January 4, 2018

Top Albums Of 2017

2017 marked a year in which I decided I needed to branch out of my normal boundaries and listen to new things. Having said that, I still didn’t find anything I enjoyed more than what I found in the confines of my favorite genres. I, of course, only speak for myself here so don’t blame my writing partner Adam. There was still a lot I loved about 2017 so here it is.

Enter Shikari - The SparkEnter Shikari – The Spark

Enter Shikari is a strange band. There is no doubt about it. Each one of their releases is different and unique to their own insane style of post-hardcore, electronic, alternative and pop. Their latest album, The Spark, definitely focuses on the electronic-pop style they’ve been toying with their whole career. The album lyrically tackles how many feel about the current state of the world. Despite British roots, it’s still an eye-opening look at how we view the world and sometimes want to get away from all of it. I firmly believe it’s their strongest lyrical album to date and features their catchiest tracks yet. If you can get past this not sounding like their traditional style, I’d highly recommend it.


haimHAIM – Something to Tell You

This is a ‘punk’ website, but I don’t care. I’ve been listening to punk and pop punk my entire life yet HAIM have produced two of my favorite albums in the last few years. I was hooked the first time I heard them and Something to Tell You doesn’t change that. From the catchy and overpowering singles to the bits of brilliance in the middle of the album (“Found It In Silence”), it has everything. From the 11 tracks, I’d maybe be okay with throwing one of them away. Even if you don’t like pop rock, this can’t be recommended enough.


grayscaleGrayscale – Adornment

Adornment brings the perfect combination of what I like to call indie pop-punk and peppy pop punk together. The guitars are muddied with distortion and simple chord progressions while the vocals deftly balance gritty and sentimental. It’s a varied album with lots of bangers, ballads and anthems. It does take itself a little too seriously, but I think that adds to its charm. 2017 was a bit of a disappointment for me with new pop punk bands, but Grayscale is this years exception.


mezingersThe Menzingers – After The Party

This is easily the pop punk album of the year as long as you consider it pop punk. It has the lyrics you want to scream, the fast songs to get your blood pumping and one of the best verse-chorus combos I’ve heard in a while (“Your Wild Years”). To help, the album opens up with “Tellin’ Lies”, which leads the soundtrack to my final year in my 20s. “Where are we gonna go now that our 20s are over?” I don’t know the answer to that question, but this song will help ease the blow.


a3352062051_10Seaway – Vacation

If you love early 2000’s California pop-punk then you should already know about this album. Call it a concept album if you want, but Seaway does something truly impressive with Vacation; they implanted their own modern sound into an entire pop-punk era. Full of head-bobbing choruses and catch phrases galore, it checks all the marks for people looking for that nostalgic tingle. I initially was disappointed with this album because it felt disjointed and lacked a cohesive theme. Some tracks work better than others, but each still plays a part in making Vacation, as a whole, an incredibly joyous summer experience.


julien bakerJulien Baker – Turn Out the Lights

I thought this was going to be a spot for Phoebe Bridgers, but Baker’s second album won it after a few more listens. This is easily the best album of the year to listen to at night with the amazing “Appointments” to kick things off and help get in the mood. If you don’t like slow and oftentimes sad music, this isn’t for you. Turn off the lights, have a drink and let it seep in. You’ll get there. Pretty soon you’ll be singing, “The harder I swim, the faster I sink.”


lovelylittlelonelyThe Maine – Lovely Little Lonely

The Maine have firmly established themselves outside of the pop-punk genre and can comfortably fill the pop-rock role of my life. Atmospheric, superb production and maturity are just the first few things to come to mind when I think of Lovely Little Lonely. It’s a grown up look back at our fondest adolescent memories that are so often blurred by nostalgia. I’ll admit I was expecting a lot from this album after their near-perfect record, American Candy, and while it took a while for me to fully appreciate it, I’m happy to admit I’m there now.


manchesterManchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface

I never fully got into Cope and it was completely opposite after my first listen to this album. From the opening, “The Maze” kicks things off and sets the stage for what’s to come. “The Wolf” is the standout that blows up with heavy drums. Man Orc have always been one of my favorites, but the only problem is that this is mostly a cold weather, rainy type of album. The name and cover back that up. If I could listen to this in the summer, it’d probably top the list, but instead, it’s here. As winter moves along, maybe that will change, but for album that does everything right, this will do.


icarusIcarus The Owl – Rearm Circuits

I want to firstly acknowledge that I can see how people might think the inclusion of this album is biased. Icarus The Owl are my good friends and we spent a lot of time together in 2017. Having said that, I first heard the album only a couple days before its official release. I would be the first to criticize them for things I didn’t enjoy on the album and I actually did so. However, those quips are so minuscule they hardly take away from everything this record does right. Focusing on their love for pop melodies, Icarus is having clearly having a lot of fun here. The crisp guitars and punky bass mark Rearm Circuits as the bands most diverse album to date with several tracks fighting for my title of favorite.


japanJapandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Paramore was set for this spot, but like their previous album, had too much filler to put in the top 5. Japandroids received a lot of criticism for this album, which didn’t make sense to me. Five years removed from Celebration Rock and I think they did everything needed. I was hooked a minute into the first song and it never stopped. “Arc Of Bar” is in the discussion for best song of the year coming in at seven minutes and 25 seconds. If you don’t like that song, you don’t like music. And if you want an album full of bangers, this is it.


Written by:  Adam Zdroik & Patrick Marion

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