My Favorite Albums of 2017

I listened to 178 new albums in 2017.

Then I mulled, I processed, I contemplated, I ranked, I re-ranked, I re-listened…AND NOW, at long last, I finalize my favorite albums of the year.

You’ll find below all 178 — with hyperlinks to whatever I wrote about them — separated into three different categories, each of which is ranked in order of my personal preferences: The Best, The Best of the Rest, and The Rest (I clump together albums by the same artist unless their quality is vastly different). I list at the very bottom the albums I Missed per my New Year’s resolution to listen to everything that cracked Apple Music’s Top 30 Most Stream chart, plus an assortment of others that piqued my interest for some reason (an artist I’m interested in, a recommendation from a friend, etc. etc. etc.).

Many people in my life have called me a masochist for undergoing this impossible quest. And sure, I’ve definitely listened to an unhealthy dose of terrible tunes. But for every obnoxious trend — the most prominent: TOO MUCH DERIVATIVE TRAP MUSIC THAT SOUNDS THE EXACT FUCKING SAME — I found twice as many impressive ones — for instance: the way that electronic music has completely reinvigorated R&B/Soul.

But guess what: I would’ve been in an equal amount of periodic pain no matter the year that I embarked on this enterprise; there’s always been bad popular music. Older generations tend to look down upon new work — “It just sounds like noise” is a refrain that’s wrung through the decades for a reason — while a lot of proudly self-disaffected youth — there will always be plenty of them! — blindly scorn the widespread tastes of their contemporaries.

Yet the opinions of these naysayers are probably based on insignificant experience with what they’re judging. I should know; I was one of them before this year! Thus the reason I decided to take on this monumental task; how could I knowledgeably deride anything that I hadn’t sufficiently encountered firsthand? Though hip cats like to be seduced by their false nostalgia — “Oh, everything was such much better back in the day. Let’s Make America Great, AGAIN!” — I’m here to tell you that my biggest takeaway from the last 365 days is that there’s an overwhelming amount of quality music released every damn week.

So the next time you feel yourself about to doubt the continued vitality of modern music, well — to quote a rapper listed below — you better check yourself before you ignorantly wreck yourself, because it’s bad for everyone’s health.


THE BEST

  1. Something To Tell You — HAIM
  2. Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 — Calvin Harris
  3. Humanz — Gorillaz
  4. MASSEDUCTION — St. Vincent
  5. Process — Sampha
  6. There’s Really a Wolf — Russ
  7. The Laughing Apple — Yusuf/Cat Stevens
  8. Everything Now — Arcade Fire
  9. American Dream — LCD Soundsystem
  10. No One Ever Really Dies — N.E.R.D.
  11. Fin (On the Road) — Syd
  12. Always Never Home — Syd
  13. Freudian — Daniel Caesar
  14. Digital Druglord — blackbear
  15. Cybersex — blackbear
  16. Big Fish Theory — Vince Staples
  17. More Life — Drake
  18. Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama Re-Wrapped — Jeremih & Chance

THE BEST OF THE REST

  1. BOOMIVERSE — Big Boi
  2. Alchemy — Lee Foss
  3. Rainbow — Kesha
  4. 4eva is a Mighty Long Time — Big K.R.I.T.
  5. War & Leisure — Miguel
  6. Saturation — Brockhampton
  7. Saturation II — Brockhampton
  8. Saturation III — Brockhampton
  9. DAMN. — Kendrick Lamar
  10. T-Wayne — T-Pain and Lil Wayne
  11. KIMBERLY: The People I Used to Know — K. Michelle
  12. No Dope on Sundays — Cyhi the Prynce
  13. Meaning of Life — Kelly Clarkson
  14. Love Yourself — BTS
  15. Revival — Eminem
  16. American Teen — Khalid
  17. Versus — Carl Craig
  18. Redux 2 — Kaskade
  19. Kaskade Christmas — Kaskade
  20. Brent Faiyaz — Sonder Son
  21. H.E.R. — H.E.R.
  22. H.E.R. Vol. 2 — H.E.R.
  23. 4:44 — Jay-Z
  24. Melodrama — Lorde
  25. Neva Left —  Snoop Dogg
  26. Dedication 6 — Lil Wayne
  27. Ctrl — Sza
  28. 17 — XXXTENTACION
  29. Ghetto Christmas — XXXTENTACION
  30. Revenge — XXXTENTACION
  31. Wonderful Wonderful — The Killers
  32. SYRE — Jaden Smith
  33. I See You — The XX
  34. Grateful — DJ Khaled
  35. Beach House 3 — Ty Dolla $ign
  36. The Chief — Jidenna
  37. Boomerang — Jidenna
  38. The Search for Everything — John Mayer
  39. Wins & Losses — Meek Mill
  40. Perception — NF
  41. Everybody — Logic
  42. Divide — Ed Sheeran
  43. Too Hard — Lil Baby
  44. Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho — HUNCHO JACK, Travis Scott & Quavo
  45. Tell Me You Love Me — Demi Lovato
  46. Life Changes — Thomas Rhett
  47. Rather You Than Me — Rick Ross
  48. Witness — Katy Perry
  49. Pure Comedy — Father John Misty
  50. Illuminati — Blac Youngsta

THE REST

  1. Pleasure — Feist
  2. Songs of Experience — U2
  3. Death Certificate — Ice Cube
  4. Beautiful Thugger Girls — Young Thug
  5. Young Martha — Young Thug
  6. Heart Break — Lady Antebellum
  7. The Beautiful and the Damned — G-Eazy
  8. Pressure — Jeezy
  9. Red Pill Blues — Maroon 5
  10. Harry Styles — Harry Styles
  11. I Decided — Big Sean
  12. My Moment — Tee Grizzly
  13. 12 — A$AP Twelvyy
  14. Reputation — Taylor Swift
  15. Drogas Light — Lupe Fiasco
  16. Booty Tape — Ugly God
  17. The Saga Continues — Wu Tang
  18. Culture — Migos
  19. Still Striving — A$AP Ferg
  20. Flower Boy — Tyler, the Creator
  21. Prisoner — Ryan Adams
  22. Say Less — Roy Woods
  23. Double or Nothing — Big Sean & Metro Boomin
  24. Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2: 2 Cozy — A$AP Mob
  25. Beautiful Trauma — P!nk
  26. Quiet Storm — Shy Glizzy
  27. Lil Pump — Lil Pump
  28. The Bigger Artist — Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
  29. By Any Means 2 — Kevin Gates
  30. Shine — Wale
  31. Fifth Harmony — Fifth Harmony
  32. Evolve — Imagine Dragons
  33. Friday on Elm Street — Fabolous & Jadakiss
  34. #SantanaWorld — Tay-K
  35. Make America Crip Again — Snoop Dogg
  36. Super Slimey — Future & Young Thug
  37. All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ — Joey Bada$$
  38. Oczy — Flaming Lips
  39. Oblivion — T-Pain
  40. Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 1 — Quality Control
  41. Bloodas — Tee Grizzley & Lil Durk
  42. Rubba Band Business — Juicy J
  43. Ain’t Too Long — YoungBoy Never Broke
  44. Memories…Do Not Open — The Chainsmokers
  45. Laugh Now, Fly Later — Wiz Khalifa
  46. Autobiography — Vic Mensa
  47. Trip — Jhene Aiko
  48. Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1 — Lil Peep
  49. Hopeless Fountain Kingdom — Halsey
  50. Soulfire — Little Steven
  51. The Thrill of It All — Sam Smith
  52. Jungle Rules — French Montana
  53. A Moment Apart — Odesza
  54. Ransom 2 — Mike WiLL Made-It
  55. Sleep Well Beast — The National
  56. Mozzy — 1 Up Top Ahk
  57. Heartbreak on a Full Moon — Chris Brown
  58. Mr. Davis — Gucci Mane
  59. Droptopwop — Gucci Mane
  60. The Program — Cam’ron
  61. Paranoia: A True Story — Dave East
  62. Concrete and Gold — Foo Fighters
  63. Step Brothers — G-Eazy & Carnage
  64. A Love Letter To You 2 — Trippie Redd
  65. Villains — Queens of the Stone Age
  66. Luv is Rage 2 — Lil Uzi Vert
  67. Perfect Timing — NAV & Metro Boomin
  68. AI YoungBoy —YoungBoy Never Broke Again
  69. Playboi Carti — Playboy Carti
  70. Tremaine — Trey Songz
  71. True to Self — Bryson Tiller
  72. Drunk — Thundercat
  73. HNDRXX — Future
  74. Colours 2 — Partynextdoor
  75. More Than You Know — Axwell ^ Ingrosso
  76. Gelato — Young Dolph
  77. Without Warning — 21 Savage, Offset, & Metro Boomin
  78. Issa Album — 21 Savage
  79. Project Baby 2: All Grown Up — Kodak Black
  80. Future — Future
  81. Lust for Life — Lana Del Rey
  82. BooPac — Boosie Badazz
  83. GTTM: Goin Thru the Motions — PNB Rock
  84. About Time — Sabrina Claudio
  85. Pretty Girls Like Trap Music — 2 Chainz
  86. Dedication — Chief Keef
  87. Catch These Vibes — PnB Rock
  88. SweetSexySavage — Kehlani
  89. All the Light Above It Too — Jack Johnson
  90. Project Baby 2 — Kodak Black
  91. Morning After — Dvsn
  92. Painting Pictures — Kodak Black
  93. I Still Am — Yo Gotti
  94. Humble Beast — G Herbo
  95. Teenage Motions — Lil Yachty
  96. Gotti Made-It — Yo Gotti & Mike WiLL Made-It
  97. El Gato Human GlacierGucci Mane
  98. Fed Baby’s — Moneybagg Yo & YoungBoy Never Broke Again
  99. Younger Now — Miley Cyrus
  100. Bulletproof — Young Dolph
  101. Thinking Out Loud — Young Dolph
  102. Signed to the Streets 2.5 — Lil Durk
  103. Federal 3x — Moneybagg Yo
  104. Rich Forever 3 — Rich the Kid
  105. Know No Better — Major Lazer
  106. Nav — Nav
  107. Don’t Kill My Vibe — Sigrid
  108. Heartless — Moneybagg Yo
  109. Avici (01) — Avicii
  110. Good Night and Good Luck — JD is The Straight Thot

THE MISSED

  1. 11 Short Stories — Dropkick Murphys
  2. 11:11 Reset — Keyshia Cole
  3. A Pentatonix Christmas Deluxe — Pentatonix
  4. Add Violence — Nine Inch Nails
  5. After Laughter — Paramore
  6. All Things Work Together — Lecrae
  7. At What Cost — Goldlink
  8. Baccward Feelings — Skooly
  9. Back to the Basics — Rich Homie Quan
  10. Before I Wake — Kamaiyah
  11. Bicep — Bicep
  12. Glue — Bicep
  13. Bitch I’m the Shit 2 — Tyga
  14. Blkswn — Smino
  15. Bloom  — Machine Gun Kelly
  16. Blue Chips 7000 — Action Bronson
  17. Bluebird of Happiness — Tamar Braxton
  18. Climate Change — Pitbull
  19. Colors — Beck
  20. Deadstar — Smokepurpp
  21. Designer Drugz 3 — HoodRich Pablo
  22. Digital Druglord — Blackbear
  23. Dirty Projectors — Dirty Projectors
  24. Double Duchess — Fergie
  25. El Dorado — Shakira
  26. Flicker — Niall Horan
  27. From a Room: Volume 1 — Chris Stapleton
  28. From a Room: Volume 2 — Chris Stapleton
  29. Gang Signs and Prayers — Stormzy
  30. Gemini — Macklemore
  31. Girl Disrupted — Sevyn Streeter
  32. God’s Problem Child — Willie Nelson
  33. Golden — Romeo Santos
  34. Good for You — Amine
  35. Heartworms — The Shins
  36. Human — Rag N Bone
  37. I Believe in You — Dolly Parton
  38. I’m Brain — Brain
  39. Is This the Life We Really Want — Roger Waters
  40. Jugg King — Young Scooter
  41. Kaleidoscope — Coldplay
  42. Kids in Love — Kygo
  43. Long Live Nut — YFN Lucci
  44. Love Songs for the Streets — Lil Durk
  45. Migration — Bonobo
  46. Mumble Rap — Belly
  47. Nervous System — Julia Michaels
  48. No Hooks II — Lud Foe
  49. No Shame — Hopsin
  50. Now — Shania Twain
  51. Nudy Land — Young Nudy
  52. Odisea — Ozuna
  53. One More Light — Linkin Park
  54. One Night Only — Stizz
  55. Pacific Daydream — Weezer
  56. Plata O Plomo — Fat Joe & Remy Ma
  57. Prophets of Rage — Prophets of Rage
  58. Reflective — Bassnectar
  59. Savage — Tank
  60. Seven Days — Partynextdoor
  61. Slum Lords 2 — K Camp
  62. So There — Ben Folds
  63. Solar — MaceoPlex
  64. Songs for You — Victor Oladipo
  65. Spirit — Depeche Mode
  66. Step Brothers 3 — Starlito & Don Trip
  67. Steve Aoki Presents Kolony — Steve Aoki
  68. Strength of a Woman — Mary J. Blige
  69. Stuff I Used to Do — Deadmau5
  70. Take Me Apart — Kelela
  71. The Never Story — JID
  72. The Space Between — Majid Jordan
  73. The Visitor — Neil Young and the Promise of the Real
  74. The Wild — Raekwon
  75. Thot Breaker — Chief Keef
  76. True’s World — MadeinTYO
  77. Utopia — Bjork
  78. Windy City — Alison Krauss
  79. Wish Me Well 2 — YFN Lucci
  80. You Only Live 2wice — Freddie Gibbs

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