On September of last year, I published a list talking about the best albums of 2016 in my opinion. Even though the list changed a little bit by the end of the year, I believe it’s pretty safe to talk about the best albums of 2017 since there isn’t anything exciting scheduled to come out during the next three months. Unlike last year, however, this list consists of mainly records from bands that have already released an album before. I don’t know what’s up with the new bands nowadays, but all the debuts I’ve heard this year were pretty lame and it felt like the same. Because of that, I will give you my favorite/best albums I’ve heard in 2017 so far.
14. Woodstock by Portugal. The Man
Bands with more than 6 albums under their belt usually change their sonority throughout the years, and that’s exactly the case with Portugal. The Man in its ninth record. I’m not a big fan of the first ones, but I really liked their previous release, Evil Friends. Even though Woodstock is not as good as its predecessor, the album is very catchy, fun and interesting by playing with pop elements that are mixed into indie, rock, rap and a little bit of dark humor that has accompanied their style for a while that made me return to this record so many times since it was released. Feel It Still it’s probably one of the best singles of the year.
13. You’re Welcome by Wavves
It’s incredible how a band that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously releases one album after the other. Being the seventh album from Wavves, You’re Welcome seems to gather all the best from the dream-punk-pop-rock sonority of the band and plays it around with different melodies, transforming into the most interesting and mature album of their career without ignoring the original characteristics that made them famous in the first place. It’s definitely not an album for everybody, but the ones who like this type of genre, You’re Welcome is a very precious album.
12. Sacred Hearts Club by Foster the People
Considering I’ve thought Foster the People had released one of the best albums of 2011 and 2014, this is a major fall down. However, Sacred Hearts Club is a very special album to me, even though it took me longer to understand it like the other ones. This is a pretty different record from the sonority we are used to listening from them and the fact that they’ve tried to do different things on this album, made Sacred Hearts Club a little bit of a shock. But different is good and the more you listen to the album the more you realize how special it is. It’s very beat-driven with rock, indie, and psychedelic references, resulting in a very beautiful, creative and challenging record.
11. Ti Amo by Phoenix
I was already expecting that Phoenix wasn’t going to keep up with the amazing Bankrupt!, but I definitely wasn’t expecting something like Ti Amo. Even though it sounds pretty much the same when you first hear it, the more you listen to it, the more you discover the incredible little details of the album, like how they play with the Italian language in its lyrics and how they use that to support its melodies. It’s a very fun and interesting album to play over and over, and even though it’s not as good as Bankrupt!, is a very creative record. Not mentioning it’s pretty fun to dance to.
10. Harry Styles by Harry Styles
If one day I had known I would be considering an album by a One Direction member one of the best albums of the year, I would think I was going crazy. However, Harry Styles create a beautiful, elegant and cinematic album that goes from rock and indie to folk and glam – which is amazing considering the type of music the other One Direction guys are doing as solo artists. More amazing than that, is how good this album is. If you haven’t listened to it yet, turn on your Spotify right now, because you’ll be extremely surprised.
09. Pleasure by Feist
Feist came out of nowhere this year dropping Pleasure, a beautiful raw album that doesn’t have more than three instruments in each of its songs. It’s also a very different record from the other ones that Feist released. She said she didn’t really plan to make a new album, it just sort of came out in a weekend when she was playing with friends. And we’re glad she did, because this is a very different record from what we’re used to listening nowadays. Not mentioning is beautiful! Don’t forget to check the amazing music video she did for Century.
08. Antisocialites by Alvvays
I’m still discovering this album since I’ve recently discovered Alvvays, an incredible band that already has a first record released back in 2014. The more I listen to Antisocialites, the more I realize how brilliant and fresh it is, despite the same Tame Impala-Wavves sonority that we find in most records nowadays. The voice of Molly Rankin is simply amazing, and the rhythm of their melodies are beautiful and it matches the incredible retro-futuristic aesthetic of their music videos. In Undertow is definitely one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time. Listen to it!
07. Colors by Beck
It’s funny how Beck keeps saying he will stop making music and then out of nowhere he releases a new album. It’s also incredible to see how he decided to go back to the sonority of his first records, delivering a very youthful and joyful album that makes any new indie hipster band feel embarrassed of how good Beck can produce the same type of music everybody has been making for the last five years and still sounding new, fresh and damn good! I don’t know about you, but every track on Colors seem like a hit single and I can’t stop listening to it!
06. Something To Tell You by Haim
Even though the sophomore album of the Haim sisters isn’t good as its debut, Something To Tell You is the best indie-pop record a band can have without falling into the clichés of the genre nowadays. That doesn’t seem like a good purpose for having it as number 6 on this list, but this record it’s really, really good. It’s very fresh, with different melodies throughout the tracks and several experiments that show how confident these girls are by playing their music. They’re also very cool and you can feel this coolness in the songs without even looking at them.
05. Melodrama by Lorde
Everybody keeps talking about how Melodrama is the best pop album of the year. And they’re right! I never thought Lorde was a pop singer but that’s how they called her on Pure Heroine, an album which in my opinion is very dark and experimental. Thankfully, Lorde kept her weirdness and applied it into pop melodies, creating the most original and creative album of the year. No more words necessary.
04. I See You by The XX
I’ve never really been a big fan of The XX, but I must admit they got me when they released the video-clip directed by Alasdair Mclellan, On Hold. When I thought this was just a good single with a good music video, I saw myself very impressed when I first listened to I See You, a way more mature record from the other ones that seem to have become alive with more beat-driven sororities that were obviously influenced by the solo record of Jamie XX. I See You is not only good and catchy, but they also decided to keep up with Alasdair Mclellan for the videos of Say Something Loving and I Dare You. Please, keep going in that direction!
03. Volcano by Temples
There are so many things going happening on Volcano that is kind of hard to understand it all when you first listen. But once you get used to it, you will be able to pay attention on how challenging and creative they got on their sophomore album. A lot of people didn’t like this change and I do believe that less is more, but the more I listened to Volcano the more I liked the album. There are usually more than two rhythms on each track and they’re all references from psychedelic bands from the ’60s, 70’s and giallo movies soundtracks. Is also not an album for everybody, but in my opinion, Volcano is simply amazing.
02. Sleep Well Beasts by The National
I’ve never really paid much attention to The National and I must admit I don’t know much about them except for a single or two. Somehow, I decided to give it a try on this record and I must admit I was amazed how powerful and beautiful this album is. Somehow, it reminded me of a depressed Favourite Worst Nightmare by the Arctic Monkeys. Maybe is the cover or maybe is the raw rock sonority that you can hear throughout the songs – which is something that they’re not used to do, but it’s done beautifully here. One way or the other, Sleep Well Beasts is definitely one of the best albums of the year.
01. Everything Now by Arcade Fire
I was surprised to see how many people didn’t like Everything Now. Arcade Fire has always been a band that drops an album not only completely different from one another, but they’re also different from everything you’ve heard before. And even though they went for a more dance-indie vibe on this record, I thought it made complete sense when the theme of their album are the young generations, how we are so addicted to screens and how we can access all the information we want through the internet – how we have everything now. They also talk about young people at clubs, girls committing suicide “while listening to their first record” in a very celebratory way, without criticizing or judging. I thought it was simply amazing and beautiful. I also dare to say it’s my favorite album of the band. Maybe it’s because I’m part of this generation? Well, you also probably are.
What about you? What are your favorite albums of 2017?