Last week, we counted down Albumism’s 50 Best Albums of 2017 overall, and now it’s time to share our writers’ respective picks for their five favorite albums of the year. Even the most cursory scan of the selections showcased below reveals just how unique and varied our staff’s musical tastes are, which certainly shines through all of our articles throughout the year.
Check out our choices and let us know what your favorite albums of 2017 are in the comments below!
Justin Chadwick (Founder/Editor-in-Chief)
The album I’ve played more than any other this year, by a longshot. This is the sound of a brave, bold singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist combining lyrical honesty, crystalline vocals, and unforgettable melodies to form the year’s most enthralling song suite, from beginning to end. In Lucy Rose I trust.
2. Saint Etienne | Home Counties | Buy | Listen
3. London Grammar | Truth Is A Beautiful Thing | Buy | Listen
4. Big K.R.I.T. | 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time | Buy | Listen
5. Yumi Zouma | Willowbank | Buy | Listen
Mark's self-produced debut EP is at the top of my list because she came onto the scene so strong. Incredible production, even stronger vocals and, upon closer look, a really intimate concept executed flawlessly.
A cherubic falsetto and gorgeous angelic tunes sit at odds with the downbeat lyrics of striving to stay single and sane in a world obsessed with coupling, creating an album of rare emotional power and beauty. Genius courses through Sumney’s veins.
Three words: “Tin Foil Hat.” With Donald Fagen guest-starring on vocals, the anti-Trump snark is a cool, easy tune for hard times. The album also features eclectic collaborations with Daryl Hall, Bettye LaVette and Moe Berg, meaning there’s something for everyone.
2. Tori Amos | Native Invader | Buy | Listen
3. The Killers | Wonderful Wonderful | Buy | Listen
4. Chastity Belt | I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone | Buy | Listen
5. The Drums | Abysmal Thoughts | Buy | Listen
With Toupee Fiasco unfortunately occupying the White House, Brother Ali is the artist that we need out here recording his thoughts for all to hear. With his seventh full-length album, the Street Preacher from Minnesota discusses race, identity, self-respect, and spirituality like few others on the mic. If there was a more poignant and emotionally affecting song than “Dear Black Son” released this year, I sure haven’t heard it.
Proof that Saint Etienne remains at the forefront of the most intellectually and aesthetically stimulating pop music one can encounter. Turn it up.
A return to his funk-pop mastery, Colors sees Beck deliver a taut and tight album of infectious tunes that shine and shapeshift like the prisms of a kaleidoscope.
I've listened to Shawn's album many times, but his bars still make me scrunch my face up each time like it's my first listen. Lyricists like him sometimes get lost in showing off their rhyming skills. Yet, Shawn channels his skills into powerful messages and gripping stories, the kind of stories that deserve a screenplay.
Katie Crutchfield has a way of making her lyrics super-specific and poignant, but so incredibly relatable. Out in the Storm is grown-up emo that shook me to my sad girl core.
Despite its mysterious warbled textures and hazy poetry, The National’s seventh album hits with an arresting poignancy that my brain wants to fight and my heart seems to crave. Full disclosure: I’ve been a diehard fan for 12 years, and it means I set an exceptionally high bar for this band.
Laila's Wisdom is the most introspectively relevant album of 2017. A timely injection of superior lyricism that has fully come of age over perfectly compatible production, similar to Common's Like Water for Chocolate in 2000.
YOD is truly one of the greatest emcees to emerge in recent years. On PACKS, his writing grew in skill, confidence and slickness, and in my opinion the album is a new classic, whatever that means.
The popular consensus seems to be that I'm not supposed to love this record. But I do. If you think Weezer was wrong to stray from the youthful angst of The Blue Album or the dark bite of Pinkerton, then Pacific Daydream will probably not do much to satiate you. But it's a pretty fantastic pop record on its own, and "Get Right" doesn't get much better as single material.
2. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness | Zombies on Broadway | Buy | Listen
3. Andrew Combs | Canyons of My Mind | Buy | Listen
4. Jason Wade | Paper Cuts | Buy | Listen
5. Barenaked Ladies | Fake Nudes | Buy | Listen