As another year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the albums that surprised us, the albums that got their hooks in, and the albums we continue to revisit. Newcomers like Billie Eilish and Megan Thee Stallion made their marks, reliable acts including Mark Ronson, Andrew Bird, and Angel Olsen proved why they remain top-notch, and Tool, Vampire Weekend, and that dog. made their long-awaited returns.
• We begin with our editors’ overall list of the best albums of 2019.
Up next: the year’s best rap and hip-hop