Listen to the Berklee Artists Who Made 2019's Best Music

By 
John Mirisola
December 20, 2019

Whether it was pop, hip-hop, indie, bluegrass, or jazz, Berklee artists performed and produced some of this year’s most critically acclaimed tracks.

It was a great year for music—especially for the 28 Berklee community members who earned Grammy nominations, and for the impressive number whose contributions to the sound of 2019 landed on lists of the year’s best albums and songs. From engineering Lizzo’s now-iconic “Truth Hurts” to landing the top two spots on the New York Times Best Jazz Albums list, Berklee alumni and staff were hard to miss as publications across the web took stock of the year’s standout records. And that’s not to mention producer Andrew Sarlo’s string of indie music triumphs with Bon Iver, Hand Habits, and alumni band Big Thief, who released two critically acclaimed albums this year, May’s U.F.O.F. and October’s Two Hands.

Check out our playlist below for a sampling of this year’s top tracks featuring Berklee artists, and see where they ranked in the credits.

Track Credits and Rankings

  1. “Brand New,” Victor Gould ’09. (Stereogum: Best Jazz Albums, no. 6)
  2. “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo [engineered by Chris Galland B.M. ’07]. (Billboard: Best Albums, no. 4; Rolling Stone: Best Albums, no. 6; Paste: Best Albums, no. 9)
  3. “Talk (feat. Disclosure),” Khalid [engineered by Josh Deguzman B.M. ’15]. (Billboard: Best Albums, no. 32)
  4. “iMi,” Bon Iver [featuring producer Andrew Sarlo ’11]. (Pitchfork: Best Albums, no. 16; Noisey: Best Albums, no. 16; Rolling Stone: Best Albums, no. 21; Paste: Best Albums, no. 31; Stereogum: Best Albums, no. 39)
  5. “Take the Journey,” Molly Tuttle ’14. (NPR: Best Songs, no. 21)
  6. “Cattails,” Big Thief [Adrianne Lenker B.M. ’12, Buck Meek B.M. ’10, James Krivchenia B.M. ’14; produced by Andrew Sarlo ’11]. (Pitchfork: Best Albums, no. 3; Best Songs, no. 32; Best Albums of the 2010s, no. 33; Stereogum: Best Albums, no. 4; PopMatters: Best Albums, no. 9; Paste: Best Albums, no. 24; Noisey: Best Albums, no. 30)
  7. “pacify,” Hand Habits [produced by Andrew Sarlo ’11]. (Stereogum: Best Albums, no. 36; Paste: Best Albums, no. 39; Noisey: Best Albums, no. 76)
  8. “Hurry on Home,” Sleater-Kinney [produced by Annie Clark ’04]. (Bandcamp Daily: Best Albums, no. 36; Paste: Best Albums, no. 45; PopMatters: Best Albums, no. 67; Pitchfork: Best Songs, no. 70)
  9. “Not,” Big Thief [Adrianne Lenker B.M. ’12, Buck Meek B.M. ’10, James Krivchenia B.M. ’14; produced by Andrew Sarlo ’11]. (NPR: Best Songs, no. 1; Spin: Best Albums, no. 1; Paste: Best Albums, no. 4; Best Songs, no. 7; Pitchfork: Best Albums, no. 13; Best Songs, no. 9; Rolling Stone: Best Albums, no. 17; Noisey: Best Albums, no. 30)
  10. “Double Consciousness,” Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah B.M. ’04 (Bandcamp Daily: Best Albums, no. 5; Stereogum: Best Jazz Albums, no. 5; NPR: Best Albums, no. 15)
  11. “Snake Hip Waltz,” Branford Marsalis Quartet [Branford Marsalis ’80 ’06H]. (Stereogum: Best Jazz Albums, no. 9)
  12. “The Rodin Suite, Pt. 1: L’Appel aux armes,” Jeremy Pelt ’98. (Stereogum: Best Jazz Albums, no. 3)
  13. “Corn Crake,” Kris Davis, associate program director of creative development, Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. (New York Times: Best Jazz Albums, no. 1; NPR: Best Albums, no. 23)
  14. “Nos Miraran Pasar,” Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos [Guillermo Klein ’95]. (New York Times: Best Jazz Albums, no. 2)

Listen to Kris Davis break down her song "Corn Crake," from this year's New York Times no. 1 jazz album, Diatom Ribbons, on Sounds of Berklee:

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