Earbuddy’s 100 Best Albums of 2017


2017 finally comes to an end. This year will go down as one of the strangest, sometimes progressive, and sometimes not progressive years in our history. But I’m not going to dwell on politics, sexual misconduct, or anthem protests. Rather, I’m going to present Earbuddy’s Best Albums of 2017 (there might be one EP in there…shh, it’s okay). I should add that instead of breaking up our list into 5 days of coverage, we’re giving it to you all at once. It’s a Christmas miracle! So let us know what we GOT wrong on our Facebook page or in the comments or keep those nasty diatribes to yourselves.

100. Kirin J Callinan – Bravado
99. Brandon Can’t Dance – Graveyard of Good Times
98. WALL – Untitled LP
97. The Cairo Gang – Untouchable
96. The Bug and Earth – Concrete Desert
95. This Is the Kit – Moonshine Freezes
94. The Mynabirds – Be Here Now
93. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
92. Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent
91. James Vincent McMorrow – True Care
90. Diet Cig – Swear I’m Good At This
89. Caddywhompus – Odd Hours
88. Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound
87. Odonis Odonis – No Pop
86. Acceptance – Colliding By Design
85. David Bazan – Care
84. Arca – Arca
83. Jay Som – Everybody Works
82. Pallbearer – Heartless
81. Lovely Dark – New Born
80. Ben Frost – The Centre Cannot Hold
79. Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
78. Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins
77. Joey Bada$$ – All-Amerikkkan Bada$$
76. Happy Hollows – Concordia
75. Nurses – Naughtland
74. Laura Marling – Super Femina
73. The Weather Station – The Weather Station
72. Clark – Death Peak
71. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface
70. The National – Sleep Well Beast
69. Slowdive – Slowdive
68. Single Mothers – Our Pleasure
67. Ten Fé – Hit The Light
66. Dasher – Sodium
65. Tei Shi – Crawl Space
64. Citris – Panic in Hampton Bays
63. Spoon – Hot Thoughts
62. Lapalux – Ruinism
61. Middle Kids – Middle Kids
60. B Boys – Dada
59. Chastity Belt – I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone
58. Bedouine – Bedouine
57. WHY? – Moh Lhean
56. Uniform – Wake In Fright
55. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
54. Future Islands – The Far Field
53. HAIM – Something To Tell You
52. Sorority Noise – You’re Not As ______ As You Think
51. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
50. Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm
49. Queens of the Stone Age – Villains
48. Peter Silberman – Impermanence
47. Katie Von Schleicher – Shitty Hits
46. Fever Ray – Plunge
45. The Drums – Abysmal Thoughts
44. Algiers – The Underside of Power
43. Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time
42. Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother
41. Shilpa Ray – Door Girl
40. Cherry Glazerr – Apocalipstick
39. Briana Marela – Call It Love
38. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog
37. Hundred Waters – Communicating
36. Sheer Mag – Need To Feel Your Love
35. Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
34. Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives
33. Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator
32. Syd – Fin
31. Kesha – Rainbow
30. Björk – Utopia
29. The Afghan Whigs – In Spades
28. Sun Kil Moon – Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood
27. King Krule – The Ooz
26. Deerhoof – Mountain Moves
25. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
24. Thundercat – Drunk
23. Alex Cameron – Forced Witness
22. The xx – I See You
21. P.O.S – Chill, dummy
20. The Horrors – V
19. Run The Jewels – RTJ3
18. Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man
17. Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet
16. Jay-Z – 4:44
15. Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
14. (sandy) Alex G – Rocket
13. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest
12. Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry
11. Casey Dienel – Imitation Of A Woman To Love


Big Thief Capacity

10. Big Thief – Capacity

Just last year Big Thief released their debut album. That album was called Masterpiece. While it was undoubtedly pretty great, it seems their real masterpiece came this year as Capacity. Just what did they do this time? Well, the songwriting was absolutely killer with frontwoman Adrianne Lenker stealing our attention with jaw-dropping personal revelations (especially on “Mythological Beauty”). Capacity hits with a thundering force but does it quietly.

— Nick Krenn

fleet foxes crack-up

9. Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up

Call it bloated, call it self-indulgent; however, if you call it either of those things, maybe you don’t want much from your music. Robin Pecknold returns to his beloved Fleet Foxes project to give listeners a vast, awe-inspiring collection of orchestral folk. This is the kind of music to cozy up to on a Sunday morning. Spend time with it, delve into the mysteries that Pecknold buried inside it. You might find that it’s not self-indulgent but smart and of course, gorgeous.

— Nick Krenn


8. Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

If we were to use injuries as metaphors for greatness, then Sprained Ankle certainly sums up Julien Baker’s first album. However, her sophomore effort, Turn Out The Lights, is a compound fracture. Needless to say, she makes a huge splash on her Matador debut, exceeding the promised potential of her first album and establishing herself as one of indie’s strongest songwriters. Deeply personal, this is an album that will speak to many listeners, especially ones dealing with anxiety and mental illness.

— Nick Krenn

lorde melodrama

7. Lorde – Melodrama

Was there a better pop album than Lorde’s Melodrama this year? Even if you abhor all things mainstream, there’s no denying the stellar singles on Melodrama. It’s an album that takes a familiar subject — break-up — but doles out some bangers with it. You want the green light for this one? You got it.

— Nick Krenn

Perfume Genius No Shape

6. Perfume Genius – No Shape

No Shape proves that families still aren’t safe as long as Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, is sashaying. Too Bright with its stellar single, “Queen”, was Hadreas’s breakout album, but No Shape is a more definitive statement. And although the album’s title is “No Shape,” the songs are quite shapely; filled to the brim with enchanting arrangements and of course, Hadreas’s always solid songwriting.

— Nick Krenn

kendrick lamar damn

5. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

Okay, so Kendrick Lamar’s official follow-up to How To Pimp A Butterfly isn’t How To Pimp A Butterfly. But let’s face it, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece, which are few and far between. However, Kendrick still does what Kendrick does on DAMN. with big songs like “HUMBLE.”, “DNA.”, and “DUCKWORTH.” standing up on their own against entire hip-hop albums and coming out on top. All we can say is “DAMN.”

— Nick Krenn


4. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

The Big Fish Theory is the most thrilling half-hour of music of the year. It is at once deconstruction of dancefloor culture as well as celebration, with Vince Staples bemoaning its vapid and self-destructive tendencies over funky electronica that demands attention and commands your feet. It’s perfect pop, really, with something for the boys in the corner to meaningfully digest while working as indelible ear candy, and given Staples’s stated lack of interest in following trends and repeating himself, I can’t begin to guess in what direction he’s going to go from here.

— John Downey


3. TORRES – Three Futures

Three albums…Three Futures. Third time is the charm if Torres, aka Mackenzie Scott, didn’t already do it twice before. Still, Three Futures is Scott’s best album yet, easily propelling her to a new status, right up there with St. Vincent. She, by the way, released an album this year, which appeared earlier in our Top 100. That Torres’s new album lands so far ahead should tell you how special this one really is. And if you’ve yet to hear Scott, this is the album to make yourself familiar.

— Nick Krenn

father john misty pure comedy

2. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

No surprise that Father John Misty lands so highly in our Top 100. I did give the album a perfect score after all (my first ever on the site>. Still, it lands at number two. This, then, becomes somewhat of a joke itself. A taste of the type of comedy that Josh Tillman writes so well into his songs. Here, his sardonic wit is in overdrive as he skewers the history of mankind to current times to even the future. It suggests we’re all a little screwed up, even the ones that claim not to be or think of themselves as champions for those without a voice. Tillman points out all voices are annoying. However, his is particularly enjoyable as he points out the crumminess of all of us.

— Nick Krenn

Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me

1. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me

If there was one album that deserves the most respect and admiration of 2017, it’s Phil Elverum’s tribute to his wife Geneviève, who passed away from pancreatic cancer. The album is not a typical Mount Eerie album, one punctuated by blasts of distorted noise. Instead, the album’s quiet, mostly acoustic reflections shatter the soul as Elverum takes us into the final days with the woman he loved and the days that follow, which deliver gut-wrenching revelations on how “real” death truly is. It may be an album you can only listen to once. But what you learn when listening to A Crow Looked At Me is that not only is death real, but love certainly is as well as we feel the impact of Elverum’s loss.

— Nick Krenn

And those are our picks for 2017! Thanks for reading and supporting Earbuddy! Let’s hope 2018 is just as good.

About NK

I founded Earbuddy to turn you onto excellent music and give fair, unbiased, and honest music reviews. Hit me up on Twitter @earbuddy if you want to chat about music, disagree with what I've written here, or talk about anything else.

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