50. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
LCD Soundsystem returned this year after a long time being split up, and it was the year of reunions with everyone seeming to put their differences aside and rake in their money with a big tour. However, LCD produced one of the stand out albums of the year, a side step from their previous projects and produced more anthemic songs. There's some real stand out tracks of the year on this album, it's just a shame about that Microsoft Paint cover.
I'm not the biggest fan of Prog Rock, but then again maybe I'm just not listening to the right stuff. However, TMEE fall into this genre and they've released one of my albums of the year. Whilst chatting to them about it as part of my 'Introducing...' series it was extremely interesting to hear about the making of the album, it's big influences and that strangely wonderful album cover. A must listen for Prog Rock fans!
48. Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa
Admittedly more of a guilty pleasure at this point, however I think it's undeniable that Dua Lipa's rise to the top has been absolutely phenomenal. Making hit after hit isn't hard, and I understand that there's a full team of writers and producers behind pop stars these days but it's still just a really fun album. One for those of you with a more open mind.
Depeche Mode took a much darker turn on this album, leaving a lot of their pop undertones at home and going for a more ferocious electric guitar and overbearing synthesizers. Songs 'Cover Me' and 'Where's The Revolution' are immediate stand outs upon first listen and Dave Gahan's vocals are just as perfect as ever. Furthering an already phenomenal career for the band.
46. Oh Wonder - Ultralife
Pop is never really a genre that I've seen myself edging towards. However, with Dua Lipa already on this list it's surprising to see Oh Wonder make it onto my list as well but with song of the year contenders like 'High on Humans' and 'Ultralife' the infectious happiness of this duo is simply unavoidable. And sometimes we all just need something fun to put on!
45. Rick Ross - Rather You Than Me
The first rap album on this list comes from none other than Rozay. A rapper that I've always liked but never really dug his projects that much. However, his flow and the production on this album is absolutely phenomenal. Really pushing him to new heights, and it has been widely accepted by fans and critics alike. The rap fans out there are going to love how this album opens.
I've always been a fan of Jake Bugg, since his phenomenal self-titled debut album. He's faded away quite a lot since then but it's still absolutely fantastic to see him grinding away and making music that he wants to make. Whilst the album isn't one of his best, arguably his worst, it's still got some great songs with 'How Soon The Dawn' taking the star prize of best song on the album.
43. Morrissey - Low In High School
Morrissey is one of my favourite artists of all time, but this record doesn't stand against a lot of the classics. However, there are some real crackers on this album including 'Spent The Day In The Bed' and 'Jacky's...'. But what I took from this album is that Morrissey's voice is aging just perfectly and I'm so excited to see him in February.
42. Otherkin - OK
Otherkin are a young Irish pop-punk band that released their debut album, OK, this year. And if the band carry on producing such phenomenal music then I can only see this album cover becoming iconic and seeing that loads of people are having all of these Otherkin related tattoos only validates how truly good they are. Also, if you get chance to catch them live then please go and see them because it's absolutely mental!
41. Macklemore - Gemini
Probably the most controversial pick here, yet I'm not ashamed to admit that I actually really like him. Look, I understand that he's not the best rapper ever and I understand that every now and then he'll spit some of the cringiest bars ever yet it's just so enjoyable to listen to one of his albums (Except you This Unruly Mess I've Made, you were hot trash). I remember first listening to 'Willy Wonka' and thinking how trash it was and then it's been stuck in my head for 3 months. A really fun album!
40. Jessie Ware - Glasshouse
Jessie Ware is an artist that I've never really bothered listening to before, but I heard 'Midnight' on the radio and loved it absolutely immediately. So when the album came out I was absolutely ecstatic to give it a listen and it did not disappoint, there's some really beautiful songs on this album and I reccomend giving it a listen. Unless you are in a really good mood then probably avoid it.
39. Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life
I've always been a fan of Lana Del Rey, she makes some absolutely majestic music. Her first album, Born To Die, is probably one of my favourite albums of the past 10 years. Since then she hasn't quite hit the same height, yet I think that Lust For Life may have just hit it the closest. Although I've listened to the title track so many times I'm so sick of it. (I love The Weeknd okay?).
38. Calvin Harris - Funk Wav. Bounces Vol. 1
It's quite unusual to see a Calvin Harris album on this last. However, this album was so left field compared to his other pieces of work, this was a much more wholesome, fun and completely... sunny album. With some astoundingly good features such as Future, Khalid, ScHoolboy Q and much more... whilst it's not the most progressive album on the planet it's just fun to listen to!
37. Paramore - After Laughter
I really gave this album a hard time when it came out (ha, get it?!), but then I really listened to it, understood where the album came from and why they made it. 'Hard Times' is one of my favourite songs of the year, 'Rose Coloured Boy' is an absolutely fantastic tune and the album as a whole is really well crafted and for a band venturing out of what they're used to it really is nigh on perfect!
36. Alvvays - Antisocialites
Alvvays are a band that I haven't necessarily been following for years, I've only gotten into them recently and I pretty much loved them straight away. I got In Undertow in a Flying Vinyl boxset and I immediately looked for them afterwards. This album right here is how dream pop SHOULD be made, its eery yet cheery, dark but beautiful and most of all it is wonderfully unique. If you're into pop, indie, soft rock etc... then you should be checking this album out. It's not higher because I've gotten into them so late.
35. Sampha - Process
Mercury Prize 2017 winner, Sampha, is an artist that rose to half-prominence a few years ago featuring on tracks with many artists including Drake. And since then Drake has released 4 albums and Sampha has only just released his debut. I guess that is just a representation of the time and effort it has taken to make this soulful and beautiful album. For me, 'Blood On Me' is by far and away the best track on the album, with some really deep harmonies and wondrous production. One of the must listens to of the year.
34. Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer
Stormzy is one of the breakout artists of the year, from obscurity to the nation sweetheart, through the effect of not even believing his own fame at times. But to back this new found fame up he released my 34th album of the year. With tracks like 'Big For Your Boots' and 'Shut Up' he announced himself as a grime superstar. But there are points on this album where he smoothly transitions into R&B and he does it with such ease it's barely even noticeable. Hats off to you Stormzy.
Maximo Park have been around for a long time now, but Risk To Exist is their first project I've listened to and the uniqueness of their sound has made me a fan. The underlying political tones and such of the album lead to something that requires multiple listens to understand, with some of their lyricism venturing into poetry, almost, at times. A truly brilliant album that I hope makes you a fan of Maximo Park as much as it did me.
Feels weird putting a soundtrack on this list. But it's fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Some of the sounds that Hudson Mohawke creates on this album are unmatched, and nowhere near require any vocals. To back that up, it was emblazoned all over my game of the year, Watch_Dogs 2. Within this album are some really unique sounds that make it so special. Listening to this on vinyl is especially unique as well because it really brings out the deep bass and pulls some of the sounds out.
31. St Vincent - Masseducation
St Vincent returned this year with an absolutely brilliant album. It harnesses some more left wing sounds, with Los Ageless almost tip toeing into dubstep at times. But there's a sort of maturity to this album, it's simple and effective. Concise to the point where it's almost too "perfect" and sometimes despite it's new sounds, it does stay quite safe. But a great album nonetheless.
30. INHEAVEN - INHEAVEN
I first discovered INHEAVEN on Twitter earlier this year, I tried to get them on board for an interview but to no avail. But they proved that they didn't need my promo by smashing out my 30th best album of the year. The album is dark and really heavy, in some places it ventures into grunge and others it's quite poppy. But it mixes together well, and it's an enjoyable album.
29. Haim - Something To Tell You
I feel that this album is massively underrated, no one is really talking about this at the moment and it's unbelievable. Their first received so much praise and love and guess what, this album is much much better in so many ways. It's better produced, more coherent and better written. From the get go you can tell this album is more personal to the trio and contains much more personality. A fantastic sophomore album, get listening people!
I gave this album just a little too much praise when it came out, and my review read like I was heralding the second coming. However, it's still The Killers' best album since Hot Fuss. With some absolutely phenomenal singles including none other than Annie Mac's Hottest Record of The Year 'The Man'. A song that I still bump to this day, and will happily sing along to. Shout out to the boxing inspired track on the album as well, it all made for an enjoyable listen.... I just haven't really listened to it all that much since release.
Arcade Fire returned this year with an amazing concept of the Everything Now corporation, something they took way too far and have since apologised for and stopped doing. However, it's remarkable they've made an album that's so diverse and wavering in sound. Within this album there's a plethora of genres mixed in, including some jazz, blues, rock, pop and everything else. It's like the melting pot of music. Tunes like Everything Now, Creature Comfort and Electric Blue elevate this album to where it is on this list. Let's just not talk about that Infinite_Content song...
26. Blaenovon - That's Your Lot
I discovered Blaenovon after chancing upon Orthodox Man on a Spotify playlist after an album had finished (I hate that Spotify does that by the way). I then went and listened to the album, and whilst Orthodox Man is by far and away the best song on here, there's so much depth to Blaenovon that it's hard not to find a song that you like on here, no matter what music you're into.
25. Superfood - Bambino
Superfood. I absolutely love this band, they're so unique and so loveable at the same time. Their music is so absorbingly cheery, it's hard to physically turn it off. And not to mention, their production is always so magnificent. And after seeing them support Wolf Alice in November I started to like them even more, I'll still be listening to this album in 2018 and I hope you will be too.
24. The National - Sleep Well Beast
The album that introduced me to The National. I know I'm late to the party, but they're just one of them bands that I've never gotten round to listening to. Then I put Sleep Well Beast on, and then again and again. It's such a chilled out album, I genuinely think I could listen to this album forever and never get bored of it. However, it sits so low because as a project it lacks any tonal shifts and it's very 'safe' as a whole. But still absolutely bloody brilliant nonetheless
23. Alt-J - Relaxer
I was so harsh on this album in my review, but you have to give out some tough love sometimes. I was SO excited for this. Alt-J are probably one of my favourite bands out there at the moment, and this project just falls below the bar they've already set themselves in my opinion. But, there's still some absolute belters on here, including 'Deadcrush' which is some of that classic Alt-J darkness and 'In Cold Blood' is an exact representation of how I wanted this album to sound.
If you're looking for the album after a heartbreak then it's right here. Stevie's vocals are so unique and so emotionally raw that it's hard to not relate to the songs, even if they have nothing to do with your current situation. Never Be, Without You and Prey are the show stealers here. An album that makes me excited for Stevie's future And if you're going to see her live then embrace it, because she's actually better live in my opinion.
Admit it, you were expecting to see this here were you? If you read my review then you'll know that I gave it a 5. And whilst I still kind of stand by that, I've grown to enjoy the half of the album I didn't like as much. Especially 'Kiwi' which I can never get out of my head once I've listened to it. And now I'm writing about it it's stuck in there again. And of course it contains song of the year contender 'Sign of The Times' a beautifully majestic piano ballad. So it fully deserves to be 21.
20. The Big Moon - Love In The 4th Dimension
A Mercury Prize nominated debut album, thats something to stand out on your CV. The Big Moon have grabbed their edgy girl group niche with both hands and have the tunes to match. They've produced banger after banger with tracks like 'Cupid' which they performed at the Mercury awards. However, it's the blistering 'Formidable' that sets my ears alight, with it's fantastic guitar work, slow start and fast build up. Lovely.
19. Kasabian - For Crying Out Loud
I saw Kasabian live a few weeks ago, and they were absolutely phenomenal. Arguably this album shouldn't sit at number 19 (because of you 'Are You Looking For Some Action?'). But the tracks are so infectiously good otherwise, an album full of hits and probably their best since their debut. 'You're In Love With A Psycho' is probably THE single of the year and other tracks like 'Good Fight' and 'Comeback Kid' provide some much needed bangers.
I absolutely love Sundara Karma, and I'd love to see them live. But they never tour near me for some reason (Just like you INHEAVEN). Nonetheless, this album has absolutely earned its place on this list with tunes like 'Olympia' the toe tapper of the year. These are the songs that you sing at the top of your lungs, drunkenly, in the middle of an arena. This is a defining album for the band, and I can't see them topping it at any point.
Rant first. WHY have they just released a 'collectors edition' of this with the tracklist in reverse. I don't see the album any differently and I only see it as a way of capitalising off of all those rumours and theories that surrounded its release. Rant over. I was so hyped for this album upon release, but I'm just not sure it has the longevity of GKMC and TPAB. Those albums are already undeniable classics, this was fun when the theories were flying around, but now that they're all dead in the water... But that doesn't change the fact that this is one of the rap albums of the year. Kendrick is so imaginative with his songs, XXX perfectly intertwines U2 somehow and the Rihanna collab doesn't feel like a sell out. There's so much unique and wonderful production on this thing, it's great.
16. The Sherlocks - Live For The Moment
A grower of a band if there ever was one. I wasn't necessarily the biggest fn when I first heard them, I didn't quite understand the hype However, after buying the album from Longwell Records, I put it on and fell in love with it after one listen. The lead singer has a very unique voice, it's almost a mixture of a few accents and it becomes more and more enjoyable with every listen. 'Chasing Shadows' and 'Blue are personal highlights, along with the titles track of the record.
The legend that is Liam Gallagher finally released his solo album, much to my surprise as I genuinely thought we were never going to hear from him again. But here we are. I loved Beady Eye to be honest, I loved the creativeness and the reinvigoration of that iconic 60's sound they used so well. As You Were is a very safe album, Liam sticks to what he's good at. And there's nothing wrong with that, it's an absolutely bloody brilliant album. And after singing these at the top of my lungs witha few thousand people at the Motorpoint Arena I think it's safe to say I love them even more now. Stand out tracks are 'Universal Gleam', 'For What It's Worth' and the best of the lot, 'Chinatown'. Love it! As you were, KMMR x
Britpop legends. AGAIN! It's almost as if I'm a humongous fan of the genre. The Charlatans really pushed the boat out on this album, with the phenomenal opener, 'Hey Sunrise', setting a cheerful mood for a very cheery album. The title track is a stand out as well and the appearance of acclaimed write Ian Rankin was a shock at first but I love his little segment in the middle. And that's what I love from Tim Burgess and Co, the attention to detail and the utilisation of Tim Burgess' very very unique voice.
And to think I thought I didn't like Wolf Alice. Yet here they sit. Above The Charlatans and Liam Gallagher in my albums of the year. But this album holds a special place in my heart because it's one of about 5 albums that I was genuinely very excited to hear (This, Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Declan McKenna & Kendrick Lamar in case you were wondering) and it absolutely did not disappoint me. 'Don't Delete The Kisses' is so harmoniously beautiful I can barely even comprehend it enough to put it into words. And 'Yuk Foo' is so vigorously listenable it's actually catchy. How you make a song like that so infectious I will never know.
I first discovered EE after hearing them on the FIFA soundtrack with 'Distant Past' so when this album came out I saw it on Spotify Discover and thought I'd give it a listen. Absolutely blown away immediately. Their dark pop is one of the most intriguing and interesting things I've ever heard. Tracks like 'Night of The Long Knives' and 'Can't Do' elevate this album to 12th place on my list. If you're a fan of dark pop, indie pop or rock infused with pop then please check out this album, you wont regret it.
11. Cabbage - Young, Dumb & Full of...
God, I love this band. They're so truthful, edgy and they single handedly have made me a fan of punk. Which is no mean feat because I couldn't get into it at first but I'm really becoming a big fan. This album is just a compilation of all of their early EPs and despite the cut and shut nature of that, it flows surprisingly well as a whole album. Due to a release in the past few weeks this album was just pushed out of the top 10, but if you're a fan of punk then check out this album. One of the finest bands coming out of Manchester right now.
I saw these guys live a few months back. They were truly special, one of the most energetic and pitch perfect live bands I've ever seen. Within this album the group of Swedes have produced such a unique and fulfilling sound. In my interview with them they discussed the amount of time and ideas that were ploughed into this album, and it really shows in the finished product. Notable tracks on this album are 'Future Lover' & 'Worried Times'. A criminally underrated band and I hope tat 2018 shoots them to super stardom, I can't wait to see them live again!
9. Noel Gallagher - Who Built The Moon?
The other Gallagher brother. Liam has the attitude and the bangers but Noel has the melody and the ability. I was worried about this album when I heard 'Holy Mountain' but that's the definition of grower if there ever was one. This is such a perfect evolution of sound for Noel. Utilising synthesizers and his higher pitched voice. Instrumentals like 'Fort Knox' and 'The End' even cause a toe tapping. But it's 'The Man Who Built The Moon' and 'Dead In The Water' that take the prize as show stealers, with them two being everything that makes one of the best songwriters there's ever been. And he's still yet to release a bad solo album.
8. Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?
What a band Royal Blood are, there's only two of them and the noise and complete sound they make is absolutely phenomenal. Their first album was quite so-so to me, I didn't think it was as good as it could be. But THIS album is a completely different story, I wasn't expecting anything from this album. But when I put it on I was invested, it's so dark and brooding. But every single song is so well written it's hard not to just love this heavy and brash album.
Logic is one of the most talented rappers out right now, and that's how he's claimed my rap album of the year. As far as concept albums go, I'm all for them. So Logic's albums going that step further and interconnecting themselves is perfect for me, it's intriguing and it keeps me gripped throughout the whole thing. And with the skits, the most important part is that I never get bored of them, ever. Not to mention, I think that Logic has become a more accomplished songwriter on this album, backed up by the fact that '1-800' has become such an important hit for Logic. I'm excited to see how this set of albums finishes.
I absolutely bloody love this album, just as I do each of the top 5. And I'm not even sure how this album has found itself down at number 6. And correct me if I'm wrong but it's only one of 2 albums I've given a 10 this year. Something that I'm not going to give out easily. And there's nothing I can add to this album that I didn't already say in the album review. The XX really outdid themselves on this album and it's one of the most prolific and wholesome albums I've ever heard. Because it came out so early in the year though, I think I've over played it in comparison to those that have made the top 5.
What an album this is. It's emotional on so many levels, it's witty and it's beautiful. Marika Hackman is one of the most talented and inspiring singer songwriters I've heard in years. Tracks like 'Cigarette' and 'My Lover Cindy' are so contrasting in sound yet they stick to the same thematic. The track 'Boyfriend' is particularly special because explores the dynamic of a girl secretly having a relationship with a woman behind her boyfriends back. That woman, of course, being Marika. But she mocks the boyfriend because why does he care? she's only an inferior woman? she can't love like a man can! This direct attack on patriarchal tendencies and norms is both hard hitting and hilarious.
The album opens with the line "The c*nt stunk of skunk as he grabbed me by the neck" what more could you possibly want from an album?! Ratboy's debut album is something special to me, because when he first hit the scene, I didn't like him. There was no originality or spark that got me interested. But he's openly said he took his time with this album, scrapped a lot of songs from the album that was very nearly released and now we have SCUM. It's an album that introduced me to a very unique and dynamic character, Ratboy. Someone who's annoyed that the political world doesn't represent him, or that people sit on their arse all day moaning about people sitting on their arse all day watching Jeremy Kyle. The deluxe edition of this album includes a very comical radio host between songs, something that adds a new dimension to the album over the top of the story of SCUM, the escaped convict. The latter of the stories isn't really explored and I can't help but feel that's from the scraped initial album. But a fantastic album nonetheless, and a stark debut for the Essex singer.
Lorde's 2nd album set the world alight. You'd be hard pressed to fin a person who listened to this album and didn't like it. Lorde has that perfect appeal where she attracts the mainstream for songs like 'Green Light' yet doesn't alienate the hipsters who particularly hate the mainstream. One of the most aspiring things about this album is the graft. Lorde left for so long after her debut album, went away and perfect all the problems with the first album and crafted what is quite frankly, a perfect album. There isn't a single bad song on here, ranging from 'Hard Feelings' to 'The Louvre'. Banger after banger after ballad. It's the slower, introverted moments that attracted my attention at first though. On 'Liability' Lorde opens her soul and we discover the emotions of a famous woman who is still just a teenager and is emotionally unstable as a part of it. This album has its highs and it certainly doesn't have its lows.
Another debut album?? Who said bands are dead? Oh wait it was Serge in Kasabian. Well, Serge, maybe you just aren't looking in the right places because there's so much fantastic music out there at the moment and there definitely isn't a shortage of bands. The Amazons are one of the most exciting bands out at the moment. Their niche is that they don't have one. They sit within a genre that is full to brim, flowing over almost. But The Amazons are just so good at it as demonstrated on songs like 'In My Mind' and 'Junk Food Forever'. The latter of which is actually 2 years old and yet it still sounds as if it was released this year. This is my debut album theory. A band has their whole life to release a debut album, to craft an album that feels personal and that they're happy with. After that they tour the album non-stop the label expect a good second album to be ready. And most of the time it's disappointing. I digress, The Amazons produced a great album and a personal favourite is 'Palace'. The wondrous ballad that closes the album, it's hard hitting, emotional and I feel the genuine rawness in his voice. Lovely.
Here it is. Declan McKenna. My album of the year. Ever since its release I had absolutely no doubt that it would find itself in this spot in the list, I just love everything about this album. It's so emotionally raw to me. I listened to this album pretty much non-stop through a tough time in my life and 'The Kids Don't Wanna Come Home' had that uplift that consistently lifted my mood. McKenna is openly a huge fan of Abba, and I can hear those influences in the upbeat tunes on here. 'Brazil' is a particularly special tune as well because it explores the Brazil World Cup 2014 and the effect it had on those in favelas and the poor districts of Brazil and how they were uprooted and moved to make way for the World Cup and FIFA's corrupt parties. Declan wrote this when he was 16. SIXTEEN. That's madness. 'Listen To Your Friends' and 'Make Me Your Queen' are the other tracks that are exquisitely made. The latter of which including a high pitched note to hit, which he does perfectly. And there's so much emotion, truth and general talent on show throughout this album. With Declan it appears that his talents are endless. I love this album, and I hope you do too. After all you did vote it as your album of the year in my Twitter poll.