2017 was a crazy year for all of media, let alone music. Alongside the welcomed return from heavy hitters across genres, including Jay-Z and Paramore, we also welcomed the first albums by incredible artists like Goldlink. We saw the rise of the internet’s first boy band (Brockhampton), alongside the rebirth of the Dirty Projectors, whose eponymous album and thematically related single “Keep Your Name” was inspired by Rick Rubin’s suggestion that the band keep its name. And even though it dropped early Christmas Eve of 2016 as a gift to fans, let’s take a moment to honor the greatness that was Run The Jewels 3.
What can be said about Damn that hasn’t already permeated the expanses of the internet? While some nitpicky critics argue that it’s not Kendrick’s best album, Damn is absolutely one of the best records of the year. Generating so much hype that it birthed a whole genre of conspiracy theories, Damn featured some amazingly catchy lyrics, including the inevitable banger signifier that is the hip hop’s favorite mustard: “This that Grey Poupon, that Evian, that TED Talk.”
In stark contrast to her 2015 release of Vulnicura, Björk’s powerful breakup album about her divorce from longtime partner Matthew Barney, Utopia is an ethereal and optimistic reflection of Björk’s emotional recovery. Featuring lush natural sounds and flute choruses (because Björk, right?), Björk jokingly described this album to fans as her “Tinder album.” This album perfectly encapsulates the reflection and calm that follows the post-break up storm.
Following their release of …Like Clockwork in 2013, many fans wondered what might QOTSA bring to the table with this new release, with some curious if Josh Homme’s experience during the unfortunate Eagles Of Death Metal show at the Bataclan in November 2015 would be addressed in this work. The album is absolutely the band’s most accessible and, while known for their grandiose rock sound, they were able to evoke warm sentiments on tracks like “Fortress.”
While technically released on December 24, 2016, three weeks earlier than planned as an inadvertent gift to fans, it would be a shame to keep this solid RTJ album off of a best of the year list due to the technicality of this bro move. RTJ 3 is an amazingly fun and catchy album, and the politically outspoken group spoke well to the surreal post-election landscape that the US was in around the time of its release.
Brockhampton is the group that came and (almost) went. Dropping 3 albums in just a calendar year, the self-proclaimed “internet’s first boy band” met through a Kanye West message board and under Kevin Abstract became a mindbending hip hop collective. With its cast of characters including filmmakers, producers and unique vocalists, Brockhampton quickly grew a cult following.
6. Migos – Culture
7. Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors
8. Jay-Z – 4:44
9. Thundercat – Drunk
10. Goldlink – At What Cost
Most-Anticipated for 2018: Jack White