Written by C.Diva
2017 has been a fairly quiet year for new music, but I have found a few albums that definitely stand out from the rest. This year, I’m going back to basics. Some new artists, some old favorites, all 10 of them ready to rock you into 2018.
Sleep Well Beast by The National
I wasn’t sure if I liked this album at first, but the more I listened to it, the more I became entranced by the soft, lilting tones of instruments and the dramatic vocals from lead singer, Matt Berninger. I also am a sucker for dark lyrics, and The National brings out my inner goth, even if the sound is more indie rock.
Heartworms by The Shins
The Shins are always going to make me smile, so even if this isn’t my favorite of their albums, Heartworms is still a lot of fun to listen to. The classic lyrical storytelling, experimental electronics in combination with the familiar sounds of The Shins, makes this one of my top ten of 2017.
Melodrama by Lorde
Finally, a sophomore effort from Lorde! The New Zealand singer released this album in June of 2017 and, although I haven’t heard too many of her new tunes on pop radio, I’m actually not upset about that. The sound is clean and crisp, much like her first release, with songs that are perfect for dancing, crying or whatever it is teenagers do these days.
Soft Sounds From Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast
I came across this band only recently, but immediately fell for the ethereal vocals and otherworldly accompaniment of this particular band. I love discovering new, good music, and this release is one that I’m going to be listening to a lot more in 2018.
Soul of a Woman by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
This album gives me all the feels. I love the soulful sounds that Sharon Jones brings to her music, and the R&B tunes of the Dap Kings make this release a timeless classic. Unfortunately, Sharon and her Kings aren’t as popular as they should be, and that’s a shame, because this music is the kind that touches my heart and makes me want to sing and weep in equal measures.
Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2 by Cardi B
I am not letting a top 10 list go by without including my girl, Cardi B! This woman came up in 2017, breaking Billboard records and coming into her own as a rapper in the hip-hop game. She’s talented, funny as hell (please follow her Instagram) and every time I hear “Bodak Yellow“, I get a visceral sort of satisfaction, knowing Cardi B became the first female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart without the assistance of any other credited artists in nearly 19 years. The best thing is, that song wasn’t even on her 2017 album release–that shit was a single!!
FYI, the song featured below is the official goal song of my 2017 fantasy hockey team.
Harry Styles by Harry Styles
Back in 2015, I finally gave 1D a chance, mostly because my daughter and Liz Keysmash vouched for them, and I quickly became enamored with Harry, the mop-haired cutie. When the band broke up, I was wary of their solo artist releases, well, except for Harry’s. His voice is like butter and, while his 2017 release isn’t what I would have initially expected, the tone perfectly matches his floral grandpa suits and Mama, I love him.
Lust for Life by Lana Del Rey
Lana’s been on my top ten list each time she releases a new album, and I’m not even sorry. The quality of her music is stellar and doesn’t change and doesn’t get old. Even though I was initially worried that this release would sound too similar to her last two albums, this one is definitely unique in its own way. The lackadaisical lyricism and examination of her own millennial culture continues to fascinate and keeps me listening to her music each time she deems the public worthy of having access to it.
Ctrl by SZA
With it’s unique mix of hip hop and acid jazz sound, SZA’s 2017 release quickly made the rounds at award shows and on radio stations across the country. I am in love with the quiet honesty of this release, the sensual beats and the lack of fucks SZA gives. I have been blowing this album up since summer and doubt it will go out of rotation any time soon.
DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar
Arguably the best release of 2017, DAMN was one album I didn’t stumble upon, but actively waited for to come out, instead. Kendrick is the current king of rap, IMHO, and every song on DAMN is a story within the larger story of the album, each one a commentary on black life in America. The release comes full circle, lyrically and musically, while bringing a unique listening experience each time. I still get chills when the beat drops and switches up in the middle of “DNA”, and who can forget Kendrick’s performance at the VMA’s this year?! Honestly, this will be considered rap’s 2017 political manifesto for years to come.