Class of 2017: The Overachievers

2016 was a shit year. Seriously. We experienced one of the ugliest elections in recent history. Social progress not only came to a halt, but there were elements within our country that would’ve been happy to see us rewind the past half century. And everybody died. Well, not everybody, but you know what I mean. 2017 hasn’t been much better. Tom Petty died, twice. Malcolm Young died. Fats Domino and Chuck Berry died. Way too many musicians were outed as sexual predators. And the deadliest mass shooting in America happened at a concert in Las Vegas. We are now living in the Trump era…and it is definitely not great (again).

2017 has been a year of positive change on a personal level. My wife and I celebrated our 40th birthdays while watching some of our favorite bands perform on the beach in Mexico. We sold our first house and successfully moved into our new one. We found out we are unexpectedly expecting and will be welcoming a baby girl into the world in April. I couldn’t find the time to write about the concerts I attended this year, but at least I found the time to attend them…in Colorado, at Red Rocks, in Nashville, Philly, Los Angeles, and Madrid. I also finally made it to Morocco and Andalucía; two places that have been on my bucket list for quite some time. New music was put on the back burner so I could focus on my 40 for 40 exercise for awhile, but I still managed to compile a sizable list of albums that made this year more interesting.

What follows is a list of the 45 new albums that defined my year. They might not be the “best” albums of the year, but they were my favorites. They are ranked by my tastes during the process of making this list. They are not necessarily ranked by musical excellence or artistic merit. The order might have been different if I had done this a week earlier, or a week later. The rankings are not set in stone, but that’s true with any year-end list, right? They’re all subjective. Not only are the lists based on people’s tastes, those tastes can change depending on people’s mood from day-to-day and minute-to-minute. This list is no exception.

This list is flawed, as they all are, but I seriously believe that although I might regret the order as time passes, I will stand by my picks. There isn’t anyone out there who will agree with this list in its entirety, but that’s not really the point. This is my list. Mine alone. These are the albums I spent the most time with in 2017. These are the albums I spent (or will spend) my money on. I just hope you take the time to browse through it. I hope you take the time to find something you didn’t know about. I hope you agree with some of my picks. I hope you make fun of some of my picks. Let’s start a conversation…only then will we both get something out of it. But if not, no worries, this will just serve as my personal document of another year listening…so others don’t have to.

45. Future Islands – The Far Field
(4AD)

stressed by the distance of shoes and the bridges too far to be named

Ran

44. Lorde – Melodrama
(Republic/Lava)

we order different drinks at the same bars

Green Light

43. Perfume Genius – No Shape
(Matador)

they’ll never break the shape we take

Slip Away

42. John Moreland – Big Bad Luv
(4AD)

been pouring whiskey in the wind
Burning pictures of my best friends

Big Bad Luv

41. Nikki Lane – Highway Queen
(New West)

if you can tie her down, you can bottle lightning

Jackpot

40. Pallbearer – Heartless
(Profound Lore)

can we ever find our way back home

I Saw the End

39. Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
(Artemisia)

the food of the dead lie untouched

Born From the Serpent’s Eye

38. Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy
(Profound Lore)

atop the ashes of one thousand ghosts

Trumpeting Ecstasy

37. Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
(SuperEgo)

gotta keep it together when your friends come by

Goose Snow Cone

36. Blanck Mass – World Eater
(Sacred Bones)

Please

35. Arca – Arca
(XL)

‘Anoche te añoré
Aunque no te he conocido aún’

Reverie

34. Myrkur – Mareridt
(Relapse)

I’ll be wearing white
at your funeral

Ulvinde

33. Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls
(Atlantic)

put my bitches on yachts, we don’t do jet-skis

Relationship

32. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II
(Empire)

‘Kevin can’t rap, he too sappy with his shit’

GUMMY

31. Converge – The Dusk in Us
(Epitaph)

when I held you for the first time
I knew I had to survive

A Single Tear

30. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
(Southern Lord)

given us a devil’s playground and all his deadliest toys

Executioner’s Tax (Swing of The Axe)

29. Björk – Utopia
(One Little India)

my longing has formed its own skeleton

The Gate

28. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
(Atlantic)

love is like a ghost in the distance, ever-reached

Holding On

27. LCD Soundsystem – american dream
(DFA/Columbia)

you just suck at self-preservation

call the police

26. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
(Columbia)

I need love, do you got some I could borrow?

Who Dat Boy

25. The xx – I See You
(Young Turks)

just don’t remember the thrill of affection

I Dare You

24. Zola Jesus – Okovi
(Sacred Bones)

hate to see you give into those cold, dark nights inside your head

Siphon

23. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
(Def Jam)

countin’ up hundreds by the thousand

Big Fish

22. Kesha – Rainbow
(Kemosabe)

‘all those motherfuckers been too mean for too long

Praying

21. Allison Crutchfield – Tourist in This Town
(Merge)

I keep confusing love and nostalgia
I don’t ever want to leave California

Dean’s Room

20. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
(Dead Oceans)

don’t need you to tell me what that means
I don’t believe in that stuff anymore

Motion Sickness

19. Slowdive – Slowdive
(Dead Oceans)

we’re younger than clouds, younger than clouds

Sugar for the Pill

18. Algiers – The Underside of Power
(Matador)

we’re gonna break down the breakdown of meaning

The Underside of Power

17. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface
(Loma Vista)

this is temporary, I just heard I’m gonna be a dad

The Alien

16. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
(Loma Vista)

you’re the only motherfucker in the city
who can stand me

New York

15. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
(Sargent House)

‘destroy myself and then I want it again’

16 Psyche

14. The National – Sleep Well Beast
(4AD)

a line that goes all the way from my childhood to you

The Dark Side of the Gym

13. Four Tet – New Energy
(Text)

you can see it tighten

New Energy

12. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound
(Southeastern)

‘under our roof is a baby girl
I thought this world could be hers one day
but her momma knew better

If We Were Vampires

11. Alvvays – Antisocialites
(Polyvinyl)

when I chip through your candy coating
you’re stuffed with insulation

Dreams Tonite

10. Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
(Profound Lore)

timeless in the well lest the song is spoken

Mirror Reaper

9. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
(P.W. Elverum & Sun)

when real death enters the house, all poetry is dumb

Ravens

8. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
(Sub Pop)

they worship themselves yet they’re totally obsessed

Pure Comedy

7. Aldous Harding – Party
(4AD)

trapped under a sky left blacker than the eyes of my visitors

Blend

6. Loss – Horizonless
(Profound Lore)

my unhurried breath yearns for the end

All Grows on Tears

5. Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator
(ATO)

‘and all the poets were dying
of a silence disease

Hungry Ghosts

4. Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
(Partisan)

you wear a new perfume for each city that you visit

Sweet

3. Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 1 & 2
(Mercury Nashville)

‘there’s a bible in my left hand
and a pistol in my right’

Broken Halos

2. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
(Interscope/Top Dawg)

I’m a savage, I’m a asshole, I’m a king

Humble

1. Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights
(Matador)

it’s no good if the pain doesn’t make you feel like you earned it

Appointments

 

Favorite Albums of 2017:
45. Future Islands – The Far Field
44. Lorde – Melodrama
43. Perfume Genius – No Shape
42. John Moreland – Big Bad Luv
41. Nikki Lane – Highway Queen
40. Pallbearer – Heartless
39. Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
38. Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy
37. Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
36. Blanck Mass – World Eater
35. Arca – Arca
34. Myrkur – Mareridt
33. Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls
32. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II
31. Converge – The Dusk in Us
30. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
29. Björk – Utopia
28. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
27. LCD Soundsystem – american dream
26. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
25. The xx – I See You
24. Zola Jesus – Okovi
23. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
22. Kesha – Rainbow
21. Allison Crutchfield – Tourist in This Town
20. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
19. Slowdive – Slowdive
18. Algiers – The Underside of Power
17. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface
16. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
15. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
14. The National – Sleep Well Beast
13. Four Tet – New Energy
12. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound
11. Alvvays – Antisocialites
10. Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
9. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
8. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
7. Aldous Harding – Party
6. Loss – Horizonless
5. Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator
4. Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
3. Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 1 & 2
2. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
1. Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights

Class of 2017: The Soundtrack
Class of 2016: The Performers
Alums

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Favorite Albums 2017

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