Search

BEST ALBUMS OF 2017


Lord it’s hard narrowing down any year to 40 or 50 albums, and near impossible to get it down to 30 in a good year. And 2017 was a good year.

Not surprisingly then, in coming up with the 30 best albums of this year there were some quality ones which missed out, such as David Rawlings’ Poor David’s Almanack, Offa Rex’s Queen Of Hearts and Phoebe Bridgers’ Stranger In The Alps.

But the ones which made the cut are strong, varied and rewarding, the top 10 in particular all stunners - any of them capable of being named the best of the year. And you can still buy one or more of them: feed a musician, they’re great around the house.

You can read reviews of each album by clicking through, and hear the albums streamed the same way. As a bonus there is a playlist featuring a track from each of the 30 right here.

So many ways to enjoy my pick of the best music of 2017.

1. LAURA MARLING – Semper Femina

Folk rock given a rhythmic, exploratory and brilliant turn with a strong take on what it means to be, and to know, a woman. Album of the year.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen On Apple Music

2. THE XX – I See You

Sensual and mature, where mournfulness intersects with an ache that’s part emotional, part physical.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

3. NADIA REID – Preservation

A gripping, dark but still hopeful exploration of quiet music and turbulent emotions.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

4. HOLLY THROSBY – After A Time

Intimacy and pleasure stretching out through acute observations.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

5. THE NATIONAL – Sleep Well Beast

Adult rock with the intensity of experience and their usual inventive propulsion, but with new power and anger.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

6. AIMEE MANN – Mental Illness

Sublime melodies in muted ‘70s pop full of closely drawn characters.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

7. SZA – Ctrl

Slow grooves, need and the power of a woman who won’t accept second best.

READ MY REVIEW HERE Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

8. DRAKE – More Life

Sprawling, circuitous exploration of multiple voices and styles.

READ A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

9. ST VINCENT – Masseduction

A not-so-silent film-as-album with desire and destruction paired, set to art pop, disco, rock and something else again.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

10. ALDOUS HARDING – Party

Haunting and quiet, though anything but ephemeral.

READ A REVIEW HERE Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

11. OUMOU SANGARE – Mogoya

Reclaiming modern sounds to take Malian music back to the future.

READ A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

12. THE WAR ON DRUGS – A Deeper Understanding

Elegant mix of classic rock and stoner moves.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

13. ALEX LAHEY – I Love You Like A Brother

Fizzing guitar pop that grabs at life.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

14. MARGO PRICE – All American Made

Smart, traditional country sounds with soul and politics to flavour it all.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

15. JEN CLOHER – Jen Cloher

Vivid, potent lyrics set to music that takes rock and indie pop in hand.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

16. COUSTEAUX – CousteauX

Grand pop and dramatic moments melding Scott Walker and Burt Bacharach.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

17. BJORK – Utopia

Free roaming melodies, renewed optimism and art put to good use.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

18. RUN THE JEWELS – 3

Using anger to great effect over beats as powerful as the lyrics.

READ A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

19. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM – American Dream

Familiar modern anxieties set to Afro-funk, art rock and downtown disco.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

20. VINCE STAPLES – Big Fish Theory

Lean, sinuous R&B carried on distorted instruments and electronica sounds.

READ A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

21. JULIE BYRNE – Not Even Happiness

Manipulating silence and poetry in songs that mix mysticism and vulnerability.

READ A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

22. SAMPA THE GREAT – Birds And The BEE9

Funk soul hit up by sharp edged rhymes and some pop tunes.

READ A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify:

Listen on Apple Music

23. PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING – Every Valley

Found sounds, the voices of Welsh miners, history and fluid musicality.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

24. PRINCESS NOKIA – 1992 Deluxe

Wildly varying musical styles and delivery, with exciting energy to refashion hip hop.

READ A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

25. SONGHOY BLUES – Resistance

Maturity and improved songwriting lift young North Africans from promising to impressive.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

26. THE WEATHER STATION – The Weather Station

Neither folk nor rock but a sweet spot between them, with electric sounds backed by strings and emotional complexity.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

27. IRON & WINE – Beast Epic

Gorgeous songs returning to a solitary, quietly moving, country folk style but with richer sound and a newfound hopefulness.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

28. HOLY HOLY – Paint

Making expressive, traditional rock with just enough restraint to aim for grand rather than grandstanding.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

29. THE SMITH STREET BAND – More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me

A view of Australian maleness that is neither macho nor scared to be, powered by vigorous punk/pub rock.

WATCH A REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

30. SAM OUTLAW – Tenderheart

Relaxed country that nods to ‘70s pop songwriters as much as the traditional names and stays gentle on the mind.

READ MY REVIEW HERE

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

Enjoy a playlist featuring a track from each of the 30 right herel


This website and its content is subject to copyright - © Bernard Zuel 2020. All rights reserved. Except as permitted by the copyright law applicable to you, you may not reproduce or communicate any of the content on this website without the permission of the copyright owner.