Ali Harter-Street, host of The Mean Hustle, shares her 10 favorite albums of 2019.
The Highwomen – The Highwomen
For female fans, the movement behind the formation of The Highwomen and the release of their debut album, is equally as powerful to be a part of as the music itself is to listen to. #highwomenmovement
Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires set out to change the face of the music industry for women everywhere by bringing recognition to gender inequality and discrimination. In the music industry, in everyday life. Wielding skillfully crafted songs and a scary killer lineup, The Highwomen are undeniable. The music is honest, powerful, smart, timeless… It’s just so GOOD.
The entire production is just vulnerable enough to make all demographics feel welcomed. The band’s raw talent and rakus throw-back country vibe get you through the door. What happens after that, makes listeners a part of the movement. The genius of this project makes The Highwomen’s debut release is easily my number one record, and movement, of the year.
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
Watching Lizzo live-tweet her rise to stardom has been a complete blast. She’s just fun!
Cuz I Love You is just as playful as the singer herself, and it gives equally as many f*#%s. Oh, its raunchy and crass, but we all secretly love the things we wish we could be/get away with! Say whatever the %$@# we want to say, and have our whole girl-gang walking in slow motion behind us. That dumpster fire of a romantic past fading away into the background. Bom bom bi dom bi dum bum bay!
Playing Lizzo’s debut record on the radio is *#&%ing difficult. But even full on BLEEPED versions of the songs, are still hands-down a more well-crafted song than 90% of the clean music spun beside it. Listen to it clean, or get dirty—just listen to Lizzo!
Tanya Tucker – While I'm Livin'
The twenty-fifth studio album by country music singer Tanya Tucker is her first in a decade. This triple Grammy-nominated record was produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings. The risks taken by everyone involved are audible and exciting to listen to. It somehow manages to feel as triumphant as a come back record, while simultaneously breaking your heart over-and-over for the last time, ala Johnny Cash’s Ain’t No Grave. While I’m Livin’ does Tucker’s impressive career justice, but bear with me now—this might just be her best record yet.
Brittany Howard – Jaime
The first solo effort by the Alabama Shakes front wonder-woman Brittany Howard is an incredibly telling record. In fact, I can now tell you–irrefutably–why the Shakes are so good: cuz’ Brittany Howard.
Jaime is skilled, smart, sexy, fun, and incredibly easy to listen to. So easy in fact, I listened to it over the speakers in Target, Starbucks, the tire shop, Red Carpet, etc. It is blowing up, and it deserves every single spin! All aboard the Brittany Howard train!
Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Waits (compilation)
Trying to describe this record now, I feel exactly the way I did when I first heard it. Speechless.
This record made my “Top 10 Records of 2019” list, but it is now also one of my favorite records of all time. Artists including Patty Griffin, Aimee Mann, Corinne Bailey Rae, Joseph, Phoebe Bridgers and more deliver Waits’ song with ease and respect. If you didn’t know these were Tom Waits songs, you'd think each artist wrote and released these themselves. Some versions stay true to the original composition, some wander, but all of them feel worried over and cared for as if they were being welcomed home for the first time. If you have not heard this one yet, I am jealous that you get to listen for the first time. This compilation is phenomenal.
Joseph – Good Luck, Kid
This Portland, Oregon pop-folk trio of sisters is infectious. Check out one track off the new record, Good Luck, Kid, and you’ll have the fever. But even better, watch this live performance and let their DNA-singing blow your mind right out.
That Dog – Old LP
This is the band’s first album in 22(!) years. They have matured professionally, and it shows. However, the same indie spirit, tongue-in-cheek humor, and eye rolling smart-punk attitude that attracted fans all those years ago, is alive and well! Bonus: check out the “Three's Company” inspired music video for the track, “Just The Way,” featuring Jack Black & Maya Rudolph put out on Funny or Die!
Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
This throwback just feels good. It grooves and wanders effortlessly but still pays attention to the excellent songwriting and smart aesthetics. Everything about this release makes you want to know more. The songs, the art. If I could shake this record's hand, I would.
Evann McIntosh – Mojo
Evann is FIFTEEN years old. She is a student at the Wichita Rock and Roll Camp for Girls. And her debut album Mojo, RIPS. Evann is a phenomenal songwriter, performer, producer, and a prime example of why programs like Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, which advocate for and empower young women, are so important. Congrats Evann, onward and upward!
Patty Griffin – Patty Griffin
After a brief hiatus due to illness, Patty Griffin is back with a new self-titled album. This release is just as powerful and timeless as her previous albums, but feels incredibly more personal. Griffin does not put throw-away songs on her albums. Every single track is wonderful, and has earned its place in the story as a whole. It’s a new story, but it feels lived in and familiar. Like its part of your own story and Patty is singing directly to you. Listen to this one when you are feeling introspective, and need the kind of hopeful release that only comes after a good old fashioned meltdown.