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The Guardian's Best Albums of 2017

The Guardian's Best Albums of 2017

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48. Vijay Iyer Sextet - Far From Over

August 25, 2017
Critic Score
86
5 reviews

As a contemporary jazz set, Far from Over has just about everything.

45. Powerdance - The Lost Art of Getting Down

July 7, 2017
Critic Score
100
1 review

44. The xx - I See You

January 13, 2017
Critic Score
80
37 reviews

I See You pulls off the feat of managing to sound both exactly like the xx and unlike anything they have done before.

43. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
77
15 reviews
With modular synths growing densely around her multitracked voice, this album from Pacific-coastal artist Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith becomes as lush, heady – and occasionally trying – as a rainforest.

42. Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness

January 27, 2017
Critic Score
80
18 reviews
This second album might not hang together were it not for the fact Byrne herself appears immersed within the worlds she sings about – there’s something pleasingly organic about the way she almost seems to exhale the melodies.

41. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
80
29 reviews
Although the pairing of these two wonderfully languid singer-songwriters could have ended up too hazy, their mutually dreamy, drawling styles complement each other perfectly.

40. Moses Sumney - Aromanticism

September 22, 2017
Critic Score
81
15 reviews
On a concept album about lovelessness, he creates a cavernous feeling of loneliness using soundscapes similar to those Nigel Godrich explores.

39. Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound

January 27, 2017
Critic Score
73
23 reviews
Baldi has bulked up the band’s lo-fi production values for a more muscular sound while retaining the youthful energy of his songwriting.

38. Baxter Dury - Prince of Tears

October 27, 2017
Critic Score
76
7 reviews
It all adds up to a short, sharp blast of an album. Pretty much every punch lands. Dury is alternately very funny, oddly disturbing and genuinely touching, which is a lot of ground to cover in under half an hour.

37. Sparks - Hippopotamus

September 8, 2017
Critic Score
78
15 reviews

36. Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway

February 24, 2017
Critic Score
81
11 reviews
Rhiannon Giddens is a folk revivalist who knows that old stories can still have a powerful and painful relevance, and on her second solo album since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she sings about the history of America’s fight against racism, in order to warn of current dangers.

35. Nick Hakim - Green Twins

May 19, 2017
Critic Score
77
6 reviews

34. Juana Molina - Halo

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
84
10 reviews
The daughter of a tango musician, Molina may sing in a trance-like whisper, but she understands the importance of rhythm; many of the songs are underpinned by a sturdy bass line, over which she adds guitar, bass or keyboards, playing all the instruments herself on several tracks.

33. Miguel - War & Leisure

December 1, 2017
Critic Score
78
19 reviews
Having dropped acid on to his R&B sugar cube for his previous album, Wildheart, giving it a richly psychedelic flavour, Miguel continues his trip to create some of the most imaginative pop music around.

32. Four Tet - New Energy

September 29, 2017
Critic Score
77
9 reviews

31. Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest

November 17, 2017
Critic Score
77
23 reviews

Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new album is the first she’s written the lyrics for, and, perhaps as a result, gives her voice its broadest palette yet as she tries on different roles: child, ingenue, diarist, diva.

30. Girl Ray - Earl Grey

August 4, 2017
Critic Score
79
11 reviews

Earl Grey may not be enough of a hit parade for this precocious outfit to break through, but Girl Ray are certainly ones to watch.

29. Alvvays - Antisocialites

September 8, 2017
Critic Score
76
26 reviews

28. Slowdive - Slowdive

May 5, 2017
Critic Score
82
29 reviews

Shoegaze is rarely affiliated with overwrought emotion, and yet it’s difficult not to feel moved by the expanse of the group’s oceanic comeback.

27. Marika Hackman - I'm Not Your Man

June 2, 2017
Critic Score
81
17 reviews
Make no mistake: this is a fiercer Hackman, joining the ranks of Wolf Alice and letting her inner swagger shine.

26. Paramore - After Laughter

May 12, 2017
Critic Score
83
17 reviews

After Laughter – candy-coated bitterness at its best – may steer them away from the Kerrang! crowd, but one thing remains consistent to Paramore’s emo roots – the theatrical mellifluence of internal angst.

25. The National - Sleep Well Beast

September 8, 2017
Critic Score
82
35 reviews

Nuanced, understated, restrained: you could apply the same adjectives to much of the music here, which turns out to be rather more of a mixed blessing.

24. Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent

September 29, 2017
Critic Score
83
23 reviews
A slow-burn apocalypse of ennui and injustice crackles through the sensational fourth album from these Detroit post-punks.

23. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory

June 23, 2017
Critic Score
86
26 reviews

Staples might not own everyone quite yet but Big Fish Theory suggests he’s well on the way.

22. King Krule - The OOZ

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
78
25 reviews
The end result is by turns gripping, idiosyncratic, baffling and frustrating: not so much an ooze as a splurge of ideas – that’s nevertheless worth picking through.

21. Cigarettes After Sex - Cigarettes After Sex

June 9, 2017
Critic Score
73
14 reviews
Time will tell whether this is as good as Cigarettes After Sex get, but for now, it’s undoubtedly good enough: close your ears to the occasional lyrical gaffe and you might have one of the debut albums of the year.

20. Sampha - Process

February 3, 2017
Critic Score
83
31 reviews
It’s a weighty, powerful album with an identity entirely of its own. And while clearly not constructed with commercial ambition at the forefront of its mind, it’s certainly good enough to make an unlikely star of the man behind it.

19. Laura Marling - Semper Femina

March 10, 2017
Critic Score
82
31 reviews

There’s ... something punchy and confident about Semper Femina as a whole, an album that’s as big on telling details as it is on big ideas.

18. Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer

February 24, 2017
Critic Score
81
18 reviews

It’s not a perfect debut – it’s slightly too long for one thing, and there are a couple of points where it sags – but it sounds like an album teeming with original, daring ideas.

17. Drake - More Life

March 18, 2017
Critic Score
76
23 reviews

More Life offers little solace for those who never bought what the Canadian rapper was selling but for his fans that gave his songs billions of streams last year, they’ll hear no issue.

16. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
81
36 reviews

A great deal of the album’s power comes from the way the bleakness of the lyrics is offset by the lusciousness of the melodies and the comforting familiarity of the sound, with its acoustic guitars and beautifully subtle orchestrations.

15. The Horrors - V

September 22, 2017
Critic Score
82
19 reviews

There’s something really powerful and undeniable about V’s songs that suggests it could provide the most unlikely twist in an unlikely story: the Horrors actually becoming as big as the overheated hype announced they would a decade ago. Whether that happens or not, it’s a triumph.

14. J Hus - Common Sense

May 12, 2017
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
Not to be confused with plain old grime (so 2015, guys!), J Hus leads a wave of MCs who blend the genre’s hard-hitting, distinctly UK flow with bashment and Afrobeat.

12. Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life

September 29, 2017
Critic Score
82
21 reviews

Visions of a Life sees the band refine the exuberant jumble of dream-pop and grunge that characterised their debut My Love is Cool, while also finding new areas of exploration.

11. Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology

May 19, 2017
Critic Score
82
8 reviews
It’s an album that demonstrates Weaver’s rare talent for a largely forgotten skill of the first psychedelic era.

10. Richard Dawson - Peasant

June 2, 2017
Critic Score
85
11 reviews
Abstruse but weirdly accessible, recherche but pertinent, Peasant is quite an achievement.

9. Kelela - Take Me Apart

October 6, 2017
Critic Score
80
24 reviews

Kelela’s vocal stops Take Me Apart ending up as a fragmented series of sounds: consistently exquisite as it dances between lovesick confusion and shrewd sensuality.

8. Thundercat - Drunk

February 24, 2017
Critic Score
81
25 reviews

Thundercat’s 23-track third album, Drunk, takes you down a rabbit hole and turfs you out in his lopsided wonderland of funk, soul, hip-hop and soft rock, with guest characters including Lamar, Pharrell, saxophonist Kamasi Washington and Wiz Khalifa.

7. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding

August 25, 2017
Critic Score
76
35 reviews

A record that banishes any listener cynicism on first contact; a wide-eyed look into the wild blue yonder.

6. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream

September 1, 2017
Critic Score
85
35 reviews
Packed with aural allusions to Bowie and Eno, LCD Soundsystem’s comeback is a virtuosic tribute to their heroes – and themselves

5. Perfume Genius - No Shape

May 5, 2017
Critic Score
83
28 reviews

No Shape sounds like a unique talent coming into full bloom. However weird it may seem, he’s here.

4. Lorde - Melodrama

June 16, 2017
Critic Score
90
36 reviews
For all its odd misfires, it makes a great deal of the stuff that sits alongside it in the charts look pretty feeble by comparison. If that sounds like faint praise, it isn’t meant to be: if it was easy to make hugely successful mainstream pop music as smart as this, then everybody would be at it. And they patently aren’t.

3. SZA - Ctrl

June 9, 2017
Critic Score
82
17 reviews

2. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

April 14, 2017
Critic Score
92
35 reviews
Luscious harmonies and hints of psychedelic soul – plus guest support from Bono and Rihanna – couch brilliant, sharp-edged storytelling from an artist at the top of his game

1. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION

October 13, 2017
Critic Score
85
36 reviews
Annie Clark’s sixth album as St Vincent is not immediately inviting. But it is fascinating, sometimes grimly so.
Original Source: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/dec/05/the-best-albums-of-2017
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