Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X dominated the headlines this year, but 2019 was much more than that. We look back at the music we'll remember most and the marks it left on our cultural landscape. As we listened back to the past year in music we heard a lot of the cultural and political angst you'd expect in a turbulent (and relentless) news cycle. But the albums that seemed to resonate the most in 2019 were more personal and inward looking, overflowing with love and defiant optimism. and more all reinvented their sound, pushing themselves in dramatic new directions as a testament to the resilience and restlessness of the creative spirit.
Interview: Raphael Saadiq
The soul musician behind one of the year's best albums, the heartwrenching Jimmy Lee , spoke with NPR music critic Rodney Carmichael as part of NPR's Tiny Desk Fest, a special four-night series of Tiny Desk concerts at NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Saadiq shared stories about his brothers' battle with addiction, the origins of D'Angelo's "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," and what it's like to play two Tiny Desk concerts 10 years apart.
Interview: Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow had a lot to say in this Tiny Desk Fest interview with NPR pop critic Ann Powers. Every day, Sheryl Crow said at NPR's Tiny Desk Fest, she thinks about compassion. "In 2005, I got to hear the Dalai Lama speak — I was his opening act — and it was cool. It was the year he was talking about compassion, and he said if every person in every business in every walk of life made every decision based on compassion, the world would look like a completely different place." Crow and her band then led a rousing singalong of her 2008 song "Out of Our Heads," whose chorus sends an urgent plea to the online news junkies and social media warriors of today: "If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads, and into our hearts...."
A Conversation With Jeff Lynne Of ELO
The longtime leader of ELO talks with All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen about his creative process, working with his heroes, like Roy Orbison, and his latest album, From Out of Nowhere . , a Beatle-esque British band in the late '60s. That creative outfit morphed into Electric Light Orchestra, taking their guitar, piano, and drum-based pop music and adding strings and synthesizers. ELO became a big band with a giant sound. The first ELO record was released precisely 48 years ago, on December 3, 1971. Nowadays, Jeff Lynne is ELO. Except for a few helping hands, Jeff Lynne writes, records, sings, plays and arranges everything on his new album, From Out of Nowhere, on his own. And he loves doing it.
The 2010s: NPR Listeners Pick Their Top Songs Of The Decade
All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton countdown NPR listeners' favorite songs of the 2010s. The Top 25 Listener Picks: 1. Bon Iver: "Holocene" from Bon Iver 2. Robyn: "Dancing On My Own" from Body Talk Pt. 1 3. Sufjan Stevens: "Fourth of July" from Carrie & Lowell 4. Lorde: "Royals" from Pure Heroine 5. Kanye West: "Runaway" from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 6. Beyoncé: "Formation" from Lemonade 7. M83: "Midnight City" from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming 8. LCD Soundsystem: "Dance Yrself Clean" from This is Happening 9. Kendrick Lamar: "Alright" from To Pimp a Butterfly 10. Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars: "Uptown Funk" from Uptown Special 11. Childish Gambino: "This is America" (Single) 12. Adele: "Rolling in the Deep" from 21 13. Taylor Swift: "All Too Well" from Red 14. Lucy Dacus: "Night Shift" from Historian 15. Carly Rae Jepsen: "Run Away with Me" from E.MO.TION 16. Mitski: "Your Best American Girl" from Puberty 2 17. Frank Ocean: "Self Control" from Blonde 18. Hozier: "Take Me to Church" from Hozier 19. Alabama Shakes: "Hold On" from Boys & Girls 20. Janelle Monáe: "Make Me Feel" from Dirty Computer 21. Lana Del Rey: "Video Games" from Born to Die 22. Brandi Carlile: "The Joke" from By the Way, I Forgive You 23. Radiohead: "Daydreaming" from A Moon Shaped Pool 24. Courtney Barnett: "Depreston" from Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit 25. Fleet Foxes: "Helplessness Blues" from Helplessness Blues