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BEST ALBUMS OF 2017

December 20, 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

 

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