30. Tyler, the Creator – Flower Boy
Flower Boy is a decisive turning point in Tyler, the Creator career. If Cherry Bomb was messy and poorly produced, lacking any real sense of identity, Flower Boy (or Scum Fuck Flower Boy) shows the real artistic potential inside Tyler and how he has changed as an artist in the 8 years that he’s been putting out music. Flower Boy is much more focused, and builds upon the neo-soul sound that Tyler previously explored. Throughout the album there is a smooth, mellowed-out style of production (with a few exceptions) which is surprisingly complimented by Tyler’s somewhat gritty flow.
Best track: I Aint Got Time.
Read more in Flower Boy review.
29. MacDemarco – This Old Dog
2017’s MacDeMarco almost resembles a wise singer who speaks from the heart and suggests you how to approach life in a soft, thoughtful and melancholic manner, less dazed than you’d expect from the Canadian Pepperoni Playboy. DeMarco once again proves to be capable of getting the attention of the listener from the very first track, setting the mood for 13 tracks fluidly linked together. Even though there is no major development since his last work, and this is still not considerable as his “mature record” as an artist (but rather a unique work in his discography), This Old Dog remains a solid record well worth a listen and represents one of his best shots.
Best track: This Old Dog.
Read more in This Old Dog review.
28. The National – Sleep Well Beast
The National recorded their new effort in the Hudson Valley, Los Angeles, Paris, and Berlin, and each phase of the process had a distinct purpose. This modus operandi made the recording’s time span longer than their previous ones, it allowed Aaron and Bryce Dessner, the two main writers, to compose a multifarious group of tracks and enabled them to add new instrumentation to the band’s already deep arsenal. Especially the collaboration with members of the Paris Orchestra apparently played a big role in the overall sounding, proceeding to make Sleep Well Beast one of the denser and more solid records we’ve heard recently. Berninger has mastered his lyrical work using his obsession for acquaintances, liquors, and places to create splendid mundane portraits of common people’s life. The National are still capable of inciting a creative process while communicating one another without the risk of falling into mediocrity any time soon.
Best track: The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness.
Read more in Sleep Well Beast review.
27. Liars – TFCF
Now consisting of only one member, Angus uses this to his advantage by creating Liars’ most intimate effort to date. Though there are no large moments in its entirety, TFCF is perhaps the most grounded-in-reality a Liars record has ever sounded. No longer does the act echo sounds from a colorless ether; they’re still dreamy, still surreal, but no longer in limbo. It’s a quiet, yet confident sound that suggests a pivot in Liars’ future records.
Best track: Ripe Ripe Rot.
26. Corbin – Mourn
Do you remember Spooky Black? Neither do we. Corbin is still him but under a new vest. We came into this new project without many expectations and were immediately surprised by the quality of the outcome under this new moniker. Together with the amazing production by Shlohmo the lyrics are now reliable, strong and greatly delivered together with a great new aesthetic and character. Cloud Rap has never convinced so much.
Best track: ICE BOY.
25. Gas – Narkopop
William Voigt, aka GAS, has shaped Narkopop somewhere between his first two records and has shown to be capable of evolving his sound without disrupting the continuity of his project: definitely a very hard task to accomplish. This time walk into the forest is gentle but at the same time thrilling and spooky. Narkopop is surely meant to be experienced from top to bottom, but tracks like the fifth and the tenth are so good that it is possible to enjoy them even individually. Contextualized in GAS’ discography, it’s his coldest and more austere product to date.
Best track: Narkopop 6.
Read more in Narkopop review.
24. Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins
Carrying the burden of being the only non-explicitly electronic band of one the most influential labels of our time -Warp Records- Grizzly Bear face the challenge of keeping up with the times with success: Painted Ruins, together with albums like A Crow looked at Me, Crack-Up and A Deeper Understanding, through reinterpretation of old tools, manage to give new life to a genre that in 2017 appeared to be as good as dead.
Best track: Three Rings.
Read more in Painted Ruins review.
23. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
On Big Fish Theory, Vince Staples pushed his lyrical and musical dynamism into Avant-Pop territory, simultaneously reconciling his mainstream rap style with more abstruse and varied electronic production techniques. He condensed this into a quick, punchy album, filled with many immediately impressionable hits and a few more abstract tracks. It’s a wonderful record—whether you think it tops Summertime ’06 is another question.
Best track: Crabs in a Bucket.
Read more in Big Fish Theory review.
22. Blanck Mass – World Eater
As the album cover suggests, in its 48 minutes World Eater leaves very little space to contemplate or relax. Instead, the imaginary that Blanck Mass depicts is haunting and obsessive, including elements from Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, and the label companion Pharmakon. World Eater represents a great apocalyptic soundtrack, a long and arduous trip where the listener is invited to find a light at the end of a hostile tunnel.
Best track: The rat.
Read more in World Eater review.
21. Fever Ray – Plunge
Fever Ray‘s sophomore album sees Karin stripping most of the atmosphere that was present on her debut. What’s left is a crisper, more focused effort with a fervid animalism that represents the collective mindset of 2017 better than most albums this year. It’s a presence that needed filled this year, and an unexpected surprise to find Karin fill that void so perfectly. Plunge sees Fever Ray at her sharpest and boldest, holding little of her feelings back to create perhaps her most concise and unforgiving body of work yet.
Best track: Mustn’t Hurry.
Read more in Plunge review.