Truth is, though, the harder of these two posts to write is undoubtedly this one, because it represents the cut-off - what albums “made it” and what albums “didn’t.” Last year, I kind of cheated by expanding the list to 30, but even so, there were several great albums that I didn’t include. I have been more diligent in my “roundup” practices this year, though, and in the process have created a relatively accurate record of what has gone through the player.
As a result, I have gone back to 20, and in the process have sadly left off many great albums by longstanding favorites and newer artists that might need the exposure. If these albums prove their mettle in the long run, however, they may receive a dedicated post at some later date.
The same criterion apply as in previous years. An album doesn’t have to have a 2017 release date to qualify, but it has to have connected with my 2017 experiences in one way or another. An album cannot be repeated from a previous year or be strongly associated with experiences previous to 2017, and there can be only one entry per artist.
19. Steven Wilson - To the Bone: I have a few reservations about this release. It’s many good moments, however, represent some of the best music I have had the pleasure of checking out this year.
18. Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up: Where Wilson’s above-noted album represents more accessible aspects of his style, Crack-Up veers towards a more contemplative and open-ended approach. If you perceive the Fleet Foxes to be “The Beach Boys of Winter,” this might be considered their SMiLE.
17. Roger Waters - Is This the Life We Really Want?: To pose a third contrast, Water’s newest release is no more experimental or accessible than his previous work, but instead digs further into his already well-established style. Times have come back around to meet him, however, and his acerbic social commentary seems more relevant now than it was during the last conservative political cycle.
16. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid: Smith is one of the more original artists that I have had the pleasure of discovering in the past couple of years. It is encouraging to hear the arc of her artistic development on The Kid.
13. Dungen - Allas Sak: Allas Sak has reinvigorated my respect for Dungen. There may be a journey into their back catalog in store sometime in the near future.
12. Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End: I would confidently argue that Everything Will Be Alright In The End is the best album from the band in many years, beating out even last year’s Weezer [white]. It reinvents what was so compelling about the band in the first place by focusing on adult insecurity rather than faux teen angst.
11. Gaye Su Akyol - Hologram Imparatorlegu: Gaye Su Akyol is an amazingly quirky and daring Turkish art-rocker that I was fortunate to stumble upon this year. I still insist that the world would be a better place if someone could get her contact information in front of David Lynch.