Last December, I lamented how difficult it had been to select my favorite twenty Canadian albums of 2018, and as we approach the end of 2019, it appears that the task is no bed of roses this year either. Having noted a hefty number of album releases throughout the year in my trusty journal, a quick glance at the list right now tells me that another daunting task of choosing just twenty awaits.
I think that the hardest task for any music ‘critic’ is the separation of subjectivity and objectivity. The blogger in me wants to keep things professional, with albums selected based on their own merits and originality, while the music fan in me remains loyal to my playlist of favorite artists, thus hard to ignore when they put out new material. Hopefully my final twenty selections find common ground between both entities.
To provide some consistency during the consideration stages, and not simply adding one into the mix on a whim, I decided early into the year that any album would not be added to the journal until having heard it on at least three separate occasions. Quite an easy task for those I reviewed here on GDW, but meant that a little more effort was required on my part with all of the others. In addition, full-length albums means that EP’s are ineligible for the list too. And, of course, there are going to be albums I’ve overlooked, missed completely, or only managed to hear once or twice, thus rendering them exempt by my own code of conduct. I never implied that these circumstances made the task any easier, but hey, you have to give it the old college try, right?
So after plenty of head scratching, excessive amounts of caffeine, and a fair share of bourbon at times, here are my top twenty Canadian albums of 2019. Make that my top twenty Canadian albums of 2019, plus one – I’m sorry, but there was a monumental album released by a US artist this year that cannot be ignored on any list, not matter what the criteria. Don’t ask me to rank them in any kind of order (although my top four albums will featured in a supplemental article). I am taking the same approach as last year, and simply listing alphabetically.
- Altameda – Time Hasn’t Changed You
- Amanda Rheaume – The Skin I’m In
- Black Suit Devil – A Matter Of Time
- Coco Love Alcorn – Rebirth
- Jay Gilday – The Choice and the Chase
- Jeremie Albino – Hard Time
- Jim Cuddy – Countrywide Soul
- Julian Taylor Band – Avalanche
- Justin Rutledge – Passages
- Leanne Hoffman – What Remains
- Lee Harvey Osmond – Mohawk
- Leeroy Stagger – Strange Path
- Lydia Persaud – Let Me Show You
- Miranda Mulholland – By Appointment Or Chance
- Murray A. Lightburn – Hear Me Out
- Saint Lo – We Could Be
- Terra Spencer – Other People’s Lives
- The Small Glories – Assiniboine & The Red
- Tim Baker – Forever Overheard
- VK – Charm
Non-Canadian album: The Highwomen – Self Titled (US release feat. Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Maren Morris & Natalie Hemby)