So far, 2017 has been a year filled with amazing music of all genres. From rap legends like Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar to newly solo artists, Harry Styles, artist are releasing memorable projects. Despite the problems happening in the country, Americans were able to be brought together by a common entity, MUSIC. Though the year isn’t over yet, these are Academy’s picks for the top albums of 2017.
15. THE OOZ, King Krule
“The Ooz”, is King Krule’s third studio album. The album was released on October 13th, 2017. All the tracks on the album were written by Archy Marshall (King Krule).“Listening to the London singer-songwriter’s music sometimes feels like waiting for a sea creature to surface: We only ever catch furtive glimpses of him before he disappears again”(Pitchfork). According to Metacritic, “The Ooz” received a score of 81 out of 100.
14. PLAYBOI CARTI, Playboi Carti
Playboi Carti’s debut mixtape, “Playboi Carti” was released on April 14th, 2017. The self titled project features guest appearances from rappers like, A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert. Carti’s success has made him one of the most talked about rappers of 2017. “It’s a short, sweet and rather savage formal introduction to the Atlanta-born, New York-transplanted rapper who is clearly comfortably set in his own ways.”(xxl magazine)
13. SATURATION II, Brockhampton
Saturation II is the American Boyband, Brockhampton’s, sophomore album, released on August 25th, 2017. For those who are not familiar with Brockhampton, they are a Los Angeles based rap collective, who are practically redefining what it means to be a boy band. In addition to working on music, this year Brockhampton released their television series on Viceland, “American Boyband”. When discussing how the boy band has changed the music scene with Brockhampton fan and Academy senior, Maryanne Atocha, she stated that “One of the members is openly gay and you don’t see that in hip hop today. She then went on to say “Brockhampton is unapologetic about who they are”).
12. HARRY STYLES, Harry Styles
Harry Styles highly anticipated solo album was released on May 7th, 2017. For those who are not familiar with Harry Styles, you may know him from the British boy band One Direction. The album succeeds in embracing 70’s rock and roll with psychedelic infused tracks. His lead single, “Sign of the Times”, proved his capability to not only sing but write amazing songs. “It’s rock and it’s roll, but it’s also soft and sensitive.”(Variety)
11. MELODRAMA, Lorde
Finally the wait is over. Lorde’s second studio album was released on June 16th, 2017. Unlike her first album, “Pure Heroin” in which she expressed herself as a bored and moody teen; “Melodrama” shows maturity. “Lorde’s writing and fantastically intimate vocals, ranging from her witchy, unprocessed low-register warbles to all sorts of digitized masks, make it matter.”(Rolling Stone)
10. LUST FOR LIFE, Lana del Rey
Is Lana del Rey finally happy? Lana del Rey’s fifth studio album, “Lust for Life” was released on July 25th, 2017. “Lust for Life” is extremely different from Lana’s usual depressing tone. Unlike her other albums where she focuses on topics like drug and alcohol use as well as toxic relationships, this album’s main focus is love, peace, and the path to achieving happiness. Lust for Life also features guest appearances from artists like The Weeknd, A$AP ROCKY, and Playboi Carti, as well as legendary musicians like Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon. “With a sunnier sound, a social conscience and a determined smile on her face, Del Rey is moving on from the darkness she’s inhabited in the past”(The Guardian)
9. SOMETHING TO TELL YOU, HAIM
“With trippy, soulful relationship retrospectives (“You Never Knew” and “Kept Me Crying”) and stripped-down power ballads (“Night So Long” and “Nothing’s Wrong”), HAIM weave sweeping synths with sparse vocals that result in lovelorn anthems.”(Pastemagazine) HAIM released their sophomore album on July 7th, 2017. The album embraces the soft classical rock sound of the 70’s. Their single “Want to Back” has an electric feel that makes you want to sing every word. “Something to Tell You” debuted at number seven on the U.S Billboard 200.
8. I SEE YOU, The xx
“I See You, the third album by the xx, attempts to incorporate everyone’s talents into a new version of their sound, one true to their roots but richer and more varied.”(Pitchfork) The British indie pop band released their third album on January 12th, 2017. The ten track album is a mix between indie pop and R&B. The album channels helplessness, fear, and hurt.
7. CULTURE, MIGOS
The Migos released their second studio album on January 27th, 2017. The album features chart topping rappers like Travis Scott, Lil Uzi, and 2 Chainz. The influential group gained overnight popularity when Donald Glover thanked Migos during his speech at the Golden Globes. Since then Migos have performed on Ellen, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel, and were even invited to the 2017 MET Gala. In addition to them influencing the Culture of rap, the Migos even created the popular dance “The Dab”.
6. LUV IS RAGE 2, Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi’s first studio album, “ Luv is Rage 2”, was released on August 25th, 2017. Luv Is Rage 2 charted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with guest features from Pharrell and The Weeknd. The album’s leading single, “XO Tour Lif3” was a social phenomenon. “XO Tour Lif3” is the sort of song artists spend years trying to write: pained and poised, tapping into a vein that had previously been found but never fully pierced.”(Pitchfork).
5. BIG FISH THEORY, Vince Staples
Long Beach native, Vince Staples released his second album on June 23, 2017. The album, “Big Fish Theory” touches on subjects such as; racism, suicide, and handling fame. Unlike many mainstream rap albums, “Big Fish Theory”, can often be compared to a fun, light hearted dance record. “For second album Big Fish Theory, he moves from the past to the present, writing an open-hearted avant-garde dance record that takes stock of his current loves, victories, politics and – most noticeably – interest in the cutting edge of electronic music.”(Rolling Stone).
4. COZY TAPES VOL.2, A$AP MOB
A$AP Mob released their second album as a rap collective on August 25th, 2017. The album features guest appearances from Big Sean, Pro Era, Schoolboy Q, Frank Ocean, and Flatbush Zombies and many more. Cozy Tapes Volume 2, debuted at number six on the U.S Billboard 200. The Harlem based rap collective often rap about fashion, money, and girls; however unlike most other rap groups they often promote innovation and stepping outside of the norm. Academy senior,Kira Scott who is an A$AP Mob fan, says her favorite song is “Walk on Water” because “it represents the pride A$AP Mob has in themselves.” She then went on to say, “It gives me an overall feeling of optimism and invincibility” .
3. FLOWER BOY, Tyler the Creator
Tyler the Creator”s fourth album, “ Flower Boy” was released on July 21, 2017. Unlike his previous albums, “Flower Boy” is extremely liberating and lighthearted, yet realistic.Tyler the Creator finds a way to make slightly depressing songs like “911/Mr.Lonely” and “Boredom” into songs that make you want to dance.The album definitely shows his maturity and growth as a rapper. According to a new Tyler the Creator fan, Kira Scott, “Tyler has undergone puberty. Tyler is a man now. The album is his first creation that resonates with me. I think on this album he’s learned to filter his thoughts and concentrate on his feelings”..
2. 4:44, Jay-Z
“4:44”, Jay-Z thirteenth studio album was released June 30th, 2017. The album touches on many topics including maturing, becoming a father, and family, but most importantly his undeniable love for Beyonce. Like many of Jay-Z’s previous albums this album samples classic songs such as Stevie Wonder’s “Love”s in need of Love Today” and Nina Simone’s “ Four Women”. “4:44” debuted at number one on the U.S 200 Billboard chart.
1. DAMN, Kendrick Lamar
DAMN. is Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album which was released on April 14th, 2017. The album features guest appearances from Rihanna and U2. DAMN. topped the U.S 200 Billboard chart in its first week. DAMN. tells a story which is a skill we have come to learn that Kendrick Lamar is very good at. This album tells a story about a guy named Anthony from Compton and one called Ducky from Chicago,whose first encounter is over KFC biscuits. They meet again 20 years later, when Ducky’s son records a song about the encounter for Anthony’s record label.
Written by Zoë Hampton
Photos Courtesy of iTunes.com