We asked to different musicians, producers, bloggers, journalists, label owners to make a short list of their best albums of this year. This is the list curated by Bristol-based duo Meadowlark (Dan Broadley and Kate McGill).
I feel like we’ve all been deprived of Daughter for quite some time, with only two full lengths and a handful of old EP’s existing. Elena’s new solo record feels like a continuation of Daughter, not just because it’s her voice, the light lo-fi textures don’t feel too far removed from what we’re used to hearing, but there is a heightened sense of vulnerability in these songs, an album of sonic intimacy. (Dan Broadley)
I’ve been a massive fan of Ariana for a while now – and her Dangerous Woman record is up there with my top favourites ever. I’m a sucker for pop music and an amazing vocal – what can I say? So I was eagerly waiting for Sweetener to drop and when it did, it did not disappoint. She has a couple bangers on there for the pop lovers which I appreciate massively, but you can tell she also really experimented and pushed herself with her writing this time around. Because her life and romantic relationships are so public, you pretty much know what or who every song is about and I think it’s really cool for someone at the top of their game to be so open and forthcoming about her life and the struggles in it. All hail Ariana. (Kate McGill)
I had no idea that Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National) had collaborated let alone recorded an album’s worth of material. I’m a huge fan of their other bands so this had the potential to blow me away and it didn’t disappoint. This album has been a constant source of inspiration for both writing and production this year. (Dan Broadley)
If you go back far enough this band’s catalogue you’ll find their albums are pretty hardcore, however, at some point over the past few years the band uncovered a sound that merged their angsty genre with something far more melodic and the results feel totally unique. They pioneered this sound on their previous album ‘Keep You’ and this new record ‘Wait For Love’ feels like a continuation (you can almost listen to them back to back and not know where one ends and another starts). It’s an incredible album that draws you in from the moment the first track kicks in. (Dan Broadley)
I’ve always been a Dev Hynes fan, going right back to Test Icicles, through to Lightspeed Champion and now into Blood Orange. Each time he creates a new project it’s as if he grows up and matures and with that it feels like each of his projects becomes a flagpole for my own maturity. Negro Swan feels like a timeless classic, it feels like he’s created an album that if you lost all records of dates you wouldn’t be able to place when this was made, sonically at least. When you start listening to the lyrics it becomes clear what era he’s singing about and underneath it’s pleasant almost jazz like production there are some very hard hitting songs. (Dan Broadley)