Gonna be honest, not a great year for albums. Top heavy for sure. Surprised many of these actually made the list, as they wouldn't have normally, so take this all with a grain of salt. Like always, my favorite albums, not necessarily the best.
50. The Echo of Pleasure by The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
While the album sounds often like a band dying right in front of us, it still has those moments that made you fall in love with these misfits in the first place.
49. Harry Styles by Harry Styles
While it no way nears the highs of say Justin Timberlake's solo debut, it's way better than it has any right to be, and shows so much promise, mainly because it's just a way more interesting direction for the artist than his boy band group ever even sniffed. Pleasant surprise of the year for sure.
48. In Mind by Real Estate
Real Estate has a distinct sound on this record they seem to really perfected it. But that's the problem right? It's a perfect Real Estate record but doesn't show any growth or rough edges that sometimes makes music shine. Maybe next time they should try something a little different, but not too different.
47. Funk Wave Bounces Vol. 1 by Calvin Harris
An album full of summer anthems, for better or worse. Calvin Harris plays match maker, teaming up artist that probably have no business being on the same track and seeing what happens. And many times it doesn't work. And many times it works way too well.
46. Songs of Experience by U2
While I don't praise this band inexplicably like Rolling Stone magazine, they still make really good music and they are criminally under appreciated. These guys are this old and still this good. Yeah they aren't great, but some of the stuff is still very very very good.
45. Villains by Queens of the Stone Age
While I much prefer their previous effort, this funky album isn't the match made in heaven you'd think with their team up with Mark Ronson, but it does give the band a bit of a kick in the ass it needs. I just miss the drudge of the last record, which was unapologetically dark and twisted in the best way.
44. Automaton by Jamiroquai
Yes it's 2017, nearly 2018 and yes I listened to a Jamiroquai album. And yes it's pretty good.
43. Visions of a Life by Wolf Alice
Probably should be higher up but I haven't spent enough time with this record for it to sit. But it's fuzzy and fascinating, full of really great rock that is sorely missing from everywhere really.
42. Planetarium by James McAlister & Various Artists
To be fair, James is just one of the artist on this album, teaming up with Sufjan Stevens among others. And what we get is an album inspired by our very own solar system. It's a little weird, almost too weird at times, but when Sufjan grabs hold man oh man sometimes it gets mightily pretty.
41. Painted Ruins by Grizzly Bear
What an obtuse album. Really difficult to really dive into. But if you are patient, you will be rewarded. I just wish it was a bit more listener friendly.
40. Everything Now by Arcade Fire
Hands down the worst Arcade Fire album. And yet it's still an Arcade Fire album, and it's still good enough to squeeze into this list. But it does scare me a bit.
39. Mister Mellow by Washed Out
A visual album I guess, that actually doesn't have many real songs on it, but the songs it does have are a nice break for the usual Washed Out flavor while still feeling dare I saw washed out.
38. Everybody by Logic
A bit preachy. Okay way too preachy. But beyond that, another solid to great effort by Logic.
37. Sleep Well Beast by The National
For whatever reason, this album didn't resonate with me like past records from the band, maybe since it feels a bit more tender and less unstrung and biting. It's a bit of a break away from their normal fare, and some dug it. I dug it too, just wish it was more like The National of the past.
36. No One Ever Really Dies by N.E.R.D.
While at times if feels more like Neptunes presents The Clones than an N.E.R.D. record, it is night to have these weirdos back. Let's get something straight though, the music by N.E.R.D. probably isn't very good. But I don't care.
35. Infinite Worlds by Vagabon
Another artist I knew nothing about that came and dropped a record I really dug. Can't wait for more.
34. Humanz by Gorillaz
If there was a theme this year, it's artist releasing new records that I like but don't love. Some of these have been on longer hiatuses than others, case in point. This is better than a Gorillaz reunion album should have been but still I crave more.
33. Relaxer by Alt-J
Definitely not the album I was expecting from these guys, but they're weird as hell so what do you really expect. Still loved it.
32. Lust For Life by Lana Del Rey
This is the best album Lana has ever released. She has finally really perfected her sound and it shows. Probably should be higher. Here is hoping for more from her, upward and onward.
31. American Teen by Khalid
While homeboy sounds like he's 30, he sings songs about not even being 20. And it's just a great record all and all. Can't wait for more from this man as he matures and his sound evolves.
30. Fin by Syd
Like I said, this is the year women took control of R&B and the record by Syd reflect that. Sexy and cool, confident and brash, it's fantastic. Maybe it gets a little lost at times or tries to be mainstream in stretches that fail, but when it tries to make it's own path, it truly sails.
29. War & Leisure by Miguel
Now this is more like it. Late addition to the list and deserves to be there. Love the record.
28. Aromanticsm by Moses Sumney
I guess we can just call this the year of R&B, as it dominates my list. The airy album breathes life into an otherwise lackadaisical list. Dig Moses and can't wait to hear more.
27. Hot Thoughts by Spoon
Spoon topped my list not too long ago and sadly I feel this is a step back. Yet it's still Spoon which is better than no Spoon and even lesser Spoon is still great.
26. Life Without Sound by Cloud Nothings
Maybe the most under appreciated album on the list, I saw it on no end of the year lists and don't understand, since it's maybe the Cloud Nothings best effort yet.
25. SweetSexySavage by Kehlani
Channeling TLC's CrazySexyCool in the most blatant way while bringing it into the 21st century, this Kehlani record is all kinds of great.
24. Dirty Projectors by Dirty Projectors
If this is their last record, then what a record to go out on.
23. Ctrl by SZA
While I am not as all in on the record as many, since it's topped plenty of lists, it's still great and fresh and polished for someones debut of sorts. I want to see more and I hope her sound and voice grow.
22. american dream by LCD Soundsystem
It's the worst album they have ever released and yet like Radiohead, that's still stupid good. I'm glad to have LCD Soundsystem back even if the hiatus was really more like a mini vaca.
21. Pure Comedy by Father John Misty
Dude is long winded and cynical as hell but man oh man does he know how to string out a story.
20. Hug of Thunder by Broken Social Scene
Another long break for an artist, another great but not perfect return from the dark.
19. Big Fish Theory by Vince Staples
Like I've said countless times on this list, this isn't my favorite from Vince Staples but man oh man does it bang at times.
18. Something To Tell by Haim
I was worried about this. Worried a lot. When I saw them galavanting with Taylor Swift and such I started to panic. I didn't want them to get a whiff of that stink on them. And glad to say they didn't, even if some of the pop anthems from before are replaced with a growth and experiment of sounds at times. But it hits more times then misses.
17. MASSEDUCTION by St. Vincent
Didn't love it like her last record but it's close enough.
16. Haiku From Zero by Cut Copy
Is it a Cut Copy record? Yup! Does it bounce? Yup! Will it make its way on to my end of the year list? Yup!
15. Crack-Up by Fleet Foxes
So glad that Fleet Foxes are back on their bullshit.
14. Blkswn by Smino
Another album from an artist I never heard of until this year and another record that should be on more end of the year lists. It's dope as fuck.
13. Process by Sampha
That voice tho.
12. The Far Fields by Future Islands
Your dad's favorite band that he never has heard of yet is still keeping soft rock alive.
11. Slowdive by Slowdive
I'm gonna be honest, this is my first Slowdive record. And it blew me away. Might need to go back into the catalog and dig up the oldies. Plus who knew they still had this in them?
10. A Deeper Understanding by The War On Drugs
Probably should have made the top 5, it's that good. The songs are long and sprawling and truly emotional. The album moves me.
9. Take Me Apart by Kelela
There were many female R&B singers trying to fight for the throne, but one reigns above them all. Kelela, and it's not even close. Sorry SZA. Sorry Syd. Sorry Kehlani. Sorry ladies. Better luck next time.
8. Flower Boy by Tyler The Creator
Who the hell knew this dude had this kind of record in him?
7. No Shape by Perfume Genius
The best thing Perfume Genius has ever released, easy. It's an incredible record and a true artistic achievement. So happy I got to see Perfume Genius live this year too as I got to witness the majesty in person.
6. More Life by Drake
If only Drake had an editor, because if you trim the fat, this is maybe the best rap album of the year. Well maybe not but it's damn closer than it should be. Instead it's too long yet much better than Views even if that feels like a hot take.
5. Somersault by Beach Fossils
Beach Fossils is what Real Estate wishes it could be. The most even and consistently great album on the list, all killer not filler. A damn shame it's not getting the praise it deserves, this should be topping lists left and right. It got that sunny sound but enough experiments and expansion to keep things very interesting.
4. Ti Amo by Phoenix
A french band singing in English inspired by Italy. Go figure. And while critics may complain about the lack of guitar, it's so damn catchy and full of ear worms I really don't care. Magnifico!
3. Melodrama by Lorde
I liked this album on my initial listen but didn't love it. Then I listened to it again. And again. And again. It really grows and gets better with each listen, and it's damn close to being just as good as her firecracker debut. It's more mature and an and expansion of her sound. While I miss part of the old Lorde, like the production, this new Lorde is still excellent.
2. Damn by Kendrick Lamar
The perineal runner up once again comes in second on my list. So close.
1. I See You by The xx
This is the best thing The xx have ever made, including Jamie xx solo record. It takes the bands sound and adds Jamie's newfound experiments and completely perfects their sound. I don't think it can get better than this for The xx, this is the peak, this is the mountain for them, it's all downhill from here. But who cares, because the view is gorgeous.