Look Back

Look Back: The best albums of 2019

Discover which releases made the cut as Ticketmaster pick their favourite records of the year.

As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to take stock on another twelve months of music spanning every style and genre imaginable. In a year that has seen some of the biggest artists in the world drop their eagerly anticipated behemoths, to emerging talent standing up with the best, 2019 has once again revealed some of the most exciting and innovative music ever made.

As we look back on the 2019, here are the fifteen best albums of the year.

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Ticketmaster’s Best Albums of 2019

#15 The Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All The Time

Released back at the start of 2019, It Won/t Be Like This All The Time marks the fifth outing by Scotland’s indie stalwarts The Twilight Sad. The album sees the band, no longer featuring founding member Mark Devine, continue their blend of acclaimed indie with snyth and shoegaze nods, offering a contemporary space for melodic post-punk. [Listen] [Tickets]

#14 Thom Yorke – Anima

In a year that welcomed the continued breaking of creative boundaries, Radiohead vocalist and expansive composer Thom Yorke teamed up with celebrated director Paul Thomas Anderson and Netflix for a short film of the same name as the album. Released simultaneously, Anima followed a dystopian build-up that welcomed fans to call the ominous Anima Technologies. This creativity bleeds heavily into the album, as claustrophobic as it is broad. [Listen] [Tickets]

#13 Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

Having swiftly made a name for himself as a contemporary soul pioneer with his first two albums, Kiwanuka sees the British-Ugandan musician incorporate a huge range of sounds and samples, supported by producers Danger Mouse and Inflo. Introverted yet universal, the record presents Michael Kiwanuka as an exceptional songwriter, one with a genuine and unquestionably powerful message. [Listen] [Tickets]

Feature: Album of the Week – Michael Kiwanuka

#12 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

Ghosteen marks the incredible seventeenth studio album by Australian rock stalwarts Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and builds on the painfully sombre nature of 2016’s Skeleton Tree and 2013’s Push the Sky Away. Acting as a trilogy, together they represent Cave’s unexpected journey through grief. With its minimalist melodies and ambient electronics, Ghosteen presents itself as a subtle ray of hope – less all-consumed than its processor but equally as poignant. [Listen] [Tickets]

#11 Taylor Swift – Lover

Lover houses some of Swift’s most considered lyrics to date. The Man delivers a scathing attack on the treatment of women in the public eye, and the sublime The Archer depicts the full complexities of the individual and of love. Across the record’s mammoth eighteen tracks, Taylor Swift destroys the shackles that have held her back, and as with her reinvigorated confidence displayed throughout the year, sees her truly come into her own. [Listen] [Tickets]

Feature: Album of the Week – Taylor Swift

#10 Nilufer Yanya – Miss Universe

The debut full-length album by London based Nilüfer Yanya, Miss Universe delivers almost an hour of atypical pop, delving into indie-rock, soul, jazz and hip-hop with ease. Whether Yanya plays with guitars, electronics or percussion, her understated voice remains the driving force behind her sound. There’s an unconfined flow to Miss Universe, one that encourages experimentation, and one that emerges as both carefree and urgent in equal measure. [Listen]

#9 Tyler, The Creator – IGOR

The fifth studio album by Odd Future co-founder and solo rapper Tyler, The Creator marks his first to reach the top of the stateside Billboard 200. Here in the UK he headlined three sold out nights at London’s O2 Academy Brixton off the back of the record, and singlehandedly shut down Peckham with a rumoured but ultimately cancelled live appearance in May. It is testament to IGOR‘s depth, a record that sees Tyler take a further step into soul. Here, he ties his trademark lyricism with newfound melodies and hooks. [Listen] [Tickets]

#8 TOOL – Fear Inoculum

Thirteen years since the release of their fourth studio album, LA progressive metal outfit TOOL unveiled their long-anticipated follow-up Fear Inoculum in August. Cementing their comeback with a headline appearance at Download Festival a few months prior, TOOL demonstrated their reinvigorated energy, equally portrayed across their epic one and a half hour release. Famed for their expansive compositions and their pioneering style, Fear Inoculum picks up where the band left on, and stamps their legacy to the present day. [Listen]

#7 Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost

Released in two parts, the first dropping in March and the second in October, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost is an indie-rock opus by one of the most atypical British bands of the present day. Surviving in a scene that has seen the demise of a number of their counterparts, Foals remain driven by their appreciation for experimentation and their dedication to the art. Securing a Mercury Music Prize nomination in the process, Foals continue to shake things up with this two-parter. [Listen] [Tickets]

Feature: Album of the Week – Foals


Winner of this year’s Mercury Music Prize, PSYCHODRAMA continues the meteoric rise of British rapper Dave. It’s an abundantly honest effort, one that delves into mental health problems in Britain’s black communities. With it, Dave joins a number of artists rising up through their unfiltered lyricism, swapping grandeur and swagger for carefully considered words. Ultimately, PSYCHODRAMA proves a raw snapshot of modern society. [Listen]

#5 Lana Del Rey – Norman F**king Rockwell

Teaming up with pop-producer-extraordinaire Zack Antonoff – who also worked on Taylor Swift’s Lover – Lana Del Rey pairs her Americana-tinged tales with brilliantly grandiose production on her fifth album, Norman F**king Rockwell. The record finds the middle ground between the melodrama of Lana’s early releases and the sprawling expanse of Honeymoon or Lust For Life. Through it, she emerges firmly as one of the best contemporary songwriters. [Listen] [Tickets]

Feature: Album of the Week – Lana Del Rey

#4 Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

Despite releasing music since 2012 under the Lizzo moniker, 2019 proved to be the year that the American singer, rapper and songwriter firmly broke into the mainstream. Releasing the anthemic Juice at the start of the year, the track paved the way for Lizzo’s third studio album, Cuz I Love You. Dominated by its confident expression of sexuality and its modern take on RnB, the album effortlessly reinvents pop tropes. That her newfound popularity reignited older tracks such as Truth Hurts and Good As Hell is proof that Lizzo has always been at the top of the game. [Listen]

Feature: Album of the Week – Lizzo

#3 Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next

Having revealed the title track towards the end of 2018, 2019 saw Ariana Grande release her second album in as many years. Thank U, Next is as empowering as the last, written and recorded in the midst of break ups and untimely passings, yet filled with Grande’s honest depiction of loss, grief and of self-restoration. By the time fan favourite break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored rolls around, Ariana has proved that success can often lie at the end of adversity. [Listen]

#2 Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Inarguably the biggest breakthrough story of the year, Billie Eilish dropped the phenomenal When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? at the end of March, instantly crafting a pop-niche all her own. Dominated by the visceral bad guy, as well as the assertive you should seem in in a crown, the album balances ballsy confidence with introverted insecurities. Sitting alongside the bass-heavy pop anthems lie the gut-wrenching i love you and the innovative bury a friend. Few, if any, albums in 2019 have redefined the musical landscape quite like this. [Listen] [Tickets]

Feature: Album of the Week – Billie Eilish

#1 Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind

Launching their sixth studio album with the thunderous All Out Life back in 2018, it set the standard for what would become the defining alternative release of 2019. Giving the Iowans their first UK No.1 full-length since 2001 and reaching the top of the stateside Billboard 200, Slipknot once again destroyed the boundary between metal and the mainstream. At times brutal, We Are Not Your Kind plays with melody, filled with audible sucker-punches ready to blindside the listener. It’s a further evolution for Slipknot, who 25 years into their career are still capable of delivering an unparalleled destructive force with a cataclysmic reach. [Listen] [Tickets]

Feature: Album of the Week – Slipknot

Discover more from the last twelve months at Ticketmaster.co.uk.