Hi! I’m Jonathan and I thought for my first post I would do something big, so here’s my top 10 favorite albums of 2017.
10. Tove Lo, BLUE LIPS (Lady Wood Phase II)
Fiery with each song and divided into two separate sections, the second installation of “Lady Wood” is a smooth album of honest, synth heavy dark pop. Lo’s tongue-in-cheek wit and attitude shine through in album highlights “Disco Tits”, “shedontknowbutsheknows”, and “bitches”.
9. Sevdaliza, ISON
As poetic as it is experimental, the debut album by Sevdaliza is instantly intriguing. Harsh, in your face productions meets the darkness of Sevdaliza’s haunting voice and lyrics. Stand out tracks include “Human”, “Angel”, and “Bluecid”.
8. Sabrina Claudio, About Time
Promoted as a “project”, Sabrina Claudio put out a flawless album of diverse and fresh R&B. Blending different genres such as doo-wop, dancehall, and pop into her music allows Sabrina’s light soprano voice to excel in it’s own right. Standout tracks include “Belong To You”, “Frozen”, “We Have Time”, and “Used To”.
7. Childish Gambino, “Awaken, My Love!”
Rapper Donald Glover gave birth to a baby boy this past year, and with this came a new air of maturity in his work. Made as a dedication to his newborn son, this album takes a journey through modern soundscapes of psychedelic funk and marks a new era for Childish Gambino’s music. Standouts include “Me and Your Mama”, “Zombies”, and of course, “Redbone”.
6. Charli XCX, Number 1 Angel
Marketed as a mixtape, pop hit-maker and chameleon Charli XCX put out a fiery lineup full of party masterpieces earlier this March. With collaborations from Abra, Uffie, cupcakKe, and MØ, Number 1 Angel is packed with anthems for the highs and lows of a party girl. Standouts include “Drugs” (feat. Abra), “Roll With Me”, and “Lipgloss” (feat. cupcakKe).
5. Kelela, Take Me Apart
After years of perfecting her sound, Kelela’s debut album does not disappoint. With assistance from the likes of Arca, Kelela takes us on a journey of self discovery, the good and bad of a relationship, with all over hard hitting production and shows us her most vulnerable self. Highlights include “LMK”, “Truth Or Dare”, and “Onanon”.
4. St. Vincent, MASSEDUCTION
Known for changing characters with each album, St Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION is a pop tour de force. With help from acclaimed producer Jack Antonoff (frontman if Bleachers and executive producer of Lorde’s 2017 album “Melodrama”), St. Vincent is able to pull off an album that sounds equally as retro as it is futuristic. Best cuts include “Sugarboy”, “New York”, and “Los Ageless”.
3. Sampha, Process
After losing his mother in late 2015, electronic singer and producer Sampha did what any musician with a range of emotions would do; create art. Process was born out of grievance, hurt, and confusion but doesn’t come off as a “sad album”, it comes off as a spark of hope. Hard hitting, emotional lyrics keep the album moving over erratic, sometimes minimalist production while Sampha’s deep, raspy voice is put front and center. Highlights are “Kora Sings”, “Blood On Me”, and “Under”.
2. Sza, CTRL
After two years of label trouble, personal self doubt, and reworks, SZA’s debut LP “Ctrl” is a memoir from start to finish on the life of a 20 something. Blending genres in a cohesive way and keeping the theme of the album alive with help from her own mother and grandmother, Sza found self control through song writing in the most authentic way. As simple as it is revealing, Sza’s quick wit and rhythm aide in making this album the instant classic it is. Best songs include “Supermodel”, “Anything”, and “Prom”.
1. Lorde, Melodrama
After taking four years to spend time back in her home of New Zealand, Lorde returns with a genius “loose concept” sophomore album that details the life and death of a party, and all the quirks that come with it. Produced in it’s entirety by Jack Antonoff and herself, Lorde trades in the minimalist synths of her first album for violins, complex drums and robotic hi-hats. Lyrics and themes of self identity, loneliness, and existentialism are presented in a way that speaks to the listener, all the while challenging the norms of pop music through different song layouts and key changes. Personal and climactic, Melodrama is the pop album for the thinkers of our generation. Highlights include “Homemade Dynamite”, “Sober”, “Hard Feelings/Loveless”, and literally every other song on the album.
2017 was an incredible year for music, and was important for a lot of people, especially considering the political climate. Being able to be open and outward, fearless and experimental in music is needed now more than ever. These albums helped me grow, and shaped the experiences I had throughout the year. I hope you all give them a listen and enjoy them as much as I do.
Let me know what your favorite records were this year in the comments, always willing to listen to something new!