Last year's aural trawl produced a meagre haul of bliss, but here, by popular request, are my faves of 2019 (+ one non-fave )
Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
Billie Eilish, “Bury A Friend”
Dababy, “Suge (Yea Yea)”
Saweetie, "My Type"
Burna Boy feat. Future, "Show & Tell"
Holly Herndon, "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt"
Thaiboy Digital feat. Ecco2K, "Baby"
Tame Impala, "It Might Be Time"
Offset, "Tats On My Face"
Selena Gomez, "Lose You To Love Me"
Lana Del Rey, "Doin' Time"
Doja Cat, "Juicy"
Baron Mordant, Mark of the Mould
Vanishing Twin, The Age of Immunology
The Caretaker, Everywhere At The End of Time
Moon Wiring Club, Cavity Slabs
Ana Roxanne, ~~~
Solange, When I Get Home
Oneohtrix Point Never, Uncut Gems OST
Various, Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990
Ernest Hood, Neighborhoods
Various, All the Young Droogs: 60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks, Rock’N’Glam (And a Flavour of Bubblegum)
Moon Wiring Club, Somewhere A Fox Is Getting Married (Vulpine Remix)
Gong, Love From the Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75
Various, Strain, Crack & Break: Music From The Nurse With Wound List Volume One
If frozen dinners and fresh-made meals were lumped together, Kankyō Ongaku and Neighborhoods would be equal-place #1.
The miserly number of meals is no surprise really, as the lack of appetite on my part in recent years for Masterpieces this year verged nearer and nearer outright aversion - and Masterpieces seem to be preponderantly what's on the menu these days.
What is surprising and disheartening is the paucity of bite-size bliss. The radio has been my friend all decade but the things that brought delight in recent years - trap / AutoTune rap'n'B / mumble, mainly - seemed to run dry in 2019. Or perhaps I just overdosed on that sound.
Apart from Billie, hardly anything on Top 40 jumped out at me (Billie jumped out by not jumping out, as I noted here).
Some of the tracks above are like dwindling pleasure-dribbles eked out from a sound-paradigm that's run its course... or a tendency reaching a kind of baroque finale (e.g. the ultra-precious vowel-broke braided-breath style of singing, with "Lose You To Love Me").
Talking of the Zone of Fruitless Intensification
Nearly forgot - the Unfave!
Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride
After several attempts that only got a little way in before I had to bail, finally, during a long journey, I made another kind of lengthy arduous trek: listening to the entirety of the fourth Vampire album. Eucch - everything that was enjoyably precious and dainty in the first two albums has now definitively become prissy and over-ornamented. What is the sound Koenig & kru are aiming for here - Lindsey Buckingham '80s solo album meets Dave Matthews Band with a bit of Wilco thrown in? And did I mention that it's long? The debut (which still sounds so fleet and fresh) clocked in at under 35 minutes, a canny return to the manageable proportions of the classic LP; Contra was similarly short n' sweet and left you wanting more. But FotB, in its middle-aged spread, leaves you wanting less. Or in my case, wanting none.