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Thread: OMA's Best Albums of 2017

  1. #61
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    15. Blondie--Pollinator
    There were several wonderful musical surprises this year, but this might have been the most unexpected. Blondie is a legendary band with many great songs--but they haven't really struck gold in a while. There's the usual unevenness here in spots, but this is a stronger batch of songs than they have released in eons, and they sound re-vitalized. Bonus points for the "Long Time" B-side "The Breaks," an excellent song which I like to pretend is on the actual album.

    14. Kelela--Take Me Apart
    At almost an hour, I think it's a bit too long, and it would have packed more of a punch for me with some editing. That said, this has a really immaculate, enveloping sound that I love, equal parts cool and warm.

    13. Perfume Genius--No Shape
    It's been really inspiring to see so many queer artists release vital work this year. It seems like Mike Hadreas has embraced his pop instincts a bit more this round, and I have to say I prefer him this way.

    12. Sufjan Stevens--The Greatest Gift Mixtape
    I love this. Carrie and Lowell has quickly become one of my all-time favorite records, and this could have easily been a tossed-off stopgap. Instead, we get several moving rarities and unreleased tracks and remixes that lean heavily on a more atmospheric approach to the material. Titling an album The Greatest Gift might sound like hubris, but here it feels appropriate.

    11. Tori Amos--Native Invader
    Between this and Unrepentant Geraldines, she's had a lovely creative resurgence. To which I say--THANK GOD. If Little Earthquakes was her Blue and Boys for Pele was her Hejira, this is her Turbulent Indigo--a welcome return after having been lost in the woods. "Bang," "Climb," and "Mary's Eyes" remind me why I loved her music in the first place. Welcome back.

    10. Lorde--Melodrama
    This is the sound of someone stepping out into the world and being open to what she might experience there. As others have pointed out, this album seems to very much be about being young, negotiating major life changes, finding your way. And it's a very confident sounding album about a very uncertain time in life--whether she's picking up where Robyn left off ("Green Light") or embracing a more confessional approach, it seems like she could go anywhere from here.

    9. SZA--Ctrl
    I've only recently been getting into this album--my introduction to her (besides her track on the last Rihanna record) was her SNL performance. That said, there's something extremely likable and honest about this record and her presence on it. She's vulnerable ... with panache!

    8. Twin Peaks--Music from the Limited Event Series
    This is how you do a soundtrack. One of the highlights of the bonkers third season was the musical performances at the end of each episode. Many of these tunes capture a sense of uncertainty, of tentativeness, of being between one place and another. Like just about every soundtrack, there is a track or two I'd cut (ZZ Top?), but by and large this is haunting, beautiful stuff.

    7. Aimee Mann--Mental Illness
    I've typically been a casual fan. I love Whatever and Bachelor No. 2, plus select tracks from other albums, and that is about it. Having not paid much attention to her in years, I was in awe of what an excellent record is. It pulls off the Carrie & Lowell trick of addressing heartbreak and despair with a deceptively light touch. I could listen to this while baking salmon and find it pleasant and lovely, or I could listen to it with headphones and get a little weepy. Plus, "Goose Snow Cone" and "Rollercoasters" are A+ tracks.

    6. Julien Baker--Turn Out the Lights
    This is an incredibly moving record that drew me in right away. Several moments on this album actually give me goosebumps. I had not heard of Baker before this year, and it is clear that she is a major talent. "Appointments," "Turn Out the Lights," and "Claws in Your Back" are gripping. I will be frank and say that this might be higher on my list if I wanted to listen to it more frequently. I'll admit to not wanting to listen to such searing accounts of emotional pain in my free time all that frequently given the intense nature of the work I do. That said, I have a strong sense that this is an album that I will come back to at whatever moments I may need or want to. I know that the word "cathartic" gets overused a lot--but this record truly is.

    5. The National--Sleep Well Beast
    I know it's a cliche for rock bands to go through their "electronic" phase, which can often leads to music that sounds trend-chasing and a bit desperate. Sleep Well Beast does the neat trick of still sounding like a National album while also offering genuine surprises. And, thankfully, it's superb--easily my favorite after Boxer. Of course there are the usual heartbreaking moments, but we also get moments of tenderness and hope as well ("Dark Side of the Gym"). A more varied emotional and musical palette looks good on them.

    4. Charlotte Gainsbourg--Rest
    She's a terrific actress who is so good at her day job that it might be easy to overlook her music career. She's already made great albums (5:55, IRM), but this one feels like a statement of purpose. She's played muse to acclaimed male artists on her past records, noting herself that IRM ultimately sounded like what Beck imagined she was going through at the time (she had a brain surgery prior to that album's recording). Here, she writes her own lyrics for the first time--some in French, some in English--and addresses the death of her sister. Meanwhile, she expands her sound, with several tracks sounding reminscent of Blonde Redhead and others embracing disco. Whether she's examining grief, contemplating mortality, or "floating in the moonlit sky" (as she is in first single, "Rest"), it all sounds sublime.

    3. Feist--Pleasure
    Perhaps the most difficult album on this list for me, but one I kept coming back to throughout the year. At first I found this a little meandering. She's moved far away from her days of crafting concise, perfect pop nuggets--and based on the charts, much of her audience may have moved away from her as a result. That said, the hooks are still there--it just takes a bit more digging--and she shows off different dimensions of her talent (the title track, as others have noticed, brings to mind PJ Harvey. And it's great). One aspect of this album I love is how she circles around a hook or a shift in tone before biting into it, and then lets that moment drift away just a bit quicker than you might imagine or hope. There's something really resonant about this approach--for an album called Pleasure, we're given several musical reminders of just how ephemeral pleasures can be. The most straightforward, joyful moment on the album ("Any Party") bursts out like the sun after a rainstorm. And then it's gone.

    2. Moses Sumney--Aromanticism
    Arresting. Sumney's voice reminds me of Billie Holiday,'s and the production echoes everything from vintage Stevie Wonder to Radiohead. Translation: it's a record that sounds both spacey and earth-bound. This was my favorite new musical discovery of 2017, period. Like many great albums, it's easy to enjoy casually due to its immense beauty, but it also rewards a deep dive.

    1. St. Vincent--MASSEDUCTION
    For context: always liked her, never loved her. In the past, I felt a remove with a lot of her music which I found intriguing at points, but also distancing. I've much preferred her when she's been more emotionally engaging ("Prince Johnny" and "Strange Mercy," I'm looking at you). Much has been made of this being her "pop" record, but it still sounds very much like a St. Vincent album to me. The crucial difference for me as a listener is how she has struck an appealing balance here between chilliness and vulnerability. On my first listens, I was struck by how sad this album is--there's a sense of melancholy, regret, and terror on many of these songs. "Slow Disco" and "Happy Birthday Johnny" are gut punches, and some of the saddest songs here are dressed up in party clothes and would sound like anthems if you didn't listen to the lyrics ("Young Lover"). Once I got into this album, I just wanted to keep on listening to it. It's smart, it's emotionally involving, it's got hooks. It's my favorite record of hers and has deepened my appreciation of her as an artist. Simply put, I love it.

  2. #62
    gone Andromeda grapefruit_is_winning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleeptheclock View Post
    7. Aimee Mann--Mental Illness
    I've typically been a casual fan. I love Whatever and Bachelor No. 2, plus select tracks from other albums, and that is about it. Having not paid much attention to her in years, I was in awe of what an excellent record is. It pulls off the Carrie & Lowell trick of addressing heartbreak and despair with a deceptively light touch. I could listen to this while baking salmon and find it pleasant and lovely, or I could listen to it with headphones and get a little weepy. Plus, "Goose Snow Cone" and "Rollercoasters" are A+ tracks.
    Thank you for mentioning this. I haven't listened to this album on vinyl since I bought it, and your post inspired me to put it on. I agree it's a very good album, and it has incredible artwork (visuals, colors, style, the way it plays off and compliments the music)... I've never gotten fully into Aimee Mann's music, but I do think she's uber-cool. I've listened to Mental Illness more than any of her other albums.

  3. #63
    Senior Member scottslean's Avatar
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    In doodle form (annual tradition of mine!) here they are... I did however make a mistake and realize I forgot Charlotte Gainsbourg's Rest

    Also wish I had more time to digest Fever Ray and Bjork. The more I listen the more I like...


  4. #64
    imagine a future and be in it emanate's Avatar
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    ^ I this doodle-post so hard. What a great idea!

    I need more time to digest this thread. I find ranking impossible and not really all that reflective of how I listen to music, so it'll probably be an alphabetical list with some highlights.
    Last edited by emanate; 01-07-2018 at 04:16 AM.

  5. #65
    Militia of the Mind toriMODE's Avatar
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    01. Beth Ditto - Fake Sugar
    02. Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life
    03. Nelly Furtado - The Ride
    04. Austra - Future Politics
    05. Perfume Genius - No Shape
    06. Tori Amos - Native Invader
    07. Phoenix - Ti Amo
    08. Depeche Mode - Spirit
    09. Sufjan Stevens - Planetarium
    10. Xiu Xiu - Forget
    11. Fever Ray - Plunge
    12. St. Vincent - MASSeduction
    13. Katy Perry - Witness
    14. Goldfrapp - Silver Eye
    15. P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
    16. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now
    17. The xx - I See You
    18. Lorde - Melodrama
    19. Arcade Fire - Everything Now
    20. Arca - Arca
    21. Kesha - Rainbow
    22. Slowdive - Slowdive
    23. Oxbow - Thin Black Duke
    24. Joywave - Content
    25. Spoon - Hot Thoughts
    26. Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest
    27. London Grammar - Truth is a Beautiful Thing
    28. Paramore - After Laughter
    29. Bjork - Utopia
    30. Zola Jesus - Okovi
    31. Gary Numan - Savage
    32. Haim - Something To Tell You
    33. Moses Sumney - Aromanticism
    34. Muna - About U
    35. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
    36. EMA - Exile in the Outer Ring
    37. The Killers - Wonderful Wonderful
    38. Hurts - Desire
    39. Saint Etienne - Home Counties
    40. The National - Sleep Well Beast
    41. Halsey - Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
    42. Jamiroquai - Automaton
    43. Beck - Colors
    44. Alison Moyet - Other
    45. Sylvan Esso - What Now
    46. Mura Masa - Mura Masa
    47. U2 - Songs of Experience
    48. Ani DiFranco - Binary
    49. Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens
    50. Torres - Three Futures
    51. Erasure - World Be Gone
    52. Alt-J - Relaxer
    53. Alvvays - Antisocialites
    54. Aimee Mann - Mental Illness
    55. Gorillaz - Humanz
    56. Mew - Visuals
    57. Feist - Pleasure
    58. Seal - Standards
    59. Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights
    60. Blondie - Pollinator

  6. #66
    Senior Member Jake's Avatar
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    Low key list for my favorite albums of 2017. So many great releases, but these stood out most and soundtracked my favorite moments of the year.

    01. Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights
    Following up a devastating, stark debut set like 2015’s Sprained Ankle with something more stark and devastating is a feat in itself. Still, Julien Baker’s sophomore effort is not only better than her debut, but also one of the most vivid, relatable records about depression ever recorded. Turn Out The Lights forces wry smiles as the only defense from breaking down completely.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/3uIsEwFYYV4rwRssSEJ8Lb

    02. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION
    Rather than go right, Annie Clark turned everything upside down for her fifth album as St. Vincent. MASSEDUCTION parades heartache with concentrated absurdity and transparency. The pop gloss is an undeniable, distracting delivery vehicle for some of the darkest lyrics of Clark’s career.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/4RoOGpdrgfiIUyv0kLaC4e

    03. Paramore - After Laughter
    The exhausting political climate yields good and bad days. After Laughter, Paramore’s foray into synth pop, is less of a departure than some will call it. Beneath the bubbly melodies and sparkling guitars, Hayley Williams’ lyrics drip with cynicism while inspiring hope that at least the next hour will be bearable.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/1c9Sx7XdXuMptGyfCB6hHs

    04. Aimee Mann - Mental Illness
    Aimee Mann’s goal for her eighth studio album was to make the album people think of when they think of Aimee Mann - depressing, sad, morose. While the jokingly titled Mental Illness is firmly all of those, it’s also Aimee’s best album in over a decade. Delicately crafted, expert songwriting from one of the best.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/0rwd3CfF5cJS46VB7kgBpG

    05. Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel / Pop 2
    In 2017, Charli XCX broke every rule, blended the pieces, applied 3 coats of glaze, and created the year’s most progressive pop music. Remarkably consistent, Charli is the only artist making the challenging, sometimes grotesque elements of PC Music into something addicting and accessible.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/37rI2gAtakAmSFtbIE9THq // https://open.spotify.com/album/2HIwUmdxEl7SeWa1ndH5wC

    06. Tori Amos - Native Invader
    Artists like Tori Amos are wise voices in tumultuous times. Tori’s musical response to 9/11 was a sprawling album featuring poetic assessments of the USA’s socio-political climate. Similarly, Native Invader is an artist surveying the current landscape and offering advice: out-create the havoc, look both inward and to the past for future solutions.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/79ZYYTpqesBlTe4hrWiO8b

    07. Lorde - Melodrama
    Has anybody captured the miniature disasters and celebrations of growing up with such vibrant honesty? Melodrama covers the characters and catharsis of a house party we’ve all been to. These songs cover the terrifying and thrilling moments of figuring out who you are both with someone else, and on your own.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/4oCGmYsAQOWt2ACWTpNUU6

    08. Nelly Furtado - The Ride
    Throughout her dynamic, genre-shifting career, Nelly Furtado’s melodic sensibilities anchored her multicultural approach to pop. On her first album of original songs since 2012, Nelly has never sounded more at home than on the year’s most underrated album.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/6IApey8JeGjUbd98yjSRPh

    09. Kelela - Take Me Apart
    Dark, claustrophobic beats contrast against Kelela’s assured, malleable voice, creating a world completely her own. Repeated listens reveal classic R&B melodies, hidden sounds, and establishes an incredible talent.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/6pw1XPub1bSMq03ASVqRVu

    10. MUNA - About U
    Anthemic queer pop is the medicine we need in 2017. MUNA embraces high school diary angst for their dark, handcrafted brand of pop.
    https://open.spotify.com/album/0mfj2MrZptbPw7K5Wo4ikY

  7. #67
    sing to the moon dAmION's Avatar
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    My top Albums of 2017!!:


    1. Bjork - Utopia - Bjork returns from her harrowing journey of emotional distress to deliver one of the greatest albums of the year and one of the top triumphs of her discography. With the use of flutes and spacey atmospherics she creates her own world, a shelter/sanctuary away from the humdrum elements of modern relationships. Must listen to tracks: “Arisen My Senses”, “Utopia”, “Body Memory”, “Courtship”.



    2. Goldfrapp - Silver Eye - Goldfrapp (Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory) are a triple threat! They have always excelled at writing, producing, and performing. Master craftsmen, they always produce work that totally immerses you in a world and more importantly, an unforgettable feeling. Their 7th album sees them working with synthesizers in a way they haven’t quite before. They imbue these songs with a sense of space and atmosphere that conjures the feelings of freedom, space, and endlessness. Must listen to tracks: “Systemagic”, “Zodiac Black”, “Everything is Never Enough”, “Moon in Your Mouth”.



    3. Alison Moyet - Other - This is Alison Moyet’s second outing with producer, song-writer Guy Sigsworth. They come together to splice modern synth textures along with personal, sometimes cutting, lyrics, courtesy of Moyet. Its a sometimes jarring work but there’s a certain smoothness to Sigsworth’s production work that smooths over the somewhat discordant emotions of Moyet’s words. Must listen to tracks: “I Germinate”, “The English U”, “Reassuring Pinches”, “April 10th”.



    4. SZA - Ctrl - This is the debut album of singer-songwriter Solana Imani Rowe, known professionally as “SZA”. She is known for being part of Kendrick Lamar’s hip-hop collective, Top Dawg Entertainment but this year she struck out on her own. Her debut album brings to mind the innovative Hip-Hop and R&B of artists such as Joi, Aaliyah, and Missy Elliot. With the cadence and leaping intervals of a jazz singer, she navigates her way through reckless relationships in an attempt to define herself. Must listen to tracks: “Supermodel”, “Prom”, “Anything”, “Normal Girl”.



    5. Zola Jesus - Okovi - Zola Jesus, birthname Nika Roza Danilova, released this, her 5th album, as a way of coping with her realization that, “At one point it occurred to me that your worth is earned from your ability to endure.” She infuses this record with catharsis and an expressive release through vocal and performance. Its a sound that at one point reminds of PJ Harvey if she had wanted to uplift rather than declaim. Must listen to tracks: “Doma”, “Witness”, “Siphon”, “Wiseblood”.



    Honorable Mention: Tori Amos - Native Invader
    Last edited by dAmION; 01-02-2018 at 04:28 AM.

  8. #68
    Only knows desire. Perky Compson's Avatar
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    Aaaa I'm like 70% done with my list. Charli XCX came in like a wrecking ball towards the end of the year when I thought I had it settled, plus I'm grabbing recommendations from everyone else's list. I'm so slow hahah.

  9. #69
    Mr. Tricorder Pete!'s Avatar
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    I used to love doing these, really laboured over my list and reviews, but I just find it overwhelming now. I used to just order them alphabetically because a ranked list was too difficult, but even that is a huge ask! And I always get weirdly anxious about making a list when there's stuff out that I've not yet heard, but what if it's amazing and better than some of the choices I've already made?

    So yeah. 2017 was a really good year for new music. I liked a lot of stuff. DAMN was probably my favourite album; it's survived countless listens since April and still calls me back to it. Masseduction only clicked with me over Xmas, but I'm really loving it now.

    Colin Stetson made the saxophone heavy as fuck with his new band Ex Eye, Stormzy and Kojey Radical released wildly different records exploring the realities for young black men in Britain, and Nabihah Iqbal flipped expectations following her EPs as Throwing Shade and released a gorgeous guitar-pop record that sounds not unlike The Cure.

    And because I love electronic beeps, boops and clangs, Karen Gwyer's new album Rembo went down a treat, and so did Colón Man by Equiknoxx, a gnarly techno mutation of Jamaican dancehall.

    Also a fuckload of wonderful stuff on Bandcamp. I flippin' love Bandcamp.

  10. #70
    Soft eyes, hard hands. Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete! View Post
    I used to love doing these, really laboured over my list and reviews, but I just find it overwhelming now. I used to just order them alphabetically because a ranked list was too difficult, but even that is a huge ask! And I always get weirdly anxious about making a list when there's stuff out that I've not yet heard, but what if it's amazing and better than some of the choices I've already made?
    Right? I mean, we didn't just write a sentence, man, we wrote paragraphs. I'd have to start around my birthday to get it done by the end of the year now.

    But I still make a list. Always.




  11. #71
    Mr. Tricorder Pete!'s Avatar
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    Hey you, had no idea you were even still about. Some nice choices on there - reminds me, I must give the new Forest Swords a proper crack, I listened to a couple of tracks and kinda felt I'd heard it all before on his previous releases.

  12. #72
    imagine a future and be in it emanate's Avatar
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    I also can't labor over write ups like I used to, so here's an alphabetical list of stuff I listened to a lot and thoroughly enjoyed. Perfume Genius would sit at #1 if I were a ranking type.

    alt-J - Relaxer
    Alvvays - Antisocialites
    Tori Amos – Native Invader
    Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights
    Balmorhea - Clear Language
    Björk – Utopia
    Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
    Echo Ladies – Echo Ladies EP
    Fever Ray – Plunge
    Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
    Rebekka Karijord – Mother Tongue
    Lorde – Melodrama
    Perfume Genius - No Shape
    Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid
    Sleigh Bells – Kid Kruschev
    Slowdive - Slowdive
    Trementina – 810
    Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm
    Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun
    Zola Jesus – Okovi

  13. #73
    Soft eyes, hard hands. Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete! View Post
    Hey you, had no idea you were even still about. Some nice choices on there - reminds me, I must give the new Forest Swords a proper crack, I listened to a couple of tracks and kinda felt I'd heard it all before on his previous releases.
    I live. Sorta.

    Yeah, the Forest Swords is hardly innovative, but it's quite pleasant to listen to.

    Quote Originally Posted by emanate View Post
    Balmorhea - Clear Language
    You know, I need to track this down and give it a shot. I hated Stranger so freaking much that I never even tried it out.

  14. #74
    imagine a future and be in it emanate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian
    You know, I need to track this down and give it a shot. I hated Stranger so freaking much that I never even tried it out.
    I barely remember anything about Stranger, other than it was the one with the weird doughnut looking cover. The new one was lovely to listen to while I was writing and doing other tasks that needed concentration, though. I appreciate that in an instrumental album.

  15. #75
    Butts. soignee's Avatar
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    My AOTY 2017 is Rennen by SOHN:

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