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  • The Five Best Albums of 2017


    Countess

     

    2017 in music.jpg

    Every year, PHF publishes it's annual list of the best albums of the year; and every year, it becomes a little harder to scrape together enough albums to fill out the list. Over the past decade, the music industry has undergone a period of intense change, thanks in large to the trend of illegal downloads blowing up more than anyone could ever have imagined. Thanks to illegal downloads, as well as streaming services like Spotify, music lovers can now pick and choose the songs they want to listen to without committing to a full album. And with an entire world of music at their fingertips that they must consume, most listeners are now less likely to listen to albums as they are watch music videos and digest tours.

    Still, there's always gems if you know where to look for them, and this list has five of the best. Special mentions have to go to Charli XCX's Number #1 Angel and Pop 2, which aside from being mixtapes are just a little too messy and experimental to be included on this list; as well as Aly & AJ's Ten Years EP, which just isn't long enough to be considered an album. Without any further ado, let's go through our list!

    5. Demi Lovato - Tell Me You Love Me/Miley Cyrus - Younger Now

    Demi Lovato - Tell Me.jpgMiley Cyrus - Younger Now.jpgThis is the first time we've had a tie in one of our Album of the Year lists, and it speaks to the lack of visionary albums that we suffered from in 2017. This year, singles reigned supreme while most artists struggled to create enough pop anthems to form an engaging album experience. Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus both suffered from this plague in different ways; both had clean, cohesive albums with strong visions, and yet the shtick of each sound wore out after only a few tracks, and neither had any real standouts to allow the albums to rise their albums to legendary status. That's not to say that either of them are entirely bad. In fact, these are the best complete works you'll hear from Demi and Miley, with the former finally finding a blue eyed soul sound that she can channel naturally and clearly, and the latter rejecting the shock tactics of yesteryear for a loving ode to her country roots. What they're missing is, for lack of a better word, that 'X Factor' - that air of spontaneity that can make a good album a great one. Far be it from me to suggest a jazz interlude or a dub-step drop in these traditional-leaning albums, but both could use a little pepping up by a master producer like Max Martin.


    4. Kelela - Take Me Apart

    Kelela - Take Me Apart.jpg Kelela is an artist who has yet to quite hit her stride in terms of public recognition, but it's basically a given at this point that within the next twelve months she'll be well and truly mainstream. It's a feat that's all the more impressive given Kelela's artist bio - the 34 year old singer, who co-wrote all the songs on her debut album Take Me Apart, slaved away for years singing jazz at small cafes before building online hype through her remixes of tracks from the predominantly EDM Fade to Mind and Night Slug labels. Jazz and dance do play a big part in her album, but the most obvious reference in the album is by and large Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope, which is evoked through the unique fusion of experimental R&B danceable sounds and vibey, emotive vocals. Even if not a total revelation, the album is at the very least a much-needed second coming of the synthy R&B sound popularised in the 90s, and we get the feeling that Kelela will have a lot more to offer in her future endeavours.


    3. Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life

    Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life.jpgLana Del Rey's first album Born To Die was every hipster's dream for about a week after it was released - but it's follow ups (the too-short Paradise, the inconsistent Ultraviolence and the homogenous Honeymoon) had many wondering whether she would ever recapture the magic she explored on that debut. Thankfully, after years of waiting Del Rey managed to come through with Lust For Life, which borrows from all of her past projects in sound while exploring new territory courtesy of guest artists like The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon. The result is somewhat of a mixed bag, as the album jumps around in style between pretty much every track - but it also leads to a great deal of variety and keeps the listener guessing at every turn. Most interestingly, Del Rey also manages to move away from her "sad girl" persona into something somewhat more lively and optimistic, showing real growth in her character and music. We can't wait to see what her next album has in store for us.


    2. Lorde - Melodrama

    Lorde - Melodrama.jpgI have to confess that I was never the biggest fan of Lorde when she first broke onto the scene with 2013's Pure Heroine. To me, it seemed as though the public was excusing her lack of ability to craft a decent melody with her age, while simultaneously placing her on a misguided pedestal for her youth. Thankfully, Lorde seems to have grown up quite a bit since 2013, and her music has evolved too. Despite the title, Lorde keeps the overly poetic metaphors and strained vocal snarls to a minimum on Melodrama, opting instead for bizarrely vulnerable anecdotes ("She thinks you love the beach, you're such a damn liar"), anthemic, joyful bursts of confidence ('Green Light') and heavier, simplistically beautiful journal entries ('Liability'). There's still a little too much posturing for my tastes (case in point: where she damns her entire generation in 'Loveless' - "We're L-O-V-E-L-E-S-S Generation" - but Melodrama is a real step in the right direction for the 20 year old, and a long-awaited expression of the potential we've been promised by her record label for years.


    1. Kesha - Rainbow

    Kesha - Rainbow.jpgPrior to Rainbow, Kesha hadn't released an album since 2012's Warrior, thanks in large part to an all-consuming lawsuit with her producer and manager Dr. Luke. Even as a fan, I have to confess that I wasn't sure if she'd ever get an album out again at all, if anyone would care when she did, and if it would be as brilliant without the influence of hitmaker Luke. Thankfully, Kesha managed to prove me wrong on all counts - Rainbow doesn't just exist: it's Kesha's best album yet, encompassing all that we love about her poppy party girl persona while also throwing back to her Nashville country roots. Drawing on her very personal experiences with abuse, Kesha explores trauma (the anthemic 'Praying'), forgiveness ('Learn To Let Go') and a reclamation of her own power ('Woman'), with plenty of the fun good time songs she's known for ('Boots') thrown in there for good measure. It's this perfectly struck balance of honouring her past music and persona while still striking forward with a newfound outlook on life which makes Rainbow such an authentic and genuinely affecting album. Rainbow proves that Kesha can do bad all on her own, and that she was right to pursue her long-awaited dreams of making a rockabilly album all along - it just took the rest of the world a little while longer to see it.


    What was your favourite album of 2017? Let us know in the comments below! And for a trip down memory lane, check out the best albums of 2016 and 2015.



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    Charli XCX'sNumber #1 Angel and Pop 2, which aside from being mixtapes are just a little too messy and experimental to be included on this list

    :cackle::cackle::cackle:

    I'm so surprised that Tell Me You Love Me and Younger Now made this list! They are not in my top 10 but these are definitely great albums. I still would rather get a tie between N1A and Pop 2 tho :scamhook:

    I didn't really liked Kelela's album tbh. Like, It really has a nice production and i understand why people stan her, but it's just not my style.

    Lust for Life was the second biggest surprise of the year for me! I didn't really liked the singles so i was expecting a mess of an album but It ended up being an amazing work. Change is one of the most beautiful tracks i've heard this year :yeah:

    LFL was the second biggest surprise of the year for me because Melodrama was THE biggest surprise :yaskween: i thought that Pure Heroine was cute but i wasn't excited at all for this album, i thought It would be just another overrated cd but It really deserved all the praise It received. If i was to do a list of my 5 songs of the year Homemade Dynamite would definitely make It.

    And i was hoping that Rainbow would be #1 while reading this! :yaskween: Just like you i thought that she wouldn't release anything so soon, and i'm so proud of her for this album :fishie: i also thought that she would never top Warrior but she did that.

    Other of my favorite albums of the year are Meaning of Life by Kelly Clarkson, Now by Shania Twain, Places by Lea Michele, and when It comes to male singers i loved Harry Styles debut, Flicker by Niall and Wonderland by Take That. Unlike most people i thought that this was an amazing year for albums and i can't wait to see what 2018 will bring to us! 

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    I definitely agree on Lorde's Melodrama, Kesha's Rainbow and Miley's Younger Now. However, I would discard the other three, and possibly not to put Rainbow at first. I think that Sevdaliza's Ison would easily get a place at the top 5, and Björk's Utopia and Paloma Faith's The Architect also would necessarily be in there. Maybe Tove Lo's Blue Lips is not the best thing, but maybe I would put it in a good #10. I don't know, maybe these are my options:

    1. Björk - Utopia

    2. Kesha - Rainbow

    3. Paloma Faith - The Architect

    4. Lorde - Melodrama

    5. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now

    6. Sevdaliza - Ison

    7. Taylor Swift - Reputation

    8. Aimee Mann - Mental Illness

    9. Giusy Ferreri - Girotondo

    10. Tove Lo - Blue Lips: Lady Wood, Phase II

    P.S.: Sia (in my humble and unrequested opinion) failed to really deliver this year when releasing a Christmas album. Honestly, I would rather have to wait one more year to get a normal album instead of a Christmas album right before the deluxe reissue of This Is Acting. And... KerliFiona Apple and Florrie all three of them had to release an album this year!!!! Let's hope for 2018 tho :yeah: 

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    16 hours ago, victorxcx said:

    :cackle::cackle::cackle:

    I'm so surprised that Tell Me You Love Me and Younger Now made this list! They are not in my top 10 but these are definitely great albums. I still would rather get a tie between N1A and Pop 2 tho :scamhook:

    I didn't really liked Kelela's album tbh. Like, It really has a nice production and i understand why people stan her, but it's just not my style.

    Lust for Life was the second biggest surprise of the year for me! I didn't really liked the singles so i was expecting a mess of an album but It ended up being an amazing work. Change is one of the most beautiful tracks i've heard this year :yeah:

    LFL was the second biggest surprise of the year for me because Melodrama was THE biggest surprise :yaskween: i thought that Pure Heroine was cute but i wasn't excited at all for this album, i thought It would be just another overrated cd but It really deserved all the praise It received. If i was to do a list of my 5 songs of the year Homemade Dynamite would definitely make It.

    And i was hoping that Rainbow would be #1 while reading this! :yaskween: Just like you i thought that she wouldn't release anything so soon, and i'm so proud of her for this album :fishie: i also thought that she would never top Warrior but she did that.

    Other of my favorite albums of the year are Meaning of Life by Kelly Clarkson, Now by Shania Twain, Places by Lea Michele, and when It comes to male singers i loved Harry Styles debut, Flicker by Niall and Wonderland by Take That. Unlike most people i thought that this was an amazing year for albums and i can't wait to see what 2018 will bring to us! 

    I can understand what you mean about Kelela tbh. Weirdly, I think that Demi's and Miley's albums were both more polished than Ke's, but hers had a sense of intrigue and potential that I think comes with her being a new artist which attracted me to it a lot more. :orly: I'm so with you all the way on L4L, I was expecting a trainwreck but those album tracks broke my heart time after time! :fishie: And Melodrama was a great surprise for me, I never thought I'd openly state I like Lorde but the day has finally come... :cackle:

    As for Meaning of Life, I thought it was well done and I love how into it Kelly is, but I have to say I love her pop/rock (or even Christmas :cackle:) albums a lot more. Harry's album was another surprise though, it was pretty much the only male album I listened to this year and I thought it was great!

    3 hours ago, Moonchild said:

    I definitely agree on Lorde's Melodrama, Kesha's Rainbow and Miley's Younger Now. However, I would discard the other three, and possibly not to put Rainbow at first. I think that Sevdaliza's Ison would easily get a place at the top 5, and Björk's Utopia and Paloma Faith's The Architect also would necessarily be in there. Maybe Tove Lo's Blue Lips is not the best thing, but maybe I would put it in a good #10. I don't know, maybe these are my options:

    1. Björk - Utopia

    2. Kesha - Rainbow

    3. Paloma Faith - The Architect

    4. Lorde - Melodrama

    5. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now

    6. Sevdaliza - Ison

    7. Taylor Swift - Reputation

    8. Aimee Mann - Mental Illness

    9. Giusy Ferreri - Girotondo

    10. Tove Lo - Blue Lips: Lady Wood, Phase II

    P.S.: Sia (in my humble and unrequested opinion) failed to really deliver this year when releasing a Christmas album. Honestly, I would rather have to wait one more year to get a normal album instead of a Christmas album right before the deluxe reissue of This Is Acting. And... KerliFiona Apple and Florrie all three of them had to release an album this year!!!! Let's hope for 2018 tho :yeah: 

    :orly: I've never even heard of Sevdaliza, do we have a thread on her? If you say she's that good I definitely wanna check her out! I haven't listened to Paloma's album yet although I did adore the first single, but Björk is a little too experimental to me. I wouldn't say Tove Lo's messy album was anywhere near the top ten though but that's just me... :cackle: I agree with you on Sia though, it was nice to have some Christmas bops but like the majority of Sia's stuff I didn't feel her heart was really in it.

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    5 hours ago, Countess said:

    :orly: I've never even heard of Sevdaliza, do we have a thread on her? If you say she's that good I definitely wanna check her out! I haven't listened to Paloma's album yet although I did adore the first single, but Björk is a little too experimental to me. I wouldn't say Tove Lo's messy album was anywhere near the top ten though but that's just me... :cackle: I agree with you on Sia though, it was nice to have some Christmas bops but like the majority of Sia's stuff I didn't feel her heart was really in it.

    I don't really know if we have a thread for Sevdaliza in here, maybe not; I got into her since YouTube suggested her to me. Her music is like electronic / R&B, mixed with elements of orchestra, kind of experimental, but not as Björk... Sevdaliza is listenable since the first moment :lol: Paloma's album is a gem. You definitely have to listen to it! If you liked "Crybaby", I think you're gonna love the rest of the album! and I understand what you mean about Björk, her music (and at least her last three albums) is very experimental, and there's like a lot behind her work, more than only writing; it's hard at the beginning. I got to like BiophiliaVulnicura and Utopia like until the 12th time I listened to them. Tove Lo was in my list just for "Stranger", "Struggle", "She Don't Know But She Knows", "Shivering Gold", and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (I hate how she stylized the album's caps and lowercases) :tanya: And yes, I think Sia only delivered from 1000 Forms of Fear and backwards. This Is Acting was really a play-acting thing, and definitely Everyday Is Christmas is easy to forget about.

    P.S.: I'll try to plan something for a Sevdaliza thread, though I tried something with Fiona Apple and I didn't get a single scrab of success with it :cackle: 

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    15 hours ago, Moonchild said:

    I don't really know if we have a thread for Sevdaliza in here, maybe not; I got into her since YouTube suggested her to me. Her music is like electronic / R&B, mixed with elements of orchestra, kind of experimental, but not as Björk... Sevdaliza is listenable since the first moment :lol: Paloma's album is a gem. You definitely have to listen to it! If you liked "Crybaby", I think you're gonna love the rest of the album! and I understand what you mean about Björk, her music (and at least her last three albums) is very experimental, and there's like a lot behind her work, more than only writing; it's hard at the beginning. I got to like BiophiliaVulnicura and Utopia like until the 12th time I listened to them. Tove Lo was in my list just for "Stranger", "Struggle", "She Don't Know But She Knows", "Shivering Gold", and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (I hate how she stylized the album's caps and lowercases) :tanya: And yes, I think Sia only delivered from 1000 Forms of Fear and backwards. This Is Acting was really a play-acting thing, and definitely Everyday Is Christmas is easy to forget about.

    P.S.: I'll try to plan something for a Sevdaliza thread, though I tried something with Fiona Apple and I didn't get a single scrab of success with it :cackle: 

    I really need to get onto Paloma's album! Honestly, I've just been listening to my free version of Spotify and I can't even change the tracks to what I want to listen to, so I'll just have to find somewhere to download it instead... :cackle: I didn't even see your Fiona Apple thread tbh, Imma have to search for it. :shocked: But I'm sure someone out there enjoyed it even if they didn't comment... :stretcher:

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    rainbow is one of the most boring albums i heve ever heard..girls whats wrong with you the songs are so messy her vocals were tragic i love all her previous record but she losts me with this one ..even johanana was not that bad 

    • Pissed 1

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    On 1/6/2018 at 10:55 PM, Speedy said:

    rainbow is one of the most boring albums i heve ever heard..girls whats wrong with you the songs are so messy her vocals were tragic i love all her previous record but she losts me with this one ..even johanana was not that bad 

    Are you trying to be funny?

    tenor.gif

    Don't make me ban you from this forum.

    tumblr_ot1wouXPG91ueqeo8o1_500.gif

    9 hours ago, nanapop99 said:

    Take Me Apart is such an amazing album :hail: Better, LMK & Truth or Dare is really that 1,2,3 punch :yaskween:

    YASSS! :hail: 'LMK' is one of the strongest breakthrough singles I've heard in years, she totally slays it! I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next. ;) 

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