Saturday 30 December 2017

My Top 20 Favourite Albums of 2017

I haven’t been blogging as profusely this year, but I’ve still found the time to listen to a great number of albums. Here are my favourites from 2017.

Don’t forget to check out my previous lists from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 if you’re mad about lists. You can also check out my favourite tracks and least favourite tracks of 2017.

20 – 11

20. Villains - Queens Of The Stone Age

These gloomy rock tunes from Josh Homme and crew are creatively composed and have had me making many return listens, even if I’m still not a fan of the tinny production.

19. Lust for Life – Lana Del Rey

Lana’s sound takes a more upbeat and urban turn on her latest selection of Bond Theme-esque ballads.  

18. Emperor of Sand – Mastodon

The Atlanta metal outfit continue to push out hard-hitting tracks, offering a mixture of belting hooks and heavy riffs.

17. Run The Jewels 3 – Run The Jewels

The hip hop duo are back with some barbed bars and banging beats. Technically this is a 2016 album, but it was released so late in the year it never made last year’s list. I MAKE THE RULES.

16. Take Me Apart - Kelela

The indie r&b songstress delivers a selection of spacey and smoky slowjams. It’s a futuristic sound that’s entirely hers.

Favourite tracks: ‘Waitin’, ‘Blue Light’

15. Automaton – Jamiroquai

UK 90s funk and acid jazz act deliver some new tunes that are as lovably groovy and catchy as their classic material.

Favourite tracks: ‘Automaton’, ‘Hot Property’

14. Planetarium – Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner & James McAlister

Themed around the solar system, everything about this breath-taking album is as vast as space itself from the subject matter to the synth-driven instrumentals to the musician credits.

Favourite tracks: ‘Jupiter’, ‘Mercury’

13. Neo Wax Bloom – Iglooghost

The Irish producer’s fast-paced and frenetic EDM makes for a dizzying listen, boldly pushing the boundaries of electronic music.

Favourite tracks: ‘Super Ink Burst’, ‘White Gum’

12. DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar

Hip hop icon Kendrick Lamar releases some of his most vulnerable tunes as well as some of his most catchy and poppy material.

Favourite tracks: ‘DNA’, ‘XXX’

11. Everything Now – Arcade Fire

The Canadian indie rockers continue to embrace disco, releasing an album that’s as catchy as it politically-charged.

10 – 1:

10. 17 – XXXTentacion

The Soundcloud rapper sidesteps distorted bangers for some intimately raw and lo-fi hip hop tunes that sound like nothing else out there.

9. Mister Mellow – Washed Out

The Chillwave pioneer gives us some new dusty feelgood tunes, this time with a more jazzy and Latin flavour.

8. Big Fish Theory – Vince Staples

The Long Beach rapper takes on some of his most experimental and abrasive beats yet, whilst continuing to deliver catchy bars.

7. Drunk – Thundercat

Funky bassist-singer delivers a gauntlet of jazzy tracks that show off his kooky persona, filled with nerdy gaming and weeabo references.

6. 4:44 – Jay-Z

The rap veteran’s latest album is his most intimate, taking a break from his usual hedonistic boasting for some political talk and introspection.

5.Brutalism – Idles

UK hardcore punks deliver some satisfyingly raucous rock tunes made up of catchy lyrics that are as infectious as they are intricate.

4.Flower Boy – Tyler, the Creator

Tyler tames down the trolling and crudeness in exchange for some personal and genuinely sincere lyrics over some gorgeous jazzy self-produced beats.

3.GT Ultra – Guerilla Toss

Guerilla Toss have previously been a little too noisy and noodling for my liking, but on GT Ultra they’ve injected a catchiness into their sound that makes the experimentalism more enjoyable. Kassie Carlson’s crazed incantations and the instrumental mix of synths, punky guitars, funky bass and cowbell all defy genre-labelling. I’m excited to hear how they develop sonically from here.

2.American Dream – LCD Soundsystem

After several years apart, indie electro-rockers LCD Soundsystem reformed in 2017 to bring us this new album. James Murphy’s social commentary is more bitter and beguiling than ever before, whilst the instrumentals are hypnotic and danceable. It’s synthpop with brains and despite drawing on retro ideas and being delivered by a middle-aged band, it feels extremely current.

1.A Crow Looked At Me – Mount Eerie

I’ve only listened to this album once in its entirety and will probably never listen to the whole thing again, but it’s the concept and emotional impact that lends this album my top spot. The eleven songs on this album were written immediately after the death of Phil Elverum’s wife and played on her instruments. Stripping away the mythology of death, Phil describes his feelings in gritty detail. Few artists experiencing such a tragedy would dare to go so deep. The result is a folk album that approaches death with more rawness than any record before it. It’s not entertainment, but as a piece of art it’s very moving (just be prepared for what you’re about to listen to because it’s very heavy stuff).