Year in Review: Top 10 Albums of 2017 – By: Dominic McCarter

  1. Everybody Works – Jay Som

This album was released towards the beginning of the year, and was quite the frontrunner for myself in the earlier part of the year. It turns out there were 9 other albums that I ended up enjoying more than this work, but don’t let that fool you into thinking I don’t love the album itself. Interestingly enough, I actually think I enjoy Jay Som’s debut album Turn Into more than this one, but they are both on par as far as the level of comfort they bring to your ears when listening to them. Jay Som incorporates a lot of genre markers from the likes of emo, shoegaze, lo-fi, bedroom pop, and a few more to create an album that is great for drives to the beach, grilling outside, or any of those other warm weather activities that people enjoy. Favorite track: For Light

 

  1. Happy Birthday – Blood Cultures

This is an album that popped up on my Apple Music playlist of recommended songs, and it’s one that I believe flew completely under the radar as far as this year’s releases go. Blood Culture’s debut album is exactly how electronic pop music should sound like. Every track from start to finish gets the blood flowing, but not at a level that’s too intense. This is definitely an album I find it hard not to bob my head or move around to. Blood Cultures improves upon the sounds that the likes of Phantogram, Sylvan Esso, and even Baths have brought to the table. What really won me over on this album is the soft vocals that lie as a baseline for many of the tracks on the album. Favorite track: All These Days/Smoke Signals

 

  1. Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

First and foremost, this album is about 65% in French. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though considering Charlotte is the daughter of arguably the most prolific French pop star from back in the 60s and 70s, Serge Gainsbourg. While Charlotte does certainly pull inspiration from her father’s sound, she has created one that is solely her own. This album is a perfect example of finding the balance between honoring a famous sound from the 60s or 70s, and creating a completely refreshing and new modern sound in the Pop/Indie Pop genre. Favorite Track: Deadly Valentine

 

  1. The OOZ – King Krule

Archy Marshall decided instead of going the full on garage rock for his second album, he incorporated the funk/hip-hop/lo-fi sound into this one, while still using guitars and drums as the main instruments. I can definitely understand if people don’t care for the King Krule sound, as the vocals are very different, but in my opinion that’s what makes King Krule so good. This album in particular is a much darker tone than Krule’s debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, but not quite as dark as the album released under his real name, A New Place 2 Drown. Another example this year of an artist finding perfect balance between two wholly different sounds. Favorite Track: Dum Surfer

 

  1. New Energy – Four Tet

This album is easily Four Tet’s best album since Rounds in 2003. Four Tet’s releases have been very solid for his entire career, but this was the first time in a while where a Four Tet album really drew me in. He was even able to get into the House music vibe with the track SW9 9SL, something he hasn’t quite ventured into in the traditional sense. Of course though, there is a wholly Four Tet twist to the track itself, and the entire album as well. Electronic music is the one overarching genre that has been putting out the most creatively fresh albums over the past few years. This work is a borderline masterpiece, but the funny thing is that it’s not the best electronic-driven album on this list. Favorite Track: Daughters

 

  1. Self Titled – Slow Dive

It’s one thing to come out with a new album after an almost 20 year hiatus, but it’s an incredible feat to come out with another classic in the shoegaze genre. Slowdive clearly have not lost their touch in creating the shoegaze sound that is so commonly used as an inspiration to so many other artists. While Souvlaki put Shoegaze on the map and allowed Slow Dive to become one of the founders of the very specific sound itself, sharing that titled with My Bloody Valentine, this album cements that legacy, as mbv did for My Bloody Valentine. Favorite Track: No Longer Making Time

 

  1. Self Titled – Kelly Lee Owens

When it comes to taking leaps and experimenting with a very popular electronic pop sound, this album is as good as it gets. Kelly Lee Owens debuts completely on fire with this release, which does a terrific job of at being in your face, and lying low all at the same time. It’s not the bad kind of being in your face though, as this is the kinda album you’d wanna listen to while driving 80 on a freeway at 3:00AM. Not sure why you’d have to be doing such a thing, but this is the album to put on if you find yourself doing just that. Saying you’ll be focused and alert is an understatement. Favorite Track: CBM

 

  1. DAMN – Kendrick Lamar

If you’re reading this deep into the blog, you had to know this album would be on the list. You might be shocked actually that it’s clocking in at number 3, but I should be clear, this album is the best album that’s come out this year in terms of the overall work, this list is just more about what albums I enjoyed the most. Kendrick is a mastermind. There’s almost nothing else to be said, as time and time again, Kendrick releases a monumental album. Listening to it with the reversed tracklist is a fun time too, so you should take the time to do that if you haven’t already. Favorite Track: Love (feat Zacari)

 

  1. American Dream – LCD Soundsystem

It’s really a great feeling when you find out that one of your favorite artists announces they’ll be releasing a new album, especially after James Murphy stated they were 100% done about 4 years ago. Although it was a long wait, James and company released a tremendous album, and thank goodness, as it was a year full of disappointing releases from artists who were expected to release solid additions to their discography (i.e. Gorillaz, Arcade Fire, etc). LCD left their roots a bit from previous works being heavily synth-y and decided to be a bit more organic in sound. Regardless of the fact, the album is a fantastic listen from start to finish. Favorite Track: How Do You Sleep?

 

  1. Stubborn Persistent Illusions – Do Make Say Think

A true and absolute dark horse for me this year. At first listen, I didn’t think anything too special of this album, but it was a good listen. Every time I’ve put this album on since that first listen, I’ve grown to love it more each listen. This album REALLY grew on me. What’s most incredible about this album though is that it gives Post-Rock a completely new direction that would be nice to see other bands take. Post-Rock is a dying genre, so to release something that not only revives the genre from its grave, but also delivers as the album I loved the most this year is pretty awesome. This album is perfect for the winter time too, so go grab some headphones and put this on while you write that paper or whatever. Favorite Track: Horripilation

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