The Best Music of 2017

The year 2017 is now in the past, which means that we are ready for questionable judgement about the music that has been released last year.

Why questionable?

First, because I don’t listen to enough new music. I’m an old man, in music years, which means that I rarely listen to music released in the current decade. Don’t expect to see your good friends Duo Sheeran and Ed Lipa here. I am just now listening to other people’s best of 2017 choices, and they are made mostly of music I’ve never heard before. Some of it is quite good.

Second, because of my questionable methodology: this is all based on my listening patterns. Rather than evaluating the music I’ve heard, I’m just looking at what I listened to most in 2017. (Key criteria: music must have been released in 2017.) More listens = better.

I figure the point of this is to learn what I enjoy listening to, so you can listen to it as well. These are the albums that I found worth listening to repeatedly.

#5: After Laughter, by Paramore

I knew this was going to be in the list, because I’ve listened to it a bunch. But it feels sort of like cheating, because the album has 1.5 good songs.

I really do like the one song, though. And they look fun live:

#4: How Did It Get So Dark, by Royal Blood

One bass. One drum (set). Rock and roll.

#3: Melodrama by Lorde

I was convinced this was my #2 album of the year, but apparently not.

Melodrama is at the top of many a reviewer’s end-of-year chart, and it’s hard to argue. This album broadcasts the boom boom boom, and makes us all dance to it.

#2: Lust for Life by Lana Del Rey

I love Lana Del Rey. Pop music that doesn’t sound anything like pop music … it’s very enchanting. And I’m a sucker for the clever pop culture references littered through her lyrics.

Lust for Life is not Lana Del Rey’s best album. Or even her second best album. But it’s very different from anything else. Unfortunately, Ms. Del Rey does not appear to be the most memorable of live performers:

#1: Masseduction by St. Vincent

How much do I like this album?

I’ve listened to it three times more often than Lust for Life (#2, above), although it has been out for half the time.

Masseduction album marks the first time this decade that I have reached the end of an album, and immediately played it again from the top. (Willingly. Eagerly. I have a small child, who is fond of the word ‘again’.)

It’s too new to be my favourite album of all time, by the criteria in this article … but less than three months after its release, it sits fourth in ‘all time plays’ since I started tracking my digital plays. And I’m still listening with a frequency that should see it hit #1 before the album is a year old.

In all seriousness, nevermind the methodology, this is one of my favourite albums of all time. It is better served live, where Annie Clark’s guitar can jump directly through your ears and grab you by the brain … but still brilliant through your crappy bluetooth speakers.

Here’s a good video of one of my least favourite songs from the album, live from New York:

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