Full disclosure – we’re very much in love with Ben Coyle-Larner, and, TBH, you should be too. Having released his incredible debut album, Yesterday’s Gone, in January, we’ve been playing it pretty much non-stop the entire year. A heart-on-your-sleeve hip hop record, the album explores loss, family and friendships all packaged up in absolute bangers that range from making you wanna dance to making you wanna cry (if you don’t at least well up during the spoken word section of “Sun of Jean”, you’re dead inside). A completely bewitching album that earned him a Mercury Prize nomination and will make you feel all the #feels, one listen will have you falling in love with Loyle just like we did.
7 WONDERS: BEST ALBUMS OF 2017
The records we’ve had on repeat this year.
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Lorde – Melodrama
Lorde almighty. Following on from her fantastic 2013 debut Pure Heroine, she’s completely dispelled the “difficult second album” worry and dropped the best pop album of the year. Melodrama is an actual masterpiece, full of mesmerising melodies and anthemic pop songs, with the kind of bold and intelligent songwriting that leaves you finding something new with every other listen. Further establishing herself as one of the most unique and exciting pop stars in existence, it’s the time of our Lorde and long may it continue.
King Krule – The OOZ
Archy Marshall is a spectacular anomaly. The 23-year-old returned this year with the stunning follow-up to 2013’s 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, The OOZ and it is simply magical. Effortlessly gliding between jazz, indie, punk and R&B, it’s an accomplished record that details sleepless nights, paranoia and relationships coming to an end. With his signature drawl and depressing lyrics, the record is both in-your-face and vulnerable, with the kind of gritty gorgeousness that completely draws you in to Archy’s weird and wonderful world.
St Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
Once again proving why she’s the baddest bitch around, St Vincent returned this year with her spectacular fifth album MASSEDUCTION. A biting and brilliant record, it’s an introduction into Annie Clark’s twisted and terrific inner thoughts, full of sex, pill-popping and power as she morphed into her “dominatrix at a mental institution” persona. The result of a few years in the world of the constantly sought after celebs following her highly publicised relationship with Cara Delevigne, the album cuts you deep with a neon and latex drenched sword to create a full-bodied pop phenomenon snarling at the fickleness of fame. It also encouraged us to head out and buy the brightest pair of thigh high boots we could find, so that’s an added bonus.
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
There are not many people who have had a better year than Stormzy. With his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer, he arguably brought grime into the mainstream, whilst simultaneously proving himself as so much more than just a grime artist. Showing different sides of himself, the world got to meet Michael Omari through this album which goes from mosh-pit creating bangers to gorgeously delicate gospel numbers. Detailing the different layers of his life, the record explores his experiences with religion, crime and mental health, in what is one of the most daring and incredible debuts we’ve seen for a long time.
Taylor Swift – Reputation
2017 saw the death of the “old” Taylor and normally we wouldn’t rejoice in a death but hallelujah. The pop princess dropped her fifth album Reputation earlier this year following a complete social media blackout after having her name dragged through the mud and being hailed as a “snake” following the “Famous” scandal. Taking that “snake” tag and making it her own, she came back as a force to be reckoned with releasing a banger packed record taking on all the haters. Passionate and powerful, it’s arguably her best album yet and fully confirms her as pop royalty. Long live the “new” Taylor.
Daniel Caesar – Freudian
Toronto R&B babe Daniel Caesar released one of the most beautiful albums of the year. Freudian, his debut, is a stunning blend of soul, gospel and R&B in which Daniel reveals honest tales of love and loss to create a wildly touching and heart-wrenching record. “The inspiration was just the turmoil I was going through in different relationships with different women in my life,” Caesar explained when we spoke to him for our Autumn 17 Issue. “I was just feeling like I wasn’t doing a good enough job or wasn’t trying hard enough or didn’t care enough. I was trying to figure myself out. Like, ‘Why am I the way that I am?’” An absolutely breathtaking debut, it’s an honest and beautiful record, and absolutely no judgement if you shed a tear at least once while listening.
Bleachers – Gone Now
One more because we can’t resist… We’ve already mentioned some of Jack Antonoff‘s work already in this list – he showed his producing powers on Melodrama, MASSEDUCTION and Reptuation – but his own music is a gem in its own right. Releasing his sophomore album as Bleachers, Gone Now is a brilliant record which works as a masterclass in how to make a fab pop song. A celebration of both good times and bad, throughout the album Jack looks at how his past experiences have shaped him, describing it himself as “after” whereas 2014’s Strange Desire was “before”. Rife with undisputed pop anthems, it’s further proof that Jack is the go-to pop master.