Deepak’s Top Albums of 2017

2017 was an incredible year for music that we as humanity definitely don’t deserve. I guess the best art comes out of tough times.  Lets go through some of the albums that BOPPED this year.

 

Honorable Mentions

Vulfpeck – Mr Finish Line

Amine – Goodforyou

Jardin – Gabriel Garzon Montano

Uh Oh! – Tennyson

The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

25.

Thinking Out Loud

Young Dolph

Favorite Song: Go Get Some Mo

This was one of 3 albums released by Memphis rapper Young Dolph, and my personal favorite. 100 Shots was an awesome soundtrack to survival in the hood and Gelato was a super strong release as well, but this LP exposed a more introspective side of Dolph that was pretty enjoyable to listen to. Plus, these songs just don’t get old. Young Dolph is criminally underrated and deserves to be taken seriously in the rap game. Also, fuck Yo Gotti. 

24.

Homey

Chon

Favorite Song: No Signal

Directly from my notes: Chon are my homeys. We haven’t met but they are. Shout out Chon. Chon has chops. I heart Chon.

23.

Shapeshifter

Knucklepuck

Favorite Song: Gone

Knucklepuck scratch my itch for upbeat angsty emo punk with crisp production. Which is an itch I get pretty often. Saw them live a couple weeks ago, and you can really tell they are passionate about their craft. They’re the best act in emo/pop punk that I’ve seen so far. 

22.

Droptopwop

Gucci Mane

Favorite Song:  Both Eyes Closed

This album is just too lit. Metro and Gucci deliver the bangers. I honestly thing Gucci is making his best music after prison.

21.

Always Foreign

The World Is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die

Favorite Song: Marine Tigers

TWIABP has been one of my favorite emo bands for quite a long time because of their ability to make me want to cry and dance at the same time. Their prior LP’s however, contain a lot of somber moments which could turn off someone looking for something more exciting, or the more impatient listener. This album makes the band more approachable, which in my opinion is a good thing. They also really refined their production tactics, resulting in a crisper product. I’m a huge fan of these guys, definitely give this album a listen if you haven’t yet.

20.

Relatives in Descent

Protomartyr

Favorite Song: The Chuckler

This album really reshaped the way I think of rock music. Perhaps I’m late to the post rock game, but their music first, lyrics second approach dazzles me. Its chock full of replayable tracks, and makes you feel cool and grungey.

19.

Bravado

Kirin J Callinan

Favorite Song: Big Enough

This album is hilarious. You get your somewhat childish, yet surprisingly witty sex humor over production that might be ironic, but its so crisp that you have to take it seriously. The highlight to me Aussie legend Jimmy Barnes practically screaming the hook over a house beat on “Big Enough”. What’s not to love? 

18.

Forced Witness

Alex Cameron

Favorite Song: Marlon Brando

Alex Cameron, like Kirin J Callinan, is an artist I hadn’t heard of until 2017. Similarly cheeky, he writes songs from the perspective of his fictional namesake, a struggling, tasteless entertainer  who is just looking for a good time. He blends crisp melodies and bumping grooves with some jokes and nostalgic elements to create a final product that’s as musically tasty as it is hilarious. The duet with Angel Olson is true to character and simply beautiful while songs like Country Figs are a bit crass but also really funny. With lyrics like “The worst part about being homeless / Is waking up from a dirty wet dream / with a lap full of cum and a head full of steam,” he manages to make me laugh with every listen. With equal parts humor and talent, Cameron has managed to create an album that to me is an unexpected classic.

17.

4eva is a Mighty Long Time

Big K.R.I.T

Favorite Song: Price of Fame

4eva is a mighty long album, but K.R.I.T. deserves to do this and he does it well. K.R.I.T has solidified his spot in the top ranks with Kendrick, Cole and Kanye with this latest project. He stays true to his roots while innovating and bringing us some of the freshest lyrics and production this year.

16.

American Dream

LCD Soundsystem

Favorite Song: how do u sleep?

LCD Soundsystem is my all time favorite band, and this album was a nice treat considering most of us had thought they were finished. Now, it might not be as good as some of their prior works but it still floats to the top when I think about rock and dance music from the past five years. James Murphy and co also put on as good of a live show as ever, its a true cant-miss event.

15.

Drunk

Thundercat

Favorite Song: Jethro

I was turned onto Thundercat from listening to TPAB and some old Flying Lotus stuff. When I finally ventured into his discography, I was super impressed by his punchy basslines and how his fingers fly across the fretboard. But the most impressive thing about Thundercat, in my opinion, is his live show. This latest album ‘Drunk’ has some great moments, but in my opinion, some of them are kind of short lived. For example, on the track Jethro, I get totally and completely lost in it for about 10 seconds then the song is over. When he plays the song live however, they jam over it for minutes, and really open up the melody. That’s what this album is. A collection of fantastic moments and grooves that can be translated into an absolutely stellar live performance. Is this a jazz jam band? Who knows. Im not judging. I’m just enjoying the music.

14.

Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho

Travis Scott, Quavo

Favorite Song: Moon Rock

This came late in the year, but after we decided to include the entire calendar year in our lists, this one definitely earned a spot. (Take that, every other music review site!!) This is one of many collabs this year, and is the first of a couple on this list. I’m pretty excited about 2017’s revival of the collab LP, really brings some flava to the game. This one in particular is super fun to listen to, I’ve had it on repeat since its release. Its concise, well produced, and bangs from start to finish.

 

PS: I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the sample in “How U Feel”. I’m not sure who to give credit for this one, but they sampled a cult classic that was also sampled by Mac Demarco on his Salad Days album. Needless to say, I felt my worlds colliding the first time I heard this track.

13.

Without Warning

Metro Boomin, 21 Savage, Offset

Favorite Song: Ric Flair Drip

This LP came out truly without any warning, and I think that’s what made it so instantly enjoyable. Its curious how singles can either make or break an album release… if the single is the best track on the album, the rest of the album can seem unexciting on release day. I’m not sure Without Warning would have stood up as strongly this past Halloween if there was any sort of hype, or if “Ric Flair Drip” (easily the best track) was released ahead of time. The surprise factor definitely worked in the album’s favor. This shouldn’t take away from it, though, because I don’t think there’s a single bad song on here. If you had told me in 2016 that a 21 Savage project would make my top 25 for 2017 I would have smacked you. But here we are..my words are kinda tasty. 

12.

Brick Body Kids Still Daydream

Open Mike Eagle

Favorite Song: Hymnal

On his latest project, Open Mike Eagle tells the story of the displacement of the residents of the Robert Taylor Housing Project on the south side of Chicago, the city from where he is from. If I am being totally honest, I haven’t even completely digested the album yet. Even Mike mentions that the album is still a living, breathing document.

“the album is a month old and Ive realized its a living document. in my mind the titles change and the story grows.”

Besides telling a very important story in an artistic way, the album is sonically explorative and rather risky. But it works. I ended up returning to this one way more than I thought I would over the course of the year not only for its content but for the music itself as well.

11.

Goths

Mountain Goats

Favorite Song: Shelved

This was one of those albums I just found myself going back to time after time as the year went on. Its rare that a concept album has this much replay value. The mountain Goats are kind of known for this, though, with their last album of my liking being a portrait of a struggling amateur wrestler, Chavo Guerrero. On this record, they moved to ditch the guitars signature to their folky sound and produce an album strictly with some percussion, synths, keys and vocals. The end result is super crisp and nuanced, showcasing the versatility of the group. Darnielles lyrics are concise yet profound as always, and the music itself keeps your head nodding.  

10.

Rocket

(Sandy) Alex G

Favorite Song: Judge

This one took a little while to grow on me, but after a few listens, several songs from this album made it into my rotation. Alex is a stellar songwriter, using a small handful of ingredients to make a product that is way greater than the sum of its parts. Kind of like a good plate of pasta. He delivers traditionally folky voices and instruments in a way that’s quite unexpected from track to track. Each song sounds way different and though his roots in the country are evident, he rarely sticks to the script.

9.

Boo Boo

Toro Y Moi

Favorite Song: Girl Like You

Chaz B is back with a sultry, smooth, and clean trip through the pathways of his mind. I’ve been a fan of Toro Y Moi for a while now and this is definitely my favorite release of his to date. It’s release was also paired with a video which enhanced the overall experience. Highly recommended for just about any situation whether it be a party, a library, or the bedroom. 

8.

Process

Sampha

Favorite Song: Reverse Faults

Sampha is one of those artists who continues to outdo himself. His voice has captivated me since the days of his SBTRKT features and other singles, but with this LP, I’m truly impressed by the quality of the arrangements. There are so many unexpected sounds that fit so well together like baby birds in a little nest. Though its short, it packs an emotional punch which makes it feel a lot longer. 

7.

Laila’s Wisdom

Rapsody

Favorite Song: Power ft. Kendrick Lamar & Lance Skiiwalker

Rapsody plopped herself on my radar with her verse on TPAB’s Complexion (A zulu love). The verse was very unique as far as female rappers go, but Rapsody told me herself to not put her in a bucket with ‘female rappers’. “If they ask you who Rapsody is, heck all this female rapper shit! Tell em I’m a beast!” And a beast she is. This was when we recently went to see her at Reggies Rock Club; and despite having no live band to perform with her, she managed to put together a stunningly hype performance that only bolstered the pedestal we put her on. She has lyrical talent on another level and her stage presence and performance ability are just great. As far as the album goes, Laila’s wisdom gave me TPAB vibes right off the bat. Her ability to weave meaningful lyrics through the insanely detailed 9th wonder beats really impressed me. No need for labels, but Rapsody is one of the greatest rappers alive.

6.

Ctrl

Sza

Favorite Song: Doves in the Wind

You can’t spell UNDEFEATED without TDE. Sza is the label’s only female artist, but she carries the load with grace. A lot of female R&B from the past 15 years or so has followed a pretty standard narrative, but Sza changes this up entirely. She makes herself really vulnerable, exposing insecurities and personal blunders to create something that feels truly genuine. Aside from the emotional quality, the production is on point all the way through. We’ve come to expect this musical quality from the TDE camp, and they manage to outdo themselves on a regular basis. Sza is no different. A+

5.

Greatest Hits

Remo Drive

Favorite Song: Yer Killin Me

This is the Emo album of the year. These guys may be newcomers, but they brought the heat on this album. Perfect doses of witty lyrics, driving hooks, and genuine vocals. I will never stop listening to this album.

4.

Polygondwanaland

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

Favorite Song: Inner Cell/Loyalty

These guys work harder than anyone else in the industry. This is their 4th of 5 albums released in 2017, and none of them compromised on quality in my opinion. I had to pick one for this list, however. They really killed their foray into the world of prog rock with this one, delivering some of their most enjoyable melodies and silky transitions yet. If you want to get into this band, this is a good place to start, but definitely also listen to Flying Microtonal Banana, and Nonagon Infinity from last year as well.

3.

Scum Fuck Flower Boy

Tyler, the Creator

Favorite Song: Boredom

I was not anticipating a Tyler, The Creator album this year. As a matter in fact, I didn’t really enjoy his previous albums that much. … Goblin was decent. However, when I heard the initial singles from this album I was immediately hooked. I was banging my head to Who Dat Boy and vibing out to Mr Lonely. This album seems to come from a place in Tyler’s heart that’s a bit more personal and introspective than his previous projects, and overall the sound is totally pure and genuine. It feels like he’s finally making the music that is on the level of his potential. Kind of like Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love,” this record completely changed the way I look at the artist. Super, super solid. I will keep returning to this album for years to come, and I’ll enjoy it thoroughly every time.

2.

Damn.

Kendrick Lamar

Favorite Song: Element

I’ve written and rewritten this review a handful of times just because its really hard to encapsulate everything I want to say about this album into a concise blurb. Kendrick Lamar is clearly on a level above pretty much everyone else in the industry at this point, with each and every one of his releases bringing something completely new to the table. DAMN is no different. On Good Kid Maad City, he examines his relationship with his upbringing. On To Pimp a Butterfly, he examines his relationship with the world and the industry. On DAMN, he takes it a step further and examines his relationship with the universe and time. And on each of these albums, he’s taken a totally different approach musically. This proves the depth of his content and his diverse ability as a musician. I am on the edge of my seat to see what he can do next. 

1.

Saturation I, II & III

BROCKHAMPTON

Favorite Song: LAMB

Earlier this year, it would have been appropriate to say “stop sleeping on BROCKHAMPTON.” However, it seems like most of the active fans and artists in the hip hop community have hopped on the Brocktrain, with R/Hiphopheads and some of my favorite music meme pages regularly posting content about them over the past couple months. In many ways, 2017 was Brockhampton’s year. When they dropped GOLD in the early spring,  it was so hype. All of my friends were bumping it at parties. Over the course of this year, seeing a Youtube notification for a new BH video was reason to drop everything and watch. And there were no letdowns – the consistency of each and every song they dropped was unprecedented. What’s equally impressive (to me at least) is how they have ~15 twenty something males living under the same roof and working towards a common goal without being up at eachothers throats. With the “LAMB” video as evidence, (where’s my 7 minute version, IAN??) these guys are clearly a group of super close bros who happen to be incredibly talented. Saturation II is probably my favorite out of the 3 album releases this year, but the other two are nothing to sneeze at. I know it might kind of be cheating to stick them in the top spot based on the weight of all three, but what can I say, BH stole my heart this year. I am very much looking forward to “Team Effort” in 2018, and everything else following that. Congratulations to this fine group of lads on a blockbuster year, excited to see y’all on the festival circuit.

 

 

Thanks for reading! Flame me or express your undying love in the comments, I just want attention. Peace and have a great 2018!