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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April 2017 Alt Col Picks

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

  • The Maine – Lovely Little Lonely

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. Standout tracks include “Bad Behavior,” “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu,” and “Do You Remember? (The Other Half of 23).” Lovely Little Lonely will appeal to fans of Anarbor, This Century, and Beach Weather.

  • New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick

The monumental pop rock band New Found Glory have returned for their ninth long-player entitled Makes Me Sick, conjuring their trademark style and introducing some new electronic elements in the mix to keep things fresh and modern. Standout tracks include “Happy Being Miserable,” “The Sound of Two Voices,” and “Party on Apocalypse.” Makes Me Sick is sure to attract followers of Bayside, Taking Back Sunday, and Good Charlotte.

  • Have Mercy – Make the Best of It

Emo rockers Have Mercy solidify their place in the scene with their latest record titled Make the Best of It. The ardent libretto and fierce musicality prove they truly are making the best of their ability and skill. Standout tracks include “Coexist,” “Good Christian Man,” and “Begging for Bones.” Make the Best of It will capture listeners of The Wonder Years, Sorority Noise, and Boston Manor.

  • Super American – Disposable

Super American’s debut outing is anything but disposable. These rough-around-the-edges tunes are bound to stick in your head like bubblegum, though not as sweet. There is a bite and underlying angst, seeping through every verse littered with sharp wordplay and deft hooks. Standout tracks include “Sloppy Jazz,” “Dearly Beloved,” and “Congratulations.” Disposable is sure to interest fans of The Front Bottoms, Joyce Manor, and Modern Baseball.

  • Hawking – Diverge

Atmospheric alt-rock has never sounded better. Hawking blends a piercing edge with smooth melodies to create tremendous, memorable choruses and vehement tunes on their debut full-length titled Diverge. Standout tracks include “Broken Glass,” “Comfortable,” “Lying Through Your Teeth,” and “Haunted House.” Diverge will appeal to followers of (possibly) Starset, Red, and Fame on Fire.

  • The Flatliners – Inviting Light

The Flatliners’ latest project Inviting Light doesn’t just invite you to listen; it demands your attention and begs you to feel. Captivating guitar refrains, accomplished vocals, and avid lyricism distinguish this unforgettable record. Standout tracks include “Indoors,” “Hang My Head,” and “Human Party Trick.” Inviting Light is sure to satisfy followers of The Menzingers, The Gaslight Anthem, and Teenage Bottlerocket.

  • The Weeks – Easy

The Weeks make a splash with their bluesy indie rock long-player titled Easy. The effortless musicianship and songwriting ability exhibited on this album creates the image that this level of greatness is simply just easy for The Weeks to achieve. Standout tracks include “Talk Like That,” “Bottle Rocket,” and “Hands on the Radio.” Easy is bound to attract listeners of Alabama Shakes, Lake Street Dive, and Moon Taxi.

  • Cold War Kids – LA Divine

Glossy yet jagged, LA Divine displays the real caliber of the outstanding alt-rockers Cold War Kids. Their sixth studio release is outlined by remarkable choruses, anthemic chants, lustrous instrumentation, and sleek lyrics you can’t get out of your head. Standout tracks include “Love Is Mystical,” “So Tied Up (ft. Bishop Briggs),” and “No Reason to Run.” LA Divine will capture fans of Cage the Elephant, Grouplove, and Young the Giant.


Honorable Mentions
  • Andrew Combs – Canyons of My Mind

Mellow singer/songwriter bliss. Standout tracks include “Rose Colored Blues,” “Blood Hunters,” and “Bourgeois King.” For fans of Little Chief, Jason Isbell, and Simon & Garfunkel.

  • While She Sleeps – You Are We

Piercing rock with infectious riffs. Standout tracks include “Silence Speaks (ft. Oli Sykes),” “Hurricane,” and “Feel.” For fans of Beartooth, Memphis May Fire, and The Devil Wears Prada.

  • Overcoats – Young

Mesmerizing indie alt-pop. Standout tracks include “Leave the Light On,” “Hold Me Close,” and “Nighttime Hunger.” For fans of Lorde, Oh Wonder, and Broods.

  • Those Who Knew – New Perspective (EP)

Enthusiastic pop rock with shrewd melodies. Standout tracks include “Losing Touch” and “Seventeen,” but the whole EP is great! For fans of Face Value, Sleep On It, and Far Too Young.

  • Falling In Reverse – Coming Home

Gravelly rock with overflowing angst. Standout tracks include “Coming Home,” “Loser,” and “F**k You and All Your Friends.” For fans of A Day to Remember, Issues, and Starset.

  • Future Islands – The Far Field

Velvety, expressive indie rock. Standout tracks include “Ran,” “Beauty of the Road,” and “North Star.” For fans of Arcade Fire, Perfume Genius, and Warpaint.

  • Incubus – 8

Exhilarating rock with some odd genres sprinkled along. Standout tracks include “Undefeated,” “Nimble Bastard,” and “State of the Art.” For fans of Bush, Smashing Pumpkins, and You Me At Six.

  • Diet Cig – Swear I’m Good At This

Ragged indie rock with a punk tinge. Standout tracks include “Tummy Ache,” “Sixteen,” and “Barf Day.” For fans of Girlpool, PWR BTTM, and Alumine.


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