Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2017

Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2017

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50. JD McPherson - Undivided Heart & Soul

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
80
5 reviews

While Undivided Heart & Soul explores both the past and the future of roots music, McPherson shines brightest when he blends both influences to stay rooted in the present.

49. Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer - Not Dark Yet

Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer - Not Dark Yet
August 18, 2017
Critic Score
77
9 reviews

Not Dark Yet works beautifully. Featuring nine covers and one devastating original, this lovely longplayer spotlights their tangy harmonies, with Lynne’s saltier vocals and Moorer’s sweeter singing intertwining gracefully, evoking ancient traditions of family music-making.

48. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - Soul of a Woman

November 17, 2017
Critic Score
83
16 reviews

Soul Of A Woman offers up a piece of everything that made Jones a powerhouse up to the very end.

47. Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights

October 27, 2017
Critic Score
83
22 reviews
Around every corner, Baker practices restraint where she could’ve gone for a bigger moment. The effect is an album that’s powerful but not overwrought.

46. Weaves - Wide Open

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
75
8 reviews

45. Wand - Plum

September 22, 2017
Critic Score
78
7 reviews

Wand’s many talents are given full plumage on Plum. It will be interesting to see in what directions the band surveys in future albums. For now, this is about as interesting a new rock record you could hope to listen to.

44. Sallie Ford - Soul Sick

Sallie Ford - Soul Sick
February 10, 2017
Critic Score
69
3 reviews

43. David Bazan - Care

March 7, 2017
Critic Score
86
2 reviews

41. Omni - Multi-Task

September 22, 2017
Critic Score
74
7 reviews

OMNI remains a band that’s best at its most berserk ... Multi-task hits its high marks when the band is doing as much as it can, or, if you will, multi-tasking.

40. Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up

June 16, 2017
Critic Score
81
29 reviews

Fleet Foxes’ third album, Crack-Up, is at once sumptuous and ambitious, a serpentine journey from the center of harmony-drenched folk-pop out to the edge of Pecknold’s brain and back. It is lovely, strange and generous, and ultimately a very welcome return for the Seattle band.

38. Spoon - Hot Thoughts

March 17, 2017
Critic Score
77
27 reviews

Hot Thoughts is crisp, arch and flowing, proving Spoon to be among Bowie’s most astute heirs in spirit.

37. Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds From Another Planet

July 14, 2017
Critic Score
80
21 reviews
It’s a somber, starry lullaby that results in periods of fitful sleep marked by struggles with fading love and death’s vague mystery.

36. Melkbelly - Nothing Valley

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
78
9 reviews

Cramming what should be an unworkable heap of concepts and sounds into a deliciously volatile 35 minutes, Nothing Valley is a bracing blend of scraping noise and tender melody, not unlike the recipe used by Speedy Ortiz.

35. Diet Cig - Swear I'm Good At This

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
76
15 reviews

Swear I’m Good At This is the now-21-year-old’s coming-of-age story, and it’s an engaging one, full of awkward moments, breaking hearts, insecurity and a discovery of power.

34. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

On MASSEDUCTION, Clark remains as unpredictable as ever, though there’s one thing fans will have gotten right: so far, at least, Annie Clark has proven incapable of writing anything less than a knockout pop song.

32. Ty Segall - Ty Segall

January 27, 2017
Critic Score
80
24 reviews

While far from a masterpiece, Ty Segall provides a neatly packaged summary for why the singer is a modern rock ‘n’ roll treasure.

31. Laura Marling - Semper Femina

March 10, 2017
Critic Score
84
29 reviews

Like a great folksinger, she has created an album of songs whose sounds and sentiments are much weightier than they appear on the surface, providing entry to somewhere much more wondrous and strange and troubling than it first appears.

30. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
78
14 reviews
She has put in the time to master her instrument of choice, and she combines that mastery with top-shelf compositional skills. As a result, she sounds like no one else.

29. Nai Palm - Needle Paw

Nai Palm - Needle Paw
October 20, 2017
Critic Score
78
2 reviews

28. The xx - I See You

January 13, 2017
Critic Score
80
33 reviews

26. This Is The Kit - Moonshine Freeze

July 7, 2017
Critic Score
76
18 reviews

Moonshine Freeze is the peak of an uphill path Stables has traced since her earliest recordings at the turn of the decade.

25. SZA - Ctrl

June 9, 2017
Critic Score
83
15 reviews

As a twenty-something woman who’s been single in the age of social media, SZA’s confessional debut album CTRL is strikingly relatable. But what’s remarkable about it is that she has spun her personal experiences into a soulful, touching R&B record with broad appeal beyond her particular demographic.

24. Benjamin Booker - Witness

June 2, 2017
Critic Score
74
9 reviews

After invoking Our Holy Spirit of Not Reading The Comments and just listening to Witness with open ears and hearts, Booker’s music emerges as defiant, insightful and both intimately and communally self-actualizing.

23. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding

August 25, 2017
Critic Score
76
32 reviews

There are clear dynamic voids, tension shifts forgotten, something hollow or maybe alien about the patent, polished delivery of the band’s production and performances that, when not enjoyed in the live setting, seems destined to be relegated to the mire of music to listen to while doing other shit.

22. Oh Sees - Orc

August 25, 2017
Critic Score
75
14 reviews

The record is an absolutely evil stunner from front to back, top to bottom, head to toes and everywhere in between, and whips up the same kind of radiant, strange awe that the band’s overdriven catalog has so generously perpetrated album after wicked album.

21. Priests - Nothing Feels Natural

January 27, 2017
Critic Score
78
10 reviews

By chance or by design, Nothing Feels Natural might well be the first great punk album of the Trump presidency.

20. Kevin Morby - City Music

June 16, 2017
Critic Score
79
18 reviews

Morby has said Singing Saw is Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, while City Music is Lou Reed and Patti Smith, and you can’t draw a much brighter line between two things than that.

19. Sylvan Esso - What Now

April 28, 2017
Critic Score
77
17 reviews

On this new record Meath and Sanborn dispense with many of the freeing and expansive sounds of their debut, opting, with varying degrees of success, to play instead with feelings of tightness, darkness and enclosure.

17. Aimee Mann - Mental Illness

March 31, 2017
Critic Score
78
11 reviews

The interplay among tune, lyrics and production rewards repeated listens with ever more intricate emotional textures.

16. Slowdive - Slowdive

May 5, 2017
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

Slowdive, the band’s first album in 22 years, is here, and it’s good in that pleasingly familiar way. The record does not pick up where Pygmalion left off. If anything, it sounds as though it could have been recorded in 1993.

14. White Reaper - The World's Best American Band

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
79
8 reviews

The production is a bit clearer and less sludgy than on 2015’s White Reaper Does It Again, and the songs comprise the quartet’s most confident collection to date.

13. King Krule - The OOZ

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
77
21 reviews
This is not an album to absorb in desperate moments, but rather an artfully brooding, grime-y thing that stands as a terribly unique and nightmarish account of what it could sound like to spiral out of control.

12. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound

June 16, 2017
Critic Score
78
14 reviews

Through matter-of-fact lyrical acuity, Isbell peels back layers of cultural abstraction to reveal the grit of the human experience on The Nashville Sound, and renders it much more inclusive than the title’s regional attribution might make it seem.

11. The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
76
18 reviews

While The New Pornographers’ appealing quirks abound, their melodic gifts rightfully steal the show.

10. Sampha - Process

February 3, 2017
Critic Score
84
29 reviews

9. Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me

March 24, 2017
Critic Score
90
16 reviews

They are beautifully and simply arranged, but it is not an entertaining album to listen to in any conventional sense, nor can it be shaken off easily. It is, however, the kind of album that makes all others seem frivolous while you’re hearing it.

8. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

September 1, 2017
Critic Score
85
32 reviews
It’s a beautiful work of art about aging, regret and an arduous search for meaning. It’s an expansive record that explores a variety of sounds and themes, but it never feels confused or lost.

7. Alvvays - Antisocialites

September 8, 2017
Critic Score
76
24 reviews

Alvvays was a mid-June perfect summer day; Antisocialites is a little cloudier, with a bit of a cold breeze blowing through. But, hey, it’s still summer after all.

6. Sheer Mag - Need to Feel Your Love

July 14, 2017
Critic Score
82
22 reviews

With Need To Feel Your Love, the band broadens its horizons without losing what made ‘em so promising in the first place. That’s always a tricky line to walk, and Sheer Mag does it with gritty grace.

5. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
79
26 reviews
By eschewing ambition in favor of intimacy, the album is both comfortable and comforting. While Barnett and Vile don’t travel far from their established sounds in their collaboration, the sum of their contributions yields fresh results.

4. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3

December 25, 2016
Critic Score
86
29 reviews

RTJ3 is an excellent bookend to 2016, but it’s best used as a guide to the future, 2017 and beyond.

3. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
83
33 reviews

Pure Comedy lives up to its title. It’s a comedy in every sense of the word. Absurdity is the order of the day. There are jokes around every turn. The central joke being the perfectly dissonant balance of sincerity and sarcasm conveyed by music and lyrics alike.

2. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

April 14, 2017
Critic Score
92
32 reviews

With DAMN., Kendrick Lamar plays by the rules and then sets the rule book on fire, and continues one of the most impressive run of albums of any artist in recent memory.

Original Source: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/11/the-50-best-albums-of-2017.html
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