The best pop albums of 2019

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 pop albums of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order.

(You can find all our best picks for books, music & DVDs of 2019 here.)


Designer by Aldous Harding

At first glance, this could be labelled an album of background music, but it’s so much more than that. The songs of Designer are relaxed, but complex too. Harding’s songwriting is satisfying and full of pleasant musical surprises. Her voice is breezy and ethereal, the sonic cherry on top of these already very accomplished tracks.

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Ghosteen by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Penned in the years following the tragic death of Nick Cave’s teenage son in 2015, Ghosteen is an astonishing achievement. Here Cave’s iconic, gothic vocals are lifted up by choral arrangements, and gentle, sometimes singular, instrumental parts. Settle in and make sure you take the time to properly soak up this pared back, quietly beautiful album.

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Remind Me Tomorrow by Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten’s voice is powerfully emotive in this nostalgic, pensive album, and each of its ten tracks are masterfully built up to take full advantage of this. Remind Me Tomorrow is the kind of album made to sing along to at the top of your lungs like no one is listening.

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All Mirrors by Angel Olsen

This is a different kind of record for Angel Olsen. While her previous records have centred on stripped-back vocals and reverb-drenched guitar, in All Mirrors Olsen adds synths and orchestral arrangements to her repertoire. The tracks range from epic and sweeping ballads to sweeter, more upbeat compositions. This is a perfectly dreamy soundtrack for summer.

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Western Stars by Bruce Springsteen

The Boss is back with this magical album full of country and folk influences. With a healthy dose of lapsteels, a string arrangement or two, and of course Springsteen’s powerful, swaggering crooning, this album is sure to become another classic for the legendary artist.

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Love Hate by Jess Ribeiro

Like Jess Ribeiro’s previous work, Love Hate makes good use of musical elements from the 1960s – strong guitar lines, organs and psychedelic, echoey vocals – think Jefferson Airplane playing a Johnston Street rock ‘n’ roll dive bar in 2019. This is the perfect album for all your long summer road trip needs.

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The Return by Sampa The Great

Sampa Tembo continues the meteoric rise of her career with The Return. This album proves that Sampa the Great is an artist who is able to capture all of the electricity of her live performances in record form. Filled with delightful Afro-funk grooves and Sampa’s amazing flow, this album is addictive.

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Cuz I Love You by Lizzo

Cuz I Love You has lived at the top of the charts since its release in April, and Lizzo has been touring the world with her catchy, sunny brand of hip-hop to sold-out shows everywhere. And best of all, every song on this album, banger or ballad, has an underlying message of self-love.

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Anima by Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke’s Anima will take your ears on a strange and beautiful journey. This album is inspired by Yorke’s obsession with dreams, and pits his delicately piercing vocals against echoey synths and looping, pulsing rhythms. Be sure to also check out the short film created to accompany this album.

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When I Get Home (LP only) by Solange

This record is more abstract than 2016’s A Seat at the Table, and will take you on an exploratory musical journey through the artist’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Solange is not just the ‘other’ Knowles – with When I Get Home she demonstrates the best way to be musically playful with jazz, R&B, funk, trap and many more genres.

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Ghosteen (2 CD)

Ghosteen (2 CD)

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

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