12 Dec 2017

2017: A Year In Music

Winter definitely is not a highlight of my year, but the day Spotify releases our top songs of the year certainly is! I like to see the recap of songs I've binged over the year and it also gives me the chance to revisit some songs that may have slipped off my radar over the year. 

You can find my top 100 below but I'm going to talk about some of my musical highlights of the year. 2017 will undoubtedly go down as the year of Kendrick. DAMN won Pitchfork's album of the year and the same accolade at Rolling Stone too. Kendrick said this is the album he always wanted to make and understandably so, it's so brutally honest and open. It touches on the current plight in America as well as Kendrick's own demons which have shaped him into the person and artist he is today. Element is my most played song of 2017 according to Spotify, with Loyalty coming third which goes to show how much I was blasting the album this year. 

Another of my favourites dropped an album this year and what an album it was. Flower Boy from Tyler, The Creator is musically his best album, without a doubt. It seems as if he's done with the 'shock rap' in which he/his characters were regularly misogynistic and homophobic and the album feels like an amalgamation of his first 3 studio albums. He references being lonely a lot, losing friends and shaking off nostalgia and focusing on moving forward which seems to be a much more positive message than a lot of people are used to, especially from Bastard/Goblin. Overall, the album just makes me feel warm, listen to Glitter if you're ever feeling down! 

Though he doesn't feature too heavily on my end of year list, Jonwayne had a killer year. I guess people would categorise him as 'Alternative Rap' as he doesn't fit the mould of what rappers look/sound like these days. There seemed a time about 2 or 3 years ago where he was about to blow up but personal issues took hold and he laid low for a while. He came back with Rap Album 2 and fully delivered. Lead singles Out Of Sight and Ted Talk really laid the gauntlet down, with pristine production and understandable raps prevailing once again. I saw him live in Bristol earlier this year and honestly, he sounded exactly as he does on record. No backup vocals, no DJ behind him, just one man and his beat machine. As a pure live rap experience, he's the best I've ever seen live. 

Another act I saw live this year were The XX. Their album I See You is definitely in my top 10 of this year, with Lips being my favourite track. As far as track records go, The XX's is pretty bloody clean and they've nailed yet another album. Coexist and their self titled albums were always going to be difficult to follow up, but who would ever doubt them? It seems they have the winning formula and the winning sound, hopefully their next album is another classic!

In closing this post, I have to give a few honourable mentions to some tracks that absolutely smashed this year to bits. Bodak Yellow by Cardi B was absolutely everywhere and it took me a few months to take to it, but as soon as I 'got it', it stuck. Love Galore by SZA & Travis Scott was also a slow burner but my goodness, what an album SZA delivered! When it comes to record labels, T.D.E seem to know exactly the right time to push their artists, with 2017 and SZA being a match made in heaven. 

What do you think of my end of year list? Let me know yours!


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