AllMusic's Best Albums of 2017

AllMusic's Best Albums of 2017

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Aimee Mann - Mental Illness

March 31, 2017
Critic Score
78
11 reviews

Each of the 11 numbers is exquisitely sculpted, with the melody carrying a sense of subdued drama as it marches from verse to chorus to bridge. These songs are crafted in the best sense of the word, with the lyrics delivering sublime twists that the music matches.

Algiers - The Underside of Power

June 23, 2017
Critic Score
85
21 reviews

On The Underside of Power, they assert that even amid violence, darkness, and horror, that the human spirit is affirmed through witness and resistance, leading not only to solace but to redemption.

Alvvays - Antisocialites

September 8, 2017
Critic Score
76
24 reviews

Thanks to the care and feeding the band put into their sound, Antisocialites manages the rare feat of a band topping their brilliant debut with a sophomore effort that's even more brilliant. Alvvays make it looks easy, and by the time the album is done spinning, it's hard not to start thinking about how great their next record could be.

Angaleena Presley - Wrangled

April 21, 2017
Critic Score
77
7 reviews

She may emphasize her ties to the past but she's intent on expanding the tradition, turning country music into a bolder, more inclusive place, and that desire is what makes Wrangled such a compelling album.

Arca - Arca

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
84
17 reviews

As always, Ghersi pushes his boundaries on Arca, and the vulnerability he displays makes it some of his most exciting and moving music yet.

Benjamin Booker - Witness

June 2, 2017
Critic Score
74
9 reviews

This aural variety alone would make Witness an exciting record but when these sounds are paired with probing political and personal songs, the album becomes something fresh and vital.

Björk - Utopia

November 24, 2017
Critic Score
77
31 reviews

Utopia isn't quite as idyllic as its title implies, but its mix of idealism and realism makes it an even greater success as a manifesto for radically open love and as a document of thriving after loss.

Bunbury - Expectativas

Bunbury - Expectativas
October 20, 2017
Critic Score
90
1 review

Circuit Des Yeux - Reaching for Indigo

October 20, 2017
Critic Score
83
10 reviews

With Reaching for Indigo, Fohr has done a remarkable job at translating a hard-to-define, life-changing event into powerful music.

Colleen - A flame my love, a frequency

October 20, 2017
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

Throughout it all, A Flame My Love, A Frequency resonates with a healing warmth that is a testament to the remarkable purity of Colleen's music, as well as to the importance of beauty and hope when life is hard.

Converge - The Dusk In Us

November 3, 2017
Critic Score
83
15 reviews

Nervy, brainy, bold, and uncompromising, The Dusk in Us doesn't deviate much from the Converge playbook, and why should it?

Depeche Mode - Spirit

March 17, 2017
Critic Score
69
19 reviews

Robust and fearless, Spirit may end up being one of the earliest and best salvos of its political era. Despite dour lyrics to the contrary, Depeche Mode haven't given up on humanity. Spirit exhumes the remains of our better nature and demands its resurrection.

Downtown Boys - Cost of Living

August 11, 2017
Critic Score
78
17 reviews

Downtown Boys have an even greater sense of purpose on Cost of Living, and lead singer Victoria Ruiz rises to the challenge, shouting with all the fire and commitment she can muster and then some.

EMA - Exile In The Outer Ring

August 25, 2017
Critic Score
80
15 reviews

On Exile in the Outer Ring, Anderson calls on listeners to maintain their humanity in powerful, unnerving ways that make it one of her finest achievements.

Ex Eye - Ex Eye

June 23, 2017
Critic Score
82
5 reviews
While the music on this self-titled offering is breathtaking in its intensity, beauty, and mystery, what's even more incomprehensible is that this quartet manages to challenge, realign, and perhaps even redefine the entire post-metal landscape in 28 short minutes.

Fever Ray - Plunge

October 27, 2017
Critic Score
82
18 reviews

The journey to dive into commitment that Dreijer takes her listeners on with Plunge boasts more moods and colors than Fever Ray's debut, or any single Knife album; ultimately, it's some of her most powerful work with yet.

Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up

June 16, 2017
Critic Score
81
29 reviews
For Fleet Foxes, it represents a shift away from their more idyllic early days into a period of artistic growth and sophistication.

Fred Thomas - Changer

Fred Thomas - Changer
January 27, 2017
Critic Score
73
4 reviews

Gas - Narkopop

April 21, 2017
Critic Score
79
10 reviews

Fully maintaining the trademark Gas sound while adding new dimensions, Narkopop couldn't be a more welcome return.

Girl Ray - Earl Grey

August 4, 2017
Critic Score
79
11 reviews
That is a lot of praise to dole out to such a young band, but the trio definitely earn it by releasing the kind of musically rich and emotionally powerful debut that feels timeless and stands far enough apart from the rest of the music scene surrounding it that it feels like a cleansing blast of fresh air.

Hurray For The Riff Raff - The Navigator

March 10, 2017
Critic Score
82
16 reviews

The Navigator is nothing if it isn't a bold risk, a record that attempts to carve out a new kind of Americana, one where the past informs the present instead of the present preserving the past -- and one where the political is personal, too.

Idles - Brutalism

March 10, 2017
Critic Score
84
8 reviews
They certainly inhabit the spirit of punk -- including the spittle-inducing vitriol and the acerbic lyrics -- but with a newfound energy that isn't trying to re-create an old aesthetic; instead, it's the sound of an angry band reacting to an increasingly tense and imbalanced world.

Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology

May 19, 2017
Critic Score
82
8 reviews

The tempos may change, the mood may shift a bit here and there, the arrangement may go from dense to sparse, but through it all Weaver conducts the sound like a magician in full command of her powers.

JD McPherson - Undivided Heart & Soul

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
80
5 reviews

Arty tropes aside, with Undivided Heart & Soul, McPherson continues to pull all of his varied stylistic influences together into his own vibrantly coherent brand of visceral, emotive rock that grabs you by the collar and demands your passion.

Jlin - Black Origami

May 19, 2017
Critic Score
86
12 reviews

Black Origami is a monumental achievement, yet it still seems like Jlin is just getting started.

Juana Molina - Halo

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
83
9 reviews

Halo, Molina's first release since 2013's Wed 21, feels like a logical snapshot of her ongoing journey, presenting 12 new tracks that are as eccentric as they are inviting.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
78
14 reviews
The entire album is a stunning work of highly advanced kaleidoscopic new age pop, and is easily Smith's best and most accessible release to date.

Kehlani - SweetSexySavage

January 27, 2017
Critic Score
73
16 reviews
The hour-long album is a bit excessive with some nondescript or merely passable second-half pop ballads, but it nonetheless makes good on all the promise of the mixtapes. It's destined to become a 2010s classic.

Kelela - Take Me Apart

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
80
21 reviews
Nothing is as volcanic as "Bank Head" or as rush-inducing as "Rewind" -- two past gems -- but these hyperballads and zero-gravity jams always stimulate, covering a broader spectrum of emotional states with deeper resonance.

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

April 14, 2017
Critic Score
92
32 reviews
It contains some of Lamar's best writing and performances, revealing his evolving complexity and versatility as a soul-baring lyricist and dynamic rapper.

King Krule - The OOZ

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
77
21 reviews
Compared to the debut, the songwriting is more refined and the sounds are more disparate, resulting in a sort of controlled chaos, a scuzzy mix of nervy neo-rockabilly projectiles, howling dirges, and noodling dive-lounge tunes.

Kip Moore - Slowheart

September 8, 2017
Critic Score
70
2 reviews

Laura Marling - Semper Femina

March 10, 2017
Critic Score
84
29 reviews

Having entered the limelight early, the 27-year-old singer/songwriter has now settled into a comfortable groove to on this finely honed career highlight.

LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

September 1, 2017
Critic Score
85
32 reviews

No matter the style or mood of the songs, Murphy's vocals are the main attraction, delivering snaky asides, heartfelt emotion, and insistent chatter in his trademark fashion. The years off haven't quite mellowed him or made him a crooner; he still mixes the tart with the bittersweet like a master chef. The years haven't made LCD Soundsystem any less relevant or important, either.

Lorde - Melodrama

June 16, 2017
Critic Score
90
32 reviews

This balance between discovery and reflection gives Melodrama a tension, but the addition of genuine, giddy pleasure ... isn't merely a progression for Lorde, it's what gives the album multiple dimensions.

Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog

May 5, 2017
Critic Score
77
28 reviews

This Old Dog is a logical continuation of DeMarco's musical explorations, but the maturation of his songwriting is what gives it gravitas.

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand

March 31, 2017
Critic Score
72
17 reviews

In order to be true to themselves, Mastodon had to make Emperor of Sand at this time. There was no other option. As such, its urgency, sophistication, and emotional heft make it a necessary entry in their catalog.

Max Richter - Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works

January 27, 2017
Critic Score
78
5 reviews

Although the work as a whole is not a film score, it has the flavor of one, and it opens up intriguing possibilities for the expansion of that language to other settings. Certainly recommended for anyone who has noticed and liked the music for Arrival.

Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me

March 24, 2017
Critic Score
90
16 reviews

Sharing his loss on A Crow Looked at Me doesn't diminish its impact at all -- even within Mount Eerie's body of work, this is a remarkably powerful and pure album.

Nicole Atkins - Goodnight Rhonda Lee

July 21, 2017
Critic Score
82
9 reviews

Goodnight Rhonda Lee is hardly Atkins' first stylistic excursion into the past, but here, having an audibly sharp focus, a lot on her mind, and a leave-it-all-on-tape performance ethic make for her strongest impression since her debut.

Omni - Multi-Task

September 22, 2017
Critic Score
74
7 reviews

Throughout the album, Frobos sings with a confidence he only hinted at on Deluxe, and Omni deliver the songs with all the punch of a band twice their size. They beat the tar out of the sophomore slump and come away with another instant classic album.

Paramore - After Laughter

May 12, 2017
Critic Score
82
16 reviews

Despite the album's buoyantly pastel new wave tones, it unsurprisingly contains a truckload of hard-won maturity and a growing sense of battle fatigue.

Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent

September 29, 2017
Critic Score
83
21 reviews

Relatives in Descent manages to sound more thoughtful and introspective than 2015's The Agent Intellect without sapping the strength of this great band; quite simply, as a bit of record-making, this is Protomartyr's most impressive accomplishment to date.

Randy Newman - Dark Matter

August 4, 2017
Critic Score
77
13 reviews

Newman has become a more ambitious songwriter than he was in his younger days; there's a scope to his storytelling that's bigger but just as satisfying as his '70s milestones, and years of writing and arranging for an orchestra have taught him how to use the tonal colors of a large ensemble to his advantage without drowning out the nuances.

Robert Plant - Carry Fire

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
83
11 reviews

The very richness of the music bears the weight of a long, unpredictable life, but the album's tenor -- not to mention the songs themselves -- suggests a boundless possibility, and that's why Carry Fire is an album of hope: Plant wears his years proudly, yet he's not concerned with any moment other than the present.

Sacred Paws - Strike A Match

January 27, 2017
Critic Score
78
8 reviews

Strike a Match is a brilliant debut album with a solid emotional core that gives the instantly memorable songs gravity and keeps them from lifting off and floating away, instead anchoring them deep in listeners' hearts and minds.

Sampha - Process

February 3, 2017
Critic Score
84
29 reviews
In a way, this all makes the previous output seem merely preliminary.

Sheer Mag - Need to Feel Your Love

July 14, 2017
Critic Score
82
22 reviews

They had a run of thrilling singles that established their uncompromising sound and approach; Need to Feel Your Love is where it all turns to gold.

St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

Masseduction delivers sketches of chaos with stunning clarity. It's the work of an always savvy artist at her wittiest and saddest.

Susanne Sundfør - Music For People In Trouble

September 8, 2017
Critic Score
82
10 reviews

Such militant introspection can sometimes be off-putting, but Music for People in Trouble is rooted in empathy, and even at its most cynical ... the warmth of its core radiates outward.

SZA - Ctrl

June 9, 2017
Critic Score
83
15 reviews
This is a marked improvement and an indication of more great work to come.

The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles

September 22, 2017
Critic Score
79
10 reviews
The times are always right for music as healing and calm as the Clientele's; the times surrounding the release of this wonderfully peaceful and uplifting album need it even more -- and, thankfully, the band has responded with some of its best work ever.

The Moonlandingz - Interplanetary Class Classics

March 24, 2017
Critic Score
82
9 reviews

Luckily for fans of ridiculous pop, they took it another step and made Interplanetary Class Classics, a wild work of twisted genius and more fun than rabies, that's for sure.

Tyler, the Creator - Flower Boy

July 21, 2017
Critic Score
82
18 reviews
While most of these songs are rife with anxiety and isolation, the open-hearted lyricism and wide-scoped productions, put together by an artist in peak form, make them immensely engrossing.

Vijay Iyer Sextet - Far From Over

August 25, 2017
Critic Score
83
5 reviews

What's particularly engaging about Far from Over is Iyer and his band's sense of danger and risk-taking. Ultimately, it's that balance of harmonically adventurous exploration and no-holds-barred blowing that make Far from Over nothing short of thrilling.

Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory

June 23, 2017
Critic Score
86
24 reviews

Big Fish Theory cements Staples' status as one of the most talented and forward-thinking voices in rap in the late 2010s.

Whitney Rose - Rule 62

Whitney Rose - Rule 62
October 6, 2017
Critic Score
81
5 reviews

From Rose to her crack band, all the performances on Rule 62 are delivered with a casual assurance that gives the record a warm feel that, when combined with sturdy songs from a variety of styles, gives the record the feeling of an old favorite; it feels like a record that you've lived with for years, in the best possible sense.

Original Source: https://www.allmusic.com/year-in-review/2017/allmusic-best-of-2017
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