By: Delanee Wilson
2017 was undoubtedly an immaculate year for music releases. So many bands came out with albums that exceeded my expectations in every way. Here are my top 5 favorite albums of 2017:
1. Landmark // Hippo Campus
Released: February 24th
Hippo Campus came out with, not only my favorite album of the year, but one of my favorite albums of all time this past February.
The four Minnesota boys really showcased their artistic sides throughout this project. Each song is expressive in its own way, telling a story that will resonate with the listener. While they are each so different, all of the tracks work together to form a cohesive LP that displays immensely strong songwriting and production skills.
Songs like “Buttercup” and “Western Kids” bring so much newfound energy and spunk to the table that the band had yet to display before. You can tell that they were keeping live performances in mind while writing. They wanted to have fun with it, and they wanted us to have fun listening. On the other hand, more somber tracks like “Monsoon” and “Epitaph” show a lot of transparency and emotion. It is evident they wanted to speak through their music with these songs; they wanted us to feel it. Overall, a lot of thought went into the production of each individual track and the vibe it gives off. This rings true with every single song.
I have watched this band grow over the past two years from the release of the “Bashful Creatures” EP to the release of this full-length LP. Their sound has evolved so much, and “Landmark” displays a ridiculous amount of maturity and confidence. It’s been really cool to watch them gain so much publicity and recognition, yet remain so humble all at once. They are evolving perfectly – changing for the better, yet sticking to their roots.
Many people may have heard the popular single from this album, “Way It Goes”, which really caught the attention of critics and listeners across the globe. Ultimately, this gave “Landmark” a little more initial hype, leaving many people (including myself) waiting anxiously for this release. In the end, it got a really great response from the music community, whether it be previous fans or newly-introduced critics.
Some of my favorites from this album include “Poems”, “Western Kids”, “Simple Season”, and “Buttercup”.
2. Booty Shakers Ball // Vista Kicks
Released: September 15th
Vista Kicks, one of my favorite bands of all time, came out with their debut album this past September.
After watching them grow from a three-part group called “BABE” to what is now the four-part “Vista Kicks”, I was eager to see what these guys would do next. Their “Chasing Waves” EP, released in 2016, was an amazing collection of energy and spunk. I was desperately hoping they’d be able to outdo themselves.
Without a doubt, I can say that they did. Vista Kicks brought us back to the 70s and 80s with their funk-rock sound throughout the album. There is passion and groove and strife within every track. The lyrics will get you thinking, and the music will get you dancing.
Vista Kicks turned some heads with the thrilling opening track “Gotta Get Away”, which happens to be my favorite song of the year. They channel that same energy with other anthemic tracks like “Fight The War” and “Love & Paranoia”. It is that spirit and intensity that makes this album so irresistible.
Overall, Vista Kicks put together an amazing, whimsical LP that shows so much depth and diversity. The four LA boys really brought their A-game with the production of this one.
Some of my favorites from this album include “Gotta Get Away”, “Fight The War”, “Me & Mr. Rielly”, and “Alice”.
3. Harry Styles // Harry Styles
Released: May 12th
Harry Styles’ debut album topped charts, broke hearts, and blew minds.
Harry washed a sense of nostalgia over our modern music scene with his intimate, introspective, seventies soft-rock approach. Being compared to legends like Mick Jagger and David Bowie, Harry has truly left a footprint on the modern music scene (yep, even with only one album in his discography).
Being formerly identified as nothing more than a member of One Direction, Harry wanted to separate himself from the other four boys and make a name for himself. There’s no better way to jumpstart your solo career than with a number one debut album, right?
Everyone knows the song “Sign of the Times”, Harry’s debut single which ultimately skyrocketed the publicity for this new album. Everyone was on the edge of their seat to witness his next move. And when the album finally came out, it blew up.
Everyone was blown away by the style of music Harry had chosen to pursue (myself included). Songs like “Kiwi” and “Only Angel” provided such a glam-rock shock factor that everyone either loved or hated. However, I instantly fell in love with the newfound maturity and sense of self that was displayed through the music. Every song was so masterfully crafted, and the final product of the LP was picture perfect in my eyes.
Some of my favorites from this album include “Ever Since New York”, “Kiwi”, “Woman”, and “Only Angel”.
4. Mac Demarco // This Old Dog
Released: May 5th
Back in May, Mac Demarco released his fifth full-length LP, “This Old Dog”.
With the release of this album, we saw a whole new side of Mac. He took a more personal approach with the subject matter of these tracks, singing about his father and his sister and the impacts they’ve had on him. The musical components are a lot less whimsical and cluttered than we’ve seen with previous projects, bringing a more serious tone along with him.
Many might’ve heard the title track “This Old Dog”, a seemingly lackadaisical tune with quite a bit of meaning behind it. In my opinion, this song perfectly encapsulates this album as a whole. If you give this track a listen, you’ll get a good taste of of this LP. This song really set the tone for the album, showing fans that Mac might be taking a turn.
I’m proud of Mac for taking some time to reflect and make a more emotionally charged album. He stepped out of his comfort zone by addressing topics he’s never shed light on before. Many fans, including myself, can appreciate the swap of whimsicality for emotion.
All in all, “This Old Dog” is a very strong, cohesive album with a central theme that shows quite a bit of transparency. I feel like this was a step in the right direction for Mac, and I can’t wait to see where his creative freedom takes him next.
Some of my favorites from this album include “Baby You’re Out”, “On The Level”, “Still Beating”, and “My Old Man”.
5. What Do You Think About The Car? // Declan McKenna
Released: July 21st
Last but not least, Declan McKenna’s debut album “What Do You Think About The Car?” lands itself at number five.
For the past two years, Declan had solely been releasing singles and short EPs. Finally, he compiled the singles, wrote a few new tracks, and boom. We have an album!
Early this year, Declan released “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home”, an anthemic, thought-provoking tune that blew fans’ minds. He soon followed it up with “Humongous”, which ended up being the album’s opening track. At this point, we were all stoked for an album.
Only five of the eleven songs on the LP were new to listeners when it came out, but it didn’t seem to be an issue. The other six spots were filled by fan-favorite singles, so everyone seemed to be satisfied. When writing the new tracks, he found a way to tie in the vibe of the old favorites with his newer, matured sound. This really helped the album come together as a singular project.
Declan showed a lot of growth from his first releases of “Paracetamol” and “Brazil” to the release of his first full-length LP. He has begun a journey of revolutionary sound, and I am so excited to see where he goes with his next release.
Some of my favorites from this album include “Mind”, “Why Do You Feel So Down”, “Isombard”, and “The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home”.
Here are some amazing albums from 2017 that didn’t quite make my top 5:
- How Will You Know If You Never Try // COIN
- Don’t Smile at Me // Billie Eilish
- Melodrama // Lorde
- Soaked // Hot Flash Heat Wave
- Somersault // Beach Fossils
- Sacred Hearts Club // Foster The People