It is now February 15, and despite that being the date, I still have not put a 2017 year-end list on my blog. I will note that no one asked me for this list, so it must not be all that important, and my lateness to the party must not have been noticed. Primarily, I am putting this online so I can refer to it in the future. I've enjoyed having lists from past years to look back on, so that's why I'm bothering with it at all.
This year I mainly listened to The Menzingers, but managed to squeeze in time to listen to other bands as well.
1. The Menzingers – After the Party
The album I listened to most this year while taking the train to work; the album I listened to most this year while cooking meal prep on Saturdays or Sundays; the album I listened to most this year while walking the long avenue block to switch my laundry from the washer to the dryer; the album I listened to most this year when I was in a good mood, and when I was in a bad mood; the album I turned to most regularly when I was unsure what to put on, but knew I wanted to put on something that struck me both as immediately familiar and exciting. My favorite album this year.
P.S.: Here's something longer I wrote about The Menzingers in 2017.
2. Paramore – After Laughter
Can't remember if my mid-year AOTY list has ever kept its top two intact from the mid-year point to the end-of-year point, but that happened this year. I didn't enjoy this album much on my first few listens, but once it clicked I suspected I would spend quite a bit of time ripping through the layers it presents. This was indeed the case. While that feeling is gone now due to hundreds of listens in the bag, After Laughter still presents joy with every spin.
3. Bleachers – Gone Now
Twelve songs, all make me wanna dance.
4. Joey Bada$$ – All Amerikkkan Bada$$
Fantastic from an aesthetic standpoint and a 2017 classic when the themes sink in. Americans as a whole are largely unwilling to admit their inherent racism; All Amerikkkan Bada$$ is human in its storytelling, but unafraid to take firm stances.
5. The Maine – Lovely Little Lonely
Twelve songs, all make me wanna dance. I remain surprised at this album's replayability.
6. Knuckle Puck – Shapeshifter
Pop-punk has largely grown tired; Knuckle Puck continues to stand out. While I was expecting more from LP2, this band continues to show signs of continued evolution. "Want Me Around" into "Conduit" is a good example; dozens of bands wish they could do these two things back-to-back.
7. Iron Chic – You Can't Stay Here
A good punk album that peels back to reveal a very sad core. Something to have in your pocket if you've lost a friend.
8. Sorority Noise – You're Not As _____ As You Think
The opening riff of "No Halo" had me sold from my first listen. Sorority Noise inches closer to something that resembles early-years Manchester Orchestra, in purposefully and frantically more raw fashion.
9. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
A living legend to released an album that might be his best.
10. Phoebe Bridges – Stranger In The Alps
When a singer-songwriter type of album is this emotionally heavy, but also so impressively versatile, the versatility can seem haunting, as if sad lyrics are supposed to be contained to one type of instrument or something.
11. Future – HNDRXX
12. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface
13. Pinegrove – Elsewhere
14. Chon – Homey
15. Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
16. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog
17. Mutoid Man – War Moans
18. Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1
That was all I felt like ranking. I'm sure I'll find other albums from 2017 that I will enjoy, but that's what this next portion of my blog is meant for.
Brand New's Science Fiction would probably have been #3 on my list if I chose to rank it, but the bringing to light of Jesse Lacey's inappropriate past actions made listening to this album feel pointedly meaningless.
2016 Top Ten, Revisited
Every year I look back on my AOTY list from the year prior, and re-rank it as if I were making the list today. In parenthesis is the ranking I gave the album last year; I only ranked 10 albums in 2017, plus one special mention, which I'm counting as a ranking of 11 in this case.
The relatively minimal movement in my rankings this year probably speak to the increasingly irregularity of my music-listening habits.
1. Every Time I Die - Low Teens (3)
2. Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost (2)
3. Kevin Devine - Instigator (1)
4. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book (4)
5. William Tyler - Modern Country (unranked)
6. Bossk - Audio Noir (11)
7. PUP - The Dream Is Over (7)
8. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo (unranked)
9. All Get Out - Nobody Likes A Quitter (6)
10. Direct Hit! - Wasted Mind (10)
11. Pinegrove – Cardinal (5)
Dropped out: Against Me! - Shape Shift With Me (8) and Bon Iver - 22, A Million (9). I still like both of these albums.