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!

Advertisements

June 2017 Alt Col Picks

A lot of great albums were released in June, so here are our favorite records of the month! (In no particular order.) Want a Spotify playlist? Click here!

  • Lorde – Melodrama

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. Standout tracks include “Green Light,” “Liability,” and “Perfect Places.” Melodrama will appeal to fans of Broods, Alessia Cara, and CHVRCHES.

  • Broadside – Paradise

Upbeat cadences and gritty guitar riffs outline Broadside’s sophomore effort titled Paradise, and it’s paradise indeed. This album is chocked full of pop punk songs ready for a sunny summertime drive with the windows down, but it has its softer, more cultivated moments as well. Standout tracks include “Hidden Colors,” “Paradise,” and “Laps Around a Picture Frame.” Paradise is sure to attract followers of Seaway, State Champs, and Waterparks.

  • All Time Low – Last Young Renegade

Pop rock veterans All Time Low transition to a more electropop rock vibe for their seventh studio album Last Young Renegade. The band clutches on to their organic instrumentation for a number of tunes, but many are dazzled by synth-driven melodies and artificial beats. Standout tracks include “Last Young Renegade,” “Nice2KnoU,” and “Dark Side of Your Room.” Last Young Renegade will capture listeners of We Are the In Crowd, Against the Current, and Set It Off.

  • Bleachers – Gone Now

The ’80s-inspired pop rock of Gone Now is thunderous, charming, and undoubtedly entertaining. Jack Antonoff, former member of the hit band Fun., takes on his second full-length project with impassioned gusto and a love for the past. After working with artists like Lorde, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Taylor Swift, Antonoff delivers his own pop sensibility. Standout tracks include “Don’t Take the Money,” “Hate That You Know Me,” and “I Miss Those Days.” Gone Now is sure to interest fans of Passion Pit, Smallpools, and Fun.

  • Rise Against – Wolves

With revived political apprehension, Rise Against lives up to their name through diligent angst and exasperation on their eighth long-player. Fiery guitar melodies and resentful libretto characterize Wolves, solidifying it as another coterminous release in the band’s catalog. Standout tracks include “The Violence,” “Welcome to the Breakdown,” “House on Fire,” and “Mourning in Amerika.” Wolves will appeal to listeners of AFI, The Menzingers, and Sum 41.

  • Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

Granular distortion and crisp percussion grant this two-piece some fervor and ferocity, which is impressively pulled off with only a bass guitar and drum set. Royal Blood cemented themselves as a dark, sabulous duo on their 2014 debut album, but How Did We Get So Dark? elevates that charisma to new heights. Standout tracks include “Lights Out,” “I Only Lie When I Love You,” and “Hook, Line, & Sinker.” How Did We Get So Dark? is sure to satisfy followers of Highly Suspect, Wolf Alice, and Nothing But Thieves.

  • Phoenix – Ti Amo

The spellbinding dreaminess of Ti Amo attests to Phoenix’s dynamic musicianship and stylistic charm. Four years after 2013’s cool and glamorous Bankrupt!, Phoenix expands upon that glimmering and irresistible timbre on their sixth studio album. The synth-pop and relaxed appeal causes this release to be undeniably alluring. Standout tracks include “J-Boy,” “Ti Amo,” “Goodbye Soleil,” and “Fleur de Lys.” Ti Amo is bound to attract listeners of Atlas Genius, Passion Pit, and Foster the People.

  • LANY – LANY

Indie electropop band LANY unleashes their debut long-player detailed by glittery synth inflections and catchy, savory choruses. Through liquidy vocals and youthful lyrics, this self-titled project is colorful, vibrant, and lively, each song bringing a new spectacular attitude to the table. Standout tracks include “ILYSB,” “Super Far,” “Pancakes,” and “The Breakup.” LANY will capture fans of The 1975, Heart of Gold, and The Japanese House.

  • Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas – Telephone

Impish and beguiling, this bilingual frontwoman delivers a scorching sophomore full-length that is bound to bring you coming back for more. Telephone is spirited and jaunty between its buoyant, energetic anthems and rollicking choruses, but the more leisurely moments provide this album its devilish bite. Standout tracks include “Oh No,” “Bad At Loving You,” “Hot Damn,” and “Break Your Heart.” Telephone will appeal to followers of Catey Shaw, Elle King, and Lake Street Dive.

  • Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex

The mellow, daydreamy intonation of Cigarettes After Sex’s self-titled debut is entrancing and emotional. The heartfelt lyrics of this LP are captivating and compelling, which is complemented by the mesmerizing smoothness of the instrumentation. Standout tracks include “Apocalypse,” “Each Time You Fall in Love,” “Young & Dumb,” and “K.” Cigarettes After Sex will satisfy listeners of Bombay Bicycle Club, Lana Del Rey, and London Grammar.


Honorable Mentions
  • Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up

Mellow folk alternative bliss. Standout tracks include “Third of May/Ōdaigahara,” “Fool’s Errand,” and “Cassius.” For fans of The Oh Hellos, Julie Byrne, and Sea Wolf.

  • The White Noise – AM/PM

Piercing rock with impassioned vocals and a lot to offer. Standout tracks include “Bite Marks,” “Picture Day,” and “I Lost My Mind (In California).” For fans of A Day to Remember, Issues, and I Prevail.

  • Noah Guthrie – The Valley

Calming singer/songwriter folk beatitude. Standout tracks include “Pardon Me,” “I Would Die 4 U,” and “Leaving California.” For fans of Chris Dupont, Little Chief, and Trent Dabbs.

  • Hey Violet – From the Outside

Groovy, captivating pop rock. Standout tracks include “Brand New Moves,” “Break My Heart,” and “O.D.D.” For fans of DNCE, Before You Exit, and Masketta Fall.

  • Imagine Dragons – Evolve

Energetic pop rock with an electronic tinge. Standout tracks include “Walking the Wire,” “I Don’t Know Why,” and “Believer.” For fans of AWOLNATION, X Ambassadors, and Coldplay.

  • Volumes – Different Animals

Solid rock with a hip-hop verve. Standout tracks include “Finite,” “Feels Good,” and “On Her Mind (ft. Pouya).” For fans of Issues, Slaves, and Palisades.

  • Rancid – Trouble Maker

Gravelly punk rock with a convivial attitude. Standout tracks include “Where I’m Going,” “Ghost of a Chance,” and “Farewell Lola Blue.” For fans of NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, and The Bouncing Souls.

  • alt-J – Relaxer

Expressive, experimental indie alternative. Standout tracks include “In Cold Blood,” “Adeline,” and “3WW.” For fans of Bon Iver, Future Islands, and Arcade Fire.

  • London Grammar – Truth Is a Beautiful Thing

Minimalistic indie alt-pop. Standout tracks include “Oh Woman, Oh Man,” “Truth Is a Beautiful Thing,” and “Big Picture.” For fans of Banks, Elbow, and Foals.

  • Color Film – Living Arrangements

Fun, sprightly alt-rock. Standout tracks include “Even If It Did Exist,” “52 Minds,” and “Small Town.” For fans of Don Broco, Divine Fits, and The Social Animals.

  • Currents – The Place I Feel Safest

Exhilarating metal with a bite. Standout tracks include “Apnea,” “Night Terrors,” and “Silence.” For fans of Novelists, The Healing, and Delusions of Grandeur.

  • Portugal. The Man – Woodstock

Jovial indie alternative vibes. Standout tracks include “Feel It Still,” “Rich Friends,” and “So Young.” For fans of Atlas Genius, Cage the Elephant, and The Districts.


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