None of these lists are by any means definitive. Even our own opinions tend to change day to day. It does however, outline what an amazing year 2017 has been in music so far. For now, here are our favorite albums that have been released so far.
10 – Rag ’n’ Bone Man – Human
The track Human made Rag ’n’ Bone Man an overnight success. He was instantly played on radio stations all over and across multiple genera. Similar to Take Me To Church from Hozier the soulful Human will endure. Only question was would it be a one hit wonder? Skin proved that to not be the case. Then the album was released and a wonderful soulful experience wrapped in hooks ensued.
9 – New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions
Vancouver Indie juggernaught The New Pornogrpahers dropped another brilliant intelligent batch of pop brilliance on us. Front man A.C. Newman writes some of the most interesting pop/rock songs of the year using the great voices of Neko Case and Kathryn Calder in as orchestral elements. Can they pull it off live? Check out this performance on the great KEXP.
8 – Gorillaz – Humanz
Damon Albarn project Gorrilaz has always been a fascinating project. Many acts that have fused rock, hip hop and electronic have been unable to sustain but Gorrillaz have created a very good album with some absolute gems. It may not be a solid 10 front to back but the tracks like Momentz with De La Soul make up for other weaker tunes.
7 – Lorde – Melodrama
No sophomore album had more pressure to succeed in recent memory then Lorde’s Melodrama. After the massive success of her debut Pure Heroine and tunes like Royals and Teams Lorde had a nearly impossible task. The album is a solid effort overall and maybe the best thing about Lorde is that she’s utterly unique and sounds very comfortable in her own skin on this offering.
6 – Spoon – Hot Thoughts
Austin band Spoon have created one of the best rock records of the year. A bit moodier overall the passion is still front and center. A hook laden masterpiece that after multiple listens opens up more overtime. Its great to see that a band that been around for 25 years are producing the best music of there catalog.
5 – Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
Maybe the strongest Folk offering of the year there is no mistaking the Fleet Foxes for another band. It’s a rather crowded genera of bands that sound somewhat similar Fleet Foxes are immediately distinguishable. Crack-Up is a new batch of brilliance that sounds like nothing else at the moment.
4 – Future – HNDRXX
Atlanta’s Future is one of the biggest names in the game and for all the right reasons. Style, flow, talent and a work ethic that had him releasing two great albums in the first half of 2017.
3 – Run The Jewels – RTJ3
Killer Mike and El-P have done it again with the brilliant RTJ3 and are starting to reap the rewards. They continue to climb the festival posters from afternoon sets to headliners. Massive beats with rhymes that come at you with militant delivery make the acts 3rd offering one of the best albums of the year and an argument could be made that it should be holding down the top slot.
2 – DJ Khaled – Grateful
Not many artists could get Beyonce, Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Migos, Future and a boat load of others on one album little own have the music still be the star. A wonderful blending of hip hop and pop DJ Khaled has crafted one of the best albums of the year.
1 – Kendrick Lamar – Damn.
“HUMBLE.” will be a tune we’ll be jamming to in 20 years bringing back memories of the summer of 17. You have to love the message, that Kendrick took something your dad might say to you when your being a punk, “Sit down, be humble” and turned it into the anthem of the year. Front to back its brilliant and its hard to imagine anything coming out that will top it as the best album of the year at the end of the year. That said a fella named Jay Z is about to unleash 4:44.