Music

15 best rock ‘n’ roll albums of 2019

Country roads: Bruce Springsteen had a great year, and his album (left) Western Stars is an ode to the American countryside

Country roads: Bruce Springsteen had a great year, and his album (left) Western Stars is an ode to the American countryside  

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Last year was a great year for music, argues Narendra Kusnur

About a year ago, many predicted the imminent death of rock music, even though newer bands Greta Van Fleet and Rival Sons were attracting the younger generation. Now, as we’ve entered 2020, it’s a good time to note that the year gone by was actually great for the genre.

Many artistes released full-length albums, instead of following the fad of putting out singles. For those who missed the 2019 magic, here are 15 albums one must check out. It’s a personal choice, of course, with an order that can keep changing every two days. Most fall purely in the rock field, but we have included some folk-related and singer-songwriter material too.

Top of the pops

Let’s begin with the Boss. Bruce Springsteen had a great year, and his album Western Stars is an ode to the American countryside. It’s folk brilliance all the way. Next comes, US progressive metal band Tool’s Fear Inoculum. Released 13 years after its previous record, this 87-minute beauty simply grows on you.

Up at number three is the album Who, the comeback by British monsters The Who, now represented by vocalist Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend and a few guests. It has a very trademark Who sound, standout tracks being ‘Ball And Chain’ and ‘Beads On One String’. Also going back to his earlier style was Canadian rocker Neil Young, who released Colorado with his old band Crazy Horse.

The Darkness, a 2000s British band blending heavy metal and glam-rock, comes in with its cracker Easter Is Cancelled, which has some amazing guitars and high-pitched vocals. At number six is the late Canadian legend Leonard Cohen, whose posthumous Thanks For The Dance is filled with hard-hitting poetry. The songs ‘It’s Torn’ and ‘Puppets’ are literary works.

Retro bands, modern sound

British folk-rock band Steeleye Span is up next with Est’d 1969, released to mark its 50th year. Santana’s African Skies, which blends frontman Carlos Santana’s Latin-rock style with African sounds, and Swedish progressive metal giant Opeth’s In Caude Venenum would definitely be in the reckoning. So would Irish great Van Morrison’s 3 Chords & The Truth, where his voice is in perfect shape 52 years after his debut. Other recommendations include Sinematic by Robbie Robertson of The Band, Feral Roots by the younger Rival Sons and Let’s Rock by American duo The Black Keys.

Home ground

Finally, representing India, we have Diverse Delusions by guitarist Claver Menezes, who teams up with many guest vocalists on this assorted affair, and the Shubhangi Joshi Collective’s alternative album Babelfish.

What’s in store for 2020? Alanis Morissette, Green Day, the Killers, Evanescence and Sepultura have announced new albums, which makes this year look like rock ‘n’ rock is in safe hands.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 1:37:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/15-best-rock-n-roll-albums-of-2019/article30516033.ece

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