Another year, another rundown of my favourite albums. It isn’t easy to write 50 record reviews in the space of a month, but that’s what I’ve done from the beginning of December to now, so thank you anybody who’s been reading. 2017 was the year I started trying to turn the Wooden Man from an internet dump of odds and ends into an active blog that I’ve been attempting to grow, and it’s exceeded my expectations so far.
My goal in April was to get it to 1000 views for the year, which I reached in mid-November. In the course of December and posting up AOTY, we hit just under 1600 views for the entirety of 2017, which is pretty sweet. I have lots more plans for 2018 and some big news to share (which many of you reading will have heard about already), but I’m going to put another post up tomorrow detailing all of that. For now, here’s my complete list of 2017, ranked #1 through #50, which was the basis for all the reviews. Clicking any album will take you to its individual post, and below the list are some thoughts about the year 2017 in music.
1.) Milo – Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?!?! 9.4
2.) Richard Dawson – PEASANT 9.2
3.) Brand New – Science Fiction 8.9
4.) Iglooghost – Neo Wax Bloom 8.8
5.) Benjamin Clementine – I Tell a Fly 8.8
6.) Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. 8.7
7.) Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me 8.7
8.) Elder – Reflections of a Floating World 8.7
9.) Perfume Genius – No Shape 8.7
10.) Four Tet – New Energy 8.7
11.) Protomartyr – Relatives in Descent 8.7
12.) Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun 8.6
13.) Gas – Narkopop 8.6
14.) Algiers – The Underside of Power 8.6
15.) Big K.R.I.T – 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time 8.6
16.) Idles – Brutalism 8.5
17.) Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks S3 Soundtrack 8.5
18.) Jay-Z – 4:44 8.5
19.) Slowdive – Slowdive 8.5
20.) Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights 8.5
21.) Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference 8.5
22.) Converge – The Dusk In Us 8.5
23.) Ryuichi Sakamoto – async 8.4
24.) Rina Sawayama – RINA 8.4
25.) James Holden – The Animal Spirits 8.4
26.) Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell Live 8.4
27.) Angles 9 – Dissapeared Behind the Sun 8.4
28.) King Krule – THE OOZ 8.4
29.) William Basinski – A Shadow in Time 8.4
30.) Oddisee – The Iceberg 8.4
31.) The Horrors – V 8.4
32.) Joey Bada$$ – All-Amerikkan Badass 8.3
33.) Max Richter – Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works 8.3
34.) Godflesh – Post Self 8.3
35.) Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy 8.3
36.) The National – Sleep Well Beast 8.3
37.) Lorde – Melodrama 8.2
38.) Billy Woods – Known Unknowns 8.2
39.) Kelela – Take Me Apart 8.2
40.) Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins 8.2
41.) Blanck Mass – World Eater 8.2
42.) Sampha – Process 8.2
43.) Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up 8.2
44.) Amenra – Mass VI 8.1
45.) Various Artists – Mono No Aware 8.1
46.) The XX – I See You 8.1
47.) Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness 8.0
48.) Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory 8.0
49.) Alvvays – Antisocialites 8.0
50.) Brockhampton – Saturation 2 8.0
So, 2017. The easy narrative of 2017 is the one about Trump and North Korea and Brexit, the one about impending doom and general gloom. And while I’m honestly bored of hearing that story, it is certainly true that politics was one of the biggest topics in music this year. Political music came out of every genre, from the mainstream to the underground, and some of my favourite albums came from artists with one eye on the streets.
IDLES, Joey Bada$$ and Algiers released the most overtly political records of the year, but it was everywhere you cared to look, from Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory to LCD Soundsystem’s American Dream. While I loved a lot of these albums, it’s interesting to see that my favourite records from 2017 were those that were not political at all; instead they were the records that felt like self-contained worlds, records that offered a form of imaginative escapism. File under this category the latest albums from Milo, Richard Dawson, Iglooghost, Elder and Angelo Badalamenti, all of which were stellar.
My pick for the most original album of 2017 would be a close call between Iglooghost’s Neo Wax Bloom, Benjamin Clementine’s I Tell a Fly, and Algiers The Underside of Power. All three of these albums do things I’ve never heard before in their respective genres, and were at the very cutting edge of music this year. For anyone who wants to hear something new, give these three a try.
On the whole, I would say 2017 has been a very good albeit not great year for music. Nothing except Milo came close to surpassing my favourite records of previous years, and only two albums reached a 9/10 rating. Nevertheless, the quantity of great albums released throughout the past 12 months was very high, and I was never short of amazing music to listen to.
I’d like to give a quick shoutout to Frank Ocean’s ‘Chanel’ as my favourite individual song of the year, because I tend to only write about albums and EPs on The Wooden Man. Frank has been the artist I think I’ve listened to most throughout 2017, an impressive feat considering he didn’t even put out a full length album. If I was rewriting AOTY 2016 I think it’s very likely blonde would come out on top, but that’s something to save for the list of my favourite albums of the decade, which you can expect in a few years time. Oh yes.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you everybody for tuning in to The Wooden Man in 2017, and if you check back tomorrow you can expect to find out what’s coming in 2018. I’m really excited for the year to come, and have lots of great content and ideas to share with you guys. Tell your friends, tell your Grandad, save me as a bookmark. See you next year.