As the music year approaches it’s close, the time has come for the inaugural production of “top albums of the year” lists. Now, I am going to start out with the forewarning that I have never been plagued with such a task. I don’t have kids, but to me, this seems as it would be like asking a parent who their favorite kid is. Can you default to one favorite? I would think it would depend on your mood/temperament, how it reacts with your day, how well it plays with others… you get where I am going with this.
This task was increasingly difficult for me, mostly because my pool of top releases kept continually changing across different eras. But the factual evidence of my musical history across the last year still stands. My final warning is that these are my top ALBUMS of the year. Not my top “artists that had some really great hits”. These are albums that I could (and most times do) easily listen to on any day, track by track. So here we go.
10. The Regrettes “Feel Your Feelings Fool!”
This album dropped at the top of the year, and it was the first album that I became obsessed with in 2017. It provides a fulfilling spread of mellow to uptempo, and remains a fantastic representation of the modern female punk scene. Even further, frontwoman Lydia Knight pushes the envelope when it comes to the deliverance of upfront lyrics, especially live. It is only The Regrettes’ debut studio album- so make sure to keep an eye out on this group.
9. nothing,nowhere. “Reaper”
I had admittedly been merely intrigued by nothing,nowhere. beforehand, but got the chance to see him perform live shortly following the release of “Reaper”. Needless to say, I was blown away. There is something weirdly harmonic about the mismatch of trap beats with the melodic emo-style lyrical content and deliverance (try: ‘I hope you choke in your sleep, while you’re dreaming of me. Suffocate in your sheets; I’ll be the last thing you see’). However you want to describe it, it’s gripping.
8. Can’t Swim “Fail You Again”
2017 was quite a year for emo bands. “Fail You Again” is a solid contribution, and also fits into the ‘first full-length release’ category for the year. The album feels personable, and steeped in angst. My only qualm is that my (probably) favorite song of the year by Can’t Swim was a track that was intended for the album, but did not make it on. They released it later in the year after the decision haunted them, so “God Awful” is at least now out there.
7. Hundredth “RARE”
“RARE” represents the on-coming of a new style for Hundredth. Because of the shoegaze style, I found myself very often coming back to this album no matter my mood. It’s heavy and cathartic (especially in terms of lyricism) but also beautiful. Even further, it combines a lot of different musical styles and eras which allows it to be appreciated easily across many different genres. “Departure” is an excellent example of this.
6. MISSIO “Loner”
Yet another breakout artist this year. Comprised of two artist-producers, MISSIO is truly one of a kind, and this debut is so good. I can’t even imagine placing it into a genre and after some research, apparently neither can the internet. The album is a mix of alt pop vocals + a touch of synth, alt rock hooks, with an electronic/trap bow on top. One thing is for certain, and that is the fact that “Loner” will keep you on your toes.
5. Dimond Saints “Prism in the Dark”
Dimond Saints is one of my favorite new artist finds this year. “Prism in the Dark” pushes way past the boundaries of your typical electronic/trap music, while also remaining just relatable enough for a newcomer to appreciate. As an honorable mention, I have to say that my favorite tracks on this album include vocal layering via Yaarrohs. Both are so worth the look up, if you like electronic music whatsoever.
4. Nothing But Thieves “Broken Machine”
Definitely my favorite alt-rock album of the year, “Broken Machine” is fast and passionate, and pretty heavy at times. The album makes it’s mark via guitar influence, but keeps you around with a constant change of tempo. If you’ve never heard the INSANE vocal range of Conor Mason, I highly recommend giving this one a listen. I constantly forget, and then am consistently amazed by how beautiful his voice is.
3. K.Flay “Every Where Is Some Where”
K.Flay truly has a sound of her own, and it’s perfectly showcased in “Every Where Is Some Where”. It’s raw and real, staying true to her hip hop influences. My favorite aspect of the album is that it simply feels like a time progression, from bad days (don’t test me) to the easygoing, all the way up to happy days. This record has felt like a long time coming, but it was so worth the wait.
2. Manchester Orchestra “A Black Mile To The Surface”
“A Black Mile To The Surface” is so hauntingly beautiful. Manchester Orchestra is a band that has been around long enough to acquire many facets, and this album is a pretty good representation of most of them. It remains soft, akin to “Simple Math” while also providing “Cope”-style moments. A little secret about me- I am a huge lyric monger, and this album exceeded my MO expectations when it came to the story-telling in each track. Certainly one of my favorite albums to escape into this year.
1. Movements “Feel Something”
There are so many things that I could say about “Feel Something”, and I am going to try my best to keep it brief. 2017 was quite a trying year for most of us, and my personal bias is that I relate to the content of this album on such an insane level. It isn’t a joke when I say that I listen to it on an almost-daily basis. Anthem emo is showcased with straightforward emotion, but Movements tops that by making this album empathetic, and relatable. It is one thing to listen, but it’s another to really, truly feel an album and everything it’s creators are trying to say. “Feel Something” will definitely make you feel something.