As the year 2018 begins to blossom into being it is only reasonable that a “Top Albums of 2017” list is put out. Given this seemingly necessary calling, I’ve taken my best shot at compiling into a list what I see as having been the shining fruit of the music industry this past year.
It should be noted that this is completely opinion based, and in no way can reasonably represent the music industry as a whole. There is far too much content being released into this beautiful world for any individual to remain aware of. All should be enjoyed.
10. The Greatest Gift – Sufjan Stevens
With four new songs and several remixes of classics, Sufjan Stevens brings a new eerie, story of origin and the different paths that any given piece of music might take given the right direction. Soft tunes, depicting fairytale like stories and something of a bit of rebirth directs Sufjan fans and new listeners alike, down a dreamy path of who we are. This album is beautiful in many ways and is something to share.
9. A Crow Looked at Me – Mount Eerie
An album built on grief and guitar shares the very real and intense feelings of the loss of a loved one. Mount Eerie’s principle member Phil Elverum shares with the global audience his experience with the loss of his wife.
Not being the cheeriest album of the year, A Crow Looked at Me makes very clear the intensity felt in the change that follows loss. It breaks you down in a way in order to rebuild and then does it again. It reminds you of the light in the dark, as well as the importance of sometimes feeling the dark.
8. Going Grey – The Front Bottoms
A tribute from where many punk high schoolers find their roots, The Front Bottoms continue to produce fun, summery music with each release. They bring out the angst that we all need to accept sometimes and make it fun along the way.
Going Grey is no excuse to this trend and every track can be experienced. The strong musical backing and tune make the stories a lot more fun to play through. This album holds true to who The Front Bottoms are whilst still advancing their sound as a band.
7. Goths – The Mountain Goats
To write a “Top Ten” list and not include The Mountain Goats (for me) would be rather absurd. Goths brought out in early 2017 was a fantastic start to the year. Taking a harder, jazzier approach to their tales, The Mountain Goats released a masterpiece. Each song telling the tale of a different part of the life of a touring rock star brings out the hardships of growing in the industry.
They present the beauty in their experiences as well as the possibilities of hardening as an individual. In all of that though, they also share the importance of remembering and appreciating your softer roots as your origins are what we are made of.
6. Birdie – Slaughter Beach, Dog
From those who brought you the music of Modern Baseball, a new project delving into the struggles of being an adult and young. This album is the kind of music you share with your friends on a level higher than just baseline catchiness.
The musical dynamic the band holds puts you into every part of each song. In this album, the listener often finds themselves hearing the lyrics as though they’re going through the experience actively and leaves you wanting more.
5. Healing – In Love with A Ghost
The “video game-esque” tones presented by In Love with A Ghost tell lovely stories of friendship and growth. The song titles each depicting an aspect of a day as we search for friendship and brightness throughout our lives. This album never ceases to bring joy into a dark day and can be relied on for excitement at any time.
4. Capacity – Big Thief
This past years release from Big Thief Capacity, does a beautiful job following their 2016 album Masterpiece telling their stories with what some might call melody and memory. The lyrics are thoughtful and the soft instrumentals that follow build the environment presented beautifully.
The stories presented are things anyone can understand in some aspect, really embodying the emotions as they are meant to be felt. It is a special experience to listen to an album like this.
3. Soft Spots – Adult Mom
Fronted by a strong female vocalist and powerful lyrics, Adult Mom should be on the radar of anyone with an interest in indie music. Embodying the awkwardness in growing up with the empowerment of becoming your own person, this album covers it all.
When there’s nowhere left to go but up, Adult Mom takes your hand and shows you it’s okay. The interaction between all the members gives this band a distinct sound that is comforting and interesting. It feels soft to listen to and has a lesson in every track.
2. Antisocialites – ALVVAYS
ALVVAYS sophomore album released this past year did more than impress the masses. Following their first self titled album we are presented with a fantastic growth of storytelling and musical advancement. Antisocialites combines dreamy electronic sounds with upbeat pop-rock seamlessly.
Transitioning through genre after genre, there is only excitement hearing the tales of what the band called their “imaginary break-up arc.” What is said in this album is such an understandable and important matter, the fact it is presented so beautifully is almost as important as the. Musical content itself.
1. American Dream – LCD Soundsystem
From opening to closing American Dream delivers some of the fullest sound I have personally heard in awhile. With sentimental, slower pieces to faster, dancing beats, this album has it. It also has great success in drawing from the bands past influence and releases without feeling redundant. Every song is something new and invigorating to listen to.
The music within this album holds you gently and brings you through the darkness of a tunnel and into the brightest lights you have ever seen in. There’s comfort in the presentation and love in every note. It can not be recommended highly enough.
With every year there is growth and something new. What is on my top 10 list might not be on yours. What is important is to share with those around you the things you care about. Without our connections we aren’t all that much, make them count.
Here’s to another year of great music.