We end our 2019 mix collection on top, because in 2019, the singer-songwriter genre was where it was at.
By far the deepest, strongest performing genre of the year, many of the songs and albums included here rate among 2019's top-25 offerings, making this mix, along with Vol 4 - All Things Offputting, the best of our 2019 genre-themed mixes.
Here's the Spotify link. Enjoy.
SET 1Body - Julia Jacklin: We open this year's singer-songwriter mix with one of my top ten songs of 2019, a dread-drenched, Wicked Game-flavored, masterful piece of storytelling fueled by a threat to women entirely new to this generation: revenge porn. Full disclosure, Nancy and our daughter were active campaign workers for Santa Clarita congresswoman Katie Hill, so this song may speak to me on a more heightened level than most, but irregardless, it's an other excellent example of the compelling, intense dramas that play out time and again on Australian Julia Jacklin's Crushing. (Strong Recommend), one of the very best albums of 2019.
2. Hitch Hikin' - Bruce Springsteen: Springsteen's always had a great sense of how to sequence his album's opening tracks, not just to pull you in, but also to clearly establish whatever new twists will drive the overall effort, and that trend continues with opener Hitch Hikin' from Western Stars (Strong Recommend), where the Boss cleanly and evocatively lays down the riding-off-into-the-sunset pre-50s western feel that defines much of the album.
13. Circles - Bill Callahan: As the album's title implies, Bill Callahan's Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest is heavily invested in the theory of life's contradictions as the natural order of things. Here Callahan reflects on his mother's passing emphasizing not grief or pain, but the natural, shared beauty of the moment.
15. Didn't Know What I Was In For - Better Oblivion Community Center: Love this song from the eponymous album-long collaboration between Bright Eyes mastermind Connor Oberst and rising singer-songwriter superstar/Stevie Nicks heir-apparent Phoebe Bridgers Better Oblivion Community Center.
16. Younger - The Mountain Goats: Another year, another thematic album from one of the indie world's most consistent and prolific singer-songwriters. After having turned his eye towards his love for professional wrestling (Beat The Champ) and goths (Goths) in recent years, Mountain Goat's mainstay John Darnielle dove headfirst into narratives anchored around the world of Dungeons and Dragon for 2019's In League With Dragons (Solid Recommend), an album which strayed further from his typical stylistic palette than other recent efforts in often exciting ways, as the harder rocking than normal Younger conveys.
19. Dizzy - Bedouine: Following Nancy's inclusion of One More Time on her 2019 Favorites mix, this our second selection from Syrian-American songstress Azniv Korkejian's sophomore full-length, the lovely, airy, but ultimately somewhat slight Bird Songs Of A Killjoy (Mild Recommend). And while Dizzy may not be the album's standout track lyrically or melodically, with its fantastic chill coda, on such a restrained album, it is without question Killjoy's instrumental highlight.
24. You're Me and I'm You - Black Belt Eagle Scout: From At The Party With My Brown Friends. More coming soon.
28. You Were Right - Julia Jacklin: It's not all epi-tragic slow burners like Body or Don't Know How To Keep Loving You on Julia Jacklin's Crushing. There are also several uptempo country-tinged rockers like Pressure To Party, Head Alone, and my favorite, the clever breakup number You Were Right standing in for the album's livelier side here.
29. Lonesome Valley - Bill Callahan: Compared to most of the deeply thoughtful songs on Shepherd In A Sheepskin Coat, Lonesome Valley seems a lyrical throwaway. But on an album so instrumentally threadbare, its richer arrangement make it one of the album's essential tracks.
31. The Wayfarer - Bruce Springsteen: Continuing our praise on Springsteen's sequencing chops, where first track Hitch Hikin' establishes Western Stars rustic feel, here Springsteen establishes what a lush, cinematic exercise in Roy Orbison-styled rock the album will be with the sweepingly orchestral The Wayfarer.
34. Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have...But I Have It - Lana Del Rey: From Norman Fucking Rockwell. More coming soon.