You’d think after 8 years of making these lists I’d be tired of it. Wrong! WRONG! I WILL NEVER STOP POSTING.
This paragraph was going to be about how messed up this year has been, but honestly, you don’t need the reminder. Things suck for a lot of us, especially the marginalized in this country.
Anyway, this year in music provided an absolutely stellar soundtrack for an absolutely shit year. Be it because of Spotify or the increased inter-connectivity of every day life, I feel much more plugged in to so many different types of music these days. This might be the most diverse end-of-year list I’ve put together. MAYBE!
I did something different with this year’s list. Nic dared me to rank my favorite albums this year. I usually list them by release date, but she called me a cuck or something so now I have to do it. So, here are my favorite albums ranked in my favorite-ness. In the comments or Twitter or Facebook or whatever, let me know your 2017 faves! I love learning about stuff I completely missed out on because I was too busy listening to one of twenty political podcasts that all have the same opinion.
If you want to skip all this and just jam out, there is a Spotify playlist of all of my favorite albums this year, not just the top 20 in the link above and embedded at the bottom of this post.
PS: There are always some albums that I learn about late that I wish I could add to this list after-the-fact. Last year’s is definitely Sturgill Simpson’s record. That shit was rull nice. Okay. ONTO THE LIST.
This kid has it all. I love the tone of his voice, and the beat/musical choices on Freudian just sound rich and neatly put together. This album is just a lot of great choices put together, and it shows. I’m not the biggest R&B fan, but this is definitely up my alley. Definitely give this album a shot if you haven’t yet.
Uhhh… look I try not being that weird guy who tries to convince you to listen to Chinese emo music, but if you’ve spoken to me in the last two years, it’s pretty likely I’ve brought up this band. Please listen to them. I would die if they came to the United States.
Nic discovered this band and knew it would BE MY SHIT. It isn’t higher up the list I think because I got into it later in the year compared to some of the other stuff on this list, but I love her voice, the hooks are SPOT ON, and Charly Bliss can sound so small and so big all in the same tune, which is no easy feat. Perfect band is perfect.
I wasn’t a big fan of Girlpool’s first record. I thought there was something there, but it never really vibed with me. I went into the new Girlpool album expecting a lot of the same, but I was blown away. They transformed from this twangy, weird two piece band to a group with a big ole sound with a lot of texture. I really love this record. It sounds like a fall day in your friend’s parents’ house.
Every 21 Savage album could double as accompanying material for a Scared Straight program. 21’s real menace is in how calmly he explains how he’s going to murder you or friends if you mess with him or his friends. The beats are always fire. Every 21 punchline should be followed by a nervous chuckle. He also sings a little bit on this record, and I think it’s pretty great. Amber Rose has been good for him.
By far, this is one of the coolest albums on this list. Laid back and funky as hell, this record does a lot of things right. “Crew” is probably my song of the year, even though that track was released in 2016.
Doing anything while listening to this album makes whatever you’re doing like 20 times better. That’s not just math. That’s science. That’s theology. That’s physics. That’s everything. This album GOES. Also, how GREAT is this artwork? You know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you hit play. No jokes.
I usually don’t listen to anything considered “folk” (really?) music, if we’re being 100. It’s usually too slow or just sleepy for me. Something about this Big Thief album captured my interest. I went back through their discography after listening to Capacity for about a month straight. It’s also very good.
I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that if Football Etc. puts out an album, it’s going to end up on my year-end list. I’m a Footie Etc. stan. That’ll never end. Saw them for my birthday this year, and it was amazing. Just go listen.
I’ve been a huge KRIT fan for a long time, and the last couple of releases were really underwhelming for lots of reasons. Now that he’s independent, this might be his strongest “album” if not a close second. I was skeptical about how Big KRIT could keep a 22-song double album cohesive and musically interesting. I really shouldn’t have doubted him. He got some production help this time around, and I think the different perspectives really helped this record be what it is. ALSO SUBENSTEIN IS NOW A HALLOWEEN BANGER DON’T TELL ME DIFFERENT.
I feel like St. Vincent/Annie Clark is on another plane right now. I’ve loved her work for years, but I think all of that hardwork and craftmanship she poured into her earlier works has culminated in MASSEDUCTION. This album sounds rich as hell. Conceptually and in its execution this record has very few bumps in the road and just nails it.
9. SZA – Ctrl
Been a fan of SZA’s since her first EP, and I was really excited for her album to drop. It felt like it never would. When Ctrl finally dropped, it immediately felt like a pretty drastic departure from her earlier stuff. I might have been projecting or mis-remembering, but I didn’t really dig it until about the third listen. Then I GOT IT. This album really takes a hold of you and never lets go. I love it. TDE wins again (despite all of the back and forth and fighting over this album and the frustrating indecision from a lot of people especially SZA).
Y’all, I’m as surprised as y’all are. Paramore’s rebrand was a lot to take in as an avowed Riot era Paramore stan, but DAMN THIS ALBUM KNOCKS. Hayley and co. really outdid themselves on this record with all the smooth ass production and catchy singles. The ’80s vibes are something I never thought I’d get out of this band or ever get into again — it’s 2017, people! The honesty of Hayley’s writing is really refreshing and not cliche at all. That’s really hard to do on pop/rock records imo.
My two word review: HELL YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHHHHHAHAHAAHHHHH
This record was a guilty pleasure for me for a while. I feel like Carti represents a lot of what people think is “wrong” with hip hop. I really shouldn’t care, but Carti’s music just grew on me. Every track on this thing is magic.
Future is a scumbag. There’s no getting around that. BUT… I will always prefer someone who embraces that they’re not shit over someone who denies it. Future’s, non-official double album is full of all out bangers and Future singing about being the worst. Look, if singing Future is good enough for Cher, it’s good enough for me.
I wouldn’t say this album is immaculate, but it’s pretty close. It’s Migos at the peak of their powers. I don’t know if they’re ever going to be able to replicate both the energy of this album and the cultural moments that their tracks/videos created. This album was a perfect storm. Even if you don’t like it, remember that is gave us this video.
I’ll just put it this way. J. Cole isn’t even the best rapper on his label. It’s J.I.D by a large margin. J.I.D’s The Never Story hits me in every part of my soul from the I-HAD-TO-STRUGGLE-ALL-MY-LIFE anthems to the melancholy love songs that really bring this album down to earth. Most importantly, J.I.D can spit. I love this release, and I can’t wait for more J.I.D
Every song on this album knocks. Pop punk goodness radiates off these kids. They’re so good for their age, and I really hope they keep it up. The punk world needs their energy and creativity.
There’s a lot more than 20 artists on this playlist, but these are the albums I really liked this year. Let me know what you liked and thing that I missed!