(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – I don’t believe the Grammys do a good job of making sure all types of music are represented each year, and as someone who enjoys a wide range of music, I have to say it’s irritating. I’m not saying the artists and production teams that took home little metal gramophones don’t deserve them; I just think that there are more artists who deserve just as much – if not more –praise for the work they put out in 2017. Here is my list of the best albums of 2017:
10. Skin and Earth by Lights (Sept. 22, 2017)
Lights has been cranking out good music for the past 10 years. Her fourth album, “Skin and Earth,” just proved that even though she’s raising a family, she can still be prevalent in the music world. Not only is the album a solid piece of work that follows the story of a girl trying to make in an a post-apocalyptic world, but it was recorded in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, French and Tagalog. There’s also a comic book to supplement the album and story that shows off her creativity. This is impressive and shows the dedication she has to her music.
9. Packs by Your Old Droog (March 10, 2017)
This is a way cool album for three reasons. The first is that Your Old Droog has a Nas-sound. That’s enough to get most hip-hop lovers interested. The second reason is that there are three Anthony Jeselnik skits interlaced into the album. Comedians being involved in albums always sparks my interest. The third reason is that “Packs” isn’t overhyped and hasn’t hit the mainstream, so I feel like it’s one of my best music discoveries of 2017. The album holds a consistent high level of energy and includes lyrics that are impossible to relate to, but it works in the best way.
8. Woodstock by Portugal. The Man (June 16, 2017)
Portugal. The Man will always have a special place in my heart, so this may not be the most objective choice on the list. I still think “Woodstock” deserves a spot on it even though the boys may have sold out a little this past year by taking their underground indie sound and making a pop-hit out of it. The album has some bangers on it including “Noise Pollution,” “Live in the Moment” and “Rich Friends.” Not to mention, Portugal. The Man also earned themselves a much-deserved Grammy for Best Group Performance with “Feel it Still.”
7. The Thrill of it All by Sam Smith (Nov. 3, 2017)
I’ll be honest; I was a Sam Smith hater when he came out with his first album, “In the Lonely Hour.” It was just so pop-ish, and I couldn’t get into it. Since then, Smith has grown as an artist, and I believe he hit his stride with “The Thrill of it All.” There’s more passion and less whining. My favorite song on the album is “Pray” because of the emotion and passion behind it.
6. Flower Boy by Tyler, the Creator (July 21, 2017)
I didn’t expect to enjoy “Flower Boy” as much as I did. Don’t get me wrong, I like Tyler just as much as the next person, but I hadn’t listened to his music in a while. I gave it a chance because I had read about the speculation of him using the album as a way to come out as bisexual, and I ended up being way into it for a couple of weeks. The album shows his growth without remaking him or his sound. It’s the same old Tyler, but better.
5. A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie (March 24, 2017)
This is the saddest album I’ve ever listened to, and I love it and its creator, Phil Elverum. It’s an indie-folk album about his wife dying. You feel Elverum’s pain in raising his daughter alone, but you still feel the love he has for her. It’s a beautiful dedication to her, and the connection I feel to their relationship is why it’s number five on my list.
4. DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar (April 14, 2017)
“DAMN.” probably received the most hype out of any album released this year. It’s high on my list because it’s a solid album, but it didn’t make my top three because – though it was good – it didn’t quite meet the hype that followed its release for me. “HUMBLE.” was nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year and the album itself was nominated for Album of the Year, but I’m still not convinced that the winners of these categories deserved the award more than Kendrick Lamar. The album holds strong lyrics, great features and addictive beats that are appropriate for any occasion.
3. The Search for Everything by John Mayer (April 14, 2017)
I’m pretty sure this album was overlooked just because it was released the same day as “DAMN.” It makes sense just because of the amount of excitement people had for Kendrick to drop his newest masterpiece, but I stand strongly in where I rank John Mayer’s newest album on this list; I know I’m in the minority with this one. Mayer knows who he is and he owns his blues-folk sound. He doesn’t overstep his boundaries by trying something new that exhausts us. He knows what his fanbase wants, and he delivers it. It’s personal, has variety and is well-arranged.
2. World Eater by Blanck Mass (March 3, 2017)
I’m not usually one to promote an electronic album, but here’s my exception. This album is good. Really good. I feel like I could rage to “Blanck Mass” at a party, but then turn around the next morning and make breakfast to it. The songs have a complex sound and made it so much more difficult for me to take them apart and judge this album objectively. I appreciate “World Eater” for opening up my mind to electronic music and challenging my taste.
- 1. Pure Comedy by Father John Misty (April 7, 2017)
“Pure Comedy” is actually my least favorite Father John Misty album, but it’s still the best album that was released in 2017. Josh Tillman, the musician behind the Father John Misty pseudonym, said the album is a story about a species born with a half-formed brain and the species’ only hope for survival is to rely on other half-formed brains. The album puts human interaction into a perspective that you’d expect to read out of a philosophy book rather than hear in a coffee shop. It earned the number one spot on my list of 2017 albums because I appreciate the symbolism for love, culture and family as well as the overall sound of each track.