For the past seven years, I have reflected on the year behind me through the music I loved (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013). I wanted to do the same for the decade, but had no idea how stressful that would quickly become (okay, I had some idea). The list that follows features 35 of my favorite albums, but at various stages of this process it numbered 100+. I even reordered every year and tried to imagine what my lists would have look liked for the first three years of the decade before I started this tradition. (Why am I the way that I am? Another reflection for another time…)
The point is, if you’re baffled by the exclusion of a particular album, it’s probably on my overall list somewhere. But the 35 albums that follow defined me more than anything else, and I couldn’t put the decade to rest without writing a few words about each.
All rankings are subject to change, so don’t hold me to any of this.
As another year draws to an end, I take a moment to reflect in the way that I have since 2013: ranking and writing about my favorite music of the year. Taken together, these albums represent my personal trials and growth this year. I still have a queue of albums to listen to fully, but this non-definitive list does its best to capture something unique about the person I am still becoming.
For past year’s lists, see: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.
If you’re more of a listener than a reader, I won’t hold it against you. I’ve made a playlist of some of my favorite songs from the year.
Every year, I like to reflect on the albums that got me through the year. In 2016, I spent more time trying to listen than talk, and I felt these albums offered the space for me to reflect and understand the nuances of the experience of others. Each title links to where you can purchase directly from the artist (in most cases), and a few of them are even free.