If it’s December then you already what time is. END OF THE YEAR LISTS, FAM. Just like last year, I’m rounding up the Top 10 albums of 2017 that I enjoyed the most. Many of these artists and bands you may recognize from the Now Playing section, but there’s plenty in here that I haven’t written about before.
The main thing I want to stress here is that I am not a music critic. I don’t believe in over-critiquing things that you love. Also, the internet was practically made for Ivy League dropouts to post dramatic thesis statements on bands for websites that no one can remember the name of. Everything on this list is wild subjective because the criteria for the rankings is my own enjoyment of the material. That’s it. If some of you have come to trust my taste, then great! I can guarantee there’s a few things on here that you will absolutely favor. If not, that’s okay, too.
So with all of that being said, let’s be about what we’re about.
10. 21 Savage and Offset – Without Warning
Sometimes it’s hard to describe what you want but all you want is something that slaps and then 21 and Offset drop a mixtape with Metro Boomin and everything feels right in your life.
9. Minus the Bear – VOIDS
VOIDS came completely out of nowhere. I was surprised Minus the Bear was even still making music. But the band hasn’t lost their penchant for solid guitar-heavy pop jams, and this album was full of them.
8. The xx – I See You
To watch The xx blow up from a small club band to legitimate festival headliners over the last ten years has been crazy. I See You is a great signifier of the band’s success and their willingness to push beyond the music they originated with. Sometimes pushing yourself to grow is worth it.
7. Sorority Noise – You’re Not As _____ As You Think
If you ever wanted a record about mental illness and the toll it takes, well, here’s a great one.
6. Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life
I can recognize that when one of my favorite bands puts out a new album, there’s a good chance I’ll be biased and love it regardless. Near to the Wild Heart of Life shows that yes, Japandroids still write absolute anthems, but the boldness of these songs lie in the quieter moments.
5. Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound
“Enter Entirely” is probably one of the best songs this band will ever write.
4. White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band
Hands down, White Reaper is my favorite new band from this year. Their sophomore effort is as fun as it is sincere, but the nostalgia baked in to every track makes me think that this is the stuff our dads listened to when they got drunk in their 20s.
3. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
I have never heard hip-hop like Big Fish Theory. It’s weird, and futuristic, and arty, but without any of the pretension that comes with projects like these. My only hang up is that I don’t think enough people are going to give Vince Staples the attention he deserves, and this record might be one of those under-the-radar endeavors that only a select few respect and praise. Here’s to hoping that’s not the case.
2. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
My good friend Mr. Nasty and I listened to A Deeper Understanding while we were driving through Rocky Mountain National Park over the summer. Maybe it was the scenery and the remarkably high elevation, but this album hit me in a way that I was hoping something would. The songs all sort of sound the same, but I think that’s a testament to Adam Granduciel’s effort to make something that felt cohesive and surreal.
1. The National – Sleep Well Beast
2017 was a weird year with a lot of weird shit happening. Thankfully, The National took a lot of what we were all feeling and built an accompanying soundtrack to the thought. The addition of a ton of electronic elements was a huge plus for me, but more so, I was psyched that this band is still making consistent albums that work on varying levels.
- Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
- Sleigh Bells – Kid Kruschev
- Future Islands – The Far Field
- Com Truise – Iteration
- ODESZA – A Moment Apart
- Miguel – War & Leisure
Note: Science Fiction was purposefully left off of this list because I cannot blindly support an artist that has actively or previously sexually harassed women. This isn’t a political or moral stance; this is just recognizing the basic differences between right and wrong.