2017 really was a massive year for music. The amount of vulnerable songs that graced listeners airwaves was incredible. Last year was a bit quieter on the album front but 2017 really showed them who was boss. Break ups and heartbreak were the main common theme this year but all of these artists tackled the topic in a different and unique way. So who came out on top? Check out the countdown below;
15. Nelly Furtado – The Ride
It was the comeback that no one knew about. Nelly Furtado’s re-entry to the music world was met with little to no traction and it’s such a shame because the songstresses sixth studio album was worth talking about. “The Ride” is an experimental and unconventional pop record that has it’s aggressive rhythmic rock moments as well as its more folk inspired vulnerable moments. She really has matured and grown as an artist and if you went into listening to this record expecting another “Maneater” or “I’m Like A Bird” then you would’ve been very disappointed. She may not be the same artist as the one you were familiar with but that isn’t a bad thing. She’s grown, experimented and delivered an epic “phoenix rising from the ashes” type of record.
Must Listen Tracks; “Magic” and “Cold Hard Truth”
14. Cub Sport – Bats
Brisbane indie-pop favourites Cub Sport took a massive risk with their sophomore studio record and it paid off. “Bats” heard them reinventing their sound and delivering a raw vulnerability that addressed lead singer Tim Nelson’s exploration of his sexuality. From the first realisation to accepting who he is to coming out and then to falling in love. It’s a reflective empowering and comforting recount that resonated well with anyone who had been through or is currently going through similar feelings. Their production was very strong with 90’s inspired synths that took homage to the likes of Savage Garden. This record was a lot more electronic than their previous and had a groovier vibe that will elevate their live shows.
Must Listen Tracks; “Chasin” and “Good Guys Go”
13. MUNA – About U
MUNA’s debut album “About U” became an early contender for album of the year because of it’s bold honesty and emotion. Their sound is so strong and as a collective they showcased all their strengths along with their vulnerabilities and purely opened up. The songs were very LGBT friendly and saw songs like “Loudspeaker” and “I Know A Place” become little anthems in their own right. They are a more synth driven version of Haim but don’t be mistaken, these girls do know how to shred a guitar and show that on a couple of tracks. It’s a very special album with golden moments that will have you feeling emotional and euphoric at the same time.
Must Listen Tracks; “Crying On The Bathroom Floor” and “Loudspeaker’
12. Kelsea Ballerini – Unapologetically
Albums revolving around break ups took to the forefront this year but for Kelsea Ballerini’s sophomore record she took a slightly different approach. She focused on growth and detailed the process of having your heart broken, realising your worth, reminiscing and then allowing yourself to fall in love again. Melodically it channeled and rivaled the production of Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” record. It was somewhere between pop and country and had its moments of raw vulnerability and angsty realness. It’s an impressive collection of tracks that show her growth as an artist and hears her reaching towards those arenas that she deserves to be headlining.
Must Listen Tracks; “Miss Me More” and “Unapologetically”
11. Paramore – After Laughter
Paramore take the crown for the most drastic genre switch. Departing their angsty pop-punk the three piece delivered a glossy synth-pop record. While the album was full of big hooks, euphoric production and smooth harmonies they were all driven by dark and reflective lyrics. This was probably the strongest songwriting we have heard from the band. From a first listen you will be quite taken aback by the massive genre different but once you listen to the album in it’s entirety you will be quite impressed.
Must Listen Tracks; “Fake Happy” and “Rose Colored Boy”
10. Taylor Swift – Reputation
I’m still unsure what my thoughts are on this new era for Taylor Swift but what I can’t deny is that while this new record is quite experimental and different that it actually is a strong collection of (mostly) bangers. What “Reputation” does deliver is growth. It truly is like nothing else she has ever released and it’s not meant to be. There are moments where the old Taylor shines through and reminds you that she is not dead and I’m glad because I do miss her. While it may not be a flawless album like “1989” it does elevate her career to the next level. All these songs are stadium ready and I’m interested to see how she decides to perform them and how she will reinvent her old material.
Must Listen Tracks; “Delicate” and “Call It What You Want”
9. The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
THEY’RE BACK! THEY’RE BACK! Can you tell I’m pretty ecstatic about the Killers comeback this year? Luckily their fifth studio record didn’t disappoint. At a length of 10 songs the record is quite short but they hold onto your attention for the full 43 minute duration. The sound bounces between anthemic electronic rock and empowerful rock ballads with touching lyrics and emotive storylines. They’ve proved yet again why they are one of the most loved bands and while their last record didn’t make the impact they expected it to this album makes up for it.
Must Listen Tracks; “The Man” and “Rut”
8. Haim – Something To Tell You
So I’m going to be honest, this album took a long time to grow on me. At first I thought it was very repetitive and average affair that tried to reciprocate the success and sound their debut record had. But over time it’s grown on me and now I understand the evolution of the band. This album holds onto their epic sister indie pop-rock harmonies and groovy guitar baselines but they also introduced a synth influenced sound. They know exactly the formula they need to re-create to stay relevant and continue having success and I guess that’s why I thought this album was predictable. But after seeing some of the songs live at Splendour In The Grass I don’t need to be any more convinced that this truly is a killer record.
Must Listen Tracks; “Right Now” and “Little Bit Of Your Love”
7. Verite – Somewhere In Between
I am low key in love with Verite. There is just something about her moody tracks, relatable lyrics and powerful vocals that I am drawn to. Her debut album impressed because of it’s individual production and structure with these bold and captivating songs. It’s evident that she knows how to write a power hook as almost every song contains a wow moment or a unique twist. Some songs had an addictive drum beat and a groovy baseline while other songs injected slick RNB beats, rhythmic guitars and synth realness. The record grew on me a lot with the two songs I called lacklustre now becoming some of my favourites. So yeah, I’m eating my words.
Must Listen Tracks; “Death Of Me” and “When You’re Gone”
6.. K.FLAY – Everywhere Is Somewhere
This album is a rollercoaster of emotions and shows a lot of growth from K.FLAY as an artist. From the way her vocal delivery is so adaptive of the sound and emotions she captures to the brutal honesty of the lyrics. She is very genre fluid and delivers you a grungy and raw collection of alternative rock-pop songs that are influenced by hip hop, blues and even electronica. And all while she still manages to deliver a kick ass hook that will get stuck in your head instantly. This is an impressive collection of tracks that I can’t fault one bit. You can’t deny the true talent of this Californian MC and I think after hearing this record people really started to understand why she is one of my favourite artists.
Must Listen Tracks; “High Enough” and “You Felt Right”
5. Kesha – Rainbow
Kesha well and truly earned the title of comeback of the year. Dropping the dollar sign from her name wasn’t the only change, her music drifted from electronic pop to a grittier and more genuine pop influenced rock sound. Her songwriting also impressively improved with a dark and reflective take on her growths and new found strengths. There were still some anthemic tracks like “Hymn” and “Boots” which could’ve easily found place on her last record and that’s not a bad thing at all. From the constant message of self empowerment and loving yourself to the vivid imagery that will have you dreaming of these unique stories I can’t get over how perfect this record is. The epic variety in production adds to this magic and while it may not be the bubblegum pop-dance that you are used to from her this is the mature Kesha you always wanted. And do I need to even start on her vocals? There’s no auto-tune. It’s just her raw, powerful and captivating as ever.
Must Listen Tracks; “Finding You” and “Rainbow”
4. Harry Styles – Harry Styles
Let’s be honest, none of us knew what a Harry Styles solo record was going to sound like but I think it’s safe too say we never thought it was going to sound THIS good. What he succeeded at doing was delivering 10 ambitious, mature and genuine songs that stand out in this heavily saturated pop/rock market and whole heartedly made you believe that Harry Styles is never going to be just a one hit wonder. There are no gimmicks or big pop moments that would be predictable for a member of one of the worlds biggest boybands but instead all these songs are just purely him. Honest, raw, genuine and beautiful.The most interesting thing about this record was that the weakest track was the lead single. Go figure.
Must Listen Tracks; “Kiwi” and “From The Dining Table”
3. SZA – CTRL
2017 has been a massive year for SZA. The St Louis songstress released her debut album “CTRL”, broke the mainstream market, kicked off a MASSIVE headlining world tour and was nominated for 5 Grammy Awards. So yeah, kinda an impressive year. The record introduced her smooth and harmonic RNB slow jams. Her storytelling was very captivating and From start to finish you were in awe. She really is one of the most exciting newcomers and someone who is on a constant rise.
Must Listen Tracks; “20 Something” and “Love Galore”
2. Vera Blue – Perennial
I never expected this album to have the impact on me that it did. It kinda of just came out of no where and blind sighted me. I remember quite vividly the first time I heard it. It was about a week out from release and I received it in my inbox to review. And having to keep quiet about it until my review went up was a mission and a half. “Perennial” is a reflective collection of tracks that perfectly outlines the three stages of a break up; The initial hurt and grief, the anger and hate and then the reflective consciousness that just wants to move on. This is an album which should be listened to from start to finish. Each song perfectly leads into the next and evolves the story line of the broken girl who is just trying to move on and be okay. The production is impressive and each song has it’s own unique quirk which makes it memorable.
Must Listen Tracks; “First Week” and “Regular Touch”
1. Lorde – Melodrama
“Melodrama” is THAT break up album. It’s flawless from start to finish. It’s inventive, original, captivating and ridiculously infectious. The fact that some of these songs are so sad but they make you feel so happy and empowered is not an easy feat. She continually impressed me from her vocals to the lyrics to the magnificent production. I truly was spellbound from start to finish. I could write for hours about how amazing and how much impact this record has had but all I need to say is, ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Thank you Lorde.
Must Listen Tracks; The whole album. All of it.
You can listen to these albums on my Top 15 Albums Of 2017 Playlist here;