2017 is drawing to a close. You certainly have swayed your body to these beautiful hits all around the year. Now let’s take a deeper look at the top 25 best music albums of 2017. The list was very difficult to make considering all the great albums that have been released this year. But we managed to draw the list to a conclusion & here it is. Do feel free to comment your opinions about your favorite albums and songs. We will start the list upside down. So hold your breath a little.
#25 Dua Lipa
Artist – Dua Lipa
One hit single does not a superstar make. While international breakthrough “New Rules” continues its scaling of the Billboard Hot 100, it’s the consistently high caliber of English singer-songwriter Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut — a minefield of potential smashes — that establishes her as one of pop’s most promising prospects. From the carefree kiss-off “IDGAF” to the smoky, Miguel-assisted “Lost In Your Light,” the 22-year-old Londoner has set a high bar — one we’re eager to see her vault over in the future.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Dua Lipa
#24 Tell Me You Love Me
Artist – Demi Lovato
Fans already knew Demi Lovato was confident, but she added an entirely new dimension to the word with the absolutely undeniable Tell Me You Love Me. Some might argue that Lovato’s fearless vocal gusto has become a little too in-your-face, but that’s exactly what Lovato’s fans have been waiting for: a record that combines her unabashedly raw lyrics – whether scandalous (“Just tell me when you’re ready/ And Imma paint your body with my lips” from “Concentrate”) or heart-rending (“I’m sorry for honesty/ I could not bear to lie to you” from “You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore”) – with her even fiercer octave-scaling. Demi got something she’d been waiting for, too: a “dream collab” with Lil Wayne on “Lonely,” though even the rap icon can’t outshine Demi on her most spotlight-commanding album yet.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Tell Me You Love Me
#23 Life Changes
Artist – Thomas Rhett
After his top 40-crashing love song “Die A Happy Man” opened the doors for the country crooner beyond his genre, he took full advantage of his newfound crossover appeal with his third album. While the singer-songwriter was hardly afraid to push musical boundaries before, Life Changes bounds across American pop history, incorporating doo-wop (“Sweetheart”), R&B slow jams (“Kiss Me Like a Stranger”) and even EDM bass drops (“Leave Right Now”) into 14 relatable tales about, well, life’s changes. And that diversity was rewarded: In September, Life Changes made the Thomas Rhett the first country artist of 2017 to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: Life Changes
#22 Laila’s Wisdom
Artist – Rapsody
With co-signs from JAY-Z, 9th Wonder and Busta Rhymes — who called Laila’s Wisdom“the best album I’ve heard not only from a female MC but in hip-hop period” — North Carolina rapper Rapsody trounced the competition on her sophomore album with her scintillating wordplay. First, she flexed her ACC cred on the Kendrick Lamar-assisted song “Power” (“Carolina home boy, you know we keep a Stackhouse”) before hosing down her detractors on the swaggering banger “Sassy” (“See these pretty wings, I maxed well”). Last month, the rapper got the mainstream recognition she deserved when the Recording Academy awarded Laila’s Wisdom with two Grammy nominations, including best rap album and best rap song for “Sassy.”
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Laila’s Wisdom
#21 Nervous System
Artist – Julia Micheals
The landscape of successful pop songwriters-turned-performers is one strewn with dreams dashed and ruled over by, well, Sia. So when Julia Michaels, the prodigy who co-penned hits for Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Hailee Steinfeld and many more, stepped behind the mic, the stakes looked rather high — until she opened her mouth. From the first bars of “Issues,” the breakout first single of her tightly-constructed Nervous System EP, Michaels made her artistic identity clear with her beautifully textured, ultra-expressive voice: a millennial woman who embraces the messiness of her life and displays an alluring comfort with her own sexuality. And “Issues” is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Michaels’ emotional range: Whether she’s wailing through the crunchy “Uh Huh” like a Lilith Fair vet or oozing regret in “Worst in Me,” she manages to blend singer-songwriter genuineness with inventive pop melodies.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Nervous System
#20 Mura Masa
Artist – Mura Masa
There was no need to stress over your Friday night playlist in 2017 — Mura Masa had you covered. The Grammy-nominated first offering from Guernsey-born beat-slayer Alex Crossan is a 45-minute dance party that spins everything from woozy trap (“All Around the World”) to plush marimba (“1 Night”), with high-profile attendees like Charli XCX, Desiigner and A$AP Rocky all boogieing in their tuxes and ball gowns. Dance world, take note: At 21, the prolific Crossan is poised to become one of the genre’s leading influencers, and his first album’s balancing act of collaborators proves he’s got both the talent and the Rolodex to get himself there.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: Mura Masa
#19 Flower Boy
Artist – Tyler, The Creator
Hip-hop outsider and Odd Future co-founder Tyler, the Creator has spent four albums expressing himself through the guise of various overblown personas, but on his fifth album Flower Boy, it appears that the real deal has finally arrived. With wide-ranging production work that sounds like the culmination of Tyler’s past forays into jazz, funk, and grunge, Flower Boy proves his abilities have officially caught up to his vision. He channels his outlandish tendencies into a seamless set filled with his most thoughtful, confessional bars — on topics like depression, loneliness, even his sexual orientation — and deftly selected features from versatile budding talents like Rex Orange County and Anna of the North. Its debut at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 was notable for the 1,000-unit gap that separated it from Lana Del Ray’s Lust For Life at the top of the chart, but more importantly, Flower Boy signifies Tyler’s development as an artist has reached full bloom.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: Flower Boy
#18 hopeless fountain kingdom
Artist – Halsey
Halsey’s sophomore album is an all-inclusive dissection of doomed love, made to sound slightly less hopeless with its dive into dark pop production. Opening with a reading from Romeo and Juliet on “Prologue” (yes, she goes there), Halsey sets the stage for one-act dramas of crumbling relationships (the questioning “100 Letters” and Lauren Jauregui feature “Strangers”) and unapologetic admissions of indecision and imperfection (the burning ballad “Sorry” and Hot 100-bounding standout “Bad At Love”). For a year when mental health in music took a front seat, the way Halsey highlights her romantic history through her own inner turmoil acts as a comforting nod. Her kingdom has an open-door policy, and with nothing to hide, she was free to deliver one of the year’s most mold-breaking pop albums.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: hopeless fountain kingdom
Artist – Niall Horan
One Direction’s affable Irishman turns on the soft-rock charm on his solo debut, which, at its most satisfying moments, brings to mind Maroon 5’s earlier, funkier days (“On the Loose”) and Jason Mraz’s semi-unplugged balladry (“This Town,” “Fire Away”). Nashville upstart Maren Morris drops by for “Seeing Blind,” a duet that updates the Kenny-and-Dolly ideal. And “Slow Hands” – not so secretly one of the best solo singles from a former 1D member to hit radio this year – rides a slick guitar line as it meticulously unspools its tale of seduction, allowing Horan to winkingly flaunt his fully grown status.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: Flicker
#16 Beautiful Trauma
Artist – Pink
Pink is the most persistent and consistent pop star of the last two decades, churning out album after album of megapop hits: a pretty incredible feat considering her place in the early Aughts pop landscape was to be the antithesis of bigger bubblegum stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Across seventh album Beautiful Trauma, the singer analyzes married life, motherhood and the state of the world with help from Jack Antonoff, Max Martin, Tobias Jesso Jr., Greg Kurstin and more. A solid LP that successfully avoids mimicking trends.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Beautiful Trauma
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#15 Meaning Of Life
Artist – Kelly Clarkson
The inaugural American Idol’s live shows have always been electric affairs, with the Texas-born singer and her backing band tearing through soulful throwdowns. Her eighth album – and first on Atlantic Records, her new label now that she’s fulfilled her Idol prize’s contractual obligations – is her first to truly capture that vibe. The torch-y “Meaning of Life” and the enchanted “Slow Dance” show that she can still own a ballad, but it’s the upbeat tracks – the refractions of Nineties R&B like the jittery “Heat” and the sinewy “Medicine,” the Earth Wind & Fire-assisted statement of feminine intent “Whole Lotta Woman” – that put her still-formidable vocal power and forthright charm on full display.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Meaning Of Life
#14 Harry Styles
Artist – Harry Styles
If it wasn’t clear during his five-year tenure as a One Direction pop heartthrob, it is now: Harry Styles wants to be a rock star. Throughout his 10-track solo debut, Styles hides his arena-ruling inspirations in plain sight, and it works — from the echoes of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” in the tender “Sweet Creature” to the Bowie-esque grandeur of “Sign of the Times.” Of course, it’s Styles’ own self-revealing swagger that makes the album so electric, as the best moments are also his most confessional: waking up alone in a hotel room on “From the Dining Table” (“Played with myself, where were you?”), or growing apart from a lover on “Two Ghosts” (“We’re not who we used to be”). It’s worth wondering where Styles’ self-titled leaves his 1D-era teenage fanclub, most of whom were decades from being born when the artists he best evokes were at their peaks. But what’s more telling is that he isn’t looking for their approval: If rock stardom in 2017 means staying true to oneself above all — and letting the screaming fans follow as they may — Styles is headed in the right direction.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: Harry Styles
Artist – Kesha
A nation that loves a triumphal second act got the soundtrack for the #MeToo generation with Kesha Rose Sebert’s heart-exploding third album. After a prolonged, potentially career-killing battle with her one-time mentor/alleged tormentor, Kesha rose like a glitter-caked phoenix on this Grammy-nominated collection of inspirational pop and country anthems about empowerment, determination and a refusal to let the bastards get you down (“Bastards”). Before headlines exploded with endless tales of male misdeeds this fall, Kesha pre-loaded a 14-track playlist about refusing to sit idly by and accept what they say about you (or try to do to you). From the soaring, self-affirming anthem “Praying,” to raucous rockers (“Boogie Feet” feat. Eagles of Death Metal) and downright silly romantic parables (“Godzilla”), the formerly dollar-signed singer finally got a chance to show us all the colors of her rainbow, and they were beautiful. “Don’t let those losers take your magic, baby.”
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Rainbow
#12 Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1
Artist – Calvin Harris
Never let these n—as ride your wave,” Quavo cautioned on a Drake hook in March. Three months later, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 dropped as Calvin Harris’ blissful LP-length repudiation of that mentality, in which he invited all his most famous friends over to share the same electro-funk nostalgia trip to a pop era that may have only occurred in their collective subconscious. The effect of the ten-track set is like attending one of those swank ’70s Hollywood house parties from retro pseudo-noirs, too glamorous, star-studded and debaucherous to seem possible in real life. Holy shit, is that Snoop Dogg mixing screwdrivers at the bar? Frank Ocean, since when does he show up to these kinds of shindigs? And I could’ve sworn that was Ariana Grande we just passed in line for the bathroom. Man, we gotta come to Calvin’s place more often.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1
#11 Lust For Life
Artist – Lana Del Rey
“Part of the past, but now you’re the future,” Lana Del Rey sings on Lust for Life‘s opening track, “Love,” as the bass hollows out a cavernous space that connects Phil Spector to Atlanta trap. Del Rey’s fifth album drifts along on a sunset cloud so familiar and comforting, it’s easy to miss how focused and quietly audacious this music is. She shuffles mythic figures like she’s scrolling contacts in her phone. The lyrics invoke Iggy Pop, Patsy Cline, Brian Wilson and Led Zeppelin; the guests include the Weeknd, Stevie Nicks, A$AP Rocky and Sean Ono Lennon. Whatever she needs to invoke the weightlessness of life in our new not-normal, she takes. “Is it the end of an era? Is it the end of America?” she intones in “When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing.” “No, it’s only the beginning.” As true, and as terrifying, a thought as any song this year produced.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Lust For Life
#10 After Laughter
Artist – Paramore
Who wants to waste their years being fake happy? 2013’s self-titled LP brought Warped Tour grads Paramore their biggest Hot 100 hit to date, but frontwoman Hayley Williams was often mired in the stress of an unstable lineup, which almost ended the group for good. Down one longtime member but up another, Paramore regrouped with the sparkling, self-assured After Laughter — a modern Talking Heads-meets-Tango in the Night masterstroke — just as much a love letter to their fans as it was to themselves. Williams and company ditched the more commercial-focused rollout of their previous LP, conquered their personal demons, and in turn, got to bask in the glory of their most cohesive album to date. Sure, we can only imagine an alternate universe where “Hard Times” is a bona fide top 40 smash — it topped out at No. 90 on the Hot 100 — but After Laughter remains a triumph. Thanks to the set’s limber grooves, heartbreaking lyrics, and ultra-relatable 20-something world-weariness, Paramore decisively proved there’s life after pop-punk.
Listen to their album on Google Play Music: After Laughter
#09 The Thrill Of It All
Artist – Sam Smith
Sam Smith is a fluid soul man, with style channeling Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles alongside modern icons like Amy Winehouse and Adele. The follow-up to his massive In The Lonely Hour leads with That Voice, and what it lacks in the club beats that were his early signature (see Disclosure’s “Latch”), it more than makes up for in dazzling, falsetto-barbed vocal pyrotechnics. The standout is “Him,” an uplifting tear-jerker about queer love and cultural intolerance that, in its understated, gospel-charged way, is an LGBTQ civil rights anthem. It’s the sound of a gay man intent on reaching a universal audience on his own terms, and succeeding handsomely.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: The Thrill Of It All
Artist – Taylor Swift
The bad blood is coming from inside the house! After laying low for months, Taylor made a spectacularly bold return with this glittering palace of luxurious grudges and crystalline trap beats. The heel turn of “Look What You Made Me Do” is one for the history books, and pop scholars will likely debate for generations whether it was a brilliant P.R. coup or an epically tone-deaf move. Luckily, the singles are only half the story with Reputation, whose ultra-polished surface conceals some of Swift’s realest, most lived-in songs ever. On “Dress,” she’s high on the rush of a new romantic thrill; on “New Year’s Day,” she’s trying to figure out what she has after the party’s over. It adds up to a pointed reminder that Her Royal Swiftness can reclaim her place at pop’s cutting edge whenever she feels like it.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Reputation
Artist – Future
If the self-titled album that arrived the week before was more along the lines of “mixtape Future” — harder, darker, more aggressive — then this set, featuring collaborations with top 40 fixtures Rihanna (“Selfish”) and The Weeknd (“Comin Out Strong”), showed off a more experimental and yet more accessible Future. The soaring melodies of “Incredible,” “Fresh Air” and “Keep Quiet” feel like steps towards arena status, while songs like “Lookin Exotic” and “Neva Missa Lost” are extravagant and brooding in turn. The one-two punch of the penultimate “Solo” and finale “Sorry” are among Future’s most emotionally-revealing and introspective, showing bold-as-love Future to be one of his strongest incarnations yet.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: HNDRXX
Artist – Jay Z
The self-proclaimed Michael Jordan of rap proved his jump shot was still automatic when he released his 13th solo album 4:44 in June. After being sacked by the media for his infidelity toward his superstar wife Beyoncè, JAY-Z eschewed his legendary bravado and mustered up the courage to voice his failures as a husband and father to the masses. “Kill JAY-Z” enabled the revered MC to shatter his pretentious ego, while the title track helped him sweep away the skeletons that haunted his much-publicized marriage. When Hov wasn’t roughing himself up, he saved a couple punches for his foes on “Bam,” and schooled hip-hop rookies on the do’s and don’t’s of the culture on “Moonlight” (“Y’all n—as still signin’ deals?”) His newly crowned opus was rewarded with eight Grammy nominations last month including his first for album of the year, proving that the hip-hop G.O.A.T. is still a title contender.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: 4:44
Artist – Lorde
At age 20, the teen prodigy of “Royals” raised the bar, marrying the massive vistas of electronic music alongside the human-scaled and handmade on her second LP, with help from co-producer Jack Antonoff. The invulnerable high-school snark broadened into a wider emotional palette – musical too, with guitars and brass lacing through synthetic beats and dub effects. At its most ambitious, it could recall art-rock godmother Kate Bush (see the single “Green Light”). But its greatest achievement was making 21st century pop feel as genuinely intimate as it did hugely. A record that should stand as a touchstone for young pop hopefuls for years to come.
Listen to her album on Google Play Music: Melodrama
#04 American Teen
Artist – Khalid
Sure, the GPS-directed slow jam “Location” was an inventive and enjoyable surprise hit, but no one expected Texas teen Khalid to drop an instant classic in 2017 – debut albums aren’t supposed to be this fully realized, and lyrics from 8Teens who still live with their parents aren’t typically this smart. But American Teen is the mélange of ’60s soul, ’80s synth-pop and 2010s alt-R&B that America never knew it needed, and Khalid’s laconic delivery — like Frank Ocean and Bob Dylan before him — is the sign of a preternatural talent: Passionate but world-weary, lost but strangely self-assured, naïve but wise. Let’s hope the future’s foundation is in American teens like this.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: American Teen
#03 More Life
Artist – Drake
If More Life was any indication, Drake could release an album (err, “playlist”) every year for an eternity and fans will still flock to it. His tenth release in nine years (and seventh straight No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart) saw all 22 of its tracks hit the Billboard Hot 100 — two additional hits brought his one-week total to a record-breaking 24 simultaneous chart entries. But More Life earns its spot as one of the top blockbusters of the year on the strength of its breezy warm-weather sounds (evident on “Get It Together,” “Madiba Riddim,” and the sublime fan-demanded single “Passionfruit”), and the fresh faces from overseas that Drake brings to the forefront (Sampha, Jorja Smith and Giggs, to name a few). Wasn’t just the newcomers that Aubrey invited on his globe-trotting yacht party either — he even brings out Kanye West for a rare feature in “Glow,” Yeezy’s only Hot 100 hit of 2017.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: More Life
#02 ÷ (Divide)
Artist – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran took 2017 by storm right out of the gate with two top 10 hit singles from his third record, including the year’s most-streamed track on Spotify, the inescapably catchy “Shape Of You.” Impressive numbers aside, Sheeran’s double-Platinum-certified third album was quintessentially Ed, continuing his effortless one-man show with impressive guitar, singing and, yes, rap skills. But this time, Sheeran brings more diversity than we’ve ever heard from the ginger-haired Englishman before, as he acknowledges his Irish roots (“Nancy Mulligan” and “Galway Girl”), and throws in unexpected African and Spanish flair (“Bibia Be Ye Ye” and “Barcelona,” respectively) — without forgetting to craft a “Thinking Out Loud” sequel worthy of a Beyonce remix in the waltzing ballad “Perfect.” He may not have an album of the year Grammy nod to show for it, but who needs the Recording Academy when you already have the whole world?
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: ÷(Divide)
Artist – Imagine Dragons
With their can’t beat ’em, join ’em approach to mass-market rock anthems, Las Vegas stadium rulers Imagine Dragons build their third LP with Swedish minimalist-pop mechanics Mattman & Robin, who gave the rock-ish personas of Tove Lo and Gwen Stefani sexy shine. But their spacious productions are an odd fit for Dan Reynolds’ tortured dude-isms; the single “Believer” turned his “pain!” howl into a Roman coliseum-scale blood chant. His demand “Whip, whip, run me like a racehorse” on the Joel Little-produced “Whatever it Takes,” meanwhile, is more spring training than “Venus In Furs.” Redeeming moments come via Alex Da Kid, producer of the Dragons’ mega-hit “Radioactive.” See “Yesterday,” a sulk-fest whose boozy stomp and goofy guitar solo actually sound like a band having fun, rather than stoic engineers of content delivery systems.
Artist – Kendrick Lamar
Less than 24 hours after DAMN.’s early April release, Kendrick stans concocted a resurrected Christ conspiracy theory about the album from the MacGyver-like materials of a Soundwave tweet, the album artwork, a Spotify photo, and DAMN.’s opening skit. This Reddit gospel foretold of a second project, possibly titled NATION(get it?), that would feature blue artwork (the Crips!) and drop Easter Sunday (“and on the third day, Kendrick Duckworth was raised”). It was highly representative of how forum culture super-processes pop culture (to say nothing of complex geopolitical situations). It was also nonsense.
At this moment in American history, we want to believe and trust in someone, especially someone who seems to apprehend the world on a different level. It’s unsurprising that this particular theory cast Kendrick Lamar as Jesus Christ — he’s currently starring in rap’s Greatest Story Ever Told, about the Compton MC who glimpsed ’Pac and Dre as a child and then grew up to be one of the best to ever do it. Like sports junkies, rap fans obsessively track wins and losses in the competitive quantifying of classic runs and G.O.A.T. rankings; since Kendrick began his work in earnest, with 2011’s Section.80, he hasn’t slipped in the standings.
And it is so satisfying to watch him exercise his power. Like when he tells punk-ass Geraldo Rivera “Fuck your life,” before launching into one of the most blistering verses of the year, on Mike WiLL Made-It’s spastically produced “DNA.” Or when he lands the very rare Bono guest verse for “XXX.,” a song about militarized police, Donald Trump, and the rigged deck that is America. Or when he shackles himself to a repetitive writing style on the claustrophobic “FEAR.” only to find greater emotional depth within those self-imposed constraints. Or when he unfolds the prelude to his autobiography, via the fateful intersection of the lives of his future boss and his soon-to-be father on “DUCKWORTH.”
Look, this man really raps “The shock value of my success put bolts in me.” It feels like luck to be alive while he’s doing this, even when American life feels like the result of bad luck — or, more accurately, karma. “Is America honest or do we bask in sin?” he asks late on the album. We all know the answer to that. But we also know that it is the unimpeachable truth that Kendrick Lamar recorded the greatest album of 2017. Now pass the gin.
Listen to his album on Google Play Music: DAMN
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