2019 has proven to be a great year in Aussie music, and it seems like an almost impossible task to have narrowed down the ARIA Award nominations for Album Of The Year to just five. Thelma Plum, Dean Lewis, Hilltop Hoods, RÜFÜS DU SOL and The Teskey Brothers have all been nominated for their killer albums released this year, and it's hard to pick a winner. Here's what makes each album great, and why they'd all be deserving winners of this year's Best Album award.
Thelma Plum - Better In Blak
Thelma Plum has gone from strength to strength as an artist, but 2019 saw her release her strongest album yet with Better In Blak. Better In Blak addresses racial inequality in Australia, as well as a period in 2018 which saw Thelma turn a traumatic experience into something so moving when writing the songs for this album.
Better In Blak is one of the many stand-out albums released by Aussie women this year, and is a deserved nomination. The title track in particular is a huge statement from Thelma, and one of the biggest pop moments that Australia has seen in quite a while. She's been nominated for 6 ARIAs in total and is the only woman in the Album Of The Year category, which is a deserved return for such a great year.
You can vote for her in the Video Of The Year category just by typing "ARIA Awards" into Google and following the voting prompts.
Dean Lewis - A Place We Knew
Dean Lewis is a genuine hit-making machine, with Waves, Be Alright and 7 Minutes all making waves (sorry) not just in Australia, but globally as well. His debut album is a long time coming, as he first rose to prominence back in 2016, but it's proof that good things come to those who wait.
His album weaves hit singles together with more subtle album tracks with ease, and it's pretty clear that he won't just be a flash in the pan. It's a deserving nomination for Best Album, and is a great representation of Lewis as a songwriter.
Hilltop Hoods - The Great Expanse
In addition to having one of the best live shows in the country (and filling in for Chance The Rapper at Splendour In The Grass this year), Hilltop Hoods continue to write hits, this far into their career. The Great Expanse is the trio's eight album, and while they've been around a bit longer than the other nominees for Best Album, their music sounds just as fresh as it did 15 years ago.
Clark Griswold and Leave Me Lonely are both now Australian festival staples, and The Great Expanse set a new ARIA record for most #1 albums by an Australian band or group, with the Hoods having now achieved six #1s. It's a fitting nomination, and it's not the last we'll hear from them.
RÜFÜS DU SOL - Solace
Dropping this time last year, it's a testament to RÜFÜS DU SOL that this album has stuck in the minds of so many for so long. It was always going to be a hard task to follow up the huge record that was Bloom, but rather than playing it safe, Solace saw the band exploring new sounds, and growing as a band. It doesn't overstay its welcome, either, but leaves you wanting more. The band have also fast become an international festival staple, often billed high up on festivals like Coachella.
Reminiscent of some of electronic music's greats, Solace is an album that demands repeat listens, as there's always something new to find. A year on, it still sounds fresh and exciting, and is a worthy nominee.
The Teskey Brothers - Run Home Slow
The Teskey Brothers may have waited almost a decade to release their debut album, Half Mile Harvest, but thankfully they didn't wait that long to release their second one, Run Home Slow. Their second album saw them play to their strengths, while also growing their sound. It's a timeless-sounding album, and given their ever-growing fanbase, it's a refreshing change of pace for many fans.
Stand-out tracks from the album include Man Of The Universe and Hold Me, which manage to walk the line between experimental and familiar. The Teskey Brothers have a knack for making music that feels like it could have come from the '60s and '70s, while simultaneously producing songs that feel fresh, rather than dated, and is another solid nominee for Best Album.
The ARIA Awards will be taking place on November 27th.