Albums of the Year 2019

 

In 2019 I have reviewed nearly sixty albums and listened to many more. The albums I have chosen to review have all connected with me on some level so picking a favourites list feels almost cruel to those I have left out. This year I was also aware of how overwhelming such lists can be for fans too so I have written a more general albums of the year recommendation post for those searching for some musical self-care instead. Despite this I still think a ranking list is also a satisfying way to reflect on the year in music, as a writer and a fan.

In the end I have chosen twenty favourite albums of the year. I have based this list on a combination of gut instinct, critical perspective and how often I listened to the album but my mood changes so much that anything beyond the number one album might have changed order if I wrote this tomorrow.

This list only includes albums I have reviewed so obviously I don’t include any male artists and there are a few other albums I’ve enjoyed that I haven’t reviewed for various reasons but overall this is an accurate reflection of what I’ve enjoyed over the year. This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Let me know your favourites in the comments or on social media.

Continue reading “Albums of the Year 2019”

Songs of the Year 2019

How a song goes from a casual listen to becoming part of your musical lifeblood is one of the mysteries and magic of being a music fan. Some achieve this status by being daily companions on the walk to work or in the evenings, others are tied to places, times, memories, emotions so much so that they feel like old friends you’ve known all your life.

Across the span of a year and hours of music listening certain songs just rise up and catch your attention with undeniable force. A few stand apart from the album they were released, others are linked to the wider collection of songs they come from. Therefore artists that rate highly on this list may be in lower places on my album list and vice versa.

So without further ado, here are the twenty songs that have laid claim to my heart in 2019. Continue reading “Songs of the Year 2019”

Musical Lowlights of 2019

One of the benefits of running your own music blog is that you can choose what you write about. I generally don’t write entirely negative reviews and I aim to be a place of positivity and advocacy for good music by women. Despite that, I do think it’s important from a critical perspective to be honest about what you didn’t enjoy or what really disappointed you as a listener.

Firstly I’d like to point out the limitations of this post since there will be endless amounts of bad music out there that I just haven’t heard. I don’t listen to the radio (except 6music and specialist country music shows in the U.K.) so I don’t stumble across bad music that way. Sometimes though, thanks to streaming, I do try popular albums and songs out of curiosity and also give a few random things a listen. Inevitability, I don’t always like what I hear. Continue reading “Musical Lowlights of 2019”

Recommended 2019 Albums for Serious Self-Care

After writing about the overwhelming paradox of choice that comes from the tidal wave of music released in 2019, I started thinking about how I could recommend some of my favourite albums of the year in a different way so that no one is sent into a tailspin of anxiety about what’s cool, what’s good or worrying about what you’ve missed out on.

We should never underestimate the importance of music as self-care. I believe it is vital in helping us to deal with this tumultuous, chaotic world. While I do still plan on writing traditional ranking end of year lists too, read on for recommendations as to how 2019’s best music can be used as serious self care. Continue reading “Recommended 2019 Albums for Serious Self-Care”

The Little Eva Who Could

Legend had it that when Carole King heard her newly hired babysitter Eva Narcissus Boyd sing she yelled, ‘Stop! We must record that voice!’. Another story often told is that Eva’s dancing around her living room inspired the lyrics to The Locomotion. Truthfully, King and her husband Gerry Goffin knew exactly how good a singer Eva was when they hired her as a babysitter, since she had been singing on demos and working with their girl group the Cookies. Continue reading “The Little Eva Who Could”

Women Win Big At the Americana Music Awards

Last year at the Americana Music Awards many women were nominated but only Molly Tuttle took home an award for instrumentalist of the year. Before this year’s ceremony Margo Price, who had been one of those 2018 nominees, tweeted that she hoped things would be different in 2019 and the headlines would finally read that women had won big. Thankfully I can report with some delight that her wish has indeed come true and women won an equal share of last night’s awards including the big prize of Artist of the Year. Continue reading “Women Win Big At the Americana Music Awards”

The Highwomen Are Finally Here! Thoughts On ‘Redesigning Women’

Last Friday we finally heard the first new music from the country music dream team The Highwomen. This project has been much talked about, with endless teases in interviews and hype on social media to the point where I began to worry the weight of expectations was going to crush the whole thing before it even began. I’m pleased to report that so far, so damn good. Continue reading “The Highwomen Are Finally Here! Thoughts On ‘Redesigning Women’”

The Differences Between Music Journalists & Bloggers and Why We All Should Work Together Anyway

I was reading a great interview with Marissa Moss the other day which outlined some thoughts she had on the difference between journalism and music blogging. This got me thinking about some of the wider issues that I have observed since starting my own blog.

When I first started Highway Queens I had dreams of creating a professional level magazine and writing to the same standards as a paid journalist. Soon I realised that not only was this an impossible task for one person, it wasn’t what blogging was for at all. Here’s my thoughts on what those differences are and why we all need to work together anyway. Continue reading “The Differences Between Music Journalists & Bloggers and Why We All Should Work Together Anyway”

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