Best Albums of 2017

2017. What a year. The time has now come to evaluate the releases of the past twelve months and pick the cream of the crop. While this year did not offer a large amount of truly amazing records, the few that did catch my attention are undeniably stellar albums. So let’s jump into it. Like last year, when it comes to year-end lists, I tend to be a bit more personal, relaxed, and interject my opinion more honestly, so strap in. (Keep in mind that these lists are in no exact, particular order since my views fluctuate relatively frequently.)

Honorable Mentions

Before we dive into the top full-lengths of 2017, let’s survey some honorable mentions, some albums that came close and yet so far.

10. Synesthesia by Courage My Love

Courage My Love expertly pulls off a stark stylistic shift on Synesthesia, transitioning from gutsy hard rock to synth-dazzled pop rock. The catchy hooks and smooth vocals stick the landing and make this album consistently replayable.

9. Good Nature by Turnover

Another change in sonic attitude, Turnover’s daydreamy record Good Nature showcases the band treading new territory into a hypnotically mellow trance. Sweet, heartfelt lyricism and liquidy guitar timbre gives this LP its undeniable charm and allure.

8. Okay. by As It Is

The album title doesn’t accurately describe this record since Okay. is more than just okay. This addicting slice of pop punk displays As It Is developing as songwriters and musicians exploring different styles and subject matters. (And Patty Walters’s vocals certainly improved.)

7. Broken Machine by Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But Thieves strikes yet again with the thunderous Broken Machine. Between soaring vocal performances from frontman Conor Mason and heavy-hitting guitars, Broken Machine is a phenomenal rock record for 2017.

6. LANY by LANY

The glistening synths, erratic guitar flares, and earnest libretto causes LANY’s self-titled debut full-length to instantly deserve repeated spins. With inspiration from the ’80s and a modern knack for relatable lyrics, this album will appeal to just about everybody.

5. Eternity, In Your Arms by Creeper

Creeper’s theatrical songwriting and dark rock demeanor gives their debut album a stage-filling presence and moody atmosphere. Their dramatic character and instrumental sensibility makes Eternity, In Your Arms nothing less than fascinating and enjoyable.

4. What If Nothing by Walk the Moon

While Walk the Moon’s self-titled album is still their best in my eyes, What If Nothing combines the glittery ’80s-esque vibes of its predecessor and the curiosity and wide-eyed wonder of the band’s debut, making for a well-rounded and ever-interesting listen.

3. As You Please by Citizen

Emo revivalists Citizen recrudesce with their third full-length titled As You PleaseAs You Please is nothing short of expressive and cultivated through heartfelt lyrics, enticing vocal delivery, and poignant melodies, demanding you to listen again and again to catch every detail.

2. Adornment by Grayscale

Grayscale’s sophomore full-length Adornment testifies to the band’s engaging songwriting and stellar musicianship. With animated choruses and tireless libretto, Adornment doesn’t need to be adorned with enhancements—it’s already amazing.

1. Turn Out the Lights by Julien Baker

Emotional libretto and morose melodies define Julien Baker’s second studio effort named Turn Out the Lights, displaying the solo performer examining new instrumental territories within a more piano-driven realm. It’s eerie, emotive, and undoubtedly memorable.

Best Albums of 2017

Before we finally delve into what I think are the absolute best albums of 2017, let’s discuss what it takes to make this list. For me, a record must be consistently replayable, rarely ever trite or stale after every listen. I should be able to look through the track-listing and enjoy (or, well, at least admire) every song present. With all that being said, 2017 didn’t produce a ton of best-worthy albums for me personally, so here’s my somewhat short list.

6. Feel Something by Movements

Movements’ debut album Feel Something will certainly make you feel something. This long-player hurts in the best way possible. As the artwork implies, Feel Something is haunting, dark, and raw, destined to keep your head spinning for hours to come when the closer ends.

5. After the Party by The Menzingers

The Menzingers explore the struggles of growing up and maturing through vigorous alt-rock and spirited songwriting. Impassioned lyricism melds with musical brio to produce a delectable listen from start to finish bound to hit you right in the gut with its raw relatability and emotion.

4. Lovely Little Lonely by The Maine

Catchy hooks, slick guitar melodies, and impassioned lyrics characterize The Maine’s sixth studio album, Lovely Little Lonely. The band offers up some of their best material to date and tiptoes outside of their comfort zone on multiple tunes blanketed with atmosphere.

3. Harry Styles by Harry Styles

I never thought I would be writing about Harry Styles on an alternative music website but here we are. Styles delivers his debut solo album with grandiosity and charm. From thunderous, rocking choruses to calm, sincere acoustic serenades, Styles proves he’s more than just a typical (former) boy band member.

2. Melodrama by Lorde

Four years after her groundbreaking debut album, Lorde returns more lyrically mature and musically expansive than ever. Youthful yet mellow, Melodrama doesn’t hold back its emotions. Between songs of break-ups, struggles in the industry, and friendly endeavors, Lorde has certainly grown, and this record was well worth the wait.

1. After Laughter by Paramore

Irresistible melodies, smooth guitar riffs, and heartfelt lyrics define Paramore’s fifth studio album titled After Laughter. The band leans into a colorful new sound gilded by the ’80s and pop sensibility, continuing to push the envelope of their musical range and variation. This album never grows stale with each song offering up something fresh while still maintaining its throwback attitude.

Keep in mind this is all entirely my personal opinion. Let us know your favorite albums of the year down in the comment below!

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March 2017 Alt Col Picks

Plenty of great albums appeared in March, so here are our favorite releases of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!

  • Ed Sheeran – ÷

Singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran’s third major label release ÷ attests to his stylistic diversity, shifting from hip-hop occasions to sugary love ballads to casual acoustic serenades. While it is certainly not his best work, ÷ still does not fall flat on its face as another “white guy with an acoustic guitar” outing. Standout tracks include “Castle on the Hill,” “Galway Girl,” and “Supermarket Flowers.” ÷ will appeal to fans of Chris DuPont, Julie Byrne, and Noah Guthrie. Maybe.

Read our full review of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ by clicking here!

  • Can’t Swim – Fail You Again

The hard-hitting debut from New Jersey’s Can’t Swim is sure to put them on the map and solidify their position in the modern rock and pop punk scene! Rough vocals and impassioned musicality meld together for a compelling listen, bound to keep the record spinning for weeks to come. Standout tracks include “What’s Your Big Idea?,” “Quitting,” and “We Won’t Sleep.” Fail You Again is sure to attract followers of Seaway, Have Mercy, and Like Pacific.

  • Temples – Volcano

Psychedelic, spell-binding, and mesmerizing, Volcano grips you from track one to the end in a positively lenitive haze. Temples incorporates some electronic inflections to keep this emollient record fresh and separate from their previous material that echoes musical manners of the 1960s. Standout tracks include “Certainty,” “I Wanna Be Your Mirror,” and “Born Into the Sunset.” Volcano will capture listeners of The Shins, Hippo Campus, and Palma Violets.

  • Spoon – Hot Thoughts

The latest release from alt-rock band Spoon is sweltering and blistering, impish and jaunty. It’s sonically rich and lyrically captivating as it transports you to moods and places you can only imagine. Groovy at times and hushed at others, Spoon’s still got it. Standout tracks include “Hot Thoughts,” “Can I Sit Next to You,” and “Do I Have to Talk You Into It.” Hot Thoughts is sure to interest fans of The War on Drugs, Beck, and Silversun Pickups.

  • A Will Away – Here Again

Riveting melodies that blur the line between pop punk and indie rock infect this album from start to finish, in a good way, of course. From boisterous percussion and eccentric guitars to fervent songwriting and catchy hooks, Here Again is a pleasing change of pace in the world of pop rock. Standout tracks include “Caroline,” “The Shakes,” “Pay Raise,” and “Well-Adjusted.” Here Again will appeal to followers of Moose Blood, Boston Manor, and Turnover.

  • Heavy Things – Goner

Goner, Heavy Things

With sentimental libretto and singalong-worthy chants that make you want to shout the words with the windows down on the highway, Goner is animated and exhilarating at times and introspective all throughout. The blend of acoustic and electric guitars makes for a delectable texture and sound. Standout tracks include “Sold,” “Badge of Honor,” and “33.” Goner is sure to satisfy followers of A Will Away, Moose Blood, and You vs. Yesterday.

  • Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms

Considered to be the saviors of modern rock, Creeper’s irresistible debut shakes you by the shoulders and doesn’t let go. From anthemic choruses to rhapsodic guitar melodies, Eternity, In Your Arms is a stellar release outlined by conviction and robustness all throughout. Standout tracks include “Hiding With Boys,” “Black Rain,” and “Suzanne.” Eternity, In Your Arms is bound to attract listeners of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Trash Boat, and Tiger Army.

  • Sorority Noise – You’re Not As _____ As You Think

You’re Not As ____ As You Think is intense, sincere, and unhinged. This is Sorority Noise’s most moving record to date and certainly a slice of pop punk emo you don’t want to sleep on. It discusses suicide, religion, loss, and self-esteem, trademarks of the heartfelt emotive genre. Standout tracks include “No Halo,” “Leave the Fan On,” and “Disappeared.” You’re Not As ____ As You Think will capture fans of The Wonder Years, Modern Baseball, and Citizen.


Honorable Mentions
  • The Shins – Heartworms

Mellow and hypnotically smooth psychedelia. Standout tracks include “Name for You,” “Mildenhall,” and “Dead Alive.” For fans of Deerhunter, Temples, and The Decemberists.

  • Stolas – Stolas

Piercing rock with an adventurous bite. Standout tracks include “Bellwether,” “Damage Division,” and “Catalyst.” For fans of A Lot Like Birds, Sianvar, and Adventurer.

  • Real Estate – In Mind

Entrancing, fluid soft indie rock. Standout tracks include “Darling,” “Stained Glass,” and “Holding Pattern.” For fans of Wild Nothing, Atlas Sound, and Ducktails.

  • Minus the Bear – VOIDS

Radiant alternative math rock. Standout tracks include “Last Kiss,” “Invisible,” and “Robotic Heart.” For fans of Bloc Party, Shiny Toy Guns, and Fang Island.

  • Knox Hamilton – The Heights

Velvety alt-rock bound to mesmerize you. Standout tracks include “Pretty Way to Fight,” “Washed Up Together,” and “Work It Out.” For fans of CRUISR, Colony House, and Bad Suns.

  • Remo Drive – Greatest Hits

Gravelly alternative punk with slick guitar melodies. Standout tracks include “Art School,” “Crash Test Rating,” and “Eat S**t.” For fans of Unturned, Yellow Ostrich, and The Noise FM.

  • Cold Climb It – Fade (EP)

Straddles the line between alt-rock and pop punk. Standout tracks include “There’s No Energy For Trying” and “Center City.” For fans of Modern Baseball, The Dangerous Summer, and With Confidence.

  • Softspoken – Pathways (EP)

Epic post-hardcore that demands your attention. Standout tracks include “Something I’m Missing” and “I Feel Fire.” For fans of Pierce the Veil, SycAmour, and Chasing Safety.


Let us know what you think of March’s releases down in the comments below!