Best Albums and Songs of 2017 (So Far)


Kendrick, Father John Misty © Interscope, Sub Pop

Kendrick Lamar and Father John Misty top both the best songs and best albums lists of 2017 (so far).  

Ah, it’s that time of year folks – the best of music lists, so far.  This particular list covers both the best albums of songs of 2017.  Consider this the diet version of several lists released on our more expansive sister site, The Musical Hype.  But if you’re all about the skinny, here’s our brief, to-the-point analysis of the crème de la crème of music 2K17 style! 

10 Best Albums

Kendrick Lamar, DAMN. © Interscope

1. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.

[Interscope]

The best way to characterize the new Kendrick Lamar album is to use the title itself – DAMN! It goes without saying that K-Dot is a god among MCs and everything he releases is certain to be damn good. DAMN. ends up being truly extraordinary.

Must Listen: “HUMBLE.”

 

Father John Misty, Pure Comedy © Sub Pop2. Father John Misty, Pure Comedy

[Sub Pop] 

Father John Misty delivered another exceptional album with Pure Comedy.  Though more demanding this his previous album, it’s also more ambitious. Josh Tillman is among the most gifted songwriters in modern times, blending the serious, humorous, and the satirical seamlessly.

Must Listen: “Pure Comedy”  

Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 1 © Mercury3. Chris Stapleton, From A Room: Volume 1

[Mercury]

Chris Stapleton only offered 32 minutes’ worth of material on his sophomore album, From A Room: Volume 1. Despite its brevity, Stapleton delivers another superb effort that stands out because of its authenticity. The crown jewel is the unapologetic “Them Stems.”

Must Listen: “Them Stems”

John Mayer, The Search for Everything © Columbia4. John Mayer, The Search for Everything

[Columbia]

The Search for Everything is the best John Mayer album in years. Consistent to the nth degree, he delivers a return to form worthy of more buzz than it’s received.  Despite painful underratedness, The Search for Everything rivals the brilliance of tour de force, Continuum. 

Must Listen: “Still Feel Like Your Man”

Ryan Adams, Prisoner © Blue Note5. Ryan Adams, Prisoner

[Blue Note] 

Ryan Adams dropped a formidable divorce album with Prisoner, among the elite albums of 2017. He authentically captures the feelings of uncertainty, regret, and loneliness following a break-up.  The simplicity of the lyrics make Prisoner relatable to everybody.

Must Listen: “Do You Still Love Me?”

 

Depeche Mode, Spirit © Columbia6. Depeche Mode, Spirit

[Columbia]

On Spirit, Depeche Mode examines the moral, social, and political turmoil of present times.  Frontman Dave Gahan isn’t particularly enthused about anything over the course of Spirit, painting a pessimistic portrait of the direction of life.

Must Listen: “Scum” 

 

Spoon, Hot Thoughts © Matador7. Spoon, Hot Thoughts

[Matador] 

Spoon embraces change on Hot Thoughts, offering listeners a different sound and overall vibe.  Consistent throughout its course, nothing tops the formidable opening trio of “Hot Thoughts,” “WhisperI’lllistentohearit,” and “Do I Have to Talk You into It.”

Must Listen: “WhisperI’lllistentohearit”

 

Sampha, Process © Young Turks8. Sampha, Process

[Young Turks]

Sampha proves he’s the real deal on his debut album, Process.  Throughout the course of the album, he captures his own emotional rollercoaster.  It’s not a jubilant affair, but musically, it’s a tour de force.  Nothing tops “Blood on Me.”

Must Listen: “Blood on Me”

 

Logic, Everybody © Def Jam9. Logic, Everybody

[Def Jam] 

While arguably, Logic doesn’t “dig into” some of the racial, social, and political issues he references on Everybody, but he does initiate the discussion.  The concept of album no. 3 may be far-reaching, but there’s still plenty to respect about it, namely the rapper’s ill flow.

Must Listen: “1-800-273-8255”

 

Paramore, After Laughter © Fueled By Ramen10. Paramore, After Laughter

[Fueled by Ramen] 

After Laughter exceeds expectations.  Despite the drama behind the scenes with line-up changes and arguments, Paramore uses it as fuel for the fire.  The band has some legitimate hits on their hands with “Hard Times,” “Told You So,” and “Fake Happy” among others.

Must Listen: “Hard Times”

 

NOTE: To read the full list, comprised of 20 albums, check out The Musical Hype article, 20 Best Albums of 2017 (So Far).

10 Best Songs

1. Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.” (DAMN.)

[Interscope]

On energetic single “HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar testifies about his come-up.  Naturally, he emphasizes being humble, with a brilliant, gimmicky hook. Although some believe it’s a diss track, most likely, it’s more transcendent.

2. Father John Misty, “Pure Comedy” (Pure Comedy)

[Sub Pop]  

“Pure Comedy” is the centerpiece of Pure Comedy, setting the tone of the album lyrically and musically. The lyrics are ambitious, and pure genius, finding Father John Misty referencing societal issues including women’s rights, religion, and politics.

3. Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad and Boujee” (Culture)

[300]

“Bad and Boujee” doesn’t convey a deep message, but it’s a sensational banger. It’s another product of ever-formidable producer, Metro Boomin. The hook, clearly, is where the “bread is buttered. Can you say, “Raindrop, drop top / Smokin’ on cookie in the hotbox?”

4. Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like” (24K Magic)

[Atlantic] 

“That’s What I Like” thrives off immense swagger and sexiness.  Furthermore, it brilliantly balances the 80s cues that dominate 24K Magic and the urban contemporary sound.

5. Ryan Adams, “Do You Still Love Me?” (Prisoner)

[Blue Note]

“Do You Still Love Me?” initiates mysteriously and exhibits sensitivity.  The sensitivity is short lived, with guitar interjections intensifying the emotion. The pacing and development of the record are superb.  Adams begins singing tenderly, eventually embracing an assertive, approach.

6. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber, “Despacito (Remix)”

[Universal Music Latin/Republic]

The accomplishments that “Despacito” has made are enough to earn it a spot on this list.  Amazingly, it’s the first Latin song to reach no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since “The Macarena” in 1996.  Beyond its resume, it’s smooth and incredibly catchy.  

7. Kendrick Lamar, “DNA” (DAMN.)

[Interscope]  

“DNA” bangs hard from the jump as Kendrick Lamar shares the composition of his DNA. Ultimately, various things characterize him. He raps in maddening fashion, showcasing insane wordplay. Notably, K-Dot addresses racism on this multi-faceted gem.

8. Khalid, “Location” (American Teen)

[RCA]

The best attribute of breakout single “Location” is the voice of teen R&B artist Khalid – he sets himself apart from his colleagues. Beyond the slick production work, this is a well-rounded song, as Khalid sensationally shares the desires of his young heart.

9. Sampha, “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” (Process)

[Young Turks] 

(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” is an emotional, reflective gem. The lyrics pack a punch, not to mention the personal, authentic vocals of Sampha.  He characterizes the piano in his mom’s home as his confidante. He’s returned home, not only for his beloved instrument, but also due to the illness and death of his mom. 

10. Childish Gambino, “Redbone” (Awaken, My Love!)

[Glassnote]

Redbone” is a soulful R&B record that’s clearly a throwback to the past.  The chorus, in particular, is saturated with soulfulness. Glover’s vocals are gritty and drenched in effects, specifically pitch-shifted. According to Childish Gambino, he and numerous black dudes desire a redbone.

NOTE: To read the full list, comprised of 30 songs, check out The Musical Hype article, 30 Best Songs of 2017 (So Far).

Photo Credits: Interscope, Sub Pop, Mercury, Columbia, Blue Note, Columbia, Matador, Young Turks, Def Jam, Fueled by Ramen

 

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