Zoran's best of 2017 (#1)

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Postby ArmyOfMe » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:12 pm

I know that I never finished last year's countdown, and I have yet to reveal the #1 position :lol: :lol: :lol:

So, to start off with my next countdown, I will reveal my favourite #1 album of 2016, which is...

#1 Róisín Murphy - Take Her Up to Monto
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I'm afraid I'm all alone if you don't get this joke of mine
Stupid romantic comedy
Isn't it it a tragedy, nobody gets out of bed?


What I thought would be a collection of outtakes of 2015's Hairless Toys turned out to be my favourite Róisín Murphy album, a testament to this woman's endless creativity and ability to create soundscapes paired with evocative lyrics.

Must listen: Mastermind, Thoughts Wasted, Romantic Comedy, Nervous Sleep, Sitting and Counting
Last edited by ArmyOfMe on Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:30 am, edited 21 times in total.
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:26 pm

As always, I will just concentrate on albums. Unlike 2016, which was one of the best years for music in recent memory (IMO), 2017 was not that rich of new releases or albums that particularly struck me. Indeed, it's been quite difficult to compile a top 20, while last year I had enough good albums for a top 30.

I'll start with a list of all the new albums (in no particular order) that I have listened to this year:
Katy Perry - Witness
Kelela - Take Me Apart
Hercules and Love Affair - Omnion
Sevdaliza - ISON
Fever Ray - Plunge
Charli XCX - Number 1 Angel
Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life
The xx - I See You
St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION
Charli XCX - Pop 2
SZA - CTRL
Kesha - Rainbow
Perfume Genius - No Shape
Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens
Lorde - Melodrama
Goldfrapp - Silver Eye
Tove Lo - Blue Lips
Taylor Swift - Reputation
Ibeyi - Ash
Muna - About U
Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa
Miguel - War & Leisure
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Arca - Arca
Björk - Utopia
Sampha - Process
Susanne Sundfør - Music for People in Trouble
Miley Cyrus - Younger Now
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Postby JSparksFan » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:41 am

You should listen to Meaning of Life.
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:51 am

JSparksFan wrote:You should listen to Meaning of Life.
Really? I have just listened to two tracks (the single and another one) and they left me totally unimpressed. The last KC album that impressed me was Stronger, but if you tell me it's good I might give it a try :D

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Since I'll be away from the 26th till the 30th, I will begin my albums top 20 around NYs Eve. However, I will list some albums that were released before 2017 (or released in 2017 but ineligible to chart as they're not made up of new material) that I have frequently listened to this year :D

RuPaul - Essential Vol. 2
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Radiohead - OK Computer
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Alaska Thunderfvck - ANUS
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Kate Bush - The Dreaming
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Mariah Carey - Daydream
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Postby JSparksFan » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:24 pm

ArmyOfMe wrote:Really? I have just listened to two tracks (the single and another one) and they left me totally unimpressed. The last KC album that impressed me was Stronger, but if you tell me it's good I might give it a try :D
Yeah, I wasn't impressed by Piece by Piece either; Stronger was her last quality LP for me as well...before Meaning of Life. If you like soul-pop, you'll like it. The album draws heavily from her R&B/soul favourites like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and company.

I'm going to pretend like you weren't bopping to an album titled Anus this year, and skip to Daydream, arguably the second greatest album ever recorded. <3
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Postby Fan » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:49 pm

Stanning for Muna here!
i wanna see you on your knees, wanna see you begging
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Postby thankfulforkelly » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:42 pm

Melodrama ftw

Given you're a fan of her earlier stuff, you really should give Meaning of Life a listen
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:42 am

#20 Katy Perry - Witness
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This is a bit of a filler entry here, I just had some difficulties to find twenty albums and had to squeeze some in. However, by no means is Katy's latest album bad. In fact, it contains some of her best stuff ever. The singles are absolutely top notch, and the Purity Ring-produced tracks also belong to her finest tracks. The album is still pop, but many songs are not your obvious and basic productions that you would expect from Katy, which makes Witness a very refreshing listen. My only concern with the album is that it is a bit conceited and has some fillers. Moreover, she lacks the charisma to pull off an album like this like other (more talented) singers would.

Must listen: Roulette, Swish Swish (feat. Nicki Minaj), Miss You More, Chained to the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marley), Bon Appétit (feat. Migos), Bigger Than Me

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Postby Carbon » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:15 pm

a very hit-or-miss album for me, I enjoy the singles and a few other tracks, other than that it was a bad attempt to be all serious and woke
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Postby Benjamin » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:25 am

I like 'Witness' overall, but it's not a very strong effort from her in my opinion.
'Swish Swish' is amazing, but there's too much filler.
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Postby JSparksFan » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:19 pm

Witness was a weird album for me. In one corner, you have one of her career-best songs in "Roulette," strong ("Swish Swish") to fantastic ("Chained to the Rhythm") singles, and a cute emotional ballad in "Save as Draft". In the other corner, you have everything else - tracks that lack character and just flow from one to the next failing to make an impression.
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:27 pm

#19 Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens
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A strange but enjoyable affair of electronica and airy vocals, Kelly Lee Owens' self-titled was a cohesive and fully realised debut album, as well as a promise of great things to come. After flirting with indie pop in the beginning of her career, British musician Kelly Lee Owens finally found the right direction for her in a mix of dream pop and techno music, which enchants the listener and takes them on a trip to beautiful soundscapes. Some songs are terrific, and she manages to deliver them with a voice reminiscent of other dream pop singers like Grimes and Jenny Hval (who, perhaps not coincidentially, is a guest on this album). My only criticism is that the album is not very innovative and gets a bit boring in its mid-section, but the first few songs and the final, slower cuts are everything one could have asked from electronic music in 2017.

Must listen: S.O, Arthur, Anxi. (feat. Jenny Hval), Lucid, Cmb, Keep Walking

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Postby ArmyOfMe » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:03 am

#18 Charli XCX - Numer 1 Angel
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The first of two entries from Charli this year, Number 1 Angel is the first 'mixtape' she released in 2017. While not strictly a mixtape, it is defined as such because her label would not let her release that with promotion, singles, videos and all that makes up the usual album cycle. For Charli, mixtape means creative freedom to explore new spaces in pop and collaborate with various people without having to limit herself. Indeed, the list of people who collaborated on Number 1 Angel includes SOPHIE, CupcakKe, Uffie, Abra and MØ; all of them bring their own flavour and style to a record full of catchy songs (and a couple of fillers, to be honest), and sometimes even overshadow the main artist herself. Number 1 Angel makes up for a very pleasant listen, but it will always remain under the shadow of its bigger (and better) sister, Pop 2 (which will come much later in this countdown).

Must listen: Dreamer (feat. Starrah & RAYE), 3AM (Pull Up) [feat. MØ], Roll with Me, Babygirl (feat. Uffie), Drugs (feat. Abra), Lipgloss (feat. CupcakKe)

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Postby heppolo » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:36 am

Kelly Lee Owens at #19.
This album is both retro (reminding of some early-mid 90s electronica stuff) and modern, Her vocals completes the dreamy narrative.
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Postby Benjamin » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:52 am

Cahrli's mixtape/abum was quite nice.
I loved that she worked with Uffie <3
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:41 pm

Thanks for your comments! I do agree with y'all about Witness. It was just very hard to find some album to top off my top 20 :lol:

heppolo wrote:Kelly Lee Owens at #19.
This album is both retro (reminding of some early-mid 90s electronica stuff) and modern, Her vocals completes the dreamy narrative.
I'm glad someone else knows her! She was a great discovery.

Benjamin wrote:Cahrli's mixtape/abum was quite nice.
I loved that she worked with Uffie <3
Yep, Uffie was a very nice surprise out of nowhere! :D
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:32 pm

#17 Muna - About U
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This is a very recent discovery of mine, so MUNA's placement might not be very precise. However, I discovered this group when I heard their Tegan & Sara cover a couple of months ago. Much like Tegan & Sara, the trio identify as "queer", and their music and lyrics are sometimes reminiscent of Tegan & Sara 2.0 (from Sainthood/Heartthrob on). It's indeed refreshing and pleasing to hear queer people using pop music (a genre traditionally made to be consumed by a heteronormative mass) as a tool to express their feelings in music and aesthetic, which is a thing we are starting to see more and more. Other than that, About U is most importantly a freaking catchy debut album, packed with pop bangers and evocative ballads (think of a non-boring version of HAIM). Their taste for melodies is uncanny, and the lyrics are raw and often carefree, with a certain magic that can only work on debut albums.

Must listen: Loudspeaker, I Know a Place, Winterbreak, After, If U Love Me Now, End of Desire

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Postby Carbon » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:41 pm

Kelly Lee Owens!! Without reading your write-up, I played that song and immediately thought that she sounds like a mix of old Grimes (first 2-3 albums) and Jenny Hval, and then saw that you’d written the same thing :o

The production is awesome and I actually wanna find an instrumental because the vocals are superfluous here :oops:

MUNA are cute and catchy, tho her voice is kinda not clicking with me on first listen
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Postby Tansike » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:19 pm

Nice to see the entries for Katy and Charli XCX so far. I think "Witness" is actually a bit underrated... :oops:
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:03 pm

#16 Sevdaliza - ISON
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One of my favourite new artists this year, Dutch-Iranian artist Sevdaliza released a distinctive album of PBR&B and made a name for herself out of basically nowhere. Her voice is like silk to the ears, and it helps keeping together the slow jams that compose the album, together with a strong imagery of her photoshoots and music videos. To some extent, ISON almost feels like a cinematic experience, either an audiovisual project, or as a perfect soundtrack to various situations of life (think of a cold, rainy, melancholic day spent at home having sex, for instance). As Kelly Lee Owen's debut, ISON is a promise of great things to come as well: the album could use a bit of editing (I would have narrowed it down to 12 tracks instead of 16 and cut some spoken parts), but all the ingredients for a strong and successful career in the alternative scene are there, and I can't wait to see how she will follow up her debut.

Must listen: Shahmaran, Libertine, Hubris, Amandine Insensible, Hero, Bluecid, Loves Way, Angel

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Postby Carbon » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:12 pm

Sevdaliza is love.
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Postby heppolo » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:12 pm

Carbon wrote:Sevdaliza is love.
Absolutely
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Postby ArmyOfMe » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:15 pm

#15 Miguel - War & Leisure
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Miguel has officially become one of my favourite R&B artists, and by now I don't believe he can do anything wrong. War & Leisure is another eclectic R&B album, much lighter than his previous effort WILDHEART. This time, the album is less rock and much more funk and latin-influenced, which makes for another interesting turn for his music. What I like about Miguel is that he is never afraid to experiment and incorporate different sounds in his music, while keeping his albums cohesive and perfectly edited. War & Leisure may not have the strong highlights that WILDHEART and Kaleidoscope Dream had, but is a pleasant listen from start to finish, with songs partly sung in Spanish (Caramelo Duro), ballads (City of Angels, Now) and uptempos (Told You So, Pineapple Skyes) all mixed in a perfectly executed record (maybe even more than its predecessors).

Must listen: Pinapple Skies, Banana Clip, Harem, Told You So, Caramelo Duro, Come Through and Chill, Anointed

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Postby ArmyOfMe » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:18 pm

Carbon wrote:Kelly Lee Owens!! Without reading your write-up, I played that song and immediately thought that she sounds like a mix of old Grimes (first 2-3 albums) and Jenny Hval, and then saw that you’d written the same thing :o

The production is awesome and I actually wanna find an instrumental because the vocals are superfluous here :oops:

MUNA are cute and catchy, tho her voice is kinda not clicking with me on first listen
Try to give MUNA another go, I think they might click with you with a couple of plays!

Tansike wrote:Nice to see the entries for Katy and Charli XCX so far. I think "Witness" is actually a bit underrated... :oops:
Witness definitely gets more hate than it deserves because of its flop status. However, it's MUCH better than Prism, IMO.

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Also, yay for the Sevdaliza love! :D
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Postby Carbon » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:47 pm

MIguel is hawt and I liked Told You So, but haven’t fully absorbed the album
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