Reviews Vlog Squag

Episode 007: A Way Too Late Ranking of the Best Records in 2017

Today Jared tells us his favorite albums of 2017.

In case you choose to not view the above vlog, here’s the list.

Honorable Mentions

Cosmo Pyke – Just Cosmo EP

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This 18-year-old Brit dropped his debut EP, blending the sounds of King Krule, Mac Demarco, and 70’s ska/dub music into one of the more impressive indie releases this year.

Lorde – Melodrama

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Lorde’s second studio album showed lyrical maturity for the young Australian pop artist. Coupled with stellar production from Jack Antonoff, the four year interval between her first release and Melodrama proved worth it.

SZA  – Ctrl

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The debut studio album from TDE’s first female artist SZA (pronounced siz-uh) carved its own niche, blending elements of R&B, Soul, and Hip-Hop. With raw and tender lyricism and stellar features from Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, and Pharrell, Ctrl is bound to catch the ears of mainstream listeners for months to come.

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

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The third studio album from former Fleet Foxes’ drummer Josh Tillman, under the name Father John Misty, continued to establish his position at the top of folk music. With ironic, self-actualizing, and occasionally hilarious lyricism and top notch recording and mixing, Tillman has created an instant classic which will keep folkheads devoutly listening and overanalyzing until his next masterpiece.

Migos – Culture

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Capitalizing on the success of the “Bad and Boujee” meme, ATL’s favorite trap trio dropped 13 of the catchiest trap songs to date, cementing them at the top of the mainstream charts. With flow that every rapper in hip-hop has stolen and familial chemistry, the Migos owned the keys to the city in 2017.

Top Five

#5: Sampha – Process

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The long awaited debut studio album from the UK’s Sampha, was an impressive release by one of hip-hop and R&B’s favorite collaborators. With raw and touching lyrics and unique electronic production, Sampha made serious waves in the R&B and alternative scenes.

#4: Kirin J. Callinan – Bravado

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On of the most bizarre pop records ever released, Australia’s Kirin J. Callinan shows why he was deserving of a Ted Talk and becoming one of the internet’s favorite memes of 2017 (search “Big Enough” and you will realize that Jimmy Barnes screaming in a cowboy hat was his doing). His Bowie-esque character, self-deprecating and ironic lyrics, and unique ability to sing over a multitude of pop styles is infectious and Callinan is sure to enter the indie/alternative mainstream in 2018.

#3: Brockhampton – Saturation Trilogy

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This hip-hop collective and self-proclaimed “biggest boyband since One Direction”, seemingly came out of nowhere and released three of the most impressive studio albums of any genre within eight months. The Saturation Trilogy features production that spans multiple genres, at times sounding like Justin Timberlake inspired pop, Bon Iver inspired indie, Frank Ocean inspired R&B, and the perfect intersect of NERD and Odd Future hip-hop. Each track across the three records showcase the immense individual talents this group contains while building up frontman Kevin Abstract (née Ian Simpson) into an artist mainstream pop will notice. Touching on themes like sexuality, angst, loneliness, and mental health, Brockhampton speaks to every teenager and young adult who feels like an outcast in the internet age.

#2: Kendrick Lamar – Damn.

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After his jazz-influenced 2015 release, To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar’s next studio album was highly anticipated. Lamar once again threw off his audience by eschewing from the jazz sound and incorporating more elements of trap, R&B, and pop into the production. With a semi-realized concept of dying and viewing his different personality traits, Lamar crafted an album that could be listened either front to back or back to front. However his new concept proved to not go as lyrically in-depth as his previous release and came off as much more lackluster. Despite all this, Kendrick Lamar still takes command as the best rapper in the game by proving himself better than everyone else without giving 100% effort.

#1: Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy

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The last two releases by Tyler the Creator, Wolf and Cherry Bomb, were loved by his devotees, but with his latest album Tyler demanded the love and respect of the hip-hop mainstream. With incredible production by himself, Tyler has shown growth and talent similar to his idol Pharrell Williams. On Flower Boy, Tyler expertly blended soft and touching melodies with the aggressive unique beats that he has been known for. Lyrically this stands out as Tyler’ most open and free. He touches on nostalgia, loneliness, boredom, and most notably his own sexuality, coming out of the closet on the track “Garden Shed”. He may be the most interesting artist in music and is on pace to become the Millennial version of Dr. Dre or Pharrell. Flower Boy is an unforgettable album and undeniably his magnum opus.

 

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