I’m not a music expert, but I do pride myself in having relatively good taste in music. As I get further and further away from my college years, I find it harder and harder to keep branching out to new and exciting music, but I’m doing my best to stay young at heart when it comes to my music taste.
With that in mind, here are my top 10 albums of the year (in no particular order):
The Wild - The Rural Alberta Advantage
There’s just something about this band that clicks with me. This is their 4th full length album, and 2 of their first 3 albums were my favorite of their respective years. I’m not officially ranking my top 10 in 2017, but if I had to there is a good chance this would be the third time they took my top spot. I love the emotion dripping from each song. This is simultaneously the album I bet most people haven’t heard of as well as the album I wish the most people would check out.
Standout tracks: Alright, Toughen Up, Bad Luck Again
American Dream - LCD Soundsystem
How do you come back from a highly publicized hiatus? By releasing an intense, passionate, unpredictable, towering achievement of a record, of course! LCD Soundsystem had 3 incredible albums under their belt and huge expectations around this comeback album, and they absolutely killed it. From the opening track on, LCD Soundsystem delivered an album that is both distinctly them, and unlike the 3 records that they released before. Tracks 5-7 are the best 22 minutes of any album all year. My god!
Standout tracks: how do you sleep?, call the police, oh baby, tonite
DAMN. - Kendrick Lamar
I struggle to effectively vocalize my thoughts on hip-hop, but Kendrick Lamar is an artist who just clicks with me. His last 2 records were stellar, and Damn continues the streak from the most exciting rapper out there today. Lamar addresses more than a few current issues throughout, all with clever wordplay and no shortage of fire when the need arises.
Oh, and the last minute of DNA. absolutely floored me. It was the only time this year a song made me stop in my tracks and literally say “oh my god!” out loud.
Standout tracks: LOVE., DNA., HUMBLE., ELEMENT.
Zombies on Broadway - Andrew McMahon In the Wildreness
Andrew McMahon is doing plenty well for himself, but there’s a good chance you have not hear of him either. He also made what I think is the best mainstream pop album of the year. Zombies on Broadway is a non-stop string of catchy, beautiful songs that will get stuck in your head in no time, and take forever to get out
Standout tracks: Shot out of a Cannon, So Close, Walking In My Sleep
I See You - The xx
I’ve liked The xx since their debut, but I never really thought they put together a great full album. In early 2017 they finally did that, and I See You has been on repeat for me all year long. This is a quiet album, but it sticks with you.
Standout tracks: I Dare You, Replica, A Violent Noise
A Deeper Understanding - The War on Drugs
Just like The xx, this was another band that I’ve had my eyes on, but who has never made a complete album I could get behind. This one from The War on Drugs floored me with some of the best songs I heard all year. If The xx is a little too quiet for you, try these guys out.
Standout tracks: Nothing to Find, Pain, Holding On
Reputation - Taylor Swift
Yes, Taylor Swift. People seemed mixed on this record when it came out in November, and I personally was not a huge fan of the lead single, Look What You Made Me Do, but the rest of this record is catchy as hell. Swift doesn’t have anything particularly profound to say here, but that’s okay, it’s a fun pop record.
Standout tracks: ...Ready for It?, Don’t Blame Me, Call It What You Want
Hot Thoughts - Spoon
I love Spoon, and this is one of their better ones. I just love the lead singer’s voice, so basically anything he does has me on board, but this album surprised me more than a few times, and the standout tracks just begged me to crank up the stereo.
Standout tracks: WhisperI’lllistentohearit, Can I Sit Next to You, Shotgun
Life Will See You Now - Jens Lekman
This is by far the most fun album on my list. Leckman has a penchant for humor and he’s in fine form here. Take the song Evening Prayer (the song I’ve had stuck in my head more than anything else this year) which is about someone who laments the struggle of being someone who is trying to figure out how much they can show they care about someone with a tumor:
It’s been a long hard year For a friend who’s not sure if he’s close enough To be allowed to care Or just be there To include you in his evening prayers
It’s not a comedy album by any means, but it’s fun throughout.
Standout tracks: Evening Prayer, How We Met The Long Version, Postcard #17
Everything Now - Arcade Fire
Here’s another divisive album from the year, but I also really liked the latest from Arcade Fire. This is clearly the worst album from them (my opinion, of course), but it’s still better than what most other bands ever achieve. This is a sort of concept album focused around consumerism. This is a grand, delicious album and I love it.
Standout tracks: Electric Blue, Everything Now, Creature Comfort, We Don’t Deserve Love