Robb’s “Best of 2019” Playlist
December 11, 2019 -- It’s been a great year for music fitting under the umbrella of “soul,” and that umbrella is widening. The advent of streaming, together with the lusty experimentation of evolving musicians like Michael Kiwanuka and Blood Orange, has caused some genres to collapse into one another, with exciting, hybrid genres often emerging from that collision. We’ve also seen some artists, most notably H.E.R., Amber Mark and Lucky Daye, lead a look backward to recapture a more organic form of soul/R&B that blends real instrumentation and lyrical depth with modern textures and accents.
This “Best of” list is my now second annual attempt to assemble the 50 songs of the year that are both unforgettable and share the fundamental rhythmic, vocal and melodic elements that most I hope would recognize as at least “soulful” if not “soul” itself. Several have been featured on this site as First Listens or in the Another Groove series, and all linger in your ear after the music stops. The tracks are in no particular order, nor could I even attempt to rank them all, but if “forced” to pick a top three they would be: “Collide” by Tiana Major9 and EarthGang; “Piano Joint” by Michael Kiwanuka, and “Misunderstood” by Lucky Daye.
Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
By Robb Patryk
Robb is the originator of our Flashback Soul and Another Groove series and a regular contributing writer to this site.