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A whole lot of music has come out in 2017, some of it good, some of it terrible. According to The Ringer, however, these were the 10 best albums of the year:
- JAY-Z, 4:44. It’s an open question whether he’s aware that output-wise, for the past decade or so, he’s also mostly disappointed his fans. But this record is different: more vulnerable than anyone would’ve expected, and better than anyone had any right to hope.
- Lorde, Melodrama. This was the best boldface-type pop album of 2017 by a huge margin, a defiantly awkward dance party for one, flaunting its eccentricities with so much intoxicating flair that the result feels universal.
- Alvvays, Antisocialites. The second album from this Canadian indie-pop outfit has a deceptively sweet and weightless air, the guitars jangling, the synthesizers whizzing like science-fiction lasers, and Molly Rankin’s voice sliding up to a piercing soprano when she gets particularly heartbroken, or particularly aggrieved.
- Spoon, Hot Thoughts. I will never be able to pick my favorite Spoon album, which is a huge compliment to all of them.
- Jason Isbell, The Nashville Sound. In the Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price tier of putative country saviors with a modest but still insufficient amount of industry support, Isbell has the sharpest, surest way with words. He’s a John Prine for the social-media age who can croon when he wants to and snarl when he has to.
- Kendrick Lamar, Damn. There isn’t a better rapper with a bigger audience, nor another artist in any genre so committed to The Album as a Profound Statement.
- Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory. This album clatters and lurches and mesmerizes, its beats ranging from hyphy to house to trance to grime, and Staples’s deep and deceptively casual thoughts deconstructing everything from rap stardom to the prison-industrial complex. It’s a profoundly unsettling good time that gives you a lot of stuff to think about.
- Margo Price, All American Made. A lethally sharp Nashville singer-songwriter who doesn’t have to cloak herself in pompous outlaw finery to prove that she’s both the best modern country music has to offer and the best of what modern country music hardly ever offers.
- Charly Bliss, Guppy. This young Brooklyn band’s sugar-shock pop-punk is a guaranteed Instant Good Mood, channeling ’90s Buzz Bin anthemia at its hookiest and most exuberant.
- Feist, Pleasure. The song is “Any Party.” The line is, “You planned meeting me on your way home / And I tried reaching you ON YOUR NEW FLIP PHONE!” Loop just that part, crank it up, leave it on repeat for several hours, and revel in one of the precious few unsullied pleasures 2017 had to offer.