Album Bracketology, Part Four: The Final Four

Album Bracketology, Part Four: The Final Four

[Editor’s note: Propeller’s editorial staff returned from spring break long ago, but declines to work on Album Bracketology articles. Though we are allowing Matthew Kauffman Smith to finish publishing his double-elimination “music tournament,” his system for determining his favorite album of the previous year is confusing and his taste in music is mediocre. Our design intern uses these articles to explore web design potentials, and posts them at her leisure. Anyone reading beyond this point does so at their own risk.]

By Matthew Kauffman Smith
Breaking News: Sideline reporter Alvin Bracketology is reporting that Swedish pop star Robyn has defeated the Decemberists in losers bracket, round ten. The Decemberists were the last remaining former champions, meaning that once again, Album Bracketology will crown a new champion, as we have every year since the tournament’s inception in 2009. The quest to crown a repeat champion will wait another year. Robyn already won the Scandinavian Album of the Year, and is one of five artists in the top eleven that are making their Album Bracketology debuts, along with Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, who finish eleventh this year. Anyone in the top eleven this year automatically receives a video tribute.

12. The Decemberists: I’ll Be Your Girl
11. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers: Years

The author continues to suggest he is involved in conversations in the Propeller offices, though in reality, no one here will work on these pieces or even talk to me about them.

Before we get into the Top Ten, let’s go back to Robyn for a moment. Propeller just awarded her a wild card entry into the album of the decade tournament coming up in the fall of 2020 for her 2010 album Body Talk. Those of us in the Propeller offices love that album, but we didn’t discover it until 2013. Other wild card entries include Elbow’s 2011 album Build a Rocket Boys, and, of course, the forgotten album from 2018 from Motorcade. We’re not sure how exactly we neglected to include that fine album, but we think it possibly started with the design intern.

Back to the competition, where Valley Queen—whose EP placed 58th last year—nabbed a top ten finish this year for their first full-length release, Supergiant.

10. Valley Queen: Supergiant

Seems like if a bearded white guy plugs in a guitar and a white lady singer fakes a twang, the band automatically ends up in the top twenty in this tournament. It’s like a cheat code.

We conclude the losers bracket round ten with another debut, and also the Cuban album of the year, from Orquesta Akokan.

9. Orquesta Akokan: Orquesta Akokan

Breaking news: Let’s go back to Robyn for another moment. In losers bracket round eleven, newcomer Tierra Whack defeated the Swedish pop goddess, while Lucy Dacus defeated another Bracketology newcomer, Jeff Rosenstock.

8. Jeff Rosenstock: Post–

7. Robyn: Honey

Over on the winners bracket, we have reached a final between The Beths and Janelle Monae. Monae defeated Kacey Musgraves, while The Beths beat Parquet Courts. Both Musgraves and Parquet Courts spent barely any time in the losers bracket as Tierra Whack beat Musgraves, while Lucy Dacus defeated Parquet Courts. Both Parquet Courts and Musgraves tweaked their collective sounds a bit and both ended up with their highest Album Bracketology finishes. Parquet Courts finished 33rd, 17th, 12th, and 7th in previous editions, while Musgraves placed 13th in 2013 and then 66th in 2015.

6. Parquet Courts: Wide Awake!
5. Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour

Holy good god the guitarist, drummer, and pianist absolutely do NOT agree on the tempo of that Parquet Courts song and it is hilarious.

PBS NewsHour: The source people over seventy turn to for help deciding which CD to buy for $7.99 at Costco.

Interestingly enough, the final four is exactly the same in Album Bracketology’s Parallel universe double elimination tournament. And, as always, the official bracket can be found at

PBS NewsHour: When the CD’s by the register at Starbucks are too edgy.

Dear Bracket Buttnik,
When will it end? When. Will. It. End.
The entire city of Tuscon, AZ

Shout out to Tuscon! Thank you for your support. Also, your letter comes at a perfect time because Propeller will crown its champion with the next installment. Also, we’ll name the record label of the year, song of the year, and, for the first time ever, will hold a pre-season tournament of the 2019 contenders. Thanks, Tuscon. Stay warm!

PBS NewsHour: We have the same taste as extremely conservative people and is that a problem?

105. Now, Now: Saved
104. Iceage: Beyondless
103. Shannon and the Clams: Onion
102. Tove Stryke: Sway
101. Superorganism: Superorganism
100. H.C McEntire: Lionheart
99. First Aid Kit: Ruins
98. U.S. Girls: In a Poem Unlimited
97. Proclaimers: Angry Cyclist
96. Eternal Summers: Every Day Feels Like I’m Dying
95. Interpol: Marrauder
94. MGMT: Little Dark Age
93. Twin Shadow: Caer
92. Town Mountain: New Freedom Blues
91. The Love Language: Baby Grand
90. We Were Promised Jetpacks: The More I Sleep, the Less I Dream
89. Kero Kero Bonito: Time ‘n’ Place
88. Cupcakke Euphorize
87. Michael Rault: It’s a New Day Tonight
86. Birdtalker: One
85. Mitski: Be the Cowboy
84. Ume: Other Nature
83. The Struts: Young and Dangerous
82. Tunng: Songs You Make at Night
81. Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth
80. Tracyanne & Danny: Tracyanne & Danny
79. Dubstar: One
78. Ural Thomas and the Pain: The Right Time
77. The Joy Formidable: AAARTH
76. Viagra Boys: Street Worms
75. Panic! At the Disco: Pray for the Wicked
74. No Age: Snares Like a Haircut
73. Georgia Anne Muldrow: Overload
72. Shame: Songs of Praise
71. Kurt Vile: Bottle It In
70. Open Mike Eagle: What Happens When I Try to Relax
69. Angelique Kidjo: Remain in Light
68. Charles Bradley: Black Velvet
67. Neko Case: Hell-On
66. Maribou State: Kingdoms in Colour
65. Eleanor Friedberger: Rebound
64. Typhoon: Offerings
63. VHS Collection: Retrofuturism
62. The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
61. Bodega: Endless Scroll
60. Michigan Rattlers: Evergreen
59. Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar
58. Pistol Annies: Interstate Gospel
57. Dirty Projectors: Lamp Lit Prose
56. Black Panther soundtrack
55. Shakey Graves: Can’t Wake Up
54. Laura Gibson: Goners
53. Kali Uchis: Isolation
52. Shad: A Short Story About War
51. Doug Paisley: Starter Home
50. Chvrches: Love is Dead
49. Art Brut: Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!
48. Vance Joy: Nation of Two
47. Chanti Darling: RNB Vol. 1
46. Brazilian Girls: Let’s Make Love
45. Death Cab for Cutie: Thank you for Today
44. Laurel: DOGVIOLET
43. Gregory Alan Isakov: Evening Machines
42. Snail Mail: Lush
41. The Goon Sax: We’re Not Talking
40. Flasher: Constant Image
39. Noname: Room 25
38. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Hope Downs
37. Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile
36. Rosalia: El Mal Querer
35. Speedy Ortiz: Twerp Verse
34. Jorja Smith: Lost & Found
33. boygenius: boygenius EP
32. M. Ward: What a Wonderful Industry
31. Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off Dog
30. Tracey Thorn: Record
29. IDLES: Joy as an Act of Resistance
28. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
27. Courtney Marie Andrews: May Your Kindness Remain
26. Sunflower Bean: Twentytwo in Blue
25. Mary Gauthier: Rifles and Rosary Beads
24. Middle Kids: Lost Friends
23. Foxing: Nearer My God
22. Brandi Carlile: By the Way, I Forgive You
21. Rubblebucket: Sun Machine
20. Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel
19. Amanda Shires: To the Sunset
18. Dr. Dog: Critical Equation
17. Christine and the Queens: Chris
16. Camp Cope: How to Socialise and Make Friends
15. John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness
14. Screaming Females: All at Once
13. Superchunk: What a Time to Be Alive
12. The Decemberists: I’ll Be Your Girl
11. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers: Years
10. Valley Queen: Supergiant
9. Orquesta Akokan: Orquesta Akokan
8. Jeff Rosenstock: Post–
7. Robyn: Honey
6. Parquet Courts: Wide Awake!
5. Kacey Musgraves: Golden Hour

Matthew Kauffman Smith is still doing this.

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