Feature Article, List, Music

What an insane year. Looking back on 2017, I doubt it will make anyone’s “Top 10 Years of All Time” list (and if it does, you should probably cut off all communication with them). You know why and I know why. It was chaos with the worst parts of humanity being normalized day-by-day. But as 2016 ended, there was a chorus of folks speaking out about how this time period of extreme pressure could produce some great art. And dammit, they were right.

Now, with regards to music, how much did the events of 2016 (and part of this year) influence the albums released in 2017? It’s hard to say but it FEELS like it had at least some sort of measurable effect (I imagine 2018’s crop of albums will be far more upfront about it). Regardless, some fantastic art was created here, no matter where the inspiration came from. And man, was there a LOT of great music made in 2017. In fact, there is such an abundance that this was the first year where I pretty much had to throw in the towel with the idea of listening to EVERY GREAT ALBUM released. In the past, it was more or less manageable – meaning, I could at least listen to all of the “big ones” and check out highly praised new recommendations. But this time, it was too much and that is a great problem to have.

It’s a bit of an annoyance when I hear people say “there’s no more good music being made” because it reveals more about that person than the actual realm of music we’re experiencing right now. You only have to barely dig to find some jewels here. Not only are there the standard music reviews you can find in magazines (you still buy those, right?) and at online websites, but Spotify and Tidal have some amaaaaazing playlists that constantly introduce you to incredible artists you’ve never heard of before. Sure, the radio isn’t much help these days with finding your new favorite singer, but the internet has you covered.

I’m not sure why, but this year gave me a feeling of flexibility and fluidity. Perhaps it’s the constantly evolving nature of our culture, the whirlwind barrage of news or the shifting centers of power when it comes to technology; nothing seems set in stone. Things can be changed on a whim. Empires can be toppled overnight. Heroes can emerge in a flash. With that in mind, I lifted my completionist urges to listen to every.single.album and let it all flow around me. This means that, yes, there are some big albums I haven’t listened to yet – some of which are in the top 10 lists of big music sites. When I get to them, I may edit this list below.

So anyways, here it is – my 50 favorite albums of 2017.


50.) Migos – Culture

49.) Omar Souleyman – To Syria, With Love

48.) James Vincent McMorrow – True Care

47.) Foxygen – Hang

46.) Anohni – Paradise

45.) Goldfrapp – Silver Eye

44.) Thundercat – Drunk

43.) Death From Above – Outrage! Is Now

42.) Brand New – Science Fiction

41.) Algiers – The Underside of Power

40.) Queens of the Stone Age – Villains

39.) The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody

38.) EMA – Exile in the Outer Ring

37.) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Tourist

36.) Real Estate – In Mind

35.) Lupe Fiasco – Drogas Light

34.) Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound

33.) The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

32.) Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins

31.) Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular

30.) Jay Som – Everybody Works

29.) Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 – Star Stuff

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

27.) Spoon – Hot Thoughts

26.) Kelela – Take Me Apart

25.) Perfume Genius – No Shape

24.) Arcade Fire – Everything Now

23.) Throwing Snow – Embers

22.) Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

21.) Feist – Pleasure

20.) Beach House – B-Sides and Rarities

19.) Slowdive – Slowdive

18.) Phoenix – Ti Amo

17.) Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

16.) Father John Misty – Pure comedy

15.) Paramore – After Laughter

14.) Jay-Z – 4:44

13.) Arca – Arca

12.) Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

11.) The National – Sleep Well Beast

10.) St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION

9.) Kesha – Rainbow

8.) Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy

7.) Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up

6.) The XX – I See You

5.) LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

4.) Passion Pit – A Tremendous Sea of Love

3.) Lorde – Melodrama

2.) Blanck Mass – World Eater

1.) Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder

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