We’re all very lucky i guess in that respect.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas Paul and to you all and it’s only 365 days until Christmas!

    (i also had a birthday this year),

  11. Jim says:

    Hi Paul, only a few years younger than you and I also adored those albums from that awesome early 90’s period. What a great era! I also find it increasingly difficult in this modern age to discover new albums/artists when there’s limited time left (in life!) to enjoy the classic albums you already love. As for 2019 though, two Australian artists I highly recommend are Thelma Plum and Sampa The Great. Sara Bareilles was another favourite, Brittany Howard, The Specials, Cage the Elephant, and Weezer. the Harry Styles record is also great pop. Merry Xmas!

  12. Charlie Cooper says:

    I don’t know. I’ve been happily playing the Tones and I song since September. I love it, much better than the Whitney Houston song. And I’ll be 40 years in 4 months. And no, I didn’t know that Love is all around was about to beat Bryan, and I certainly won’t hang my head in shame because of it (but I trust you were joking there). And that comes from someone who was a huge Bryan fan back then. Does it matter it’s her second single and no one knew her 12 months ago? No, not to me. Sigh (don’t think you were joking there).
    I think it is normal to look back at the music you listened to as a teen and think nothing will ever come close. I do that too. But at the same time as buying the latest Pink Floyd/Bowie/Beatles reissue (trust me, I have them all), I try to pick up new music. Less than I used to, and often with a more muted emotional response the I would have had as a teen. But I think that also comes from the fact that, as you mentioned, buying a cd took some saving as a teen, while now money is less of an issue.
    Yes, I stream. But only music I’m not sure I’ll like and that I’ll buy when I do like, or music I already own in a physical format. Much to my wife’s dismay, and my kids’ amusement, I have a vinyl/cd collection that runs to a couple thousand items. And that gets added to weekly. So I can sympathize with some of your sentiment but definitely not all.

  13. gregtk says:

    51 year old guy with wife 2 teenagers and the crazy schedules that involves.

    1. Get out to see live music – no excuses!
    2. Support the artists you discover and like.
    3. Do not for one second entertain the notion of ‘the good old days’.

    • Paul says:

      I completely agree. There are so many great new acts appearing all the time, it makes for a lot of excitement and variation.

      If I was being incredibly petty I’d argue that there are too many solo singers and not enough bands, but that says more about me than the scene. That probably explains why I like WH Lung and not Katy B.

      New music is still as exciting as i remember it used to be – and as much as i enjoy 5CD box sets of albums from the 80s or 90s, an album from a new band and an accompanying tour where tickets cost just £10 or so (rather than the £75+ “enjoyed” by some artists) makes new music a massive pull for me.

      I usually drag my wife along to see many of these new acts, and she enjoys them as much, sometimes more, as I do. That’s the power of great music.

  14. Poptones says:

    It’s a great discussion with lots of interesting comments.

    I replied late saturday night to the poster who was inquiring about The The and didn’t see it published. No big deal but if you can find it and publish it, that would be cool.

    Btw kudos to the one who mentioned Swans album “Leaving Meaning”. It’s indeed a good album. Michael Gira and the Swans are one of my favorite bands ever. Their previous album “The Glowing Man” is probably the album I listened the most the past 3 years.

    Merry Christmas !

  15. Paul Sinclair says:

    So many comments! Thanks for all the feedback and thanks also for all the lovely Christmas (and Birthday) wishes. Merry Christmas everyone!!

    • Mike the Fish says:

      Happy Christmas, Paul.

    • Klaus says:

      Thanks for all your work and the insight on your thoughts and Merry Christmas to you and your family too, Paul.

      Just started listening to some of the suggestions that fellow readers made in this thread and can so far say that “Tones And I” is decent pop music like there always has been in the past 65 years but certainly nothing world- or even mindchanging and the 6-track-EP i found on Napster has some better songs than the current No.1 hit. I especially like the track “Johnny Run Away”.
      After that i checked out “Songs About People Like Myself” by The Bad Dreamers which certainly does a good job in sounding like it was made in the 80s but the question stayed with me why i should listen to that and not right away to Nik Kershaw, Howard Jones and whoever else they might be influenced by.

      Will check out some more suggestions in the upcoming week and then maybe post again with my thoughts on what i listened to.

  16. Billy Dojcak says:

    Only 2019 new music I hear is what my 13 year old daughter plays. When she realizes I’m listening she shuts the door or turns it off til I leave. I was never that bad, my door was always shut.
    She probably doesn’t know I’ve always listened. Probably since I was born.
    I love to hear something new. Shazam is always on when I go out. Sadly, I usually can’t get past whatever single is playing, but maybe it’s always been like that.
    I used to buy loads of singles, but it took something extra to buy the album. Hopefully the album would would be great as well? By the time of my late teens there were several hundred singles in my collection 7″&12″, but maybe 50 albums.
    I didn’t buy any 2019 albums for myself. Far more box sets than normal, thanks Paul. So I’m spending a lot of time listening to remastered ancient history that sounds so much better. Many complain about the new version sounding different, but pop in your original 1986 cd pressing and you’ll be thankful you are in the future present.

    Btw, have a happy whatever you celebrate!

    • SimonH says:

      Apart from all the hideous brick-walled remasters. New isn’t always better! Many original CDs are absolutely fine, you just need to turn them up:)

  17. Bob McCartney says:

    I still anxiously await new music from my favorite bands and actively seek out new music.
    Love the new Jenny Lewis and Belle and Sebastian.
    Thanks to this site, I have fallen head over hills in love with The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight.
    I don’t buy like I used to, but the local library is my new best friend.
    In the car a lot and walk for exercise so lot’s of chances to dig into new or new to me music.
    Thanks for the required reading, awesome site, Paul.
    Happy Holidays to All!

  18. hedley says:

    I’m 65 now and current musical taste has passed me by. I have bought Bruce and Mould and Beck and Hawley but my 2019 looks like wallowing in the past as I have become more and more SDEcentric

    In May I did wander over to Meadowbrook in Rochester to see The 1975 play. A band full of energy generating excitement for their youthful audience and giving me the sense of joy I once felt when I saw The Faces and the Who and heck that date night for Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band.

    There was a world of difference being a bank clerk and spending every last available pound on a new release, hiding Country Life on the train because of its naughty cover or dropping at B&O stylus down on London Calling for the first time and realizing what they had done

    Right, this old fellow in Detroit wishes you and your readers a very Happy Christmas and a celebration of your faiths and beliefs

  19. Lee Lewell says:

    You have two teenage daughters, talk to them about Music! stop wallowing in the past. There is and always has been, good and bad music so mix it up a bit…
    it’s easy now with streaming so make use of it

  20. Mad Earwig says:

    I am equally happy discovering something new or wallowing in the feel good vibes of something you know and love…

    This year is quite mixed ; I have enjoyed new albums by Bob Mould, Pelican, Hawkwind, Rammstein, Goo Goo Dolls, Lloyd Cole and two lovely live albums by Radio Massacre International.
    The re-issued REM Monster set was better than expected, enjoyed the Stone Temple Pilots reissue of ‘Purple’ and the Beatles stuff was cool but unsure I will play it often.

    Played at hi-fi shows around the world are Tedeschi Trucks Band and their new album is very, very good, equally, I found the latest Joe Bonamassa albums too samey (great guitarist, needs a singer)

    I discovered another Led Zeppelin bootleg called ‘Cabala’ which I am loving that along with new ‘Live Trax’ series Dave Matthews live albums which I find I leave on and enjoy from front to back.

    I was disappointed in the Neil Young album the new one from Cold, and both albums from Guided By Voices (who I normally love) the Who album is okay.
    Sadly for me, no new music from Buckethead (gws) or Steve Vai.

    I think 2020 will be interesting, a confirmed new Pat Metheny album and rumours of Jimmy releasing some ‘official’ Zeppelin live shows.

    They say its the deepest of all art forms and I think I concur.

    • CAB says:

      I recently came across Tedeschi Trucks Band doing one of the Tiny Desk gigs on YouTube.
      Really enjoyed it. She’s got an absolutely fantastic voice and the band are superb.

  21. Jan says:

    Interesting piece Paul.
    Having a 13 year old and Radio 1 in the car keeps me vaguely close to the charts. I can confirm there are some great pop songs about. Probably a stronger case for the likes of the NOW series to exist, so we can buy these tracks in a physical form.
    Keep on keeping on.

  22. Alan Mitchell says:

    That Scottish comedian was talking to whoever was hosting the Radio 1 chart show at the time and was saying how great it must be to present the nation with the greatest and most popular songs each week in a tradition that had been going on for decades.

    He then said… “Of course the only way that job could get any better was if anybody actually gave a ****.”

    It made the audience laugh and I’m sure she probably wanted to despite looking uncomfortable ;)

  23. Larry Davis says:

    Interesting topic Paul…I used to follow the charts religiously up until a year or two ago…now they are absolutely disgusting…very very few current chart acts are my cup of tea…4 being Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Taylor Swift & Camila Cabello (I call her the American Cheryl, she came out of the US X-Factor girlgroup Fifth Harmony)…I don’t listen to radio except Sirius XM, can’t stand what’s mostly popular, HATE mainstream music mostly, espesh mainstream country, electronic, R& B, hip-hop…it’s either a big blur or dull & boring…I find out about GOOD new music by magazines like Rolling Stone & UK mags like Q, Uncut, Mojo & Classic Pop…and I keep up with new releases on sites like Pause & Play…also I go to concerts and the opening acts are usually good & I use their slots for discovery purposes…I also use other year end lists to discover an overlooked album or one that passed me by…part of the problem is digital only releases, where if you don’t see it in a store or can’t hold it in your hands, it’s not a physical item, and it’s almost like it doesn’t exist in the first place…I have a decent amount of 2019 titles in my collection, so going over it all for 2019 copyright dates and making my yearly lists…about to start doing it…oh one last thing, I go on the Outlaw Country Cruise (not regular country, but Alternative Country/Americana, more like country punk rock & roll) and I discover killer cool new music on there…next one leaves like in 5 weeks after Christmas…so excited!!

  24. Mathew Lauren says:

    I forgot to mention (as far as new-ish surround-sound), I “found” the band, RIVERSIDE in 2019.

    “Love, Fear and the Time Machine” RE in 2016 as a:
    Cd/dvd-a (5.1 @24/44.1). I got it this summer for ~$15

    and the successor album:

    “Wasteland” RE in 2019 (just received for ~$21.99) as a: 2 Cd/1 audio DVD-V (DD 5.1, only). Note: it’s really a quad point one mix.

    Both come as digipaks.

    I enjoy the music, but note: these aren’t SW, ES or AP-style surround-mixes, but enjoyable nonetheless.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to ALL!

  25. Ryk says:

    Just listening to Dance Monkey and am surprised at the similarity to Gin Wigmore (who has been around for some time, is from NZ, and is great!), although Tones and I are bit more high pitched

  26. SimonP says:

    Some 2019 albums I bought and liked (and some of which have already been mentioned by other readers with impeccable taste :-D )

    Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
    Mixhael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
    Joseph Arthur – Come Back World
    David Gray – Gold in a Brass Age
    Jeff Tweedy – Warmer
    Ezra Collective – You Can’t Steal My Joy
    Teskey Brothers – Run Home Slow
    Big Thief – UFOF (2 albums in 2019 but this is the better of them)
    Black Keys – Let’s Rock
    Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars (both versions)
    Bruce Soord – All This Will Be Yours
    Rival Sons – Feral Roots

    Honourable mention to the Raconteurs. Their 2019 album was a rather patchy but had some good tracks on it.

  27. The Thorn says:

    I’m with you, Paul. I don’t know where these artists are and how they can rule the charts yet apparently get no exposure through regular channels.

    Mind you, most of those channels aren’t what they once were: music stores are far and few between, music mags are gone and music video stations don’t play videos.

    So where are these new artists getting their airplay, then?

    I have no idea.

    I’m a music collector, who has been at it for over 25 years – it’s not like I’m a casual listener. I explore all the time, go deep into the artists I discover and love, …etc.

    But I’m as baffled by the new music scene as you are.

    You’re not alone.

    Post scriptum: As a side-note, not to diminish the value of your upcoming list, but, I always wondered why anyone would bother to try to compile a “best of” list for any given year.

    Who has possibly heard every single album released that year anyway? Inevitably, that list is questionable, as the author may have missed some key ones along the way and may have to constantly update the list for the rest of their days.

    I prefer to simply put together a list of the best albums I’ve heard that year. Heck, if I’ve only heard Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumors’ now, then it makes the cut. Doing it this way stacks the greats of ALL eras against one another, anyway. I prefer it.

    • Paul says:

      A great idea. I discovered Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left earlier this year, thanks to a recommendation from a work colleague.

      Rumours is a fabulous album. Almost perfect. I’m probably up to around 6 different copies of it now.

  28. Norman Reid says:

    Thanks very much for all your valued info this year, Paul, and a Merry Christmas to you too. Like you, I am also in my fifties and new music doesn’t really hit the spot, not like it used to anyway. Except……. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising, that’s, for me, as good a new album I’ve heard in years, and I’m a rocker at heart. Her voice is really special, I think.

  29. Fogarrach says:

    First album, Beatles live at the Hollywood bowl
    First singles, Kate wuthering heights and blondie Dennis.(50peach in HMV Renfield st Glasgow.
    Was vinyl person, am now cd person.

    Loved/love the beach boys pet sounds box. It was an early one yet I’m Not sure it’s been bettered. With a special mention to the early two cd version of tusk.

    In recent boxes, reviewed here, I Don’t like the way live and studio stuff is mixed up, for me it’s two different evenings. Cynic might think it padding.

    Fave Christmas song, cliff Richard little town.
    Tatsuro yamashita, Christmas Eve is nice.

    Boxes to buy. Superdeluxeeditions to hope for…..
    It has to be Talk Talk

    • Kevin from Edinburgh says:

      Well, at Xmas time, where you stand on this is probably reflected in the Xmas music you listen to/enjoy. I still really enjoy – and hear, everywhere, it seems – the Xmas songs from the 50s to the 80s. Memorable Xmas music made since 2000? That’s quite difficult.

      But then everything changes, and not always for the better. I do like the line in GM’s ‘December Song’ (which I suspect is a 2st century recording…..) about how Xmas is a time when you ‘can believe in peace on earth’, and ‘watch tv all day’. As someone who is around George’s age, I know exactly what he means by the tv reference, and just how special it was to come downstairs at 9.00 am, turn the tv on, and be able to watch something. Priceless memories, indeed. Today, the tv is on all day long, and I’ve a choice of dozens of channels . Is it better? No,
      I don’t think it is, in many respects. The 24/7 nature of TV, like the availability of everything musical via streaming, appears to promise everything, but ultimately – for me, at least – delivers much less. Let me watch Johnny Weissmuller in a decades-old, b & w movie, and ask for Architecture and Morality on lp for Xmas, and I’ll be very happy. Allow me everything, when
      I want it, and it loses much of its meaning.

      Happy Christmas everyone.


  30. RJS says:

    An interesting article. I’d never heard of Tones and I either until a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think the charts will be around much longer. In the days of “trending” and playlists on steaming sites, the charts seem irrelevant. I still seek out “new” music but it almost exclusively from the past. The best thing I’ve heard all year is an Azerbaijani vocal jazz album from 1978. Of the very few releases from this year that I’ve heard, I’d recommend Kit Sebastian’s rather lovely debut album.

  31. Francois says:

    New music is all over the place, new sounds are much more difficult to find or to like. I think I and most of the people who are reading this site have listen to so much music, most of which were new sounds at the time, that it takes a lot to “surprise” let alone interest us.
    There are good “not so old” bands but they, for most the most part, sound like what someone has done before. Maybe not much better, but that someone what the first to do it, so they will be those we will want to listen to more than the latest “inspired by” band.
    The French streaming service I have subscribed to tells me that my top listens this year are “Lotus” by Soen, “Slow Motion Death Sequence” by Manes, “Fear Inoculum” by Tool, “Wasteland” by Riverside, “Live at the royal Albert Hall” by Steven Wilson, “All one tonight disc 2” by Marillion, and finally.. “Communique” by Dire Straits.
    That is a lot of new music, by a bunch of not new artists, but trying to listen to “stuff” by “new bands” is ofter tedious and boring.
    As for the charts, they are made for teen ager, we are not the target for the people who manage these singers/bands, and nobody tries to hide that. But that is exactly the same as it was when I was 14 and listening to George Michael while my parents asked me what this crap was.
    After reading through what you wrote Paul, I took a self made test and checked how many songs from the top 10 (most streamed songs and artists in 2019 on the streaming platform I use) I knew. It turns out I knew 9 out of a 100, none of which I could bear Listening more than 20 seconds. All “urban music” without music and a lot of stupid lyrics barely understandable sung the s’exact same way by some guy or girl whose voice is so tuned they all sound alike. But my 10 year old knows nearly all of them..
    As long as I find enough music for the 3 to 4 hours a day I’m with music, all like of all it, it doesn’t matter if it is 6 months or 60 years old. I enjoy it, and if that means as I am an old fart, let it be..

    • Gary says:

      Personally, I’ve found that as I get older(I’m 57) I’ve found that I’ve become musically more introverted. To quote Huey Lewis, I know what I like. Hopefully, today’s youth have the same enthusiasm for music that I had from the 70s onwards. Unfortunately my enthusiasm has dwindled as years have progressed, not for the music of my youth which is still wonderful, but for newer music that to my ‘experienced’ ears carries a similar impact. In the absence of such, the deluxe box set fills a void that hasn’t been enjoyed since hearing some releases first time round. You could call it nostalgia but I think music brings with it a very personal attachment that you never quite shake off. The box set with its associated demos, alternate mixes etc is, to varying degrees, a great thing. Certainly there is an amount of ‘ripping off’, it’s the nature of retail but at the end of the day you pay your money as you wish. Enjoy the music, enjoy the ownership if you don’t play them, thanks to SDE for all the updates, the gems of info, the near misses, all the times my wallet simply couldn’t cope (despite my salivating) and lets hope 2020 produces some gems that will inspire as some of my favourites do!

  32. John D says:

    Great blog article again Paul – this site had become my go to place over the last 12 months.
    I was a hardcore Prince fan until his passing in 2016 – his output of music/bootlegs and live concert consumed me and kept me busy – but since his passing I’ve really found love of other music again. As well as dipping back – Hendrix/Kate Bush/the Police box sets etc, and with the advice of this site Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time, I’ve also found some great present albums and artists, courtesy of BBC6 and various music mags. At 54 it’s great just to enjoy and love music, whatever era style it maybe. Have a great Christmas Paul and everyone, and here’s to a superdeluxe2020!

  33. cosmo castanza says:

    It is a very different world to the one I grew up in.
    In my imagination , the internet and mass of music television channels should have made so much more music and new artists in particular available without having to tunnel to the centre of the earth to find it.

    But this is not the case.
    Why for example is there not a music channel that is akin to the Old Grey Whistle Test expanded to 24/7 showcasing live acts hour after hour after hour.

    If you flick around the music channels , firstly you hit more adverts than songs , and then it is the same 200 songs over and over again , and they are mostly awful.

    But the young people don’t appear bothered My adult children do not buy music as they do not buy newspapers . They do however look at their phones constantly for another 30 second hit of the puerile garbage the internet hooks them to ……and my children work in IT , Education and Physics .
    Oh well rant over , now where is my cd of 2112 :)

  34. Not That Joe Walsh says:

    As someone of similar age with similar tastes in music, here’s where my head is at: I like the list of music you listened to in the 90’s, half of which I picked up and enjoyed back then as well. The other half is unfamiliar and I will look into now! That will be my “new music”!

  35. Scott says:

    Back around 2012 I fell into a new artist renaissance. I discovered there was an underground New Wave revival, which was triggered when I saw a band called The Chevin blast out a brilliant song on Letterman called ‘Champion’. I immediately thought of early Simple Minds and U2, and I had chills.

    I started investigating other artists either suggested by iTunes or YouTube and found a good amount to love; Austra, Wild Nothing, The Good Natured, Future Islands, The Mary Onettes, Kindest Lines, Blouse, Trust, Kitten, Foreign Resort, White Lies, Terror Bird, Two Door Cinema Club, Wolf Parade, I Am In Love, School Of Seven Bels, DIIV, Vuvuvultures, City Calm Down, Villa Nah.

    It seemed like a gorgeous time of beautiful melodies, catchy hooks, color and character was back in, and I still love some of the songs and albums I discovered then as much as some of my favorite timeless New Wave classics. Problem was, it wasn’t to last for various reasons. First, back in my early teens I was exposed to all the UK oddness via MTV when they had no other videos to play in between Rod Stewart and Pat Benatar. Each day was a new discovery until around 1985. But with this new wave of New Wave, it required research and sampling. There wasn’t a TV station to turn on in the background that would give you sound and vision of these new and exciting bands, and it would have to continuously be a job to seek out these sounds.

    But not too untypical of the New Wave era, follow up albums by some of these newcomers were often a let down. In their effort to “grow”, some of them disowned their original sound (Blouse, Two Door Cinema Club, Kitten), failed to find commercial success and were dumped by their label (The Good Natured), became more generic and/or adult contemporary (Future Islands, Wild Nothing, DIIV, Austra), or just broke up (Vuvuvultures, and maybe some others). But I’m grateful to have had that fleeting period of new music excitement. I just don’t see it happening again.

  36. chazfromtoronto says:

    Hi Paul,
    Firstly let me tell ya that I have never enjoyed an article as much as yours, as yet on SDE.
    Yeah, so I’m a granpa as well but we have something what the young folkies lack today; a serious knowledge of the original music that has evolved into today’s music.
    which brings me to the title of your article: Do you have time for ‘new’ music?
    No (with a !)
    Why is that?
    Because generally most of todays music is a (sad) repetition of the music i too grew up with, and as such i would rather listen (again and again) to the original recordings by those pioneers, among my fav all-timers being:
    The Beatles – Abbey Road (bought the vinyl in 1969 followed by the 8-Trk and cassette and later succumbed to the many many remastered issues both on CD and vinyl and finally a month ago i purchased the 5.1 mixes on Bluray! And I’m still lovin’ it!)
    Jimi Hendrix – “Live” On The Killin’ Floor
    Deep Purple – Machine Head
    Santana – Abraxas
    Dr Hook – Bankrupt
    Amazing Rhythm Aces ‎-Stacked Deck
    Melanie ‎– The Good Book
    Joe Cocker ‎– Mad Dogs & Englishmen
    Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice ‎– Jesus Christ Superstar – A Rock Opera
    Bob Dylan – Desire (for the sheer brilliance of additional musicians Scarlet Rivera and EmmyLou Harris)
    Steppenwolf ‎– Slow Flux (for John Kay’s brilliant political messages)
    Queen ‎– A Night At The Opera
    Pink Floyd – The Wall
    The Eagles – Hotel California
    all the above being my desert island discs if you will. And it must be further noted that all the above are recordings which can be played in its entirety, without having to take the needle of the groove.
    With the 5.1 technology made available for some classic recordings, i also obtained Machine Head, Abraxas and A Night At The Opera, of which the latter is simply asounding in 5.1!

    Of course the 80’s brought us some amazing recordings from the likes of New Order, Tears For Fears, Blondie, Duran Duran etc etc which cannot be ignored but that’s for another day.
    As far as todays music goes, certainly there are some musicians even today who are original in their recordings. As for me, since the early 90s, two bands come to mind: Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
    I certainly hope to read more of your articles in the near future.
    Merry Christams and Happy Hanukkah!

  37. Seikotsi says:

    Just a few years younger than Paul here. The only ‘new’ artist that I’m really into is Charlie XCX. Others I can listen to but I don’t really feel compelled to do so (e.g. Algiers and Kendrick Lamar) but Charlie XCX cannot do anything wrong for me. I like her voice, her music, her use of auto tune which I fail to appreciate in any other artist, and her semi-awkward look and persona. The Play2 ‘mixtape’ is one of the best albums of this century for me. And I do listen to new music by old artists too (toto, Mike and the mechanics, depeche
    Mode, etc)

  38. Ken says:

    Like most middle-aged music fans I too am struggling to find any value in the commercial music the youngsters seem to enjoy.In the 60’s,70’s,80’s and 90’s the top 40 singles chart seemed culturally relevant and diverse,yet the equivalent in 2019 just seems to be fill of irrelevance and be totally unrelateable to my age-group.Also odd how old songs seem to appear in this modern singles chart at Christmastime,yet never at any othertime.The top40 singles chart and the diverse music business’s output seems to have parted company i.e the music that never dents this chart seems to posses all the variety and musicality older folk like me find interesting,while the music that fills this chart is utterly dull and unmemorable to my age-group.There seems to be two totally separate music industries.One for the over-40’s and one for the under 20’s.And they do not seem to overlap in anyway.

  39. wahmbeck says:

    here are the points from Germany :-)

    1. Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
    2. Bear’s Dan – So That You Might Here Me
    3. Deichkind – Wer Sagt Denn Das (german rap/electro group)
    4. Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
    5. Coldplay – Everyday Life
    6. Kummer -Kiox (german rap/rock musician)
    7. Two Door Cinema Club – False Alarm
    8. Tyler, the Creator – IGOR
    9. Billie Ilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go.
    X. Black Keys – “Let’s Rock”

    …and a Special mention to this two superb boxes
    > Pink Floyd – the Later Years
    > Prince – 1999 Super Deluxe Edition

  40. Kevin Tanswell says:

    Fascinating discussion.. for what it’s worth I am 63 and have been buying vinyl since 1963 (The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand 7″ being my first purchase). I still get out to as many gigs as I can, always a thrill to discover an exciting new band in a small intimate venue.. though I was very much into the prog / psychedelia of the late 60’s / early 70’s (Welsh acid-rock band Man being a perennial favourite), my life was changed through seeing the Clash on the White Riot tour in 1977, still the best gig I’ve ever experienced and hugely influential in informing my musical sensibilities to this day. I still firmly believe the thrill of experiencing a new young band with fire in their bellies beats all else when it comes to live music.

    Probably at odds with many of the posts here, but I think 2019 has been a golden year for new bands…. I haven’t heard a much better debut album in my lifetime than Fontaines DC’s ‘Dogrel’. The Murder Capital’s ‘When I Have Fears’, though clearly in thrall to Joy Division and their ilk, is another fully formed debut. There is a wealth of new talent coming through… Black Country New Road, Squid, and Dry Cleaning being just three bands worthy of investigation.

    Other 2019 notables for me would include Kate Tempest, Angel Olsen, Heather Woods Broderick, The Comet Is Coming, Julia Jacklin, Richard Dawson, Michael Kiwanuka, Fat White Family…there’s plenty of good new music to embrace out there.

    Then travel further afield to explore a booming Australian music scene… King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Courtney Barnett clearly being prime examples… but honourable mentions to the likes of the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Tropical F*ck Storm, Jen Cloher, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Grace Cummings, Amyl & The Sniffers too.

    I was a an ardent fan of NME in its heyday, discovered so much new music thanks to that publication’s tips.. nowadays I’m more likely to discover new music through independent record-shop recommendations.

    I still treasure my old vinyl, 60’s through to the 2000’s, always a joy to fire up a classic like ‘Hot Rats’ or ‘Marquee Moon’, but I maintain there’s still much to love about new music today. A new album that bridges the generational divide and wouldn’t be out of place in the psychedelic 1970’s has just crossed my radar.. on Oh See’s frontman John Dwyer’s Castle Face record label (a recommendation in itself), may I wrap up by proposing you give this LP a listen… ‘Nightmare Forever’ by Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band. My Christmas gift to you all!

    • hamicle says:

      Great post! There’s always plenty of decent new music out there, by old and new artists, to discover. Charts, Radio 1, etc, are not the be-all and end-all.

    • Chris Bashuan says:

      Hi Richard,

      You have said it all. Most of the records you mention have found their way into my collection. I’m nearly 50 and have been buying music since 12. I think this decade might be the best so far, if you scratch the surface. No point talking about the pop charts because that’s just click bait nonsense for advertising revenue alone. But if you listen to R6 (I guess you might) there’s no end of beautifully written and produced music.
      Geowolf, Oh Sees, Floating Points, Aldous Harding and Richard Dawson. All albums I bagged last weekend, everyone stunning.
      If you have not caught Dwyer live yet, do it. Possibly the most exciting gig I’ve been to for a long while. Quite a staggering unit.
      Happy new listening year to you.

  41. DaveM says:

    I am 55 and quite simply listening to R6 (which I thought was aimed at the stuff I like including new) on occasion, I find really hard work. There seems to be too many genres pushed that I cannot stand and certain DJs like the olden days who prefer hearing themselves rather than the music.
    But this year has seen some remarkable albums that I thought in advance wouldn’t be that great. Infact they are so good I have failed to decide which is best and couldn’t put a Rizla between them. They are:
    Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance
    The Flaming Lips – The Kings Head
    Neil Young – Colorado
    The Who – WHO
    Mercury Rev – Delta Suite Revisited
    Michael Kiwanuka- KIWANUKA

    • Stuart Wright says:

      Agree that daytime R6 is near unlistenable – however Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone (Sunday eves) and Freak Zone Playlist (Very late Sat) have a huge range of discoverable music rather like John Peel in the old days.
      Otherwise best source of new music is the good old Spotify Release radar and, going strong for more than a decade now, the annual Rough Trade Counter Culture compilation CDs which always have a lot of very good new underground and indie stuff.
      My favourite new band of recent years has been the Canadian indie /jangly/pop band Alvvays – they actually do catchy songs with great hooks and smart lyrics (remember those?).
      Happy Xmas.

  42. Rashers says:

    Interesting to know how many of us are out there – 50-ish grew up in the 80s, miss the great pleasure of digging for new music.
    2019 was a good year for new music (2018 was horrible), and some old reliable artists released great records. I have included my list below. However – if every record from the last 10 years vanished, and I bought a lot of them, it wouldn’t be any great loss to fans from the 50s to the 2000s.
    Records of the year:
    Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
    Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
    David Crosby – Here If You Listen
    Jesca Hoop – Stonechild
    Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
    Fontaines DC – Dogrel
    Angel Olson – All Mirrors
    Richard Dawson – 2020
    Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance
    Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
    Foals – Everything not Saved will be Lost – Part 1
    Tool – Inoculum
    The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
    Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
    Iron and Wine & Calexico – Years to Burn
    Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
    Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
    Pernice Brothers – Spread the Feeling
    New Pornographers – In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
    Steve Mason – About the Light
    The National – I am easy to find
    The Comet is Coming – Trust is the Lifeforce of The Deep Mystery
    SEED Ensemble – Driftglass
    Black Midi – Schlagenheim
    Elbow – Giants of All Sizes
    Jenny Lewis – On the Line
    Branford Marsalis Quartet ‎– The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul

  43. Enrico G. says:

    This year I bought:
    – 2 CD+DVD/BR by Porcupine Tree;
    – Sgt. Pepper’s SDE;
    – Steven Wilson’s Home Invasion BR;
    – 2 Bob Marley’s live albums;
    – Saxon’s The Eagle Has Landed 40;
    – It’s Alive 40th Anniversary boxset.
    All the new music I listen to everyday on Virgin Radio is not worth buying it, IMHO.

  44. Mathew Lauren says:

    Spot on, Paul!

    …though I have no INSERT for the cinema, these days.

    My $.02, as far as new MUSICAL acts, though:


    They are the only musicians who currently, consistently hold my interest — wonder if they’d be interested in a 5.1 RE campaign?

  45. Stephen Scott says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Nowadays my annual top 10 list is made up of the only 10 CD’s I’ve bought from that year. Sometimes I don’t make it to ten and I buy on average 250 CD’s a year.

  46. Alan Mitchell says:

    I don’t follow the charts. I’m 48 and it’s not aimed at me. Pop music and youth are like peas and carrots. Not saying i don’t mind the odd song i may hear. Dance music i no longer enjoy either. I gave up house and techno toward the end of my twenties (club culture for me was a big thing but certain elements became a problem). I was left in a musical void.

    But then i discovered 6music and Mojo and several years ago fell in love with LPs and found the money to start getting into hifi (Naim fan). Also the Green Man Festival has cemented itself as my little slice of heaven. For the artists I’ve found myself reading about and drawn to it’s perfect.

    My allowance each month is split between old vinyl and new (and interest free payments for new hifi gear!). My modest collection is made up mainly of old, as for £50 you can walk away with a few, whereas £50 on new will get you two. Occasionally I’ll opt for a new cd as they’re so much cheaper.

    But 2019’s new music? Checking my discogs list… Warmduscher, Squid, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Black Country New Road, Olafur Arnalds, Sharon van Etten, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, TVAM, Floating Points, Santigold, Sleaford Mods, Mega Bog and The Comet is Coming. I also bought the Howard Jones one. Thought i best add an artist that people have probably heard of :)

    So none of those artists are going to appeal to the majority of radio 1 listeners and none are ever gonna show up on a radio 2 playlist either. But they are all real musicians, playing real music (okay, so not the Sleafords) with a passion. The new wave of British jazz is made up of young musicians who have grown up with grime and the like and that now finds its way into their music and attitude and hopefully inspires others to reach and strive.

    At 48 I’d like to be watching Top of the Pops with my grandkids and either grinding my teeth or tapping my toe but those days have passed. Hopefully though my love of music will catch their interest at some point and one of them will start to dig through my collection. Fingers crossed they fall in love at some point with Sign o the Times, Rumours, Abbey Road and The Kick Inside or artists like Field Music, Courtney Barnet, Parquet Courts or White Denim.

    Anyway I’ve run out of steam now and the dog needs feeding so best i get up.

    Merry Christmas my musical friends and a peaceful New Year. Al.

  47. Neil Parnell says:

    Paul…its tough i know,,,im the same age as you:.::i run a label so its part of my job to know whats new and exciting out there…one recommendation i would say though from 2019 as a fan of dep mode/tears for fears etc..:These New Puritans LP inside The Rose…sounds looks like a modern update of both

    • Auteur55 says:

      Inside the Rose is my album of the year. I adore it. They don’t seem to be part of the cool club though and are routinely ignored now by the press and end of year lists and they are one of the few artist pushing music into new places.

      Also the ever reliable Tindersticks put out yet another great record this year.

      • Neil Parnell says:

        it did make quite a few end of year lists i saw…they are doing a special show at the barbican…i can’t wait…i can see them going down a similar route to talk talk…every record getting more and minimal

  48. Brendan says:

    One of the benefits of being an unrepentant college radio guy, now in the back half of my 50th year, I have not paid attention to what was in the charts since 1988 or thereabouts. Among the new music that caught my money this year:

    1) Skee Mask, Iss004 (EP)
    2) Ex Hex, It’s Real (LP)
    3) Charli XCX, Charli (LP)
    4) Peggy Gou, Starry Night (EP)
    5) Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride (LP)
    6) Hemlock Ernst, Back At The House (LP)
    7) Gary Clark, Jr., This Land (LP)

    And a few more. There is good new music to be found, but you do have to hunt for it. And you have to, for the most part, ignore the charts.

  49. Gareth Jones says:

    I make myself a “top tracks” compulation every year that fits onto a CD. I usually have a shortlist of 3-4 hours and have to whittle it down to 79mins. I guess l’m an exception. Much as l love this website, l spend far more time checking out new music than reissues.

    I do a monthly show on the John Peel-inspired online station Dandelion Radio and we’re basically encouraged to play as much new music as possible. I’ve yet to find a month where it’s been a struggle to find enough good new tracks to fill my 2 hour show. Granted, a lot of it unsigned artists on bandcamp who might make slightly “difficult” music rather than commercial chart artists.

    But if you don’t have the time or interest to wade through all the zillions on bandcamp artists, then the Friday 30-track ‘Release Radar’ on Spotify is generally genius. It picks 30 new tracks they think you’ll like, and usually around 90% is right up my street.

    Also still worth buying a monthly mag like Q or Mojo and wading through the reviews pages each month. Despite featuring a lot of older artists in their articles and interviews, l’ve discovered plenty of great new artists by reading a Mojo review then listening on Spotify.

    You’re right about no.1 hits these days though. I’ve still not heard the monkey song!!

  50. Wayne Olsen says:

    Great article. I used to trade Top 15s with my friends every year, and I compiled them a few years ago. I think I stopped when I was just putting the latest albums by people I liked. This is not a retrospective list but my actual at the time #1 albums:
    1964: Beatles 65. 1965: Rubber Soul. 1966: Revolver. 1967: Sgt Pepper 1968: White Album. 1969: abbey road. 1970: Jesus Christ superstar. 1971: every good boy deserves favour. 1972: exile on Main Street. 1973: goodbye yellow brick road. 1974: in too much too soon (NY Dolls). 1975: captain fantastic. 1976: songs in the key of life, 1977: never mind the bollocks. 1978: David Johansen. 1978: London calling/the wall. 1980:double fantasy. 1981: east side story. 1982: imperial bedroom. 1983:war. 1984:unforgettable fire. 1985: hounds of live. 1986:Graceland. 1987: Joshua tree. 1988:Brian Wilson. 1989:flowers in the dirt. 1990: goo. 1991:candied. 1992:automatic for the people. 1993:Jesus blood never failed me yet. 1994:if I were a carpenter. 1995:the bends. 1996:a different class. 1997:Ok computer. 1998:this is my truth tell me yours. 1999:what are you going to do with your life. 2000;smile (Jayhawks). 2001: all about chemistry. 2002:the last broadcast. 2003:sumday (grandaddy). 2094:absolution. 2005:funeral. 2006: just like the family cat. 2007: the good the bad and the Queen. 2008; in rainbows. 2009: the resistance. 2010: the suburbs. 2011: king if limbs. 2012: the 2nd law. 2013: reflector. 2014: morning phase. 2015: drones. 2016: black star. 2017: is this the life we really want?

    • Quante says:

      I love that you couldn’t split London Calling / The Wall at the time. Could you split them today?

      I used to play my brother’s copy of London Calling with side 1 getting the most play by a mile. Side 4 rarely got a look in. Isn’t that how many lps are played? – you go to your favourite side for ages and eventually get around to getting into the rest of the album.

      The Wall was (is) amazing. I spent hours listening to it at night on headphones from my home recorded cassette, complete with a scratch / click all the way through the guitar solo on another brick in the wall part 2. The production, sounds, songs and performances were so absorbing. Thirty five years later I got a lot of pleasure from the band demos disc on the immersion set.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        I agree about those demos. There was a 3CD version of The Wall back in 2012 which had ‘highlights’ of the demos. Don’t know if that is still easily available, but given there’s no 5.1 in the box set it’s a relatively cheap way of picking up some of the demos. That said, if you have the first two Immersion boxes *not* getting The Wall would be a bit silly.

  51. Steve says:

    The Bad Dreamers’ “Songs About People Including Myself” is my 2019 album of the year:


    They recreate 80’s style pop music to phenomenal effect. I can’t recommend them enough. Sadly, the album does not exist in any physical form. Maybe you could work with the band to release it on CD and/or vinyl? :)

  52. Kevin says:

    This reminds me of the year that Boyz II Men were in the middle of their run at #1 in the US with “End of the Road”, and CNN ran a report about how the song had been #1 for several weeks but nobody seemed to know the song at all. And this was 1992.

    As for new stuff, I count 12 bona-fide new releases that I acquired in 2019—only half of which were albums.

    Pet Shop Boys – Agenda (EP)
    Areni Agbabian – Bloom
    Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home
    Krzysztof Penderecki/Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra – Gorecki: Symphony No. 3
    Leonard Cohen – Thanks For the Dance
    Nick Lowe – Love Starvation (EP)
    George Michael – This Is How (We Want You to Get High) (single)
    Katiejane Garside – liar, flower ‘i am sundress, she of infinite flowers’ (ltd. ed.)
    stephersaur – Tennyson St. (single)
    stephersaur – The ‘are we getting back together or just messing around’ song (single)
    stephersaur – She Woke Up In the Woods (single)
    Moontwin – Moon TV

    Add to the list these collections or reissues:
    Various Artists – Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980–1990
    David Bowie – Space Oddity (2019 mix)
    Merzbow – Venereology (2019 remaster)
    Rhodri Davies/David Sylvian/Mark Wastell – There Is No Love (2019 RSD edition)
    Prefab Sprout – I Trawl the Megahertz (remastered)
    David Sylvian – Alchemy (2019 vinyl reissue)

    Granted, it’s been a weird couple of years, but I haven’t noticed much in the way of new music that strikes my interest. Maybe Lizzo or Billie Eilish, but neither have been interesting enough for me to actually spend money on. Everything else seems to be rappers with bad names, pop music with very limited melodic and dynamic range, or Beyoncé—none of which I like.

    In any event, I’ve been more apt to spend money on blu-rays (Criterion recently had one of their 50% off sales) or older music from used record shops and online retailers. For example:

    Lou Reed – Magic and Loss
    Johnny Cash – Unearthed
    Willie Nelson – Last Man Standing
    Steve Reich – Different Trains/Electronic Counterpoint
    Nick Lowe – Quiet Please… The New Best of Nick Lowe
    Prefab Sprout – Jordan: The Comeback (blu-spec edition)
    Gil Scott-Heron – Small Talk at 125th and Lenox
    Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything? (FLAC)
    Frank Perry – Deep Peace/New Atlantis (FLAC)
    Ian Hunter – You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic (Deluxe Edition)
    Jim O’Rourke – Disengage (FLAC)
    David Sylvian – Died in the Wool: Manafon Variations (FLAC)

    On the other hand, when I was in my teens and twenties, I pretty much spent most of my money on music, easily making several trips a week to Tower Records (and, during the five years I lived in Tokyo, making the rounds of all the record shops in Shibuya every weekend). Particularly when I was in college, if I had fewer than 20 of the albums on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart, I had catching up to do.

    These days, I don’t feel that same compulsion to constantly seek out new music—or to buy every new reissue of a favorite album, especially when too many reissues (e.g., the recent Prefab Sprout reissues) are still too compressed (at least the George Michael reissues have so far respected the dynamic range of the original releases). I’d rather explore worthwhile stuff I missed or ignored the first time around.

    This makes sense, though. Popular music tends to be very much of its time, and, for a myriad of reasons, each generation responds differently to music. I’m drawn to music that better reflects my own sensibilities, and my sensibilities are not the same as those of someone who is in their twenties (if they were, I’d be very worried about at least one of us). So I’m no longer concerned with whether or not the records I buy are on the charts, or how many year-end lists they make.

  53. Andrew says:

    Slightly off-topic but I’m not sure where to post this. Thanks for all you do Paul. My wallet has a problem with you but I am thankful for your insightful posts, your unboxing videos, and your sale posts. I just received the 25th anniversary of the Cranberries first release box set, and it was less than a third of the price it’s listed at now!

  54. Dave Brealey says:


    Cheers for all the work you, it is appreciated. May I wish you and your family a happy xmas and a happy and healthy new year


  55. Brian says:

    My Top 10 albums (and I’m 50 years old)

    1. Ladytron – Ladytron
    2. Liam Gallagher – Why Me, Why Not?
    3. Xeno & Oaklander – Hypnos
    4. Kaiser Chiefs – Duck
    5. Shakespeares Sister – Ride Again
    6. Morrissey – California Son
    7. Temples – Hot Motion
    8. The Specials – Encore
    9. Beck – Hyperspace
    10. White Lies – Five

  56. Lee Rosevere says:

    I won’t hit you over the head with my large list of fave albums from the year – instead I would recommend two albums that I came back to alot over the year.. and they’re not demanding listens, you can just enjoy them in background.

    Emily King – Scenery
    Shura – Forevher

    If you want more, I can highly recommend the albums by Japanese House, Muna, Potty Mouth, Sophie Zelmani, Dido, Barrie and many more.

  57. Emilio Lafarga Giribets says:

    Just watching BSpringsteen’s Western Stars, one of the albums of the year for me. The live version of it on bluray sounds awesome, definitely one of the best bluray concerts in terms of sound.

  58. Steve says:

    I’m 45 and still try and usually manage to find new music I enjoy, most of it by old bands or new stuff that’s probably too poppy for the youth of today. So here’s my Top 10 of 2019 in order of preference.
    1, Pixies – Beneath the Eyrie
    2, Jax Jones – Snacks
    3, Shakespears Sister – Ride again
    4, Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
    5, Mark Ronson – Late Night Feelings
    6, Sigrid – Sucker Punch
    7, Lana Del Rey – NFR
    8, Lizzo – Cause I Love You
    9, Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness
    10, Beck – Hyperspace

    And a special mention to Prince and the “Originals” collection.

  59. Mark says:

    Apart from Richard Hawley’s Further and the Scientists’ 9H20.SiO2, both of which I thought were brilliant, I couldn’t even name a new release from 2019.

    Hang on, not entirely true… I knocked my lobes to Nick Cave’s Ghosteen album a few times, but came away feeling a lot like it was the aural equivalent of a seven-course meal where each course was a potato dish.

  60. Tom says:

    My favorite years for music were 1978 through 1980, so I celebrated the 40th anniversary of some really great 1979 albums during this past year. Like many of you, a very, very large percentage of my time spent listening to music in 2019 was concentrated on music from the long-ago past!

    Just for kicks, my favorite albums that turned 40 this year (you can tell that I was/am a rocker):

    AC/DC – Highway to Hell
    Aerosmith – Night in the Ruts
    April Wine – Harder…Faster
    Bad Company – Desolation Angels
    Blackfoot – Stripes
    Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick at Budokan
    Eagles – The Long Run
    Foreigner – Head Games
    Journey – Evolution
    Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East
    Kansas – Monolith
    Pat Travers Band – Live! Go For What You Know
    Pink Floyd – The Wall
    The B-52’s – The B-52’s
    The Cars – Candy-O
    The Clash – London Calling
    The Knack – Get the Knack
    The Police – Regatta de Blanc
    The Who – The Kids Are Alright
    Thin Lizzy – Black Rose
    UFO – Strangers in the Night
    Van Halen – Van Halen II
    XTC – Drums and Wires
    ZZ Top – Deguello

  61. Tim Abbott says:

    The moral of the story appears to be to not have kids.

  62. Paul says:

    New music that moved me in 2019 not much except Purple Mountains album Nick Cave Ghosteen Michael Chapman True North and a album by a band called 75 dollar bill sort of droning krautrock ish.

  63. Patrick G. says:

    I turned 50 this past summer. I understand where you are coming from. It was becoming increasingly difficult to find new music I love.
    I look to you for All my reissue information plus. The only reason I know anything about music going on right now is KCRW out of Santa Monica. I listen to the live shows online when I can and they have a stream called Eclectic 24 which I put on and can catch things I might have missed otherwise. Just as it is with all things not everything will make you want to look and see what is playing but you will be able to see they truly love music. I have heard many of the artist I love now on the station.
    The one thing I will say is that you and readers love of music is why I keep coming back and why I tell everyone I can about the site. I can Always count on comprehensive coverage of not just reissues but the music you, I and your readers love. The sometimes spirited debate is also a clue to how much people still care about music. I have also tremendously enjoyed your concert reviews.
    Finally Thank you and your readers for the proper education that I have received in music that I was just not exposed to growing up in the states prior to the internet. Thanks to you all I have become familiar with some fantastic artist.
    Have a Merry Christmas and I look forward to much more next year!!

  64. Tony walton says:

    Been reading this site for 6 month now…it’s got a great music vibe about it…a love reading what people are into and which music there buying…I’m 58 been buying music since I was 12….stave Harley and Cockney rebel…..the sensational Alex Harvey band……bowie……Kate bush…they were my big thing……the only newish bands a would buy now are wolf alice and the pretty reckless….bought billie eillish viny and CD and picture disc in 2019..

  65. Michael says:

    I am 10 years behind you Paul, having judt turned 40. But I fully share the view that there just is not much getting made in recent years that strikes much interest. I still find a “new” artist every few years that I really do like, often from looking beyond the UK and US, and I make myself look for and try out at least a couple new albums from people I had not known every year. But still very little matches the quality and interest of music made from the 70s to the mid 90s. I think there are lots of factors in the industru no longer investing much in bands that contribute to that. For example, nobody would now give an unproven act like Propaganda a year in the studio with access to everything to come up with something new. Nobody would back a band like the early Pink Floyd to experiment and figure out their sound for years. And companies would rather bank on easy money and known commodities. So we get less suppprt and less reward for many new artists to try their hand.

    • Tim-Meh says:

      Conversely though take a band like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard who have literally done it themselves without any major label involvement and have become darlings of the indie press, sell out majors tours, and have made 15 albums in the last 10 years that differ stylistically each time. I mention them because if you like early Pink Floyd there’s definitely a parallel. There STILL is an alternative to the mainstream. Don’t be spoon fed. I still can’t figure out who buys Ed Sheeran albums???

  66. Christopher says:

    I’ve only bought two new release albums this year.
    Tr\st – The Destroyer parts 1 and 2

    Regarding reissues, that’s limited also.
    The Passions – Sanctuary CD
    Danielle Dax – Dark Adapted Eye CD anniversary edition
    Devo – LP colored vinyl record store day box set
    Pretenders – 7 inch singles black Friday box set

    That’s about it

    • CAB says:

      I didn’t even know the Passions 3rd LP had been re-released ! Just ordered it – cheers for that.
      By the way Paul, Live at The Hope and Anchor (Front Row Festival) has just been released on CD. It’s a classic and may deserve some attention.

  67. John Spasm says:

    Having the same problem. I chalked it up to getting old.

  68. Polar says:

    As far as I can hear, there is very little new talent out there at the moment. Let’s hope the new decade brings something stunning. Until then, the new albums from 20th century acts such as Neil Young, John Lennon and Bob Dylan are the real golden nuggets

  69. Dave says:

    Can honestly say as a subscriber to classic rock mag the free cds not one do i bother to play twice so called new rock ! Crap flat sound dull ! Been done before ! Sounded great ! Way back 70s rock never sounded so good. So yes agreed. Happy birthday . Ok.

  70. Jakob says:

    This is very relatable content and I’m still three years out from reaching 50!

    I felt I was barely able to cobble together a favourite 10 on Instagram this year because I only bought maybe 13 non-reissue releases (and of course not all ended up as favourites) this year.

  71. Paul English says:

    Happy Christmas (and belated birthday wishes) Paul. Thanks very much for all the great reviews, interviews and bargain alerts throughout the year.

    My favourites of 2019 were:

    01 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
    02 Ride – This Is Not A Safe Place
    03 Guided By Voices – Sweating The Plague
    04 Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!
    05 The Specials – Encore
    06 Charli XCX – Charli
    07 Fader – In Shadow
    08 Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
    09 Richard Hawley – Further
    10 Trevor Horn – Reimagines The Eighties

    01 The Go-Betweens – G Stands For Go-Betweens Volume 2
    02 Prince – 1999
    03 Stephen Duffy – I Love My Friends
    04 Gene Clark – No Other
    05 The Replacements – Dead Man’s Pop
    06 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Souvenir
    07 Heaven 17 – Play To Win: The Virgin Years
    08 Tanita Tikaram – To Drink The Rainbow
    09 Marillion – Afraid Of Sunlight
    10 Ramones – It’s Alive

    01 Gary Crowley’s Lost 80s
    02 The Daisy Age
    03 Steve Lamacq Lost Alternatives
    04 Big Gold Dreams: The Story Of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989
    05 Tim Peaks: Songs For A Late Night Diner
    06 Electrical Language: Independent British Synth Pop 1978-1984
    07 Strangers In The Room: A Journey Through British Folk Rock 1967-1973
    08 Come On Let’s Go! Power Pop Gems From The 70s And 80s
    09 All The Young Droogs: 60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks
    10 Now 100 Hits: Even More Forgotten 80s

  72. Cosmo Castanza says:

    A very good article , which resonated with me and I imagine others.

    I try listening to new artists from time to time , but in the last 20 years so much i have heard is not in the same class as ye olde music.

    It is difficult not to sound like an old rose tinted person but ……Bowie , Stones , Who , Floyd Zeppelin , Springsteen , Jackson , Abba , Wonder , Beatles , Clash , Radiohead , Nirvana , Pixies , Dylan , Young ………..are all from another century ,to name but a few.

    What list could be compared from the 21st century.
    I loved Punk Indie and metal , what is referred to by those terms now is not as sold.

    I tell my children they have been short changed in music .
    But they listen through terrible speakers on thier phones and watch videos on tiny screens.

    I don’t think they care about music as we do , simple as that.

    I frequently am unable to identify any instruments , it is just sound.

  73. Ray says:

    There are still a lot of very good (new) artists to discover, and most of them seem not to use autotune (= photoshoped music) to make them sound like everyone else, so for me, that was a very good year regarding new music. A few exemples
    1. King Nun
    2. Emergency Tiara
    3. The Sherlocks
    4. Sam Fender
    5. Spinn
    And if you like french music, there is a lot of great music too (Lilian Renaud, Slimane, Arcadian, Maëlle, …).
    Have also a listen to some cool new songs like Marc Almond & Ian Anderson (Lord of Misrule) or the 70s style dance song from Billy Porter (Love yourself)
    Happy Holiday Season

  74. martin farnworth says:

    I’ ve slightly changed my mindset from thinking i should buy more new music to not worrying about it because there’s so much stuff i own from the (increasingly) distant past and not enough time to listen to it. On a rather morbid note it’s likely i’ll be dead before all the physical product i own will ever be listened to again even though i’ve sold all the stuff i decided wasn’t up to scratch and i still “only” 45.

    The only new albums i bought this year where Field Music, Tim Bowness, No-Man and Vanishing Twin. A pathetically low number. Those end of year lists are more important than ever to stay in touch It’s good though being selective as i feel new music, to some extent is competing for time with old music/reissues and i’m still spending a bit -a lot to do with box sets. Recent purchases include -DM, OMD and Soft Cell and the Kankyo Ongaku boxset i first heard of here is a revelation.

    I’d wouldn’t be so quick to say music is worse like many readers might do although there’s more a feeling i’ve heard it all already (which is not really true). One thing i don’t miss is spending £13 on a CD and finding i only like a couple of tracks. Of the 30 or 40 new albums i was buying a year sometime in the 90s a fair few of them now i’d consider pretty mediocre.

  75. Jonathan says:

    I’m your age Paul and this is how I keep up to date with what is on the charts;
    1)download Friday’s top 40 show onto the BBC sounds app every week…probably on headphones as I go about a routine task.
    2) listen to all intersong chat.
    3)listen to all songs you haven’t heard before at least once but jump forward if you have (very easy to do with the 20s ff function)

    There are artists and tracks out there that enjoy the trajectory of a genuine not-attached-to-a-big tvshow/film.. old school hit. i. e. gain traction and become international smashes by their own artist driven momentum. Tones is probably such an artist. Track down her interviews on the aforementioned chart shows.

    Yes there is a huge amount of niche music in the charts that could never crossover. Also the seemingly unwritten bylaw that all new artists must do a collab with his Sheeraness is getting very tedious.
    But give the top 40 a weekly speed through listen and see how you find it

  76. David McIntyre says:

    3 stand out albums this year for me have been
    1. Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
    2. Swans – Leaving Meaning
    3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Ghostteen

    Stormzy and Lizzo have also impressed me this year

  77. Ross Baker says:

    Only 35 and I feel I hit ‘peak music’ a few years ago – I’ve gone from 200 records a year (new or back catalogue) to around 50 or 60, and half of those get sold within the year because I just don’t connect with them, largely because I just don’t have the time to give them a listen they deserve.

    I’ve owned thousands of albums in my life, and although I’ve actually whittled it down to 800-or-so these days, there are still more albums there than I have time to listen to, so for me to buy and keep a new record I have to be fairly confident that I’m actually going to love it for a long time, that it’s worth playing over one of my long-time favourites.

    This year I’ve managed to list 15 albums which I think I’ll be listening to for many years to come, which is the best hit-rate for as long as I can remember. A lot of my existing favourites in there, but also some recent discoveries and even a couple of debut albums. So 2019 was, for me, the best year for music in maybe a decade. In contrast, a number of albums I was really looking forward to didn’t do much for me and might not even be in my collection a few years down the line. Funny how these things happen.

    My top 15:

    Underworld – Drift Series 1
    Desperate Journalist – In Search of the Miraculous
    The Future Sound of London – Yage 2019
    The Divine Comedy – Office Politics
    Confluent Phase – Ad Astra
    Aurora – A Different Kind of Human (Step 2)
    Idlewild – Interview Music
    A Winged Victory for the Sullen – The Undivided Five
    Mikron – Severance
    Humanoid – Built by Humanoid
    Sigrid – Sucker Punch
    Ariana Grande – thank u, next
    36 – C45 Dreamloops
    Michele Rabbia / Gianluca Petrella / Eivind Aarset – Lost River
    Off Land – Field Tangents

  78. Jurg says:

    Age is not the problem. There are so many people now making music that it is simply not possible to select, to have heard everything. The problem for me is that new artists these days can make a good song or album but can’t deliver second good song or album. Most of the time it’s “I’ve heard this before …” . So I don’t follow new artists or bands. I can’t make a top ten list because I didn’t buy ten new albums this year. I am still discovering and processing music of the past decades and I enjoy that.

    • Jonathan says:

      Agree to some extent… I go to a lot of small gigs and listen to bbc introducing Sussex and Solent shows every week. The lack of filter between artist and listener means tracks are often too long and there is a lack of quality control in what gets released.

  79. Tom Walsh says:

    Music HAS gone down the pan and pop Has eaten itself .
    Is NME list of the year going to include anything remotely on a par with the NME list from 1979?:
    1. Fear Of Music – Talking Heads
    2. Metal Box – Public Image Ltd.
    3. Unknown Pleasures – Joy Division
    4. Setting Sons – The Jam
    5. Entertainment – Gang Of Four
    6. Armed Forces – Elvis Costello
    7. Do It Yourself – Ian Dury
    8. London Calling – The Clash
    9. Squeezing Out The Sparks – Graham Parker
    10. The Specials – The Specials

    • Klaus says:

      @Tom Walsh:

      I’d be interested to read (really!) what 20-year-olds think of the records on your/NME’s list today.
      So, if there are any among the BOF’s like Paul, me and seemingly 99 percent of the commenters of this post so far please listen to it and comment.

    • AlanB says:

      Tom what a list! I have all these apart from Graham Parker must have a look around!!

    • Jeff M says:

      Now that is a list of standout albums!!! I would have been 14 years old and full of P&V listening to unbelievable music at that time. I guess this became the soundtrack for the rest of my life as I keep going back to these bands and era and cannot connect with much of what is going on nowadays. Thanks for the share of that.

      • martin farnworth says:

        it’s ok saying what a great list of albums this is. in the history of popular music i never heard someone say at any given music is better now than in the past. the nme was always fairly narrow in it’s scope of music. this list proves this. the nme list of top 10 albums for 2019 is rather irrelevant. hardly anyone would care about what nme thinks these days. personally these are all influential acts but i don’t care for most of them. Are albums by The Jam or Elvis Costello from 1979 better than this years best albums? I don’t know but they are sacred to many people and “better than what is out nowadays”


      I´ve got 8 of 10, Public Image Ltd. and Gang of Four are not in my collection. But to be fair the 14 year old me only bought 3 albums at the time: The Jam, Elvis Costello and Graham Parker.
      If you look a the UK singles chart any week of 1979 there are loads of classics or at least songs you remember for better or worse. You can’t say the same about 1999 and I guess 2019 20 years from now.

    • Michael says:

      Still. Tastes are all subjective. THAT 1979 list is no good in my opinion. Only three records on there that have any songs I enjoy even a little. But I do not like punk. That is a list for critics who like punk.

  80. Guy says:

    It’s sad to hear some people on here say things like ‘modern music is awful’. I don’t know anything in the charts today, but that’s because I’m not a teenager, I’m in my 50s. I dare say that if I was in my 50s in the 70s/80s I would have been skeptical about chart music then.

    One poster below claims there is no melody in today’s music and that none of them will be around or fondly remembered in ten years time. Talk about rose-tinted spectacles – have they seen the utter dross in the BBC4 repeats of TOTP?! They’re in grave danger of sounding like our parents: ‘you can’t hear the words and you can’t dance to it’ etc. Listen around a bit and find new stuff to like, there’s plenty out there.

    As for me, I went to uni in the 80s thinking early 80s ‘electro-pop’ music was the best thing ever but I had my ears opened to some much, much better and more challenging music like PIL, The Cure etc. Some electro-pop from that era stands up today but I also look back to some of the electro-pap [sic] released then and cannot for the life of me think why anyone today would want a CD box set of Dollar’s singles with all the remixes! But I accept it’s all a matter of taste – I’m not that keen on The Beatles either so what do I know!

    Today, I listen to BBC 6music. Among all the classic stuff and new releases they play, which is what attracted me to them to the station (that and the fact there are NO adverts!) there is an increasing nod towards rap & grime artists taking the UK music scene by storm(zy). I don’t ‘get’ most of it, but as I said at the top, I’m not a teenager.

    Modern music is not awful, it’s just different. We need to keep reminding ourselves of that and not just comfortably wallow in the musical preferences of our formative years. As long as some of today’s music keeps being innovative and challenges my musical tastes, that’s fine by me. Btw, my LP of the year is Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance.

    Merry Christmas Paul and many, many thanks for your fantastic site despite its impact on my wallet!

  81. Matthew says:

    I’ve been looking at lists of top 20 albums of the year and been completely unaware of who the majority of the artists are! I can only put together a top 3 of albums that have completely blown me away.
    1. Western Stars – Bruce Springsteen
    2. Norman F**king Rockwell – Lana Del Rey
    3. When We All Fall Asleep… – Billie Eilish

  82. birdlives says:

    “Whatever music was playing when you started getting laid, you gonna love that music for the rest of your life.” – Chris Rock

    Music is the language of a culture. It expresses the terrors and exhilarations of first freedoms; the dreams and visions for the new world along with disinterest and dismissal of the old one. It marks who belongs to the culture and who doesn’t. We can love music that came before us, the music of our own time, and the music that is happening now. But new music is aimed at lifestyle concerns and nuances that we don’t prioritize as much any more. We may dig it but it’s not for us and we need to respect that.

    So, it seems to move past us and to be without the same poignancy, substance and urgency of “our” music. But really, same as it ever was. It still moves people, they still consume it in whatever media is available, they still sing it to themselves and hum it to others and talk about it and play it and see it played live.

    I am older than you are, Paul – although I stay young by being endlessly immature. Like you, I still love music of most types but gravitate time and again to the music I grew up with – when it mattered beyond the melody and even the lyrics. When it was the song of my tribe and spoke to me in a whole different way. When music meant more than the music itself.

    When I became a father. I swore I would never tell my son, “Turn that down!” or “That’s not real music!” like I had to hear growing up. He’s eleven now and loves hip hop and slick pop: karma’s such a bitch. (I do like a lot of hip hop but again, not intended for me and I get that what I dig about it is not necessarily what its intended audience digs about it.)

    It’s important to let younger listeners hear and understand what had never before been done back in the day, be it Charlie Parker, Elvis at Sun, or the Sex Pistols, and to listen to what’s happening now that has never been done before either. It’s also important to understand all music in the context of its time and to recognize that every new form of music was an overthrow of the form that proceeded it. That’s great – not a sign of disrespect but of artistic vision and social causation.

    Bottom line for all of us is that as long as you start by music having meaning to you when you’re growing up, and urge others to find the same as they grow up, then music still matters. And that matters a lot.

  83. dapaladi69 says:

    i have been a record collector for nearly 35 years, with 8000 items in my collection. three years ago i signed to apple music family being my husband already a subacriber, and 23 years younger. i already had an ipod with my favorite mp3 songs i had personally made from cd or vinyls so the switch to apple music was pretty easy, with no old tracks library to be created, just keeping a couple of hundred of my mp3s mosltly because that particular version was not available on apple music. later on my husband and i decided to prepare to move from italy to brazil, so i decided to put my entire collection on sale on discogs and have almest sold everything. meanwhile i started to listen weekly every friday to a new releases playlist suggested by apple music based on my favorite tracks, and discovered tons on new groups with 80s sound that i like. i have also copied my library to spotify ad-version to get the same friday new releases radar playlist from them. they are slightly different but every week i am able to find some new tracks or discover new groups i like. for two third of this decade i was able to find 40/50 tracks i liked per year, while with those two digital services now i find 200+ a year, mostly unknown dark/ghotic and synthpop groupd i would never come across before. regardless of the charts this is one of the best period of my life to enjoy new music, i wasn’t finding so much new stuff i like since the early 90s. i haven’t used much streaming services to look at old tracks because i already new everything i like, having worked in a record store in the eighties and nineties. frankly i am not missing the old days and also collecting since i can spend my free time listening to new music with my lg quad-dac smartphone and rha low impedence wired headphones everywhere at anytime. i don’t care of the charts, i just ignore them, they aren’t anymore something that can help me discover new groups i like.

    • John McCann says:

      I was thinking about getting a lg.qwad.dac smartphone and rha low empedence wired headphone do they sound good,

  84. Louis says:

    Hi Paul. More or less I have the same feelings as you on this. Same personal situation (50 yrs old, childrens, etc). I’m argee with many people that says that nowdays music is rubish. I think we have and we will have the same situation as in the past. There are (were and there will be) lot of music with low quality. The challenge is to discover the good/quality music. Nowdays, it’s very easy to try to discover new bands (internet!) that we have so much music on hand that we drown (I the first). Apart from listening to music (at home, at work …) I really like going to concerts. Most of them (99%) of veteran bands. BUT I also like to go to music festivals. I like the atmosphere and with the excuse of seeing old bands smetimes I discover new ones that I like. The problem I have is that each new year I know less bands (if not none) or not like any of them, in most of festivals! I’m crying! ). Those of us who are already old, we have the risk of falling into the trap of nostalgia and hearing only bands of our time (or earlier) and rejecting new ones, saying the typical phrase “things are no longer done as before. Now everything it’s rubbish”. It is always fun and comforting to discover new music, in addition to listening to our old favorite bands. In another hand I must say that write a yearly best music list is very difficult ( I would say impossible) if you don’t split by style. If you mix styles, it would be crazy and some very good bands will be out of that list. That or you create a infinite list. Finally, just few samples of bands I discovered along the last two years (very diferent styles): Volbeat, Billie Ellish, Soen, Imelda May, Elise LeGrow, Larkin Poe… I can’t finish this speech without mentioning the great work that you are doing in SDE. Thanks a lot and have a great christmas season.

  85. AdamW says:

    As someone who recently found out that I am only 4 months younger than this website’s owner (which totally makes sense) and also with a full-time job and two teenagers, it’s work to find new music, but doable. I listen to a radio station that does a good job of approximating what a really good AAA station ought to be in 2019, and they mix in a lot of the good old stuff as well. So I’m listening to Cage The Elephant, The Clash, Michael Kiwanuka, Foals, Talking Heads and Nilüfer Yanya in the same hour. Then you can spiral down some playlists based on that and find some good stuff there as well.

    My top ten albums for 2019 probably looks something like this:

    fka Twigs – Magdalene
    Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1
    K Á R Y Y N – The Quanta Series
    Tool – Fear Inoculum
    YACHT – Chain Tripping
    Battles – Juice B Crypts
    The National – I Am Easy To Find
    Automatic – Signal (I’d flag this one as “appeals most to lovers of 1979’s music”)
    Thom Yorke – Anima
    Lee “Scratch” Perry – Rainford

    Honorable mentions go to Sleater-Kinney’s The Centre Won’t Hold, pronoun’s i’ll show you stronger, and Bastille’s Doom Days.

    If you told me there would be a year when Hot Chip, Coldplay and Beck issued new albums and none of them would be in my top ten, I would have said you were crazy.

    My favorite songs of 2019 were “Rocket Fuel” by DJ Shadow featuring De La Soul, “Saw Lightning” by Beck and “Social Cues” by Cage The Elephant.

    I have spent all year trying to get into black midi’s Schlagenheim and not succeeding. I always feel like it’s about two listens away from really clicking with me, but so far it’s still a bit elusive.

    Looking forward to 2020.

  86. David M says:

    Surprising that one of your paths to new music isn’t through your teenage daughters. Mine has hijacked my Spotify account, and I am often forced to listen to her playlists in the car. Much of it is not to my taste but she did introduce me to the brilliant Billie Eilish, and who would guess that Harry Styles would be making excellent pop music?

  87. Andrew Miles says:

    Hi Paul, I am the same age as you, and reading your post really struck a chord with me. I have had this exact same discussion with friends lately, and they all tend to agree. I miss the days of excitement waiting for the release day of a new Bowie album or such and heading to the Record store the day of release to buy it (or sometimes actually getting it a few days early). When the norm was to head to a Record store and purchase the Vinyl/Cassette/CD and spend time listening to the entire album. Singles were great too, but mainly because they often included non album B-Sides. More time and effort was put into recording music back then. A most artists wrote their own music and recorded it with their own band. Nowadays most of it is done with Computers and repetitive programmed electronic instruments. Vocals often are weak or autotuned, and end result show a real lack of originality and talent.

    I mainly stopped listening to new music in the 2000’s and nowadays tend to listen to the music of the 70’s & 80’s that I grew up with. I tend to find that most radio stations here tend to focus on music from those era’s too. A lot of modern music seems to be geared towards the club scene, and while they sell well on the streaming charts, the artists tend to disappear as soon as that song drops from the charts. (I do acknowledge that there are some newer acts that have longevity though).

    So many of those artists from the 70’s and 80’s are still around, recording new music and touring. I wonder where most of these Millennial acts will be in 30 years?

  88. Michael says:

    Paul, I’m in the same age bracket. Likewise, I’m really not exposed to many new musical acts. I don’t hear them on the radio or see them on TV, but otherwise read some promo on Amazon or a music website. If some new recording artist looks even half way interesting, then it’s a case of trying to find a sample of his or her music online (usually I turn to YouTube to see what the fuss is about).

    Maybe I’m getting old, but so much of the new music I am able to sample online sounds like formulated hip-hop, or an attempt to rehash something done before (but not for the better). So, like you and perhaps others, I prefer to seek out remastered and deluxe editions of music I already know and love, and can’t for the life of me tell you what a great new record was in 2019.

  89. Dr Volume says:

    Nowadays I hear my new music by going to gigs – I’m lucky enough to live near a big city with lots of music venues so I can take my pick, or go along with friends recommendations and I’ve heard some excellent new stuff as a result and either bought CDs and LPs from the band or chucked ’em a few quid for a Bandcamp download. Mainstream/chart music? I haven’t a clue, and haven’t really for decades. Music is so atomised and fractured now so I’m not really bothered about being clued up on modern mainstream music, I’m happy discovering old stuff I’ve not heard before and new stuff I’ll just chance upon or hear live by chance and enjoy it for what it is.
    I do wonder about youngsters now – we had Top of the Pops and Radio 1 and everyone who grew up in the UK in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s and to some extent the 00s can probably agree on the soundtrack to those times but the 2010s???

  90. Jim Vandegrift says:

    Best music website! Merry Xmas Paul and his followers! Have 2000+ Cd s and L.p.’s but have become the reissue king sadly. Love the Game Impala’s though. I Live in Cincinnati and saw Wilco, Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan in a 10day period. Wilco and Elvis were fab Bob…. Not so much. Happy New Year all

  91. Dave H says:

    Hi Paul,
    Great article which I can concur on many points especially as I’m a couple of years older than you. I did wonder how much time you have to listen to music considering the amount that you promote.

    I’m not one of those who says music today is crap. I’m still enjoying hearing new stuff, there’s great stuff around if you can find it and choose to listen to it. Yes, the music industry has changed and shows like X Factor etc. make a dent on airplay and music is more diverse than ever. Remember the days when there were only 3 pop radio stations to choose from?

    As I enjoy hearing surround music I have also been discovering music from the past for the first time in deluxe editions. I also have to give a shout out to the Dutton Vocalion label who have been releasing 70’s quad mixes on SACD but at affordable price unlike their American counterparts.

    I can understand those who don’t have time to listen to everything. I am quite lucky that I can listen to music at work otherwise I’d be struggling to listen to the amount of music I buy.

    Lastly, have a good Christmas and New Year Paul and keep up the good work on your website.

  92. Aaron says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Paul. I myself turned 48yo a few days ago, I don’t follow the latest top selling artists but still get a blast discovering new artists music.
    I share the same thoughts on unable to connect to the top charting artists. I buy new music but I just buy more reissues these days.
    Completely relate to being ignorant to Tones and I “Dance Monkey”. I’m Australian and didn’t even know it was the number 1 song (now a record 21 consecutive weeks here) let alone being at the top of the charts around the world, until a local News segment the day after her ARIA awards win, 4 week ago…
    Still I did not know this “Dance Monkey” song as I don’t listen radio stations. 15mins later got in friends car and it played on radio. Yes, I had heard it, briefly a few months earlier and ignored it as an ear worm. My goodness I used to be all over the music charts. I slowly lost touch with these “charts” around 5-8 years ago.

    I bought mostly reissues this year but of the new 2019 releases, the below 10 LP’s & 1 EP (in no particular order) are my favs that were on high on rotation. Glad to say that 5 are Australian artists.

    Yols – Walk on Fire
    Bag Raiders – Horizons (Aust)
    Safia – Story’s Start or End (Aust)
    Of Monsters and Men -Fever Dream
    Madonna – Madame X
    Dope Lemon – Smooth Big Cat (Aust)
    Szymon – Blue Coloured Mountain (Aust)
    Cub Sport – Cub Sport (Aust)
    Mark Ronson – Late Night Feelings
    Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
    Shakespears Sister – Ride Again (EP)

    Thanks again for your dedicated passion to SDE in 2019.
    Looking forward to all the new & resissue LP’s 2020 brings.

  93. Sandy says:

    Great article Paul , welcome to the glideslope side of 50 . Most of my new music comes from listening to community radio and prowling Bandcamp . Still finding good stuff but a problem I find in the online era is it cuts record stores out of the equation . The few remaining rarely carry stock of self released/independent albums so I have to buy via the net . That’s ok but it doesn’t help the stores stay in business . I don’t want downloads so I don’t buy digital only releases . The net is great in some ways , not so in others…. Anyway , Merry Christmas to you and all SDE readers , thanks very much for all you do . Cheers , Sandy .

  94. Steven Roberts says:

    2019? New artists?

    I bought JADE BIRD’s debut.

    Umm… that’s it!

  95. Alan Blevin says:

    I find that discovering new music takes effort these days.It rarely just enters your consciousness.
    There are about 70 artists I would buy automatically on release.Sounds a lot but when the average release rate is an album every 3 years for most of them not so much.Every year I find 3-4 artists that I get off the bus for as their new music no longer does anything for me.This year those artists were Hold Steady,Sturgill Simpson and Beck (although in the last case I haven’t bought the last 2 albums as I could tell from reading and Spotify sampling that I would never play them more than once).Past once favourites dumped include Morrison,McCarney,Clapton,Sting and Stewart.
    Every year I try to find 3-4 new people that I haven’t bought before to replace them.This year Kasey Musgraves,Purple Mountains and Lana Del Rey.Based on a few best of lists I am going to have to head over to Spotify to sample Weyes Blood.
    The other factor that consumes more of my listening time than ever before are those archival releases.This year for example I have 17 discs of Dylan archival material between the 2 releases.I am a huge Springsteen fan and he releases 13 archival live albums a year with most of the shows at least 3 hours.Just yesterday they released the 2 holy grail 1978 Winterland shows.Not that it is going to happen but Neil Young said on his Archives site last month that he hopes to put out his entire musical archive in 2020.
    None of this even counts listening to the nearly 3000 discs I already have in my collection that I would listen to nearly as much as new stuff I would buy.
    I have never enjoyed music as much as I have in the last 5 years -and I’m 66!New music is an important part of that but I agree that between life and the streaming culture it gets harder to find the good stuff and then want to devote
    the time to exploring it,
    Anyway looking forward to your end of year lists and will have to work out mine to post.

    • Mark Bunce says:

      Last year I found the band Carbon Based Lifeforms. A swedish electronic band who have ideas that i had never heard before. They had been on the go for 20 years when i first heard them and never has an album given me goosebumps like their last album derelicts did. They have had 6 main albums so far and few other things. Check them out and be impressed.

    • AndreasL says:

      I actually find discovering new music these days very easy (too easy unfortunately). I use anydescentmusic.com that as they put it “brings together critical reaction to new albums from more than 50 sources worldwide”, and basically give you a chart of the reviews – the best of the best. I then listen to the albums on youtube, and decide which ones I like. There are a lot of great bands out there, certainly more than I can listen to indeptly which is the real problem, when back in the day you’d basically only listen to what you could afford to purchase.
      You obviously won’t find anything of merit on the singles charts. Music has been so dumbed down that anything that needs more than a few bars to get into is called “alternative” and not destined for radio play – hence the crappy singles charts. Using anydecentmusic.com and pitchfork.com daily keeps me up to date with all good music released on a daily basis. Issue is finding time to listen to it all

  96. Tomasz Smolen says:

    Hello Paul Sinclair.
    I like Your text very much!
    BTW, Do You know why there are no REISSUES of The The albums on vinyl?
    I am waiting for a new vinyl edition of The The’s 1993 released DUSK, but nothing happens!!
    Just Soul Mining Box a couple of years ago, and nothing else…

    Tomasz Smolen

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Thanks Tomasz. I think the answer is that Matt Johnson is one of those ‘reluctant’ types who isn’t that interested in reissues, looking backwards etc. Nothing much has happened since that Soul Mining vinyl box in 2014.

  97. O(+> Peter B says:

    My favourite album of 2019 is Future Ruins by Swervedriver – no deluxe edition, just a solid 10-track album.
    Also: This Is Not A Safe Place by Ride; Spencer Plays The Hits by Jon Spencer; Encore by The Specials; and Slight Disconnects by Bis. Rudimental’s Toast To Our Differences was good, too but lacked the quantity of standout tracks their previous albums had.

  98. Jarmo Keranen says:

    I bought only one cd that was released in 2019 and it’s The Stray Cats 40. Others were blasts from the past. Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman, Eric Clapton, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Rory Gallagher, Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac, T.Rex, Slade, AC/DC, Metallica, Yoko Ono, Ramones, Rezillos, Inmates, Gary Numan, Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield, Sam Cooke and Hank Williams. I’m 60 years old fart and living in the past, but i like it!

  99. Peter dB says:

    Dance Monkey is awesome! And theEP it is from is a great listen. Tones & I is a unique artist & I will be interested in hearing what else she produces in the future.
    At 46 I still like to be somewhat current – or I thought I was until I saw all the names listed of artists in the comments. So many unknown to me. So let’s just say I keep a toe in the current scene & a big old foot in the past.
    After all…re-issues of old favourites are bliss no matter how ignorant I may be of the new stuff!

    • bill says:

      Peter dB, ‘Dance Monkey is awesome’ – are you being serious? Its diabolical – how it remains at the top is a mystery to me – so many great artists over the years who churned out ‘awesome’ music, then this one comes along and hits the top – it seriously makes me wonder who is buying or streaming this nonsense now. As Paul said, people talked about big hits in work etc, I had to youtube this song as someone mentioned to me it was No.1 for 8 weeks, for such a huge song, it gets little airplay and sure hasnt rocked the hard music fans I acquaint myself with./

  100. Dave says:


    Like most folks following your site, I yearn to find and hold in my hands music which elicits a positive emotional response. Perhaps it’s a nod back to when I was a teen hunting used records shops in the U.S. or maybe some formative lesson from an older sibling. Regardless, decades on I seek out record stores in the places I visit, constantly searching and hoping. I recall a similar feeling in the early Noughties. It took a lot of digging to find something new to which I connected. The easy way out is to say something a bit Dylanesque, I ain’t part of the old way…. I hope.

  101. Shane says:

    Sadly for me Lana Del Rey has been steadily going downhill after her second album. Each one after that I have not liked enough to make me want to play it more than twice

  102. D.K. says:

    And you haven’t bought Depeche Mode “Songs Of Faith And Devotion”?….

  103. -SG- says:

    My feeling is that music and how it is promoted and distributed changed about 10 years ago. Even then there were artists that were, perhaps presumably broken by the old style music industry machine, that cycle ended about 5 years ago. Now we have the streaming generation. On one level there is a kind of chaos. Commercial radio is all but dead, What I loved about the UK chart 25 years ago was the diversity, there were new and old acts going for the top spot but no more. There was also a lot of money being made from the sale of music, not so much anymore, so the machine is not what it was, there is less of a draw to something that does not make big money…. When you actively seek something out it means something to you, that goes for anything, now music is consumed in a passive way, it is spoonfed and people are caught in a formulaic feedback loop of what the streaming services think you want to hear. If you like hip hop you get more hip hop, of you like old music you get more of that. There is no challenge, and the streaming service pumps out one song after the other, people get massive stream numbers but does it mean anything besides it was not turned off? As a musician friend of mine once said nearly 20 years ago, downloading is not bad in itself, but how it destroys the album is terrible, it reduces music to something completely disposable. Unlike records, there is no trace once it is over. Most music is a stream now, No one will be crate digging that, there will be no record haul or secondary collector market for rare downloads, they have no value besides the puropse of being played. Like a 50 year old twinkie, It will simply be crisp as the day it was made, likely forgotten in the information overload society we enjoy today.

  104. Derek K says:

    Thank you all for the recommendations, and belated Happy Birthday to Paul.
    As a fellow “boomer” I too am guilty of listening mostly to older music,
    but the few acts that sparked my interest in 2019 were:
    Beck – Hyperspace
    Roisin Murphy – Incapable (excellent track, too bad there is no album yet)
    Bastille/Marshmello – Happier
    and (I may be risking some rolled eyes here)
    Dua Lipa
    I may be late to the game here, but I really enjoy her unabashed, melodic pop,
    and her good looks are certainly not a hindrance.
    Here’s hoping to more great music in 2020!

  105. Mark Porter says:

    New music this year is summed up by
    1. Johnny Marr whose stuff I had ignored until a saw his Glastonbury set on BBC.
    2. MiG 15 who supported OMD on tour a coupe of months ago.

    Johnny Marr hasn’t released an album this year though and MiG 15 just 1 self released single…

  106. wayne hill says:

    My album of the year……
    Emily Breeze – Rituals

  107. Marcel says:

    Just like you I turned 50 not too long ago and I recognize a lot of what you write. This summer I checked out the dutch top 40 and to my amazement and shock I didn’t know any of the songs. I used to know everything…. I too find it hard to get to know new acts, so my favourite albums of this year are from well established artists:
    Keane – Cause and Effect
    Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
    Herbert Grönemeyer – Tumult
    Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
    Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
    Elvis Costello & the Imposters – Look Now
    Thom Yorke – Anima

    My favourite “new” act is Whyte Horses and they’re releasing a new album even as I write this. I would like to recommend their albums to you: especially Pop or Not!

  108. H says:

    Superb piece Paul. Now in my early 60s still go back to the music of my youth – Seventh Sojourn by the Moody Blues and Carole King’s Fantasy have been my go to albums for over 45 years.
    I was looking at the top 50 albums of 2019 and don’t have a single one of them – at least 45 I have never heard of and don’t feel I’m missing out at all.
    I still like being introduced to new sounds ( although it’s not new music ) which includes Within Temptation , My Indigo and Mylene Farmer who I can listen to for hours on end. If music is good either old or new it’s welcome to me.
    New Years reissue wish – all Carole King’s studio albums remastered in a deluxe edition separately for both CD and vinyl – and an end to of this pick and malarkey of box sets – issue both .
    Keep up the great work and looking forward to more and better in 2020.
    Best wishes from me and mine to you and yours for a peaceful Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year

  109. tom m hans says:

    I am just listening to Kindergarten Achtung Baby from the SDE for the 1st time and I love it (after I own the box for more than a year). I don’t care about new music at all since I have merely the time to listen to all my SDE’s and re-issues as well as the occasional “OLD” CD – tbh – collecting re-issues is probably more a “hunter and gatherer” thing rather than really spending time to focus on what you are hearing – I remember purchasing new IRON MAIDEN Vinyls and spending hours looking at vinyl covers to see what fun details I can locate (Powerslave Hieroglyphs, Somewhere in Time Blade Runner References)…. I gifted myself last year the MILES DAVIS Boxes when I turned 50 – now we are talking – Especially “On The Corner” Multi Disc Set is almost like diving into a new and fascinating world… I don’t have kids so I am less prone to be exposed to “new artists” like Billy Ellish – nowadays I get “new music” when watching TV Shows – BBC Unforgotten featured a track by “Oh Wonder” – excellent debut record, by the way….
    Happy Holidays Everyone!

  110. Glenn says:

    Nice article Paul. Looking through my purchases from this year excluding reissues/compilations/live albums I only bought four albums (list below) none of which I listened to more than 1-2 times. That’s sad.

    Ranking Roger (The Beat) – Public Confidential
    Morrissey – California Son
    The Specials – Encore
    Weezer (Teal covers album)

    I am a year or so younger than you and owned many of the CDs you mentioned in 1993 and listened to them quite a bit at the time. Had more time then before career/family etc. I still spend a lot of time listening to music (mostly on CD) but usually focus on older releases/reissues etc. I don’t try to follow the newer artists but like songs from the radio from time to time. I think that is similar for older and younger generations. Your mind is still developing as an adolescent/young adult and music has a bigger impact on you and you feel more of an emotional connection to it than as an adult.

    Happy belated birthday Paul!

  111. Michael McA says:

    I’m 58 now and very rarely listen to – let alone – buy new music. All my favourite albums are from my ‘formative’ years. Is it a coincidence 4 of my top ten albums – Associates ‘Sulk’ – Kate Bush ‘The Dreaming’’ – ABC ‘Lexicon Of Love’ – Simple Minds ‘New Gold Dream’ – all came out the year I turned 21 and had escaped from grey homophobic Belfast to sunny party time Guernsey? And how come my favourite album of all time – Sparks ‘Kimono My House’ – was the very first album I ever properly ‘heard’.

    I will often grouche that the music today is rubbish but it probably isn’t.

  112. Gary Hunter says:

    Modern music is awful, have none of them ever heard of a melody!! No songs today have catchy melodies that are memorable, like a few on here I can’t say I know anything in the charts! Years ago the charts were something you always looked forward to listening on the radio, that is all lost now with the advent of the internet.

    None of these modern day artists will be around in 10 years time, unlike bands from the 80s that are still going strong (which I am glad about as it is my era), OMD, A-Ha, Depeche Mode (although their last few albums have been diabolical), Pet Shop Boys, Marc Amond, Simple Minds etc continue to produce excellent music.

  113. Wax Monster X says:

    The eternal question for old(er) music fans continues: Is it us or them? Time vs quality. Old vs young. As a 56 year old die hard music maniac & musician (life & career), it is somewhat distressing. Is there great new music out there, that for whatever reason I haven’t heard. Or is there nothing good. Are my ears too old? Am I missing stuff? Why can’t I find new music when there is a seemingly endless array of ways to experience new sounds? All of it is true. I usually get my BEST recommendations from friends, band mates & family. The internet: no. This year my university age daughter turned me on to a slew of great new music: Boy Pablo, Beach Bunny and of course Billie Eilish. We have finally synced up after 19 years. I like some of her stuff and she wants to explore more 70s & 80s. This is what every music parent waits for!
    For what it’s worth I do open my ears to lots of new sounds and unfortunately a lot is just not good. This is based not on my old ears but on serious critical analysis. It just ain’t good. Personally the issue I have is with hip hop based sounds (which I hate), just my opinion. No hate mail please. Electronically processed vocals is the other. Now on to the Top 2019 list. Remember those golden years when you could easily do 100+ and there were strict rules and limitations, etc.. Now at 56 it’s hard to break 10. Eeesh.

    2019 in no particular order: Not all 2019 strictly, could be I found it in 2019.
    Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep
    Kim Gordon – No Home Record
    Divine Comedy – Office Politics
    Belle & Sebastian – Days Of Bagnold Summer
    Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance
    Bat For Lashes – Lost Girls
    Chrissie Hynde – Valve Bone Woe
    Da Lata – Birds
    Be Forest – Knockturne
    Ladytron – Ladytron
    Specials – Encore
    Mercury Rev – Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited
    Richard Hawley – Further

    and to close what I know will be my fave of 2020 A Girl Called Eddy – Been Around and the upcoming Tennis release.
    Thanx to the other posters for giving me a list of new stuff to check out. Cheers and Happy New Year to all!
    and a shout out to Tim Meh for mentioning The Darts, they’re friends, so that’s cool.

  114. WILLIAM ENGLAND says:

    Re: Skott.
    I had exactly the same experience with Paloma Faith – saw her several times in basement clubs in Soho (if there were 30 people there you could say that it was “rammed”) but waiting for what seemed like ages i’d almost given up (no more club shows). I did buy the first album immediately but was sorely disappointed – whatever had made her special (aside from her dress sense) had been obliterated by the record company (can’t remember which one it was – in the 90’s I probably knew what release was on what label without looking it up).
    I’m kinda glad that I no-longer work in the music industry – I wouldn’t have the first clue how to “break” a new band or market an old one outside of their fanbase.
    Ah well, it was good while it lasted… really good!

  115. Tom says:

    I’m in my upper 50s and have bought a few — emphasis on “few” — non-reissues in the past few years, but I can’t think of a single non-reissue that I bought this year. (But I’m looking forward to buying King’s X’s new album when it’s released next year!)

    When I pay attention to the music being played over the loud speakers at my gym, I shake my head and mutter under my breath about how bad the music is. I wonder what I would think if I were, say, 18 years old. Would I buy this crap, or would I have gotten into older music from the 70s and 80s (and even 90s)?

    I’m so glad that I grew up during a time when fantastic music was prevalent.

    • Tim-Meh says:

      No, you just go out and invest the time in putting the effort in to finding good music. Let’s face it, it’s easier than ever given we’re 20 years into the 21st century and we have this world wide web thingy. You honestly don’t have to put up with the so called ‘crap’. Bandcamp – there’s a start. And yes, I’m 48 so age has got sweet FA to do with it.

    • Norbert says:

      Yeah, King’s X rules!
      But the new album has been announced for quite a long time now… I don’t know…
      But even their mates Galactic Cowboys delivered – after 17 years! Hope dies at last.

  116. David B says:

    Fully agree Paul .. I lost interest in the charts when singles stopped being individual tracks and became album tracks. The loss of the non-album single really hit music hard .. .after all weren’t the Stones “Satisfaction”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, “Honky tonk woman” and many others all single only tracks not forgetting the Beatles “Hey Jude” and others .. we bought them on 45s and loved them .. they were made for a single market and they stayed with us for years .. nowadays well it’s albums only with no tracks where the artist experiments and releases something different producing a classic 3 min track .. that’s where modern music fails .. artists seem reluctant to experiment ..

    But hey many thanks for your continuing excellent site .. I don’t know how you manage it . .have a great Christmas and I look forward to seeing what 2020 has to deliver (Blondie box set ???) .. all the best David.

    • Alan Mitchell says:

      I often find with really new artists that it’s impossible to get a physical release of a song and then when an actual album appears the song isn’t on there. Been begging Squid to release Houseplants physically since earlier this year (same goes for many small independent games as well). I like to collect shit.

      I’ve also found genres i love since starting to broaden my musical mind (late twenties early thirties). Afro-beat and (modern) Country being two surprises. Saw Ibibio Sound Machine live and can’t recommended them enough. And talking of gigs i was truly blown away by Pigs x7 and Sons of Kemmet this year, like totally in the zone :)

  117. Arie says:

    For me the album of 2019 to remember isRandom Acts Of Liberation by Dilemma. A Dutch band.

  118. Steve Benson says:

    When there is so much great old music to enjoy (and being reissued) does it matter? I’m 71 and way past worrying that I don’t know any of the new names. I do occasionally hear new tracks in the supermarket and usually gather up my purchases and exit asap. The only 2019 music I bought in 2019 was by Martin Simpson – enough said. and why do they’ll need to have “stage names” nowadays. Back in my day they had sensible names like Twinkle and Lulu and Billy Fury. Bah humbug!

  119. edu says:

    Hi Paul, Great article. Beeing from 1969, so 1 year older the you, you described mine feelings about the music perfectly. I can tell without even thinking what B-side was on a 80’s or early 90’s record, but have no clue when mine 15 year old daughter comes with some new hit (and that indeed turn out to be weeks on the No#1 postition, and I never heard of it).
    Luckely i’m not the only one… that’s a relief.

  120. Tom M says:

    “Canterbury Girls” – Lily & Madeleine
    “Love You To Bits” – No Man (Tim Bowness, Steven Wilson)

  121. Trash says:

    In 1993 I ws 28 and having seen how many things on your list that I also bought I decided to do some checking and that year it seems I bought a shedload of things that I still play to this day including:
    – Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish,
    – Crowded House’s Together Alone,
    – Terence Trent D’Arby’s Symphony Or Damn,
    – The The’s Dusk,
    – Duran Duran’s ‘Wedding Album’,
    – Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales
    = David Bowie’s Black Tie White Noise (and The Buddha of Suburbia)
    – Tears For Fears’ Elemental
    – U2’s Zooropa,
    – Bjork’s Debut (although I am less keen on this now)
    – Paul Weller’s Wildwood
    – a-ha’s Memorial Beach
    – Bryan Ferry’s Taxi
    – The Beloved’s Conscience
    -The Cocteau Twin’s Four Calendar Cafe
    – Donald Fagan’s Kamakiriad
    – The Divine Comedy Liberation
    – Stephen Duffy’s Music in Colours
    – New Order’s Republic
    -The Other Two and You
    – Nick Heyward’s From Monday to Sunday
    – Martin Newell’s The Greatest Living Englishman
    – No-Man’s Loveblows and Lovecries

    Other things from that year I actually purchased much later (I didnt get into Suede until Coming Up for example).

    This year the only non-reissue albums I have bought have been:
    Becks’ Hyperspace
    NoMan’s Love you to bits

    Slim pickings indeed!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I also love Stephen Duffy’s Music In Colours and that Nick Heyward album, so not sure how I forgot about them. In fact Music In Colours is one of my favourite albums EVER. Absolutely love that record. I do think 1993 was a particularly exceptional year, so maybe that was an unfair one to pick out. We were lucky, looking back.

      • Trash says:

        Yes I think we have already discussed the merits of Music in Colours (also one of my favourite albums ever).

        I also purchased Very by the Pet shops that year (which I forgot, surprisingly as it is one of my fave PSB albums).

        Indeed 1993 must have been an exceptional year…

        This year I also bought the Divine Comedy’s Office Politics album which is definitely one of this years highlights (for me at least)

      • Poptones says:

        1993 was a great year indeed but it would be almost the same if you picked another great year of the 1990s like 1997 for example.

        I catalogued my record collection a few years back (on Discogs and CLZ) and I checked which year of the 1990s was the best for me and the year I own most records is 1997. Lots of masterpieces and great albums that year. Starting with Spiritualized and the Verve.

        Here’s the list (some are masterpieces, others are great, very good or just good albums) :

        Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentleman We Are Floating In Space
        The Verve – Urban Hymns
        David Bowie – Earthling
        Radiohead – OK Computer
        The Flaming Lips – Zaireeka
        Lambchop – Thriller
        Depeche Mode – Ultra
        Elliott Smith – Either / Or
        Bob Dylan – Time Out Of Mind
        Teenage Fanclub – Songs From Northern Britain
        U2 – Pop
        Stereolab – Dots And Loops
        Death In Vegas – Dead Elvis
        The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land
        Mogwai – Young Team
        Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F♯ A♯ ∞
        Supergrass – In It For The Money
        Blur – Blur
        Travis – Good Feeling
        Smog – Red Apple Falls
        Grandaddy – Under The Western Freeway
        Portishead – Portishead
        Eels – Beautiful Freak
        16 Horsepower – Low Estate
        Paul Weller – Heavy Soul
        Bjork – Homogenic
        Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – The Boatman’s Call
        Pavement – Brighten The Corners
        Built to Spill – Perfect From Now On
        The Jayhawks – Sound of Lies
        Oasis – Be Here Now
        Primal Scream – Vanishing Point
        The Notorious B.I.G. Life After Death
        Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Barafundle
        Super Furry Animals – Radiator
        Wilco – Being There
        Sleater Kinney – Dig Me Out
        The Dandy Warhols – …The Dandy Warhols Come Down
        David Holmes – Lets Get Killed
        Echo & The Bunnymen – Evergreen
        Finley Quaye – Maverick A Strike
        Tindersticks –
        Spectrum – Forever Alien
        Mansun – Attack Of The Grey Lantern
        Foo Fighters – The Colour And The Shape
        Daft Punk – Homework
        The Herbaliser – Blow Your Headphones
        The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole
        The Charlatans – Tellin’ Stories
        Cornershop – When I Was Born For The Seventh Time
        Plug – Drum ‘n’ bass for Papa
        Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Forever
        Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
        Gravediggaz – The Pick, The Sickle And The Shovel
        Black Grape – Stupid Stupid Stupid
        The Divine Comedy – A Short Album About Love
        Ron Sexsmith – Other Songs
        Trans Am – Surrender to the Night
        Roni Size & Reprazent – New Forms
        Squarepusher – Hard Normal Daddy
        Howie B – Turn The Dark Off
        Robert Wyatt – Shleep
        Silver Sun – Silver Sun
        The Wannadies – Bagsy Me
        Tarnation – Mirador
        Stereophonics – Word Gets Around
        Alpha – Come from Heaven
        INXS – Elegantly Wasted
        Son Volt – Straightaways
        Jay-Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
        Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen
        Silverchair – Freak Show
        Cyndi Lauper – Sisters of Avalon
        Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West
        Coldcut – Let Us Replay!
        Flying Saucer Attack – New Lands
        Tanya Donelly – Lovesongs for Underdogs
        Terry Edwards and The Scapegoats – I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today
        Van Morrison – The Healing Game
        Polvo – Shapes
        James – Whiplash

  122. Michael Fowler says:

    I absolutely agree with everything you have stated but then I would – I’m 46 and visit your site daily to see what albums from my last are coming out in a lovely new box set rather than searching out new stuff. I’d struggle to name 5 new albums I’ve loved this year however I did manage to hear one I believe to be one of the best albums of the last 10 years – I’ve played it to death on every platform but would recommend the vinyl. Just listen to ‘Go farther in Lightness’ by Gang of Youths – you only need to hear it 3 times and you’ll be grateful I’ve suggested it. Already looking forward to the reissue in 2029

    • Marcel says:

      Thanks a lot, Michael! On your recommendation i checked out Go Farther in Lightness and i absolutely adore it! Ordered the vinyl straight away.

  123. Jeremy says:

    One stand-out new record for me this year: Weyes Blood ‘Titanic Rising’. Ethereal.

  124. paul wren says:

    Paul, there is hope on the horizon – eventually you retire like me and then cruise YouTube actively looking for new music, either from decades ago or now. Keep going my man.

  125. Karen says:

    For me personally it was a low year for new music and reissues.

    New music, from shall I say established artists.

    Madonna, Madame X
    Jeff Lynne, Out Of Nowhere
    Bananarama, In Stereo

    Lindsay Buckingham
    Stevie Nicks

    Simple Minds

    Newish Music
    Mono Minds, which is Per Gessle group

    The last time I got excited about new music was Christine & The Queens, after watching them on BBC Glastonbury

    I would add that in the office Coldplay new album got everyone excited

  126. paul cutts says:

    I have just seen the so called critics list of the best albums of 2019 on the BBC and apart from one, Nic Cave I have no idea as to any of them, but then again i am in my early sixties, a ral boring old fart you could say.

  127. Poptones says:

    Same here. Turned 50 two months ago and I must say I can’t even name ONE outstanding album this year. Obviously there were some good albums released this year (they’ve been already mentioned by other posters in this discussion so I won’t bother) but I fail to name one album that could be worthy of a Super Deluxe Edition in 10, 20, 30 or 40 years.

    I used to collect the NME when I was in my teens and twenties and I always liked the end of year top albums and singles of the NME. I just googled the NME Album of the Year lists and in 1979 you had Talking Heads’ Fear of music, PIL’s Metal Box, Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, Jam’s Setting Sons and Gang Of Four’s Entertainment. Now let’s go to 1989, the top 5 albums were De La Soul – 3 Feet and Rising, The Stone Roses’s 1st LP, Lou Reed – New York, Pixies – Doolittle and New Order – Technique. In 1999, it was The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin, Shack – HMS Fable, Super Furry Animals – Guerrilla, Death in Vegas – The Contino Sessions and Beck – Midnite Vultures.
    In 2009, you had in that order The Horrors – Primary Colours, The xx – xx, Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz, Wild Beasts – Two Dancers and Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion.
    This year, the winners are : Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go, Tyler, the Creator – Igor, Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain, and Little Simz – Grey Area.

    Basically, going back to 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009, I can easily name one or two albums which are worthy of a SDE and could be called a masterpiece.
    For 1979, I own all 5 albums in various editions and 4 of them are absolute masterpieces (Setting Sons is probably the weakest albums on that list). For 1989, I also own all 5 albums and 3 of them are masterpieces for me (Stone Roses, Doolittle and De La Soul’s 1st LP), the other two (Technique and New York) are two very good albums.
    For 1999, The Soft Bulletin by the Flaming Lips is an absolute masterpiece for me. Don’t know if I could say the same for the Contino Sessions, Guerilla or Midnite Vultures but they’re truly all very very good albums I listened a lot. It was a strong year.
    For 2009, I fail to see one single masterpiece in that list, some good or even very good (The Horrors and Animal Collective) albums but nothing truly exceptional for me.
    For 2019, some good albums but I can’t say I would qualify an album released this year as “very good”.

    Anyway, maybe I’m too old but I really think it was a weak year and overall a weak decade. If we were to compile the 10 top albums of the past 40 years I don’t think one album released this decade would belong in that list !


  128. Ken says:

    As I grow older I’m happy to just let new music find me.

  129. robert tyrrell says:

    The main issue with the music scene is the total lack of interest in “alternative” music. It’s all just fluff and nonsense these days. If I was to give you my top 10 I would be shocked if you had here of any of them… sad really. Here is one Blue October Live in Manchester…

  130. AndreasL says:

    People forget the Foals had 2 great albums out on 2919? Brittany Howard, Hayden Thorpe (ex Wild Beasts), Bat for Lashes, Chrissie Hynde, Sharon Van Etten, Cat Power, Elbow, Syml … loving new Harry Styles. Great sound and mix of genres, but more importantly, excellent tracks.

  131. Ben Williams says:

    I’m 27 and I couldn’t tell you what is on the singles chart or couldn’t tell you any new acts, maybe except for the really big hitters like Stormzy and Billie Eilish (almost certainly spelled her name wrong there!!)
    I think ‘pop’ music is aimed at the very young to young adults at uni, going to clubs, listening to Radio 1 and Spotify Pop playlists. And it’s super fast and disposable now – when I was about 10 when I started buying CDs, I would listen to the same stuff over and over for years and cherish it but now the kids listen to something today, listening to the next tomorrow and forget today.

  132. Steven_Wilsons_Prog_Cat says:

    Let’s just have a 2019 top 10 or 20 box sets / reissues chart for the old fart collective of SDE?

  133. Tim-Meh says:

    Lana Del Rey deserves all the plaudits this year because I loved Norman F***ing Rockwell. Its a classic album but I’ve also loved:
    False Advertising – Brainfreeze
    Rise – Strangers
    Starcrawler – Devour You
    Blackwater Holylight – Veils of Winter
    The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men
    Miss June – Bad Luck Party
    Lauren Tate – Songs for Sad Girls
    The Paranoyds – Carnage Bargain
    Amyl and the Sniffers – S/T
    Baroness – Gold & Grey
    Better Oblivion Community Center – S/T
    The Darts – I Like You But Not Like That
    Evi Vine – Black Light White Dark
    Ex Hex – Its Real
    Louise Lemon – A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart
    Olivia Jean – Night Owl
    The Pinheads – Is This Real
    Plague Vendor – By Night
    Puppy – iii
    Rosalie Cunningham – S/T
    Saint Agnes – Welcome to Silvertown
    Soeur – No Show
    Stonefield – Bent
    Temples – Hot Motion

    There’s plenty of excellent ‘new’ music out there if you’re prepared to scratch the surface.

  134. paul says:

    Hi Paul it has to be said most modern music is rubbish i only brought 3 albums this year
    the specials …..encore fantastic
    the who ….who brilliant
    and fontaines dc….dogrel……amazing

    3 great stocking fillers happy xmas everyone

  135. Joachim Gunnarsson says:

    Paul, I’m obviously five years older than you. In 1993 I bought 10 of the albums above; Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish, Crowded House’s Together Alone, INXS’s Welcome To Wherever You Are, Jellyfish’s Spilt Milk, Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales, Suede’s debut, David Bowie’s Black Tie White Noise, U2’s Zooropa, Bjork’s Debut and Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club. Plus the Prince compilation. I bought The Buddha of Suburbia, Manic Street Preachers‘ Gold Against The Soul, Paul Weller’s Wildwood and Nirvana’s In Utero I bought several or many years later. Duran Duran and Terence Trent D’Arby isn’t my cup of tea though lol. Being a charts nerd I regularly check what was on the UK charts 20-55 years ago and while the charts from 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are filled with classics (and some rubbish too of course) while you see a decline during the 90’s when short lived dance acts, techno artists and crappy novelty acts like Jive Bunny were too dominant and the classics very few. Today the biggest problem is of course, to me me anyway, all the album tracks/non-physical singles on the charts // An even older fart.

  136. Caroline says:

    May I suggest….?

    FKA Twigs – Magdelene
    Ezra Furman – Twelve Nudes
    Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep…
    Carla dal Forno – Look Up Sharp
    rook & nomie – me & you
    Black Midi -Schlagenheim
    Charli XCX – Charli
    Katie Dey – Solipsisters
    Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive
    Uboa – The Origin of my Depression

    There’s 10 absolute knockouts from 2019.

    There is definitely a trend away from albums and to individual tracks or shorter EP length programmes at the moment but I’m not completely against that. I miss the 4-track EP which was essentially killed by chart rules and regulations many moons ago and I’m into its return. The recent batch of EPs released by Warp Records for their 30th anniversary showed what a potent format in can be: check out the Kelly Moran and Aphex Twin entries for proof.

    Anyway, thank you Paul for such an informative and valuable website. All compliments of the season to you and yours. x

  137. Regan Judson says:

    Funny, a friend asked me earlier today if I had found any good”new music” recently. I rattled off a few semi-obscure bands I had discovered. He asked where I had heard these artists. I said fellow music fans had turned me into them, so I went on the internet and purchased all of their LP’s…used. “Used? But these band’s are new no?” Then I Saw my error. He meant actually up and coming acts….I took “new” to mean a band from 1972 that I had never heard before. So my answer should have been a firm “no” followed by “Who has time for that?”.

    A shame but band’s I like who are “new” are at least 10 years old.

  138. Alan B says:

    I know what you mean Paul. I’m 56 and stopped following the charts years ago. Music became too fragmented to be a cultural phenomenon just as downloads were beginning to take off. You have mentioned that 1984 was the best ever year for music and I can accept that.

    Watching repeats of old Top of the Pops from the late 70’s onwards there would always be singles on that I bought at the time (and still have) and most of the rest I would remember. I noticed a big change from 1987 onwards (they are currently just up to the end of 1988). I am fast forwarding through most acts as I didn’t like those singles at the time and bought a smaller amount of singles in that era.

    I grew up with Punk/New Wave (The Jam were my favourites) and progressed on Indie (especially The Smiths), then Nirvana onto Britpop (Blur AND Oasis) Once into this century the number of artists I follow has tapered off (Eels and The Coral are current faves). Trying to find new artists I like is getting harder not helped by things like Sky have more music channels than ever but none that cater to my taste (remember VH2, The Amp anyone?) Maybe I’M just getting old.

  139. CJ Feeney says:

    I think I’ve only bought two new albums this year – Kiwanuka and Giants of All Sizes, both good, Giant would be my pick. But I’m now in a job where I can’t listen to the radio during the day. When I had the radio tuned to 6 Music I tended to pick up more new albums – eg by Public Service Broadcasting or Michael Kiwanuka, two acts I discovered through 6 Music.

    But it hasn’t been a great year this year anyway.

    I also think that with 30+ years of listening and buying experience, we are actually more discerning about the music we give time to.

  140. Harcourt Fenton Mudd says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. The oldies are the goodies. the newsies give me the snoozies.

    The only albums released in 2019 that I bought were by:
    Blink 182
    Lana del Rey
    Sleeping with sirens

    ..and they all made my top 5 of the year!

    The other 40+ albums bought this year range from all over the last 40+ years.

    My favourite “contemporary album” that I bought on vinyl (with mp3 autorip) is:

    The Cadillac three : legacy

  141. Joe Atari says:

    I totally get how saturated the market is. All the same, I DO NOT subscribe every to any idea a music of a particular era is automatically superior. If we’d had social media back in the 1980s there would have been a lot of shade thrown at the new acts of the time from old rock n rollers, and so on. Every era produces its innovators and its imitators. My top album of the year is Dave – Psychodrama. Before anyone squeals WHO? it was No.1 album and won the Mercury Award. There’s a reason for this. he’s a 21 year old South London rapper with intelligent wordplay, painting pictures of life for young black man in a time of cultural unrest. Sound familiar? yes, in the 1970s that was Marvin gave or Stevie Wonder. So why doesn’t he sound like them? It sounds like the future, the production by Fraser T Ross is stellar, it connects with young urban males and females in a dialect of grime, drill and afrobeat they understand. Because we live in a technological age, a social media age, an iPhone age, and music reflects that. by contrast some music succeeds by reverting to song structures. There are still only twelve notes in an octave, its how you present them and the stories you tell. I audition music on Spotify, usually during train or tube journeys. If something sticks, I may fork out for the physical copy. I don’t have to, I want to. If anything its record company laziness that’s hindering new music having an impact, (by this I mean ABBA and Queen compilations permanently on the albums chart) . Music has decentralized to an almost fatal degree meaning nobody has to listen to what’s in the charts. Anyway, to give a perspective my top five albums were. 1. DAVE – PSYCHODRAMA 2. CHROMATICS – CLOSER TO GREY 3. MARINA – LOVE AND FEAR 4. LEONARD COHEN – THANKS FOR THE DANCE 5. EX:RE – EX: RE (DAUGHTER SOLO PROJECT) but really its tracks not albums that are driving the Spotify eco-system. I find this sad, but true. You do have to look harder, but I hear so much talent. Young and old.

  142. Simon Broch says:

    Hi Paul

    I’m very nearly 60 now, about 30 days to go, and know exactly what you mean! I haven’t listened to Radio 1 for 20 years, where, i’m guessing the current Uk No 1 has been plugged – but maybe not: and tend to find out about new music from my local vinyl emporium, Mojo, Record Collector, you, and Radio 2.

    The best music of 2019, in my opinion, has been from acts that have honed their skills for many, many years – eg Nick Cave and Elbow, Like you, I cannot listen to all the other new releases such as Bill Callaghan, which has been getting rave reviews in my local record shop, and I haven’t heard the new Cranberries LP either!

    I also buy more on CD than i do on vinyl and vastly prefer physical music over streaming… Perhaps I am just old fashioned.

    Anyway, thanks for doing the job you do. I am completely addicted to your site and look forward to it pretty much daily. Keep up the good work…

    Merry Christmas


  143. Gazelle says:

    A lot what is written in this piece resonates with me. I am of a similar age, having turned 50 at the end of November. I no longer follow the singles and album charts and also have no knowledge of Dance Monkey. However, I do still listen to “new” music, albeit some of this will be by favourite acts still releasing relevant music. How do I find out about new music? A combination of the internet (albumoftheyear.org is an excellent resource), traditional music magazines such as Mojo and Uncut and their cover mounted CDs, and good old fashioned word of mouth.

    For what it is worth, my favourite twenty albums of the year are:
    1. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
    2. Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
    3. Nik Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
    4. Fontaines DC – Dogrel
    5. Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
    6. Solange – When I Get Home
    7. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
    8. Ezra Furman – Twelve Nudes
    9. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
    10. Lloyd Cole – Guesswork
    11. Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
    12. Big Thief – Two Hands
    13. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
    14. Robert Forster – Inferno
    15. Aldous Harding – Designer
    16. Stella Donnelly – Beware Of The Dogs
    17. Pixies – Beneath The Eyrie
    18. LIFE – A Picture Of Good Health
    19. Julia Jacklin – Crushing
    20. Bon Iver – i,i

    I tend to limit reissues to those that have ‘significant’ unreleased/new material. My favourite this year was the excellent reissue of Stephen Duffy’s ‘I Love My Friends’ with its superb standalone bonus disc ‘Blown Away’ that contains unreleased material drawn from a particularly furtive period of his career.

    Here’s hoping that 2020 can maintain this year’s high standard…

  144. Adrian Slatcher says:

    It’s been a good year for what I’ve heard. Kim Gordon, Lana del Rey, Holly Herndon, Fontaines DC, Black MIDI, Sleaford Mods, Amyl and the Sniffers and Mark Ronson have all released good albums. I’m 52 and most discovered by accident. I will check out year end charts for any gems I’ve missed.

  145. PaulL says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! We share the date.

  146. Craig Hedges says:

    Paul, Belated Happy Birthday, Thanks for another great year with the best music website on the internet. Merry Christmas and Best wishes for a super deluxe new year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *