Madd Manda’s Best of Music for 2019


2019 was a hell of a year for music. In fact, I can’t remember the last time it was this difficult making my year end lists because there was just so much that I wanted to include. And of course, trying to rank the albums, EPs and songs is hard enough as it is, but when there’s so much quality music it becomes even more of a challenge. That’s why you might notice my lists this year are a bit longer than previous years. There were albums, EPs and songs that I just couldn’t see myself not including. So, what is it the kids say these days? Oh yeah. Sorry, not sorry.

This year in music was particularly important for me personally because it meant the return of some of my favorite artists. And let me tell you, that the new music from Rob Thomas, O.A.R. and Goo Goo Dolls did not disappoint in the least! There were also albums by artists who returned after a bit of a hiatus and absolutely blew critics and fans away with how fantastic their new albums were. Scott Stapp, Saint Asonia, and Avril Lavigne all returned with a bang.

2019 was also an exciting year for new and rising artists to make their big debut. Both Kalie Shorr and Jacob Bryant’s full-length debuts had people in the industry buzzing and raving about the individuality and authenticity they each bring to the genre. No doubt we’ll be seeing more magic to come from these two in 2020. Speaking of country music, Matt Stell and Austin Jenckes are two of the most exciting male voices to fly onto the genre’s radar this year, and more female country artists released their debuts in 2019 than the previous year, making themselves serious contenders for future Artists to Watch lists.

Actually, 2019 was overall a very solid year for country music as a whole because we saw fan favorites like Lady Antebellum, Randy Houser, Rodney Atkins, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, and Jake Owen make huge impacts with their successful comeback albums. Maren Morris soared to new heights with her boundary-pushing, sophomore release, Girl, proving she could very well be the next illustrious crossover success. Longtime songwriters Josh Phillips and Josh Kerr finally stepped into the spotlight this year with the release of their debut solo music, and songwriting and pop sensation, Colbie Callait and her new supergroup, Gone West, made a huge splash with their debut EP, Tides.

Of course, I can’t talk about 2019 in music without mentioning two of the biggest and most successful names in the industry that released two of the most talked-about albums of the year. Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran both released highly anticipated albums that clearly lived up to their hype. At this point, though, are we really surprised? However, I have to admit, the biggest surprise in music for me, and an artist who I think is only scratching the surface of their potential, is Lewis Capaldi. Here’s a guy who came out of nowhere and gave us what is easily one of the best albums of the year with its impeccable songwriting and impressive vocal range, he’s basically the male equivalent to Adele. Look up the definition of ‘outstanding’ and you’ll see a photo of Lewis Capaldi; he’s absolutely an artist everyone should be listening to.

With all this amazing new music we received in 2019, was it any wonder it was so damn difficult making these year-end lists? I hope you enjoy reading my choices and what filled my earbuds all year long. I hope you spot a couple of your favorites on here and maybe discover some potentially new obsessions as well. As always, feel free to send us your feedback and share your year-end lists with us as well – strikingachordofficial@gmail.com – Happy Listening!

 

Best Albums

Honorable Mentions:

Luke Combs – What You See is What You Get

Dylan Scott – An Old Memory

Blink 182 – Nine

40)Sister Hazel – Earth

39)LoCash – Brothers

38)Sum-41 – Order in Decline

37)Jason Aldean – 9

36)Hardy – Hixtape Vol. 1

35)Ruston Kelly – Dirt Emo Vol. 1

34)Andy Grammar – Naïve

33)Josh Kerr – How You Remember Me

32)Cassadee Pope – Stages

31)Jake Owen – Greetings From…Jake

30)Kelleigh Bannen – Favorite Colors

29)P!nk – Hurts 2B Human

28)Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding

27)Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water

26)The Band Camino – tryhard

25)Through Fire – All Animal

24)Kalsey Kulyk – Kalsey Kulyk

23)Dean Lewis – A Place We Knew

22)Lady Antebellum – Ocean

21)Jami Grooms – Just a Drunken Vessel

20)Taylor Swift – Lover

19)Skillet – Victorious

18)Rodney Atkins – Caught Up in the Country

17)Randy Houser – Magnolia

16)Aaron Lewis – State I’m In

15)Runaway June – Blue Roses

14)Justin Moore – Late Nights and Longnecks

13)Brantley Gilbert – Fire & Brimstone

12)Ed Sheeran – No. 6 Collaborations Project

11)Saint Asonia – Flawed Design

10)Austin Jenckes – If You Grew Up Like I Did

09)Matt Stell – Everywhere But On

08)Scott Stapp – The Space Between the Shadows

07)Maren Morris – Girl

06)Goo Goo Dolls – Miracle Pill

05)Jacob Bryant – Practice What I Preach

04)Kalie Shorr – Open Book

Kalie Shorr

03)O.A.R. – The Mighty

02)Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (Extended Edition)

01)Rob Thomas – Chip Tooth Smile

 

Best EPs

Honorable Mentions:

Luke Underhill – Illuminations

Thomas Finchum – Thomas Finchum

Leaving Austin – Southernn Gold

25)Dylan Schneider – Whole Town Talk

24)Jon Langston – Now You Know

23)Jenna Paulette – Modern Cowgirl Volume 1

22)Tiffany Woys – Tiffany Woys

21)Cole Swindell – Down Home Sessions V

20)Dylan Scott – Nothing to Do Town

19)Lauren Duski – Midwestern Girl

18)Simple Creatures – Everything Opposite

17)Steve Moakler – Blue Jeans

16)Logan Mize – From the Vault

15)Rachel Wammack – Enough

14)Bailey Bryan – Perspective

13)Ray Fulcher – Somebody Like Me

12)Ryan Hurd – Platonic

11)Simple Creatures – Strange Love

10)Ryan Hurd – Panorama

09)Josh Phillips – Josh Phillips

08)Alana Springsteen – Alana Springsteen

07)Lacy Cavalier – k I’m done

06)Honey County – High on the Radio

05)Maddie & Tae – One Heart to Another

04)Hailey Whitters – The Days

03)Madison Kozak – Heartbreak School

02)Maddie & Tae – Everywhere I’m Goin’

01)Gone West – Tides

 

Singles Not Included on an EP or Album

Honorable Mentions:

Canaan Smith – Life Ain’t Fair

Kesney Chesney – Tip of My Tongue

A Thousand Horses – Livin’ My Best Life

50)Adam Doleac – Famous

49)Madison Kozak – Household

48)Stitched Up Heart (feat. Sully Erna) – Lost

47)Jesse Keith Whitley – Out of the Shadows

46)Troy Cartwright – Hung Up on You

45)Abby Anderson – Flowers

44)Granger Smith – Heaven Bound Balloons

43)Parker McCollum – Pretty Heart

42)Dan + Shay & Justin Beiber – 10,000 Hours

41)Gone West – What Could’ve Been

40)Chris Lane – Big, Big Plans

39)Chase Rice – Lonely If You Are

38)Miranda Lambert (feat. Maren Morris, Elle King, Ashley McBryde, Caylee Hammack & Tenille Townes) – Fooled Around and Fell In Love

37)Brinley Addington – Come Back

36)Caylee Hammack – Prechiatcha

35)Nikita Karmen – Our Thing

34)Anna Graceman – Keep On Moving On

33)Travis Denning – After a Few

32)Tyler Braden – Thank Me For That

31)Savannah Keyes – Ghost

30)Palaye Royale – Hang On to Yourself

29)Sam Hunt – Kinfolks

28)Ashley McBryde – One Night Standards

27)A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Fall On Me

26)Jordan Rager – Colorblind

25)Jordan Davis (feat. Julia Michaels) – Cool Anymore

24)Mickey Guyton – Sister

23)Maggie Baugh – Fire Me Up

22)Mackenzie Porter – These Days

21)Maddie Wilson – Rip

20)Mae Estes – Naked

19)Easton Corbin – Somebody’s Gotta Be Country

18)Waterloo Revival – Slice of Heaven

17)Tyler Rich – Leave Her Wild

16)April Kry – If Girls Ruled the World

15)Page Mackenzie – Love Like That

14)Kelsea Ballerini – homecoming queen

13)Candi Carpenter – The Astronaut

12)Simple Plan & State Champs (feat. We the Kings) – Where I Belong

11)Parker McKay – Honest

10)John King – Try Saying Goodbye

09)Caroline Watkins – Drunk Girls in Bathrooms

08)Tyler Hammond – How I’ve Always Been

07)Alanis Morissette – Reasons I Drink

06)Rozes & Mat Kearney – Walls

05)Lindsay Ell – I Don’t Love You

04)Keith Urban – Burden

03)Lacy Cavalier – This Ain’t Love

02)Daughtry – Alive

01)Halsey – Nightmare

 

Best Songs Released Overall

Honorable Mention:

Ellie Goulding & Juice World – Hate Me

Blink 182 – Darkside

60) Thomas Rhett- Don’t Stop Driving

59)Travis Denning – After a Few

58)Tyler Braden – Thank Me for That

57)Jon Langston – Dance Tonight

56)Carly Pearce (feat Lee Brice) – Hope You’re Happy Now

55)Page Mackenzie – Love Like That

54)Dylan Scott – Honey I’m Home

53)Ashley McBryde – One Night Standards

52)Lauren Jenkins – You’ll Never Know

51)Waterloo Revival – Slice of Heaven

50)Simple Plan & State Champs (feat We the Kings) – Where I Belong

49)Meghan Patrick – Praying Right

48)Gone West – Gone West

47)Jacob Bryant – Hot Mess

46)Justin Moore – Airport Bar

45)Maddie & Tae – Ain’t There Yet

44)Ruston Kelly – Dammit

43)Austin Jenckes – Never Left Memphis

42)Parker McKay – Honest

41)George Strait – Some Nights

40)Five Finger Death Punch (feat Kenny Wayne Sheperd, Brantley Gilbert & Brian May – Blue on Black

39)Caroline Watkins – Drunk Girls in Bathrooms

38)Blake Shelton (feat Gwen Stefani) – Nobody But You

37)Post Malone (feat Ozzy Osbourne) – Take What You Want

36)Scott Stapp – Survivor

35)Josh Kerr (feat Heather Morgan) – Oklahoma

34)Blake Shelton – God’s Country

33)Jake Owen – Homemade

32)Lacy Cavalier – Blue Suede Couch

31)Lindsay Ell – I Don’t Love You

30)Kelsea Ballerini – homecoming queen

29)Steve Moakler – Push

28)Bailey Bryan – Watered Down

27)Kelleigh Bannen – Sleeping Alone

26)The Highwomen – Crowded Table

25)Alanis Morissette – Reasons I Drink

24)Delta Rae – Walk With Me

23)Matt Stell – Prayed for You

22)Honey County – Love Someone

21)Ryan Hurd – Wish for the World

20)Taylor Swift – The Man

19)Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars – Blow

18)Tyler Hammond – How I’ve Always Been

17)Lady Antebellum – What If I Never Get Over You

16)Trisha Yearwood – I’ll Carry You Home

15)John King – Try Saying Goodbye

14)Meghan Trainor, Lennon Stella & Sasha Sloan – Workin’ On It

13)Halsey – Nightmare

12)Rozes & Mat Kearney – Walls

11)Andy Grammar – Best of You

10)Dean Lewis – Chemicals

09)Goo Goo Dolls – Lost

08)P!nk – Walk Me Home

07)Caleb Lee Hutchinson – Steering Wheel Prayers

06)Keith Urban – Burden

05)Maren Morris – Girl

04)Kalie Shorr – Angry Butterfly

03)O.A.R. – California

02)Lewis Capaldi – Leaving My Love Behind

01)Rob Thomas – Breathe Out


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Chicago native and Saint Xavier University alum (class of 2007), Amanda Walsh is an aspiring journalist with a strong passion for music and longtime love of writing. While in college, she spent her time volunteering as a radio DJ, working as the station’s Music Director, and serving as a regular contributing writer for the campus newspaper where she combined her love for music and writing. Between attending multiple concerts a month all over the city, interviewing various bands both in and out of the studio, and introducing her friends and show listeners to new artists (both local and national acts), it was during this time that Amanda really discovered her niche. Whether listening alone with her headphones or experiencing it live in person, music has always been Amanda’s safe haven and more like a religion, with concerts feeling more like going to church. Today the number of artist interviews under her belt continues to grow, as she strives to break new and up and coming artists before other outlets. She also continues to attend as many concerts as her bank account will allow. Her musical tastes range from “OMG you have to hear this” to “please don’t judge me,” and she is the person you want on your team in music trivia. She is also an avid enthusiast of the paranormal and anything in the realm of horror or the creepy and unnerving. With that said, she loves Halloween more than a normal person probably should and has a fascination with cemeteries. Aside from music and concerts, Amanda also enjoys reading, shopping and epic adventures. She's a sucker for a good mystery and anything acoustic. When she was a kid she wanted to be Nancy Drew when she grew up. At the end of the day, if she had to describe herself with a song lyric it would be this – “I’m somewhere in between what is real and just a dream.”
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