2017 has finally come to a close, leaving us with some stellar albums, especially in pop. Judging from the music, it has been a year of reflection, recovery, and overcoming adversity. Many deal heavily in loss and moving forward, while others spark a bright future for new up-and-coming artists, such as Khalid. So without further ado, here are Michelle Guthrie’s (aka Enthuse‘s Music Editor) picks for best albums of 2017.
Half-Light – Rostam
Former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij finally pulls through with the full-length album that everybody has been waiting for. It’s a dreamy soundscape that takes listeners through a breathtaking journey of sweeping vocals, carefully crafted verses, and outstanding lyricism.
Favourite Tracks: “Half-Light” “Gwan” “Bike Dream”
Sacred Hearts Club – Foster the People
This four-piece alternative pop band never disappoints, and their third studio album Sacred Hearts Club is no exception. Psychedelic, upbeat, and absolutely explosive, Foster the People continue to live up to their legacy of creating stellar and groovy pop.
Favourite Tracks: “Pay the Man” “I Love My Friends” “Lotus Eater”
Gone Now – Bleachers
Jack Antonoff of Bleachers has been working behind-the-scenes for many major pop artists this past year, including Lorde and Taylor Swift. This year was finally the time for Bleachers’ sophomore album, which explores Antonoff’s experiences of loss in a beautifully cathartic collage of tracks.
Favourite Tracks: “Goodmorning” “Don’t Take the Money” “Everybody Lost Somebody”
Melodrama – Lorde
Easily one of the best pop albums this year, young Ella Yelich-O’Connor, also known as Lorde, has really returned with a bang. Melodrama paints a brutally honest, explosive, and often heartbreaking picture, on breaking up and growing up.
Favourite Tracks: “The Louvre” “Hard Feelings” “Supercut”
Wonderful Wonderful – The Killers
The Vegas boys came back after a lengthy four-year hiatus, and this album is broody, mature, and fun all at once. It doesn’t stray too far from the post-punk alternative pop that many love The Killers for, but still holds its own spark.
Favourite Tracks: “Wonderful Wonderful” “Run for Cover” “Tyson vs. Douglas”
You’re Not As ___ As You Think – Sorority Noise
This four-piece band from Connecticut put out arguably one of the most tragically raw albums on suicide and loss this year. Each heart-wrenchingly honest track is chock full of heavy guitar drops and conversational vocals, which are largely about lead singer Cameron Boucher’s grapples with loss and religion after many of his friends lost their lives to heroin and suicide.
Favourite Tracks: “A Portrait Of” “Car” “A Better Sun”
Swear I’m Good at This – Diet CigThree years since this pop-punk duo’s formation, and two EPs later, out came Swear I’m Good at This. It’s bouncy, fun pop-punk with simplistic guitar riffs and lyrics that seem to spill conversational secrets like best friends at a slumber party, in all the best ways.
Favourite Tracks: “Sixteen” “Maid of the Mist” “Tummy Ache”
A Crow Looked at Me – Mount Eerie
This is arguably one of the most honest and raw albums about death that has ever been crafted. Songwriter Phil Elverum lost his wife earlier this year and the mood is really set for the album with the starting lyrics, “death is real, someone’s there and then they’re not, and it’s not for singing about, it’s not for making into art.” Each track is bare and simple, and talks in anecdotes about his wife’s final days accompanied by simple acoustic strumming.
Favourite Tracks: “Real Death” “Ravens” “Crow”
Masseduction – St. Vincent
Annie Clark is back with a vengeance on her fifth studio album. Masseduction is a fiery, brutally honest series of self-notes that carries listeners into what Clark describes as her most personal and “first person” album to date.
Favourite Tracks: “Los Ageless” “New York” “Smoking Section”
American Teen – Khalid
Young Khalid is new to the music scene, but American Teen shows that his future looks bright. Full of ‘80s synth beats mixed with R&B and smooth vocals, Khalid’s first album is slick and shiny with a dose of soul.
Favourite Tracks: “American Teen” “8TEEN” “Young Dumb & Broke” “Winter” ”
Every Where is Some Where – K. Flay
On her second studio album, the young alternative rapper explores a more vulnerable side. Every Where is Some Where blends together spoken word, heightened pop beats, and indie rock all into one brutally honest and genre-bending album.
Favourite Tracks: “Dreamers” “Blood in the Cut” “You Felt Right”
After Laughter – Paramore
This was almost it for now three-piece pop punk band Paramore: lead singer Hayley Williams was considering dismantling the band after dealing with self-doubt and depression. It was lucky they kept going, because After Laughter is a wonderfully defiant album that speaks into Williams’ self-doubt and self-sabotage, while tipping a hat to ‘80s new wave; a direction the band has never gone before.
Favourite Tracks: “Hard Times” “Fake Happy” “Caught in the Middle”
Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa
No Culture – Mother Mother
Rainbow – Kesha
Relaxer – Alt-J
Beautiful Trauma – Pink