by Matthew Thompson
Music is a huge part of my life, but I don’t break it down in the same critical way I do games and TV, nor can I pretend to write about it in the same way. Still, I like to share some of my favorite music from the year every December and I’m here to do just that. Without further ado, here are my five favorite albums of 2017.
5. Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm
Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting skills – this time looking back at a painful relationship – are back in full force on Out in the Storm which delivers more of Waxahatchee’s ear-pleasing indie rock sound with ever-so-slightly more of a hi-fi sound this time around.
Standout Songs: “Sparks Fly” and “Never Been Wrong”
4. Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton – Choir of the Mind
Haines takes a breath from fronting Metric for her first full-length solo album in over a decade. Emily’s voice shines brightly on Choir of the Mind which – like Knives Don’t Have Your Back before it – has a slower pace than Metric fans will be accustomed to. While I still prefer most all of Metric’s catalog, I liked Choir of the Mind a lot more than Pagans in Vegas.
Standout Songs: “Wounded” and “Legend of the Wild Horse”
(I attended the live show for this album’s tour in Philly last month. It was such a unique experience. It had a great mix of stripped-down solo stuff and songs performed with a full band, plus a neat performance art-style intro to the whole show. Here are some pictures I posted on Twitter!)
3. The xx – I See You
While some fans might miss the more low-key stylings of their first two records, I found myself just as hooked on the xx’s latest. I See You has a notably different feel than xx or Coexist, but it still feels like the xx to me – just a more vibrant evolution of what came before. To be honest, it tops their debut as my favorite of theirs so far.
Standout Songs: “A Violent Noise” and “Say Something Loving”
2. London Grammar – Truth is a Beautiful Thing
Hannah Reid has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. Her haunting vocals and the at-times-sparse sounds that accompany them come together to create this excellent new album from London Grammar. It’s been a long four years since I was blown away by the British trio’s debut record, but Truth is a Beautiful Thing has proven to be worth the wait.
Standout Songs: “Rooting for You” and “Bones of Ribbon”
1. Lorde – Melodrama
I was introduced to Lorde in a strange way. My friend sent me a cover of “Royals” by the band Paper Route (whose Absence remains one of my favorite albums). After checking it out, I had to see what the original sounded like and I fell in love with Lorde’s music. Four years on, she has released another wonderful modern pop album with the pitch-perfect Melodrama and it’s my favorite album of 2017.
Standout Songs: “Sober II (Melodrama)” and “Supercut”
Honorable Mentions: Sylvan Esso – What Now and Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface
That will do it for this post on my favorite albums of 2017! I always make a playlist on Spotify with some of my favorite songs from the year. It includes something off all of the albums mentioned here plus some more stuff that I loved this year. I linked to it below for anyone who is interested. Feel free to let me know your favorite albums of 2017 in the comments below. Thanks for reading!