Welcome to my 14th annual Best Of The Year post!
Turns out, according to my iTunes, that I only bought 9 new release albums from 2019. True, I haven’t been buying anywhere near as much, overall, but apparently what I did buy was mostly older releases.
* Interesting Fact: Fully 1/3 of my 2019 purchases were from Guided By Voices. In this way, we know that life is very good, indeed.
UPDATE: And if you saw my last post, you’ll know I was also gifted the latest Opeth (In Cauda Venenum) for Christmas, so I mention this only after the neat and tidy GBV math (above). And even though I love Opeth, and this is a great record, I’d already chosen my Best Album and I just haven’t heard the Opeth enough (I’ve only owned it for 3 days, at the time of this posting) to really get it into my blood.
When the list is short like this, it’s easy to remember what they all sounded like, my thoughts on them. And I can say without equivocation that I loved the hell out of all of these releases, for various and good reasons.
So now I gotta choose? Well, this year I’m just gonna choose the one I’ve played the most, the one most steeped into my brain. It’ll probably be high up on a lot of other peoples’ lists, too.
AARON’S BEST ALBUM OF 2019:
Tool – Fear Inoculum
It had to happen. I mean, just through 13 years’-worth of anticipation alone, they could have put out an album of the four of them farting and laughing for an hour and it still might’ve made the list. But no, this is a strong Tool album, full of moments of weirdness, moments of yeah we’ve heard that before (but it’s still solid), and moments of sheer brilliant genius and raw power that just keep me coming back again and again. Add in the fun packaging on this limited edition set (with the LCD packaging, et al.) and it’s a natural. Few bands draw as much love and hate as this band has/does, even fewer care as little about any of that as these guys do, bent as they are on their own twisted missions. Straight up, I loved it.
NB: Leonard Cohen has won my Best Album award four times since I started this annual project in 2006, more than any other winner (list of all previous winners below). And this year’s posthumous release was definitely in the running, especially considering we don’t know how many more Leonard releases (of new material) we’ll even have, going forward. I may change my mind in future, but here we are. You should still buy the Leonard, though, it’s awesome. RIP Leonard.
AARON’S BEST BOXED SET OF 2019:
Sloan – Navy Blues
ALL THE OTHER KICK-ASS 2019 GOODNESS (In No Particular Order) (9):
Mounties – Heavy Meta
Leonard Cohen – Thanks For The Dance
Hawksley Workman – Median Age Wasteland
Guided By Voices – Zeppelin Over China
Guided By Voices – Warp And Woof
Guided By Voices – Sweating The Plague
Flight Of The Conchords – Live In London
Baroness – Gold & Grey
Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
PREVIOUS YEARS’ WINNERS:
2018 Sloan – 12
2017 Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter (Deluxe Edition)
2016 Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker / Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (tie)
2015 Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
2014 Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems / Sloan – Commonwealth (tie)
2013 Black Sabbath – 13
2012 Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
2011 Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton – Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At The Lincoln Center
2010 Jack Johnson – To The Sea
2009 Leonard Cohen – Live In London
2008 Metallica – Death Magnetic
2007 Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free / Immaculate Machine – Fables (tie)
2006 Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It
Thanks for Reading! All the very very best to everyone in 2020. Truly!