I’ve written these for a few years now (I could have sworn I wrote one last year, but I guess I didn’t), and I think this is the first year that it’s been harder to pick out albums than some great songs. I think Spotify may have finally broken me of my “listen to the whole album” rule since it’s easier to just fire up a playlist or daily mix than go find an album to listen to.
But, I still have my favorite songs of the year list (I’ve embedded it below) and though it’s a little smaller than previous years, there’s still over 12 hours of music in it that came out this year.
Before I get to the albums, the song of the year for me is definitely Goldfrapp’s Anymore. No, really, it’s amazing. So sexy and fun and danceable. You should listen to it a million times.
There’s been a trend for a few years now of releasing a bunch of singles to streaming services before the album gets released, and some of my favorites this years were really just EPs, so I think they should have their own section.
- Serengeti: Kaleidoscope – Reminds me of The Submarines in the best possible way. Groovy, fun, and ripe for multiple listens. Bonus points for some lovely muted trumpet on Is It Too Late.
- Her: Her Tape #2 – Weighing in at 17 whole minutes, they pack a whole album worth of goodness into it. This one kind of snuck up on me, with several songs showing up in various daily mixes until I listened to the whole thing. It’s beautiful, especially Swim, which will make you dance.
- Ghostpoet: Dark Days + Canapés – Another great down tempo album from Ghostpoet. It’s like the best of Massive Attack with some modern hip hop.
- Hurray for the Riff Raff: The Navigator – Folksy, old school, clever, silly and a lot of fun… all without being cloying or annoying. It’s just… good.
- New Pornographers: Whiteout Conditions – I don’t know how they do it, but this band feels like it gets bigger with every album. I keep thinking their sound will get old or stale, and it absolutely doesn’t. One of my all-time faves that just keeps getting better.
- Big Thief: Capacity – Kind of like if Beach House, Luna and Emma Pollock teamed up for a really sad and lovely country album. Gorgeous songs and amazing lyrics.
- The Dears: Times Infinity Volume Two – The Dears should be bigger. Everyone should love The Dears. You need to listen to them. A little TV on the Radio, a little of a lot of other things, always good.
- Widowspeak: Expect the Best – Dreamy, fuzzy, and ethereal. I love this band unconditionally and they can do no wrong. This album is as good as all their others, and that’s saying a lot.
- Said the Whale: As Long as Your Eyes Are Wide – Is it wrong to love pop? No. No it isn’t, especially when it’s this good. Also, it’s even less wrong when the band is Canadian for some reason. So, yeah, just listen. You’ll like it.
- Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice – This is way more grown up than her last album, and that’s alright, I guess, though I absolutely loved Sometimes I Sit and Thing, and Sometimes I Just Sit. I’m alright with growing up, I guess.
- The War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding – Mostly for the song Holding On which feels like a huge 70’s rock callback, but is also just a great song. The rest of the album is fine too, really.
- St. Paul and the Broken Bones: I’d heard of them, but never listened until they were coming to Savannah for a show and a bunch of my friends gushed about them. Now I’m sad I missed the show, because this band is great. I listen to them in the kitchen (unapologetic revival soul is perfect baking music).
- Big Sam’s Funky Nation: Another concert-related discovery. These guys played Revival Fest this year and blew the doors off. Their albums are good, but their live show is insanely great. If you ever get the chance to join Funky Nation, you should rush to renounce whatever citizenship you need to in order to get in.
- Flunk: I should have heard of this band before this year, because they’re in my wheelhouse. They’re a perfect trip hop throwback, a little like Portishead, and I could listen to them all day at work.
There you go, my musical 2017. Enjoy the playlist below, and here’s to an acoustically pleasing 2018!