Year end lists are always terrible. I was hesitant to make one, because I know how it makes me feel when I look through music blogs. I’m halfway through an article, only to realize they’re either a bunch of Brooklyn-based bands with albums that clock in at one hour, while only featuring two tracks, one being a bunch of Shel Silverstein poems recited into an iPhone over a Casio keyboard demo track, and the other being a live Smashing Pumpkins cover, or just ten pictures of Chris Stapleton with four paragraphs about how incredible he is. Moms everywhere love him.

Anyway, here’s what I listened to this year.

Joshua Lee – Promise Land

This album reminds me of rainy days in March. Hushed excitement is the best way I can describe it.

Queens of the Stone Age – Villains

The first time I’ve voluntarily listened to QOTSA. The guitars sound the same in every song, and it gets a little old, but Mark Ronson made this a groove-oriented album, and I really enjoyed it. Side note, you know Josh totally meant to kick that photographer in the face. He is an awful person.

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

The most accurate album title of 2017. The same feeling as the last album, just more refined and, well, deeper.

Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge – Mount Royal

An album you can listen to with your grandparents.

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

Just as embarrassing as you’re imagining.

Andrew Combs – Canyons of My Mind

A lot of sad Americana guys released great albums in 2013/2014/2015, then released really bad follow-ups this year to cash in on their new-found popularity with sad divorced dads. Andrew Combs slipped under the radar. While some are releasing the same album over and over, Andrew finds new approaches to the familiar. As a happy non-divorced dad, I really enjoy him.

Jake Dunn and the Blackbirds – Nowhere Feels Like Home

Guitar solos, catchy hooks, big drums, and quiet moments in between. Perfection.

Harry Styles – (ST)

Say what you want. This is pop music at its best. So much fun.

John Mayer – The Search For Everything

Yeah, I’m a fangirl. Yeah, I spent a paycheck on a meet and greet. This is still a great album.

 

Paramore – After Laughter

This is a special one. I blew it off as a weird 80’s pop tribute album when I heard the first few singles, but there’s more to it. The songs are deep if you want to dive in, but they’re fun enough on the surface to enjoy without the weight. My favorite album of 2017.

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