TOP 11 Albums of 2017

A lot of great music was released in 2017 and made it quite difficult to narrow down the field of a list of the top albums of the year. After much deliberation and discussion, we’ve gathered a list of the top 11 rather than inundate you with a list of 100 albums to cull through. Ranging from the originality of Kendrick Lamar and SZA to the strong outings by Lorde and The War on Drugs, there’s something for everyone in our top 11 albums of 2017.


  • Lana Del Rey – Lust for Life
    The fifth full studio album from Lana Del Rey, Lust For Life was released on July 21, 2017 and dropped not soon after the midst of Del Rey’s attention grabbing call to action to put a binding spell on President Donald Trump had settled. The album itself contains no blatant ritual workings but instead conjures up a unique pop sound mainly due to Del Rey’s distinct vocal style. There are references to classic rock amidst the very contemporary trap beats, as the record features notable collaborations with The Weeknd, Sean Lennon, and Stevie Nicks which give a more light-hearted feel than Del Rey’s previous albums. -Andrew Keuma


  • Paramore – After Laughter
    Paramore is nothing less than the iconic emo/pop band that grabbed the attention from diverse music listeners around the world. Since 2005 with the release of their first album, All We Know Is Falling, their reputation in the music scene was based around emo and rock vibes. Paramore’s self titled album released in 2o13 was somewhat of an experimental transition into their most recent album, After Laughter. Slowly but surely straying away from their past of angsty hits like Misery Business, and That’s What You Get, Paramore shocked long-time fans with the upbeat funk contained in their new songs. Lead gal, Hayley Williams portrays the alternative hits within music videos containing 80’s aesthetics and fresh concepts. Watching a band grow and change over time can be difficult for hardcore fans, but there is no resisting singing along to After Laughter’s unique tracks. -Cayla Martin


  • Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
    Released October 13, 2017 , the first collaborative effort from Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile finds its roots in a jam session between the two songwriters. Soon they announced a tour together and then made their way into the studio. This natural process of synchronicity shines through on the album, which consists of four songs written by Vile and three written by Barnett, the other two tracks are credited to Jen Choler and Tanya Donelly(from Throwing Muses) respectively. Lotta Sea Lice is the sophomoric album for both Vile and Barnett and the two of them didn’t sacrifice their distinct songwriting styles or artistic integrity. The albums flows dreamily akin to Vile’s first album, all the while retaining both artists’ stream of consciousness and straightforward lyrical content. With a variety of musicians contributing to the record, the main focus stays on the lyrics and overall contented attitude towards the songwriting process.-Andrew Keuma


  • Hey Violet From the Outside
    With an album that most people can relate to, From the Outside is an good listen with accessible sounds with an obvious mix of rock/pop sounds influenced with structures of EDM and deep lyrical content. “Unholy” was a great track from this album that had a very similar vibe to old school Lana Del Rey mixed with a more contemporary beat and sound. This album would be awesome to listen to after a break up especially with “This Is Me Breaking Up With You” track. – Jacquelin Rose


  • Dua Lipa – Self-titled
    The debut album from Dua Lipa was an incredible showcase of the talented singer and songwriter, who wrote every track on the album. With highlights like, “Be The One” and “Dreams,” Lipa demonstrates a knack for writing catchy pop songs that highlight her incredible vocals without overpowering the listener. – Jacquelin Rose


  • St. Vincent Masseduction
    Anne Clark, better known for her stage name, St Vincent, has been creating alternative tracks since 2003, starting with her first EP Ratsliveonnoevilstar. Making her way onto the Billboard charts through the years has paved the way for her surprising acceptance in the mainstream world. The emerging success did not stop there, St Vincent released her fifth studio album, Masseduction back in October. One could say this was just another solid St. Vincent album, but her music videos take it to the next level. Tracks like Los Angeles and New York were both viewed more than 1 million times, probably for the odd yet beautifully developed context depicting the songs, and even streamed several million times on Spotify.Musicians tend to test their limits and develop fresh sounds and vibes. St Vincent not only adequately grew over time but also successfully changed her music in a mature and magnificent way without losing her previous sound. Simply listening to Actor (2009) and then Masseduction (2017), the beats have grown into a electric rhythm without losing the integrity that makes St. Vincent’s sound so unique. – Cayla Martin


  • Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life
    London musicians seem to have some alluring quality within their music that the world cannot resist, Wolf Alice being one of them. Originally started as a duo in 2010, this now four piece band are making their way into the hearts and ears of audiences around the world. 90’s grunge, indie, and electronic elements combine to create their newest album, Visions of a Life. Wolf Alice worked on many singles to master the sound they wanted the world to hear before releasing their debut EP, Blush in 2013. Since then, they have maintained their low-key presence even though their single Ghost was featured in the renowned remake of Ghostbusters in 2016. Standout tracks like “Yuk Foo”, “Planet Hunter” and “Don’t Delete The Kisses” show how diverse this band can be, while at the same time still sound like the same band. – Cayla Martin


  • SZA – CTRL
    Score two for Top Dog Entertainment. SZA has spent the past few years releasing solo albums between backing appearances on some of the label’s top artists, namely one Kendrick Lamar Duckworth. After some lukewarm reviews for her last album, as well as a myriad of other personal issues, SZA contemplated calling it quits. Instead of throwing in the proverbial towel, however, she swung back with one of the year’s best albums, a smooth R&B monument to the plights of a woman, who plays the auxiliary lover to the man in her life. Wrought with emotion, SZA delivers some incredibly cold lyrics through some incredibly warm hooks, on what is sure to be a lot of scorned lovers go to album for years to come. “Am I warm enough for ya?” At this moment, she might be too hot to touch. -Logan O’Brien


  • Lorde – Melodrama
Lorde spent about 4 years working on the follow-up to her incredible, and seemingly out of nowhere debut Pure Heroine. By now we’ve all heard “Royals,” a single so big at the time of its release that it was hard to imagine anyone living up to the hype. How wrong anyone could have been to doubt our one true Lorde and savior. Melodrama ramps up everything you loved about Lorde on her debut, and manages to supersede the mantle of her debut as her greatest achievement. Lorde covers all bases on Melodrama, whether it be the pulsing beat of lead single “Green Light,” the Frank Ocean-esque minimalism of “The Lourve,” or the heartfelt crooning on “Liability.” Ella-Yellich O’Connor was 16 when she released her jaw dropping debut, and now at 20 years old, she’s still not old enough to drink in the states; but she’s wise and talented enough to trounce over the Sophomore Slump like a seasoned vet. All hail Lorde. -Logan O’Brien


  • War on Drugs  – A Deeper Understanding
    Further cementing their place amongst the top indie rock bands in America, The War On Drugs released A Deeper Understanding on August 25, 2017. The album floats naturally around thought provoking lyrical content and through dreary reverb as the listener hears touches of various influences from previous decades but cannot quite put a finger down on one band or one decade. The tracks tease the listener to attempt to find a perfect label for the subgenre only to shift directions subtly. Not only prized among a lesser mainstream audience A Deeper Understanding has been deservedly nominated for Best Rock Album for the 60th Annual Grammy Awards taking place January 28, 2018. -Andrew Keuma


  • Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
    The year’s best hip hop album, and arguably best album overall, is so good that it’s even better when you listen to it backwards; not joking. Kung Fu Kenny just put out a Collector’s Edition of his 2017 masterpiece which features a reversed tracklisting. What may have felt like a cheap cash grab by another artist ended up being a testament to the labor of love KDot pours into his material. DAMN. is a culmination of everything Kendrick had worked towards on his previous two LPs. At times incredibly personal and introspective, and at times firing shots outward at the likes of Donald Trump, Gerlado Rivera and FOX News. Kendrick has clearly spent his time in the spotlight doing some soul searching, as well as some cultural mining. Fame has never eluded a rappers ego quite like Lamar, as the lyrics here cautiously navigate the typical braggadocios element of hip hop. Any time he approaches a comparable level of swelling ego, he’s quick to come back to earth, most notably so on the aptly named single “Humble.” Kendrick built his name off being the voice of a community that has long been ignored and he’s making sure to continue to put the magnifying glass on that part of society. If you’ve somehow managed to sleep on DAMN. this year, it’s DAMN. well time to wake up. -Logan O’Brien

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