Every year I post a retrospective on my favorite music.  Here is 2017.

I used to spend a good deal of time building this post, but due to lack of time and frankly a lot less listening to music in 2018, I’m going to keep it pretty short this year.  All these albums are very good, in my esteem.

Honorable Mention:  Charli XCX – Pop 2:  This one is definitely out of my area of expertise but the last few years I’ve tried to buy more pop albums and this one is a gem.  I definitely skip a few tracks here and there, but the overall vibe is interesting and high energy.  Her sound is new and she deserves attention.

10.  Hop Along – Painted Shut:  Great indie band with a different sound and a female lead vocalist that is one of a kind.  Their new album this year was also good, though more varying than this one.  I’d start here if you’re new to them.

9.  Gillian Welch – Revival:  She’s wonderful and croon bluegrass unlike anyone else.  Her voice is a calming salve after a long work week on Sunday morning.  Can’t recommend her enough, but this album is one of her finest.

8.  Gregory Alan Izakov – Weatherman:  This album will always be linked with the week I took off after my baby Olive was born.  It is a quiet masterpiece of unassuming beauty.  The album plays similar throughout, no need to skip a track.  This was the first time I’d listened to Izakov, but it won’t be the last.

7.  Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend:  An album I should have bought a decade ago when it was released.  Ezra Koenig is one of the better artists to make music in the last ten years and has a new album coming out in 2019.  I’ve heard all their other albums and this was one that just eluded me and it is fantastic, better than Contra in my opinion and arguably better than their last release.  If you like indie rock it’s a must.

6.  Extra Glenns – Martial Arts Weekend:  Wouldn’t be a music list from me without a John Darnielle offering.  This is a side project of Darnielle, they’ve got two major releases which I purchased both of.  This one stands out as a “typical” Mountain Goats sound from the late 90’s…and by that I mean it’s just phenomenal.  There are a wide variety of tracks and the entirety of it is eminently listenable.  Have some.

5.  Eminem – Kamikaze:  Despite the crass lyrics, Slim still delivers due to his capability to craft bars.  No one like him, definitely top five.  Rappers rapper, this isn’t my genre, but I don’t know of anyone who has his technical skill.  Additional points at this point in his career for longevity and still being a menace.  He is definitely going to run out of gas with younger generations due to still using terminology unacceptable in today’s time, though.

4.  Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel:  She continues to shine on her solo efforts.  With lyrics that embody all of our insecurities and awkward interactions with one another, she has this incredible ability to relate in songs that you sing along with.  She is a remarkable artist and I’m excited to follow her throughout her career.

3.  Frankie Cosmos – Vessel:  Another excellent album from one of my favorite bands today.  Probably as good as their last release, but slightly less compelling to me personally simply due to it not being a “new” sound.  I listened to this album a TON, and will keep listening to Greta throughout her career.  What an amazing songwriting and singing talent she is.

2.  Snail Mail – Lush:  Wow, she blew me away.  “Pristine” is probably song of the year for me (close second is Sufjan Stevens’ “Tonya Harding”), and the rest of the album has a very high quality.  The last song is also tremendously emotional, and I’ll have it on playlists forever ever.  I’d gotten very close to putting this at the top of the list, but ultimately the density of the best album won out.

1.  Carseat Headrest – Twin Fantasy:  Number two in 2016 with a defining rock album, this year simply had to go to Will Toledo, et. al.  It’s kind of hard to describe why this was such a powerful album.  It’s a remake of his previous work, which I’d not listened to but is available on Bandcamp.  Like his last album, Toledo holds nothing back in terms of creating moods, flipping between slow and building crescendo, only to have waves of chorus come crashing down.  He builds you up, breaks you down and does so again.

Clocking in at 1 hour 12 minutes over 10 songs, there are tracks that you just get lost in and have to check in to see if you’ve moved on to the next song.  It’s the best rock record of the last year, an album you can lose yourself in for months and come back to, much like his last release.  Very few groups are putting out music like this in the rock genre and it’s required listening if you have any interest in that music today.