We've liked a lot of albums this year. Here's ten of them.
There have been so many super albums this year, when we first started putting together his very list, there were over a hundred we thought should be in the top fifty, but that’s not how numbers work. So, we hit delete on a whole bunch and this is what was left. Nice one.
Some notes: this is part one of our fifty favourite albums list. We’re not saying these are the best fifty albums released in 2017 – we’ve focused very much on what Dork mostly ‘does’ here (sorry, Kendrick – Ed). If we were being accurate, we’d call if ‘fifty of our favourite albums of 2017’, but that seems a bit of a muddle, so we’re being brave and assertive. Basically, music is great. Music isn’t a competition. We love these records. Hope that helps.
If you need to catch up, you can find numbers 50-41 here
, 40-31 here
, 30-21 here
and 20-11 here
#10: MUNA - ABOUT U
Kicking down doors and demanding to be listened to, MUNA’s debut album is nothing short of breathtaking. Every track is packed with purpose, filled with a message of hope, love (at all ends of the spectrum) and where to go next. Flying in seemingly out of nowhere, it’s a dark-pop masterclass that throws them straight into the A-leagues, with a record that’s essential for everyone struggling and clawing at how to deal with life.
#9: INHEAVEN - INHEAVEN
Bangers. So many bangers. INHEAVEN trade in them, and their self-titled debut follows suit. Effortlessly blending eras into one, INHEAVEN’s debut is a continuation of everything they’ve promised, into an album that could be played over and over again with ease. A blistering nod to arena-sized hits in waiting, primed for big crowds and devoted masses.
#8: BLAENAVON - THAT’S YOUR LOT
There may not be a record as staggering and lasting as ‘That’s Your Lot’. While Blaenavon had been showing their chops for a while now, this is a record that stands on its own as undeniably powerful. From blistering indie to carefully mastered alternative swoons, it’s a record that feels and pulls at the most brutal of moments in life, and manages to soundtrack it all in one swoop.
#7: PUMAROSA - THE WITCH
Carefully crafted and measured, Pumarosa’s debut album is a jaw-dropping display of a band whose sheer scale and powers are breathtaking. Patient and raw, it’s the sort of album that should have plaudits falling over each other, managing to capture that ambition they’ve been promising into an album that needs to be played over and over and over - at each turn unveiling something more beautiful than the lost. Study this record; it’s bountiful.
#6: DECLAN MCKENNA - WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CAR?
We knew Declan McKenna would be a superstar, but ‘What Do You Think About The Car’ is above and beyond that. A record that shines on the chameleonic glints our mate Dec has been promising for a while now, it’s a record born to be sung along to and tattooed across the chests of an entire generation. It’s important, and influence can’t be diminished, and as an opening step, it’s nothing short of mesmerising. We’ll be talking about his for a while yet.
#5: THE BIG MOON - LOVE IN THE 4TH DIMENSION
Searing with fun, frolics and energy - ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ manages to capture everything vital about The Big Moon into one punch. Rolling in the free and catchy hooks at every turn, it’s the perfect snapshot of a band in full flight, and can sit as a bible for indie-joy for years to come.
#4: WOLF ALICE - VISIONS OF A LIFE
Gritty and real, Wolf Alice nailed how to do a second album with ‘Visions Of A Life’. The soaring success of ‘My Love Is Cool’ may have felt towering, but Wolf Alice refined and focused their sound on a record that feels carefully orchestrated yet natural at the same time. It’s the sort of record that should catapult them to the A-leagues, an undeniably real look into the emotions and flicks we all go through. An important band, with an important record.
#3: PARAMORE - AFTER LAUGHTER
Pop you say? What, Pop? What? Take those question marks and shove it where the sun don’t shine - Paramore’s return is nothing short of extraordinary, daring to go further than they’ve ever done before yet also ripping down the barriers for one for the most honest records of the year. Blending Talking Heads with 80s neon-bliss, it’s a record of powerful significance and takes Paramore further into the mainstream as a result. Hard Times? Maybe, but they look bloody joyous.
#2: LORDE - MELODRAMA
If there was ever a fear about where the revolution would go next, Lorde extinguished that in a heartbeat, with ‘Melodrama’ sitting as a defiant and all-encompassing masterpiece for 2017 and beyond.
Tying up with Jack Antonoff, it’s a propulsive collection of tunes that doesn’t dally with one stage but always has an eye on the big leagues - with chart-smashing anthems underlaid with emotional and raw tales of learning to deal with the ups and down of life in the 21st century.
Like an eye into the soul, amplified with a mix that makes every track essential, it’s pop done proper - with the likes of ‘Green Light’, ‘Homemade Dynamite’ and ‘Liability’ all managing to feel incredibly close yet massive at the same time.
‘Melodrama’ is confirmation that Lorde is the pop supremo we need, and for that, we should all turn up the speakers loud and have a moment - this is love and defiance all wrapped in one go.
#1: ST. VINCENT - MASSEDUCTION
There’s little shock in the fact that St. Vincent would release our favourite album of 2017. The odds on that at the start of the year would have been ludicrously short. A true pop polymath, her latest record ‘MASSEDUCTION’ was already building on foundations that set up a sure thing move into the triple A-list. To do it in a year that’s seen so many spectacular Big Alt-Pop Albums, though, shows just how all-conquering her talent has become.
Between Lorde’s ‘Melodrama’ and Paramore’s move into happy-sad bops with ‘After Laughter’, an especially strong field simply brought through the best in our Annie. From the twitchy-eyed, uppers and downers ‘Pills’ to the all-time classic ‘Los Ageless’, ‘MASSEDUCTION’ is a record that plays on the biggest of stages. Matched with a live show that split opinions and fired up debate like no other in recent years, and St. Vincent’s move to the gilded halls of legend was sealed.
An album packed with bangers, ‘MASSEDUCTION’ comes from the best stock. Its title track sleazes its way through the neon jungle, while ‘Sugaboy’ bathes itself in baby oil and descends on the disco floor, spilling over with fluorescent confidence.
Add the running narrative of ‘Happy Birthday, Johnny’ and the stirring build of ‘Slow Disco’, and we’re talking of a record that confirms St. Vincent as modern alternative music’s great personas. In an era where everything is dragged down to the dirt, Annie Clark ascends.
Taken from the December/January issue of Dork, out now.