What is your album of the year and why? (Song of the year ok also.)
December 13, 2017 7:20 AM   Subscribe

It's about the end of 2017, mefites, and I have not kept up with all things musical. I am out of music. I need recommendations.

So: If you had to pick one album that was your big discovery in 2017 - or just one song, if you can't pick an album - what would it be? Why is it so great?

I am willing to accept "this album came out in 1972 but I never heard it before 2017", if that's how you roll, but the album/song has to have been new to you in 2017.
posted by Frowner to Media & Arts (63 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
I have really been enjoying Chelsea Wolfe's newest album, Hiss Spun. It came out this year, and I discovered her this year. It's so great because it's so intense while being mellow at the same time.
posted by sacrifix at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Charly Bliss / Guppy, if only because they played an entire live show as Josie and the Pussycats.

Then they talked about watching the film when they were nine and I wanted to die, but I still love the record... The sound is as you'd expect from a band first inspired by that film, the lyrics are deft, it's great.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Perhaps an odd choice, but Benny Andersson's Piano. He plays songs from his ABBA years, songs from Chess, other stuff he wrote, and it's just him and the piano, nothing else. So you can do ABBA karaoke if you want, but over time it becomes pretty clear just how good these songs are, how much they're indebted to a certain era of solo classical piano.

Now, his skills aren't perfect, but who cares? He (and Bjorn) wrote these, and his personality beams throughout.

It is such a great album. I can't say enough good things about it. Classical fans will like it, ABBA fans will like it. It's just so nice.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:29 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Chief by Jidenna. There's some politics (Helicopters is beautiful and political); A Little Bit More and Trampoline gets me through Friday afternoons.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:35 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

And seeing as my above entry is on a ton of year-end lists, I'll put forward Diet Cig / Swear I'm Good At This for a slightly less widely lauded entry, but just as great, super emotional to super fun.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:37 AM on December 13, 2017

There's this amazing single by Karriem called I Love You that came out in 1979 on a little label in Oakland. It's apparently the only thing he released.

I heard it on x-ray right after a really shitty, really hard therapy session during the insane forrest fires we were having in Oregon. I was driving home in that perma-haze that happens only during forrest fires (or after therapy, dealers choice). It was the exact right song at the exact right time. My listening habits skew towards 'sad bastard' music pretty heavily, so its always a pleasant surprise to have a happy earworm work its way into the regular playlist.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:40 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Modern Kosmology by Jane Weaver is an album that really hit the spot for me. Example tracks: Did You See Butterflies?; Slow Motion.
posted by misteraitch at 7:45 AM on December 13, 2017

Phoebe Bridgers. Her new album is a stunner, and I've been hooked since she released the first song from it: Smoke Signals.

(Runners-up-type commentary: I'll also second the mention of Charly Bliss, who opened for the two Wolf Parade shows I saw this fall. They were such a hoot! An audience comment hit it on the mark -- "it's like Letters to Cleo and Weezer had a baby!" [The new Wolf Parade album is also amazing, but I'm biased because I love them ever so much. The song Valley Boy is a standout, a wry tribute to Leonard Cohen.])
posted by kittyb at 7:53 AM on December 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

Semper Femina by Laura Marling (link goes to a full playlist on YouTube). Marling seems to improve with every album. I can't help but be reminded of Joni Mitchell when I listen to this one.
posted by egregious theorem at 8:01 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed Kesha's new album, Rainbow. There are a lot of fantastic "fuck you, I'm doing okay now" anthems on there (Rainbow, Praying), and also a duet with Dolly Parton, and a couple of cute songs towards the end about going back to outer space and hanging out with Godzilla at the mall.

Songs I've really enjoyed from this year, mostly because they're fun:

Masseduction - St Vincent
The Little Mix remix of Reggaetón Lento by CNCO
Something for your M.I.N.D. - Superorganism

All of my recs for this year are pop/synth for some reason, which is weird given that my most-listened artists overall this year were Gillian Welch and the Grateful Dead (neither of whom did anything new in 2017). Also thanks for posting this, I'm excited to listen to everyone else's recommendations!
posted by terretu at 8:21 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've been hitting up Aldous Harding's Party the last few weeks and really feeling it.
posted by greta simone at 8:24 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Vince Staples's Big Fish Theory, featuring "that song that plays over the second half of the awesome Black Panther trailer." (That song being "BagBak.")
posted by praemunire at 8:27 AM on December 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

LCD Soundsystem's American dream has fit 2017 pretty well for me.

Arca's self titled album for electronic strangeness.

Or Alt-J's Relaxer as a guilty but fun pleasure.
posted by Candleman at 8:30 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Julien Baker's Turn Out the Lights. To quote Elton John, "Sad songs say so much..." Nobody said it better for me this year than Julien Baker.
posted by tayknight at 8:37 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

More Scared of You than You Are of Me by the Smith Street Band.

No nonsense melodic Australian punk rock, with some of the best lyrical storytelling I can remember.

A couple of my favourite tracks:

Death to the Lads

posted by 256 at 8:39 AM on December 13, 2017

Another vote for Aldous Harding's album Party, with Pumarosa's The Witch in second place.

My favourite song this year has been Something For Your M.I.N.D. by Superorganism.

Both Aldous Harding and Pumarosa appeared on the same episode of Jools Holland earlier this year, and I think it's my favourite episode of that show yet.
posted by pipeski at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Neil Cicierega came out with another brilliant/insane mix this year with Mouth Moods.

If you like things laid back like 70s singer-songwriters, the new album from Sinkane, Life and Livin' It is great, and so is Chris Schlarb's Psychic Temple IV.

If you like things weird and dreamy, Sufjan released an album of semi-orchestral song cycle based on the planets with some of the dudes from the National: Planetarium, and Sound of Ceres has a new one, The Twin.
posted by sleeping bear at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

2017 saw the return of Shoegaze with new albums from Ride and Slowdive. And they are both great.

On the back of this I also discovered the solo albums by Slowdive's Neil Halstead. More folky than shoegazey, Palindrome Hunches is my personal favourite.
posted by jontyjago at 8:54 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lucinda Williams' Ghosts of Highway 20 came out in 2016, but it took me a year, more or less, to listen to it. And it is really really really great.
posted by velveeta underground at 8:55 AM on December 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I don't know if you like hip-hop, but Kendrick Lamar's DAMN is the shit. It came out in April of this year.

I'm not a fan of much hip-hop, to be honest, but this man! His lyrics are amazing, and he doesn't care what other rappers are doing, he does his own thing.
posted by droplet at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

i find I can't talk about just one, or even two, as albums seem to colonise my head for a month or two, so my albums of the year are (in no particular order, except roughly that in which I heard them, and with Spotify links, apologies if that doesn't work for you):

Triomphe by La Féline
La Féline is Agnes Gayraud, who is an academic in civilian life.

Ouh là là by Juniore
French indie-pop: 60s-style songs with a garage/surf sort of production style. Very ear worm.

Halo by Juana Molina
Latest album by the magnificent, idiosyncratic Argentinean singer-songwriter.

Hippopotamus by Sparks
Latest album by veteran pop jokesters. They've been slyly fantastic for many years, but it's nice that this one caught fire in some small way.

I assume this doesn't need any introduction. I think it's fab, though.

Peasant by Richard Dawson
A set of songs that appear to be about the north-east of England around 700AD, but also captures what it feels like to live now, in some ways. Raw performances, aching melodies, fantastic lyrics. Many people find it difficult, but I think it's a genuinely great record, and one that will resonate for a long time.

Parabolabandit by Sequoya Tiger
Sequoya Tiger is Leila Gharib from Verona and she plays minimalist electropop - one moment channelling Depeche Mode, another Radiophonic Workshop sounds, another too-wop.
posted by Grangousier at 8:57 AM on December 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have a spotify playlist for this, if that's of interest. It's all over the place, genre wise, but it may be worth a skip around.

But at the moment, if I had to make one recommendation, I'll go with Pa'lanter, off The Navigator by Hurray for the Riff Raff. Great song about hope and ambition and culture and desperation and change. A song that somehow leaves you a little stronger, despite the tremble, and therefore probably the best we can do in 2017.
posted by Diablevert at 9:32 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

new to me and blowing my mind 100x in 2017 oh geez, if i had to pick just one:

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe aka lichens, he's in Om, he does a lot of analog synth and voice loops on his own stuff, somewhat hard to track down physical forms of his albums but readily available on the inter tubes. otoh this has led to nice talks with record store employees, so. his stuff is really spacious and meditative and never boring, to me at least. i wish i lived on the east coast so i could see him play.

You Are Excrement, You Can Become Gold off The Psychic Nature of Being
M'bondo (version)
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't pick one, so here's the annual round-up of year-end lists.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Little Dragon's Season High came out in 2017 and is a wonderful, largely uptempo work. My media player tells me I've listened to it more than any 2017 album. I usually put it on to listen to Sweet or Strobe Light, and end up listening to the whole thing.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:05 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

EMA's Exile in the Outer Ring, by a mile.
posted by irrelephant at 10:39 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Between Jlin's Black Origami and Jana Rush's Pariah, this was the year that footwork music finally clicked for me. I also really dig the new Circuit Des Yeux album.
posted by torridly at 11:19 AM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Just completed my Spotify playlist of 2017 Releases

Includes: Austra, Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile, Broken Social Scene, The Black Madonna, Bjork, Fever Ray, Grizzly Bear, Hercules & Love Affair, Four Tet, James Holden, Lord Echo, Nicola Cruz, Populous, Shamir, St. Vincent, Thee Oh Sees, Timber Timbre, Vulfpeck, Weaves, ++ some others

For a single album: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - Diaspora
Keen to see what others suggest!
posted by abhardcastle at 11:27 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I posted this in the MeFi thread before I saw this one...whoops!

I can't stop listening to Charly Bliss's Guppy. It just feels like the perfect pop-rock record. Good length, good lyrics, great sound.

That, Vince Staples, and Tyler, the Creator's albums were my three favorites this year. First thing of TtC's I've liked at all - blew me away with how big of a departure it was from his past work.

Charlie Bliss, Guppy - Bandcamp
Tyler, the Creator, Flower Boy - Spotify
Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory - Spotify
posted by holmesian at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound is a brilliant album about anxiety, hope, despair, love and fear. It's full of insight and empathy and couldn't be more different from the polished pop country the title conjures when you first read it.
posted by IanMorr at 11:47 AM on December 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

Rina Sawayama's EP Rina is soo good if you like pop. I love the production.
posted by typify at 12:19 PM on December 13, 2017

Bonito Generation by Kero Kero Bonito, because it’s just so damn fun. Here’s “Heard a Song
posted by doctord at 12:26 PM on December 13, 2017

Here is my list of new-to-me in 2017 music that blew my mind:

Gathering by Josh Ritter (so beautiful in its entire arc)
The Bones of What You Believe - CHVRCHES (can't believe I never listened to this before!)
You Want It Darker - Leonard Cohen (rip dark one)
Sorry is Gone - Jessica Lea Mayfield
Big Grrrl Small World - Lizzo
Black Sea - Fennesz

Praying - Kesha
Midland - the Mountain Goats
Strong Swimmer - Shelby Earl
Dearly Departed - Shakey Graves and Esme Patterson
Wear Black - the Mountain Goats
posted by fairlynearlyready at 1:02 PM on December 13, 2017

Nothing surprising for me, but I think my favorite records of 2017 are Iron Chic's You Can Stay Here (been a fan of theirs for years, but this album hits like an emotional fist and is actually getting quite a bit of positive mainstream press), and Deforesters's Leonard (PUP's drummer started a band, and the guitar intro of Zesty Mordant in particular gives me goosebumps).
posted by General Malaise at 1:42 PM on December 13, 2017

If you think you might enjoy some insurgent country-punk crossed with a Muscle Shoals vibe, look no further than the delightful Jon Langford's Four Lost Souls!
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 2:12 PM on December 13, 2017

Seconding Charly BlissGuppy

Also MisterwivesConnect the Dots
posted by nicwolff at 2:48 PM on December 13, 2017

Daniel Romano's "Modern Pressure"
posted by noloveforned at 2:52 PM on December 13, 2017

I've loved the Fleet Foxes' new album, Crack Up. I nominate it because it's a) lovely to listen to and b) something about the combination of lovely harmonies and dissonant electronic bits mashed together that goes well with the current political climate. It feels a bit dramatic but also hopeful.
posted by stillmoving at 3:40 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

The one I've been listening to most recently and most consistently is Post Self by Godflesh. Why do I like it? Well, to be trite, because it's Godflesh, and because Swans are on hiatus again, and because the latest Swans records have basically been Angels of Light records, who I also love, but meh.

Can't really recall what I was listening to earlier in the year. I was really amped for Fever Ray's new record, but it's just b-sides from The Knife as far as I'm concerned. The latest Godspeed You! Black Emperor is pretty decent, but very low-energy.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:44 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

My song of the year is No Reason, by Captain Foam. Acid rock from 1968. I first heard it about a month ago and it completely blew my mind. It is so heavy and so loud.

The compilation that it's on, Brown Acid vol. 5, would make a good album of the year, too. It just came out in October, and it's fantastic, as are the rest in the series.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:05 PM on December 13, 2017

nthing Superorganism's Something for your M.I.N.D.

Their other two songs, It's All Good and Nobody Cares are great too.
posted by holmesian at 4:09 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I somehow had never come across Galaxie 500 until just recently, and I've listened to little else since.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:22 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

The two albums I've been stuck on this year are Childish Gambino's Awaken, My Love! and The Underside of Power by Algiers (previously).

(I was lucky enough to see Algiers at a small club earlier this year and left the show with an electric thrill down my spine wondering "Is this what it felt like to see Nirvana live before they broke famous?" I predict they'll be playing in larger venues the next time they come through.)
posted by Lexica at 4:28 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Charly Bliss' Guppy is probably my record of the year as well, but if I had to go with an artist unmentioned in this thread so far it would be Lingua Ignota.

In her two records Kristin Hayter, a classically trained musician and survivor of domestic violence, turned her MFA thesis into wonderfully angry music that is halfway between modern classical and death industrial (with Diamanda Galás and Swans as often-named points of reference). I returned to her records this year time and time again, as both the screaming but also the (beautifully) sung parts felt completely cathartic for me.

TW as her lyrics mostly deal with violence against women.

Both records can be streamed on Bandcamp.
posted by bigendian at 5:41 PM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

The entire back catalogue of Éliane Radigue.
posted by flabdablet at 6:37 PM on December 13, 2017

Oh, also, I forgot to mention Rhiannon Giddens' Freedom Highway, another "album of the year" contender for me.
posted by egregious theorem at 8:07 PM on December 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm going to pick a couple, because I can't pick just one. These are all for albums. I'm more a fan of artists and albums than songs.
* Algiers - The Other Side of Power
* Mondo Cozmo - Plastic Soul
* The Lone Bellow - Walk Into a Storm
* Cherry Glazerr - Apocalypstick (Warning: Video is weird, hilarious, a little NSFW, kind of disturbing and this band is really f'n good).
Also really good this year: Pixies, EMA, Oddisee, Prophets of Rage.
posted by cnc at 9:49 PM on December 13, 2017

Going to respect the format of the original post and stick to one album, so let's say:

Mt Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me. Dark, gothic folk written about the death of the singer's wife. Not exactly easy listening, but worth it.

I've favourited other recommendations I agree with, and you might find some interesting suggestions in this Drowned in Sound thread (tends towards indie, but a fairly wide range of tastes there).
posted by Pink Frost at 1:52 AM on December 14, 2017

I, along with a ton of other people, discovered French New House (poppy, disco-y, sexy, chill electro) this year... Recto Verso from Paradis is an excellent representation of the best n brightest in the genre and has been on super constant rotation since I went to Paris early this summer (the album and the song).
posted by zinful at 3:24 AM on December 14, 2017

Charlotte Gainsbourg's Rest. Posted to the blue about three weeks ago. Makes me occasionally cry, and still gives me shivers.
posted by vert canard at 4:09 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

My top five songs of the year are:
Planet by Four Tet
Propagation by Com Truise
Hyperreal by Flume
Red Eyes by The War on Drugs
Indian Summer by Jai Paul

Guilty pleasure song: Kids in America from the Riverdale soundtrack.

Album of the year goes to: A Deeper Understanding by The War on Drugs. The War on Drugs are one of the few bands where I can play their entire album, and equally enjoy every single song.

Runner up albums include:
Electric Lines by Joe Goddard
In Decay by Com Truise
The Days We Had by Day Wave
Dopamine by Børns
American Dream by LCD Soundsystem
posted by carnival_night_zone at 6:35 AM on December 14, 2017

Shakey Graves came out with a new album this year, which is what brought him to my attention. But of his three albums, my favorite is actually the middle one, And The War Came, released in 2014. He has an amazing, gritty, folk rock sound and he's got some songs that are tender, and some bangers.
posted by merriment at 7:00 AM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Shadow Band - Wilderness of Love: Endless knight psychedelic folk is what did it for me. Warbly chorals, stray flutes, completely transporting.
posted by bendybendy at 8:10 AM on December 14, 2017

Sza's album CTRL has been on constant rotation, DAILY since it came out. I can't stop listening to it.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 1:15 PM on December 14, 2017

Tatiana Nikolaeva's 1987 recording of Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues for Piano.

I'd never heard the piece, but her various recordings have threaded through the year. This is a later one.

Here's video of Nikolaeva performing the first boo in 1992 performing live.
posted by the sobsister at 7:02 PM on December 14, 2017

I have really been enjoying Chelsea Wolfe's newest album, Hiss Spun.

YES. I highly recommend this album. This year I also discovered Emma Ruth Rundle. Her last album, Marked For Death came out last year, but that and Hiss Spun have been most of my soundtrack for the last few months.
posted by curiousgene at 10:18 PM on December 14, 2017

Hi Frowner!!!!

Here is my yearly playlist with about 1000 songs that came out this year.

Here is my playlist of full albums I've loved this year.

If I had to pick one, I'd say my favorite record of the year is either Laura Marling's Semper Femina (think Lou Reed mixed with Joni Mitchell), Dent May's Accross The Multiverse (Bryan Ferry mixed with the Phoenix), Charly Bliss's Guppy (That Dog but more DIY) or Why's Moh Lehren (whatever the heck Why is).

Have a great New Year
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:15 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Damn should have read the thread Charly Bliss Metafilter AOTY hands down domination.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:21 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, A Pink Sunset for No One by Noveller. Instrumental, loop-based guitar work. Very, very good.
posted by curiousgene at 3:28 PM on December 15, 2017

Coming late, but:
  • Run the Jewels' third record dropped this year -- for FREE -- and it's amazing if you like hip-hop. Actually, it's amazing even if you don't.
  • St Vincent's MASSEDUCTION is just awesome.
  • We discovered Lord Huron via Pandora at a friend's house not long ago; the most recent record is "Strange Trails," from 2015, but it's been on heavy repeat.

posted by uberchet at 7:19 AM on December 18, 2017

Yeah, hands down it'd be Feed The Machine from Nickelback. Might still like their previously released No Fixed Address better, but this gave as good as any in 2017 if you ask me.
posted by Metro Gnome at 4:47 PM on December 19, 2017

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