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2019 - Female Solo Artists -The Ten Best Albums

9 December 2019

In 2019 the female presence and prowess in music is thankfully overwhelming. That statement itself is a solid fact which proves aside from movements or rights issues, female solo artists are striving forward creating music that at times overshadows their male counterparts. In the same breath the equilibrium of acceptance is not fully there. 

For example of the sixteen acts nominated for the 2020 Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, the female contingency consists of Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, the late Whitney Houston, and Pat Benatar. While it may appear light, none of these entrants are guaranteed a place up against the male-dominated acts Thin Lizzy, MC5, Soundgarden and Motörhead. So the travesty continues while acts such as Cher, The Go-Gos, The Runaways, and even Tina Turner (80 this year) are all left waiting for the call up. 

All that aside  here are ten female artists and the brilliance they presented this year. Women who couldn’t care about acceptability, and instead present the music they want to with a sound wholly of their own invention. 

1.Kim GordonNo Home Record (Matador) 

The ex- Sonic Youth powerhouse delivered her first solo outing titled in 2019 titled No Home Record. It is a work of divine confidence that is both dynamic, and with an undeniable venomous commentary within the textures that deal with fame, commercialism, and reinvention from a world intent on harassing sectors of society. From the start it blisters with the ambient noise and dramatic intensity of “Sketch Artist”. The song breaks into an industrial attack, as Gordon delivers a spoken vocal. Even as it twists into a melodic pattern, the menacing words fire forward with conviction. This is not pop, this is an act of heroism, directed at the world through sound. There is an air of a twisted Tom Waits to “Paprika Pony”, as it stutters along with seemingly no direction, the cleverness of the track makes it harrowingly addictive. “Murdered Out” nails ethereal noise rock with painful, vicious lyrics. The passion is soaked within every syllable spun from the lips of Gordon. This is Kim Gordon the artist firing a musical subterfuge of art into the face of the establishment.
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2. Aldous Harding ‎– Designer (4AD)

The New Zealand born Harding returned with a stripped back sound, forged in an organic minimalism, multi-layered to create the sound on Designer. Those bittersweet, gentle tones of Harding glide seamlessly over the piano and guitar signatures, erupting to transcendent bliss during choruses. Whilst the subject matter of the lyrics may be hard to comprehend, perhaps containing trivia of a personal nature to the songstress. The fact is those obscure phrases and lines create a unique, infectious quality that very few would pull off with such direct wonderment. In the same breath reminds us how life as a subject is confusing, so reflective emotions narrated with intricacies such as these should not be simply overlooked. 
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3. Sharon Van EttenRemind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar) 

In 2019 Sharon Van Etten blazed forward with Remind Me Tomorrow, the transcendent follow-up to 2014’s Are We There . Her latest released brushed off the former’s preoccupation with toxic relationships, instead it points to a more resilient Van Etten who has resculpted her life. Keeping within the soul baring context, Remind Me Tomorrow opens with “I Told You Everything”. The fact is prevalent that the New Jersey singer-songwriter is more optimistic about life, less sympathetic towards her past and firing an all creative cylinders. Within a more experimental sound Sharon Van Etten embraces change and relays it back to her audience. 
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4. Lana Del ReyNorman Fucking Rockwell! (Interscope Records) 

Tried to ignore this and pretend it didn’t exist but as soon as I played it I was hooked. Norman Fucking Rockwell! is as close to mainstream sensibilities as I like to venture, but this is a creation of angst and pain. One thing is evident, whomever this album is directed at really pissed this woman off and poured petrol on her bonfire of creativity. The songs while ballad-style over the majority of the album, retain a menacing edge. It’s no Jagged Little Pill but it is built on the same foundations, at times it projects a nineties air to it. This is probably Del Ray’s finest recorded output, the distorted guitars on “Venice Bitch” subjugate the emotions the lady is firing. Like the nine before it, the album deserves a listen along with recognition. 
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5.FKA TwigsMagdalene (Young Turks) 

The British born FKA Twigs (Tahliah Debrett Barnett) strides with an organic humanity on her sophomore release Magdalene. In some ways it is an album based on submission, the obsessive act of love and the importance of being wanted. FKA Twigs reveals her vulnerability in a fearless act presented across the nine tracks of Magdalene. Her maturity shines and becomes a center point, far removed from her 2014 debut LP1. This is the singers finest piece of work and an artistic compass pointing to greater work to come. 
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6. Angel OlsenAll Mirrors (Jagjaguwar) 

Abstract, off the wall and utterly breathtaking describes the latest offering by the Missouri born singer-songwriter. All Mirrors is Olsens most adventurous album to date, considering her reinvention across her previous efforts, here she comes to a height both creatively and with a voice that stings like ice.  From the outset the album twists and turns with emotion, as “Lark” heralds the opening, launching from a murmur to a full-on assault . This is an album which will resonate long after the year ends and stand as a musical milestone in Olsen’s career. 
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7.Billie Eilish  – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Interscope Records)

Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, the most talked-about teen since Britney Spears at the same time became the most outspoken performers on the planet. With the media adorned upon her, Eilish was able to push her modern day manifesto forward, __When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?_  contains a statement of society from the view of a teenage mind. Popularity stems from the singers fearlessness to capture the failings within the establishment to care and nurture the fragile minds of a new generation. With themes which cover climate change, mental health, drug addiction and heartache, Eilish has placed a musical finger on the pulse of the youth generation. 
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8.Chrissie HyndeValve Bone Woe (BMG

The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has undone the shackles of her punk-rock style, instead turning her hand to a more melodic and nostalgic narrative. The lady has just released a solo album which is anchored in a jazz-psychedelia sound with sprinkles of electronica. Valve Bone Woe is a curious piece of work containing fourteen covers by a variety of artists from The Beach Boys to Nick Drake, The Kinks to Rodgers and Hammerstein. With such a drastic step comes the immediate thought how this release could sink or swim, though it does neither and simply floats. At times her snarling sarcasm fits perfectly within the subject matter against a backdrop of a large ensemble orchestra (Valve Bone Woe Ensemble). Other times it is what you would expect, and lacks a bite of passion in the directness Hynde is known for. Regardless of that  fact, it remains a mind-blowing release that aches to be heard. 
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9.SolangeWhen They Get Home (Columbia) 

Solange Piaget Knowles stepped out from behind the shadow of sister Beyonce to release an album of outstanding brilliance. Although it has taken a few years and albums, When They Get Home displays Solange finding her feet and building momentum. Of the nineteen tracks there is very little filler, and it flows seamlessly within a framework of exploration with imagination. A work which crosses styles to pronounce a depth of emotion. Solange has unhinged expectations and When They Get Home has become one of the most acclaimed works of 2019. 
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10.King PrincessCheap Queen (Zelig Records)

A mixture of post-punk and indie submergence in the eighties blistered through on the debut album by Mikaela Mullaney Straus aka King Princess. Cheap Queen visits the personal vulnerability felt by Strauss at an important time in the young lady’s life. It is atmospheric and stuffed with emotional baggage that King Princess molds into a blissful collection. As debut albums go, this is a fully formed piece of work, and is the definite start of something lustrous. 
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