Author Topic: Favorite Albums of 2017

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Frostillicus

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Favorite Albums of 2017
« on: November 17, 2017, 10:29:25 AM »
That's right, I'm starting this one early. I feel that Brendan Small's Galaktikon II: Become the Storm is just fantastic stuff, and it is definitely one of my albums of the year. It basically combines the Dethklok sound with Brendan's solo space-rock sound from the first Galaktikon album, and I think it's very well done. It took a few listens for me to really appreciate the album, but now I play it at least a few times a week. You can tell some skilled musicians are behind it (Bryan Beller; Gene Hoglan: Brendan himself).
The only thing I don't like is how low the vocals are in the mix. It's honestly a damn crime, because the music is so good. Previous Dethklok albums (same producer) were mixed much better than this... Anyway, I eventually got used to it, and can appreciate it better, now that I know what he says at certain parts. Thus, it is easily a top pick for me.

Arvis

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 10:39:57 AM »
Last real album I purchased was Jimmy Eat World's "Integrity Blues", which was released at the end of October last year.  :(
"You know, you're pretty cool too, Arvis.  You like good music, good games, and good tennis." - Divingfalcons

Dincrest

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 08:27:59 PM »
So far...

5) Darkest Hour- "Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora"

4) Efe Tozan- "The Last Birdling soundtrack" (The Last Birdling was a VN I reviewed for the site and gave an Editor's Choice to.)

3) DragonForce- "Reaching Into Infinity"

2) Burial Mound- "Relics of a New Age"

1) Sons of Apollo- "Psychotic Symphony"

With the exception of The Last Birdling, I've spoken at length about them in the Song of the Moment thread. 
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Electricb7

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 09:24:18 PM »
Tyler the Creator- Flower Boy.  solid 9/10 for me.

Well mixed and no bad songs. A lot less intensity from him is a positive as well.

D-Rider

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2017, 10:29:06 PM »
Fucking none.  At least nothing that was RELEASED this year.  The new Paradise Lost album is the closest thing I've got to a favorite, but I only like three or four songs off it.  Cradle of Filth's new one has a few glimpses of greatness here and there too, but nothing warranting the label of favorite.

I've had more luck catching up with stuff I missed out on in previous years.  I think I've already played the Jex Thoth album "Blood Moon Rise" more than I've played the last three Maiden albums combined.

TurnerBasedXP

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 02:20:52 PM »
Hanson: Finally It's Christmas. Hands down.

Dincrest

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 07:41:37 PM »
So far...

5) Darkest Hour- "Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora"

4) Efe Tozan- "The Last Birdling soundtrack" (The Last Birdling was a VN I reviewed for the site and gave an Editor's Choice to.)

3) DragonForce- "Reaching Into Infinity"

2) Burial Mound- "Relics of a New Age"

1) Sons of Apollo- "Psychotic Symphony"

With the exception of The Last Birdling, I've spoken at length about them in the Song of the Moment thread.

As I mentioned in the Song of the Moment thread, it looks like I have another album to put on my ever-growing list.  "Qualia" by Analyzed Consequences.  I just discovered this band today.  They're from Bangalore, India (I have family from there) and they're an instrumental prog-metal band.  I love how the music so effortlessly incorporates ragas from Indian classical music.  I always felt that Indian classical music lends itself really well to metal.  "Colour" and "Nerves" are probably my two favorite songs on this EP, though all of them are good. 

https://analyzedconsequences.bandcamp.com/
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Monsoon

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 11:07:05 PM »
DAMN

Dincrest

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2017, 06:50:59 AM »
DAMN

Is that a reaction to the album I linked to, the fact that we found so much killer music this year, something else, or all of the above? 

For me, It's definitely a "whoa!" that I found so much amazing music this year.  Maybe because music re-entered my life in a poignant way, I'm in the mindset where I'm more attuned to finding what's out there. 
"Golly, why can't I act right outside of a baseball game?"
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Electricb7

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 02:16:09 PM »
DAMN

Is that a reaction to the album I linked to, the fact that we found so much killer music this year, something else, or all of the above? 

For me, It's definitely a "whoa!" that I found so much amazing music this year.  Maybe because music re-entered my life in a poignant way, I'm in the mindset where I'm more attuned to finding what's out there.

DAMN is Kendrick Lamars extremely overrated album.

Dincrest

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2017, 06:16:56 PM »
Oh.  (I have no idea who Kendrick Lamar is, so that's all I can say.  I live under a rock and mostly listen to obscure metal and punk.)

EDIT: On another note, my biggest disappointment for 2017 is the self-titled debut album from Prophets of Rage, a supergroup featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and B-Real of Cypress Hill.  Now, Public Enemy is my favorite rap group and Rage Against the Machine is one of my favorite bands (songs like RATM's "Bulls on Parade" and Public Enemy's "By the Time I Get to Arizona" still sound dangerous to this day.)  However, Prophets of Rage sounds rather... toothless.  Chuck D is a rap legend who's not afraid to "go there" and drop intense knowledge and RATM was such an explosive and innovative band... but none of that is present in Prophets of Rage.  It all sounds very superficial, very surface-level, too safe and too sanitized to the point of being almost politically correct.  I mean, these are times that demand explosively powerful music that can inspire a revolution and Prophets of Rage says they want to do that, but this album is too shallow to really do that.  It lacks danger.  The lyrics are hollow and the riffs lack creativity.  I should NOT be saying those things about Chuck D and RATM, since Chuck D is known for his incredible lyricism and RATM is known for their unbridled creativity.  Chuck D was able to rap strong with Anthrax, but is woefully overpowered by the guys in RATM.  And B-Real's performances feel phoned in.  I wanted to like this album, but came away feeling like I completely wasted my time listening to it.  They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and this was a terrible album founded on good intentions.

Sons of Apollo is a supergroup done right.  Prophets of Rage, on the other hand, is a supergroup gone wrong, where the whole is far less than the sum of its parts.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 06:28:58 PM by Dincrest »
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Frostillicus

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 10:26:59 AM »
^ Can't say I'm surprised by your assessment of the album. I haven't actually heard any of it yet, but I did watch some early live performances of the group some months ago on Youtube. "Underwhelming" would be an understatement. I didn't even watch a whole song, it was so ...uninteresting. It's like they are mainly doing it because they can. Not because they actually give so much of a crap.

Rucks

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2017, 02:54:15 PM »
without Zach De La Roccha to prop them up, the rest of the members of Rage have spent a lot years grasping at straws.

Audioslave wasn't a total disaster, but Tom Morello hasn't really hit the musical sweet spot since ROTM stopped making new music.

"This goes way beyond pumpkin spice" "Whale oil beef hooked"

Dincrest

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #13 on: Today at 04:54:51 PM »
And in looking to the future, I'm looking forward to the new Eluveitie album.  Thanks again to some of the folks here at RPGFan for introducing me to that band. 

Their single "Rebirth" (released two months ago) straight up scorches, particularly those guitar solos.  The band lost some prominent members (including vocalist and hurdy gurdy player Anna Murphy), but with a revamped lineup, including a powerful new siren in Fabienne Erni, this song "Rebirth" is the heaviest I've ever heard this band.  And I love it!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-pSq4MJmy8
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Ramza

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Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« Reply #14 on: Today at 07:12:53 PM »
copy/paste from my own facebook feed...

Quote
*The actual time period here is Dec16-Nov17, so anything that comes out next month I will consider in 2018. I think this is similar to how many awards shows do it.
**This list does not include any kind of soundtrack (film/TV/game), or fully instrumental albums. (if it did, it'd just be NieR for all slots)
***List is ranked from 10 to 1, with 1 being my favorite of the year.

Please consider making your own list, or at the very least, responding and telling me how wrong I am!

10. "Divide" (Ed Sheeran) -- This is the obligatory 'add the album to your list to keep mom happy' item. (haha Cathy Gann!!). But honestly, Sheeran is a great musician, and he seems like a decent human. The new album has lots of good tracks on it. My personal favorite is "Castle On The Hill." It's nostalgia-fuel to create nostalgia-gold in your brain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0ibBPhiaG0

9. "DAMN." (Kendrick Lamar) -- I'll probably catch heat for this from some friends, but I thought this album was significantly less impressive than Butterfly. Honestly, I'd take the 2016 "Untitled Unmastered" over this, if only for the fantabulous "Untitled #3." Some songs feel ... over-produced. Heck, just look at the credits on wikipedia. Too many cooks spoiled the soup? ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damn_(Kendrick_Lamar_album) ) ... anyway, the big winner for me was the song and music video for "DNA." The lyrics are powerful, and the whole concept/conceit of the video is great. Plus, Don Cheadle. Also worthwhile to me are LOVE. and XXX. (U2, ferreal?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLZRYQMLDW4

8. "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom" (Halsey) -- I'll be honest. I wanted to rank this higher. But then, I also wanted what would have been "Badlands Pt.2" ... and that's not the album she was ready to make. There's a lot to love on HFK, but the recurring theme seems to be about failed relationships. And that can become tired territory, especially in the top40 radio scene that Halsey managed to break into (and honestly, bless her for having that opportunity!). The big radio hit "Bad At Love" sells the message best, but at least half the songs tell the same sad story. Another of those songs is "Eyes Closed," which happens to be my personal favorite off this album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LhN6E01Mkc

7. "Reputation" (Taylor Swift) -- Somewhere between herself and other creatives who contributed to this album, this is the closest thing to a truly thematic or "concept" album TayTay has dropped to date. And I really like it. In some ways, it's a kind of thematic cousin to Gaga's "Fame." This is an album about the projected versions we carry of ourselves and others, and how those projections do and do not overlap with the real ... if there IS an objective "real." For a mainstream pop artist to engage with the central themes of postmodern humanism so well, and in such a catchy way, is a valuable thing all its own. There's also a great blend of soft songs and intense pieces. For me, though, the best song remains the first single that dropped, "Look What You Made Me Do." Sure, the chorus is garbage (fun, syncopated garbage!). But the album's theme is most explicitly expressed in the lyrics and in the video... especially in the Taylors-chat at the end. Oh, and these lyrics!!! "Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tmd-ClpJxA

6. "Something To Tell You" (HAIM) -- Sophomore slump? I DON'T THINK SO! This sister-trio brings back all of the best elements of '80s pop and tosses aside the garbage. The whole album is produced in a way that says "shiny-and-new!" But it's not gross, saccharine, or over-produced. These three girls may not have the depth of lyrical content that some of the other artists on this list are packing, but that's okay... the *soul* of the songs are what hooks you as a listener. I don't usually appeal to the ephemeral in trying to sell someone on quality of music, but it's all I got. Yes, some songs are heavy on repetition (debut single "Want You Back" is especially guilty). But even that is awesome ... and its video, done as a single take in the early hours (4am, maybe?) walking the empty streets of LA (probably still cordoned off) ... incredible choreography. But for even more choreography, check out their latest video (linked below), for "Little of Your Love." Lead (?) vocalist Danielle is wearing a Stevie Nicks t-shirt, so, bonus points!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NJYWgb6dQM

5. "Everything Now" (Arcade Fire) -- Many critics and long-time fans have been badmouthing this album since its July 2017 release. And I just don't understand it. The most cogent argument I read for why the album "fails" is that in trying to push a message about hyper-consumerism and how vapid the world becomes in such an environment, the message and messengers are caught in their own trap. I think, however, such an argument takes a myopic view of the *annoying* tracks (like "Infinite Content" or alternate versions of "Everything Now"). Maybe they're not there to be enjoyed. I skip the the "Infinite Content" tracks when I listen to the album now ... but maybe that's the point? Being overwhelmed by the production of "content," first-world problem though it may be, is INDEED a problem. Gamers need only look at their Steam backlog (thanks, sales and bundles). The fact that I'm curating a top 10 albums for the year reminds us that thousands of new songs are published on the internet *daily* -- we cannot possibly hope to listen to all the recorded music in a single lifetime. This, too, is annoying! And for some, it can lead to despair. This is why I so very much value the album's twin-songs "Creature Comforts" and "Good God Damn." If you want to understand how and why I call these songs 'sisters,' listen for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzwicesJQ7E -- CC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKew61xGaz8 -- GGD

4. "Planetarium" (Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James McAlister) -- Sufjan and a crew of familiar names (especially McAlister, what an amazing percussionist!!) did a concept album on our lovely solar system. It's crazy good. So easy to get lost in this one. You really owe it to yourself to listen to the whole album in one sitting. But I'll give you a sneak peek (for your ears?)... the outro, the messenger, the closest planet to the sun, "Mercury." ~~~ "...and I'm ____"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmZKVOaTc68

3. "Pulses" (The Fast Feeling) -- Somehow, this one flew under the radar for Five Iron Frenzy fans. Which is a shame. But it's not too late! Go get this album. It's sick. What we have here is an electro-rock quartet starring Leanor ("Jeff the Girl") Ortega Till on lead vocals, drums by Andy V., lots of instruments and backup vox and composition by Scott Kerr, and one Matt Langston (not an FIF member, but still awesome) on keys and guitar. Pulses has 10 tracks on it, and they're all solid gold. This was the first album I heard in 2017 that I thought "this is top 10 material," and it held a solid spot as music flooded the market all through the year. Everyone needs to hear this. Below, check out track 6, "Sunnydale" (the song title is a reference to the hometown in Buffy, but I was informed that the song title was the working title in its instrumental form, and they never changed it ... title and Buffy reference do not have any bearing on the lyrics).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe9Iv-B2xFU

2. "The Upper Hand" (AllttA) -- So Mr. J. Medeiros and 20syl teamed up and dropped this album back in February. Since then, they've also released 9 songs sequentially over the past few months in their "Facing the Giants" series. But ferreal, if you didn't pick up "The Upper Hand" yet, and you even *remotely* enjoy hip-hop music, you need to check this out. Medeiros has always been an amazing lyricist -- he intuitively writes lines that he seems to know how he'll deliver on the track ahead of time, so he can vary the rhythm, meter, stressed syllables, everything. And Syl? That man makes some of the best music out there, especially in the Euro-scene IMO. For something smooth, check out "That Good Ship."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-HT1DZWJPg

1. "Native Invader" (Tori Amos) -- Is my bias showing? Look, this isn't Tori's best album. I don't know if she'll ever top Under the Pink, Scarlet's Walk, or even Boys for Pele (my personal top 3 in her discography). Nonetheless, Native Invader is a masterpiece. Originally intended as a man vs. nature album, Tori experienced two other major events during the songwriting process: 1) her mother's stroke, putting her in a non-verbal state and now requiring a high level of care; 2) Trump elected president. These things may, prima facie, muddy the waters of the original theme. Upon further listens, I found the themes beginning to harmonize, to call and respond to one another. Favorite songs here are "Cloud Riders," "Up the Creek," "Bang," "Climb," "Mary's Eyes," and the bonus track "Russia."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWNrdqkoQAs