Akini's Top 25 Albums of 2017: [#1 Revealed!]

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Which LP is my album of the year?

Flicker
0
No votes
Meaning of Life
1
33%
Now
1
33%
Reputation
1
33%
The Thrill of It All
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 3

Postby JSparksFan » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:12 pm

Whilst not the strongest year for LPs, 2017 saw some solid releases from established icons (such as Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift), music legends after 15-year-long hiatuses (Shania Twain), acts who successfully conquered the sophomore curse (Sam Smith), and freshly minted boy-band-exiting solo acts (Niall Noran).

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Postby JSparksFan » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:04 am

25. Mary J. Blige - Strength of a Woman

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The first album from the R&B icon since she filed for divorce in July 2016 from her now ex-husband, there were so many rumours floating in the tabloids as to the reason for the couple's break-up that one would expect that some direct, or even indirect, response would be provided on Strength of a Woman. Well, if a message does exist, I must have missed it as I waded through the sleep-inducing borefest of an LP, with the only redeeming track being "It's Me". Mary J. certainly has the talent, but the songs are so bland and the melodies and production so dated. She's better than this, and I hope that her next album delivers the magic I know she has within her. Hopefully, she can find a team of songwriters and producers to complement that fantastic voice of hers.

Best Tracks:
- It's Me

Overall Rating: 6.37/10
24. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now

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When "Malibu" premiered, it marked a stark contrast in image and sound from Miley's previous era, but the song was good enough that I was still excited for the album. The LP dropped during a busy period for me, so I didn't check it out immediately. Those I know who did listen to it fairly early on warned me that the record wasn't good, but I figured it'd at least be good adjacent. It isn't. Besides "Malibu," there's "Thinkin'," a cute pop bop, but the country hay you have to weed through to get from "Malibu" to "Thinkin'," then to the end of the album is way too much. Country music generally has masterful storytelling, but Miley is a pop artist at her core, and this foray into country was an ill-advised, poorly executed move. It's her only blemish in an otherwise impressive string of albums going all the way back to her Hannah Montana years.

Best Tracks:
- Malibu
- Thinkin'

Overall Rating: 6.39/10
23. Kendrick Lamar - Damn

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I still don't hear what it is in Kendrick's music that makes him such a critics' darling. Surely, his lyricism is superior to most hip/hop acts these days, but his flow and melodies aren't as good as, say, Drake's, so some of Damn is difficult to get into. When you have a song with Rihanna, and I'm struggling to get into it, you know something's wrong. Still, the 'for the culture' #1 ascent of "Humble" was one of my favourite moments of the year, and there's a track better than that one on the album - "DNA," which is the lyrical/flow highlight of the album.

Best Tracks:
- DNA
- Humble

Overall Rating: 6.51/10
22. Paramore - After Laughter

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This is the pop/rock equivalent of Mary J's Strength of a Woman. Beyond the singles "Fake Happy" and "Hard Times," the album had no other songs that encouraged me to hit replay, and even those two tracks aren't true 'highlights;' on Paramore's better records, I likely would have considered them fillers.

Best Tracks:
- Fake Happy
- Hard Times

Overall Rating: 6.68/10
21. SZA - Ctrl

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Alternative R&B isn't my flavour, but there are three clear highlights on Ctrl that I appreciated, and even with the other songs that I didn't care for very much, I admired SZA's naked storytelling. "The Weekend" - the most accessible of all the tracks - tells a story with which most people would be familiar. SZA's vocals are gorgeous and they soar on "Pretty Little Birds," unlike the damaged wings she sings of, and "Prom" is another uber relatable track about not growing at the same pace as your partner and the difficulties that such a dilemma produces. Most of the rest are off-the-wall experiments that didn't resonate with me.

Best Tracks:
- The Weekend
- Pretty Little Birds
- Prom

Overall Rating: 6.81/10
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Postby UKMusicLova » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:51 am

There's a holy trinity of songs on 'Younger Now' for me; Malibu, Thinkin and Love Someone. All are amongst my favourite Miley tracks, otherwise the rest of the album was quite forgettable for me.

The same can't be said for Kendrick and SZA, as you know I absolutely love these albums!
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Postby heppolo » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:55 am

I still don't hear what it is in Kendrick's music that makes him such a critics' darling. Surely, his lyricism is superior to most hip/hop acts these days, but his flow and melodies aren't as good as, say, Drake's, so some of Damn is difficult to get into.
I am personally not a big fan of Kendrick voice's tone either, sometimes it gets too cartoon-ish for me, but this record is very structured and intricate both lyrically and musically.
SZA and Paramore are good picks, don't think both this records are going to be considered classics in the years to come, but they do have that replay value for sure.
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Postby king_oxymoron » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:40 pm

Booo at your Paramore review... Told You So, Rose Colored Boy, Idle Worship, Caught In The Middle, Tell Me How all wonderful.

I voted for a Kelly in the poll
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Postby Tansike » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:17 pm

24. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now
23. Kendrick Lamar - Damn
22. Paramore - After Laughter

Great start. I actually really enjoyed Miley's latest album, as there are barely any fillers on there (it's still too short though). Glad you mentioned "Thinkin'", as it's one of my highlights as well.
"Damn" is solid, which is already a lot for this genre as it's still my (or one of my) least favorite genres.
"After Laughter" was quite disappointing...
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Postby croatiaxtina » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:59 pm

Kendrick and SZA are the best on list so far...
Kendrick should've be even higher, but it's your best list :D
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Postby JSparksFan » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:29 am

UKMusicLova wrote:There's a holy trinity of songs on 'Younger Now' for me; Malibu, Thinkin and Love Someone. All are amongst my favourite Miley tracks, otherwise the rest of the album was quite forgettable for me.

The same can't be said for Kendrick and SZA, as you know I absolutely love these albums!
Yeah, I'm certainly in the minority in believing those two are a bit sub-par. SZA's album has some songs I can see myself coming back to in years to come, though.

heppolo wrote:I am personally not a big fan of Kendrick voice's tone either, sometimes it gets too cartoon-ish for me, but this record is very structured and intricate both lyrically and musically.
SZA and Paramore are good picks, don't think both this records are going to be considered classics in the years to come, but they do have that replay value for sure.
Ah, cool to hear you like Damn. Lyrically, he's certainly more on-the-money than most rap acts, but I just wish I could get into the narratives more. I don't relate to his music at all. :(

I think SZA's will age well.

king_oxymoron wrote:Booo at your Paramore review... Told You So, Rose Colored Boy, Idle Worship, Caught In The Middle, Tell Me How all wonderful.

I voted for a Kelly in the poll
Happy that you liked Paramore's shift in sound! I'll take my Paramore songs with the edge of "Crushcrushcrush" (though they do give great pure pop bops a lá "Still into You").

Tansike wrote:24. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now
23. Kendrick Lamar - Damn
22. Paramore - After Laughter

Great start. I actually really enjoyed Miley's latest album, as there are barely any fillers on there (it's still too short though). Glad you mentioned "Thinkin'", as it's one of my highlights as well.
"Damn" is solid, which is already a lot for this genre as it's still my (or one of my) least favorite genres.
"After Laughter" was quite disappointing...
You're one of the very few who has any positive words for Younger Now. Hopefully, she'll impress me (as she usually does) with her next LP.

Nice to see you enjoyed Kendrick's record to some extent. We agree on Paramore's LP at least.

croatiaxtina wrote:Kendrick and SZA are the best on list so far...
Kendrick should've be even higher, but it's your best list :D
Yeah, I think most people would rate Kendrick's right up there with the very best of the year, if not the absolute best. Maybe one day I'll hear what everyone else does.
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Postby JSparksFan » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:18 am

20. Demi Lovato - Tell Me You Love Me

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There's a lot of 'noise' on Tell Me You Love Me, and as Demi shines brightest when bombastic production is employed only as a magnifier for her already massive voice, the more uptempo, bass-heavy approach didn't work for me. Songs like "Cry Baby" are more in the ballpark of Demi's area of expertise - an emotional ballad with ample room for Demi to roar through with her tremendous pipes.

Best Tracks:
- Sorry Not Sorry
- Cry Baby
- Sexy Dirty Love

Overall Rating: 6.93/10
19. Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa

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Beyond the singles, there isn't much depth to Dua's debut release, but when you have singles like "New Rules" in your artillery, you can stand to not have particularly impressive album tracks. The cleverness and magnetism of "New Rules" isn't as intense on any other track, but "Hotter Than Hell," "Be the One," and "Lost in Your Light" - the three stepsister singles - are all indicative of a young act, who hasn't quite found her sound, but when she does, she could be dangerous.

Best Tracks:
- New Rules
- Hotter Than Hell
- Be the One
- Lost in Your Light

Overall Rating: 7.1/10
18. Lady Antebellum - Heart Break

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Lady Antebellum typically release their best tracks as singles, but this time around they relegated the LP's brightest gem to album track status. "Somebody Else's Heart" is a brilliantly written song about how the protagonist, reluctant to risk breaking her own heart, desires to love her new lover with somebody else's heart. It's really clever, as it's something I don't think most people have ever considered, but were the possibility made available to us, I think many of us would select that option. The title track is a clever play on the term 'heartbreak,' with the protagonist giving their heart a 'break' (pause) as opposed to the more common interpretation of the term. As is the case with country music, the storytelling here is generally solid, and even the worst song doesn't plunge into the depths of unbearable territory.

Best Tracks:
- Somebody Else's Heart
- Heart Break
- You Look Good

Overall Rating: 7.15/10
17. Big Sean - I Decided

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The best hip/hop record of the year didn't come from Kendrick Lamar or Eminem, but Big Sean. So many strange things have been happening these past few years...but at any rate, Big Sean's lyricism is impressive here, and I love the humility expressed in "Bigger Than Me". It's nice to have rappers - who pretty much major in all courses cocky - acknowledge their duty of service to those less fortunate than them, and to accept the role of 'passing it on' - giving others the opportunities you were given, or that you wish you were given. The Eminem feature - "No Favours" - is solid, and the surprise hit "Bounce Back" marked another winning single for Big Sean, though his best moment in 2017 did come courtesy of his feature with Calvin Harris and company on "Feels". I Decided has an uplifting theme throughout that I adore, and that's perhaps what Big Sean apart from his contemporaries in 2017 (album-wise anyway).

Best Tracks:
- Bigger Than Me
- Bounce Back
- No Favours

Overall Rating: 7.24/10
16. Trey Songz - Tremaine

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Trey Songz will be 75, Viagra in hand, confidently singing sex songs because that's what Trey Songz does, and all he seems to care to do these days. As frustrating as it is to listen to bedroom anthem after bedroom anthem from Tremaine, I must admit that he does occasionally do an exceptional job in that department, though it's been umpteen years and I'm still waiting for him to explore that "Pretty Girl's Lie" lane of R&B further. His inability - or stubbornness - to evolve will keep him from the top tier of the genre, where the likes of Usher and Chris Brown reside, but he's probably the best of the mid-tier R&B males, fully equipped with a litany of hits for sexy times. Shout-out, however, to the "Scratchin' Me Up" sequel, "The Sheets...Still," equipped with some clutch-my-pearls imagery and that cute falsetto he thinks he's much better at than he actually is.

Best Tracks:
- Animal
- She Lovin It
- Song Goes Off
- The Sheets...Still

Overall Rating: 7.28/10
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Postby JSparksFan » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:26 am

15. Kesha - Rainbow

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In 2017, Kesha made her long-awaited return to the music scene, with a record that was, understandably, more intimate, sober, emotional, and humble than its predecessors. There are strong currents of grit throughout, and the title track is perhaps the most apt song to reflect the theme of the record - that Kesha has endured some unjust rain, and seen some of the ugliest sides of life, but she hasn't lost hope in all the glorious beauty life has to offer as reward to those who endure some of its harshest trials. This album could have been awful, and I still would have gladly listened to it, with the simple happiness and gratitude that Kesha was finally able to record new music again.

Best Tracks:
- Rainbow
- Hymn
- Praying
- Finding You

Overall Rating: 7.286/10
14. Katy Perry - Witness

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You can segment Witness as one-third fantastic pop material with an amalgamation of political-pop and carefree-pop themes, one-third decent to solid tracks that you wouldn't mind listening to again, and one-third WTF was Katy thinking when she put this on the final album cut. From someone whose last LP was my surprise #1 album of 2013, I certainly had higher expectations of this follow-up, but despite it being an inconsistent ride throughout, its top resident, "Roulette," was my third favourite song of 2017, and is one of Katy's greatest songs to date, so for that alone, I'll forgive her for some of the more...questionable inclusions. She may have been more scarred than I was by the US election results, so I'll give her a pass for this misstep.

Best Tracks:
- Roulette
- Chained to the Rhythm
- Save as Draft
- Swish Swish
- Bigger Than Me

Overall Rating: 7.287/10
13. Shania Twain - Now

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The first of the poll options to fall, Now hailed the return of one of my favourite country-pop acts of all-time, and even if the material didn't match the quality of the classics that made her a legend in a very short space of time, there are two big keepers on the record that I think I'll be coming back to for years to come. The first is the clever play-on-words "Poor Me," as Shania segways her lamentation of Poor me into Pour me...another, which is just delightful wordplay! The second, though, tackled the subject matter of her divorce a bit more head-on, as on "I'm Alright," she details her immediate reaction to her ex-husband's and best friend's betrayal. Though the song's tone is sombre, there's an undercurrent of optimism that lifts the spirit of the track, and when the chorus comes 'round, you can hear both the hurt and the healing co-existing in the lyrics and Shania's voice. It is the clear highlight of the album, and one that I'm upset wasn't released as an official single. Another major disappointment, though, was the absence of exclamation marks. A Shania record just isn't the same without them. It just isn't!

Best Tracks:
- I'm Alright
- Poor Me
- Light of My Life
- Swingin' with My Eyes Closed

Overall Rating: 7.356/10
12. Miguel - War & Leisure

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You can always count on Miguel to deliver decent R&B music, and he continued in much the same vein as he did in his previous two albums. You can always count on me to favour the more pop-leaning tracks, so "Sky Walker" was the clear favourite, though the sensual "Come Through and Chill," declaration of love "Banana Clip," rewritten historical documentary "City of Angels," and romantic "Pineapple Skies" are all playlist-worthy additions, too.

Best Tracks:
- Sky Walker
- Come Through and Chill
- Banana Clip
- City of Angels
- Pineapple Skies

Overall Rating: 7.358/10
11. Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life

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I'd never considered what a happy Lana Del Rey album would sound like because since I discovered the magic of Lana Del Rey's hypnotic voice in December 2011, I always associated her with melancholy melodrama, and I still contend that that's the sound where she excels better than any other female pop act in the industry ever, but on Lust for Life, the hypnotism and melodrama remain, but the melancholy is replaced with happier imagery than before. I'll say that this was the first time since Born to Die that I listened to a Lana album, and had more than one or two tracks that I felt I needed to listen to again. It was a huge return to form for Lana, and whilst still off from her best, she showed us she's still got it....and I must admit that I was beginning to lose faith!

Best Tracks:
- Love
- Summer Bummer
- Groupie Love
- Lust for Life
- White Mustang
- 13 Beaches

Overall Rating: 7.363/10
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Postby luckyONE » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:56 am

i am kinda disappointed in "witness" , i need to re-listen to it soon. haven't done so in a while.

whilst i think "lust for life" is her third best album, it didn't click with me the way "ultraviolence" and "Honeymoon" did. i guess i am more into the "sad" Lana. "LOVE" and "White Mustang" would also make my "best tracks" list!
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Postby Carbon » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:58 am

Wholeheartedly disagree with the Younger Now review, for me it’s great! It takes a while to grow on you though
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Postby JSparksFan » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:27 am

luckyONE wrote:i am kinda disappointed in "witness" , i need to re-listen to it soon. haven't done so in a while.

whilst i think "lust for life" is her third best album, it didn't click with me the way "ultraviolence" and "Honeymoon" did. i guess i am more into the "sad" Lana. "LOVE" and "White Mustang" would also make my "best tracks" list!
So you prefer Ultraviolence and Honeymoon to Born to Die? :o

Carbon wrote:Wholeheartedly disagree with the Younger Now review, for me it’s great! It takes a while to grow on you though
I'll get back to you in 2019 and let you know if anything's changed.
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Postby JSparksFan » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:19 am

10. Harry Styles - Harry Styles

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The eponymous debut album from my favourite 1D man, Harry Styles is the mixture of pop and soft rock that I expected from the star. Of the three 1D members that released solo records thus far, this one feels like the most natural progression from Four and Made in the A.M., highlighted by the brilliant "Sign of the Times". There's nothing on the album quite as glorious as that lead single, though "Ever Since New York" is a gorgeous reflective ballad, and both "Meet Me in the Halfway" and "Only Angel" are repeat-worthy tunes. "Kiwi" is perhaps the most unabashedly rock song on the record, with a fantastically wacky and random accompanying video. In short, this is a decent first effort from Harry, right on par with Zayn's release from last year (7.38/10 vs. 7.37/10) and not too far off from the best solo 1D release to date.

Best Tracks:
- Sign of the Times
- Ever Since New York
- Meet Me in the Halfway
- Only Angel

Overall Rating: 7.38/10
09. Portugal. The Man - Woodstock

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"Feel It Still" was so eclectic, refreshing, and irresistibly catchy that I took a chance and checked out its parent album, and was thankful that I did. "So Young" was a lyrical, thought-provoking, instantly memorable highlight, and beyond those two big guns, everything else was palatable soft rock goodness that I hadn't enjoyed so much since Daughtry's debut record in 2006.

Best Tracks:
- Feel It Still
- So Young
- Rich Friends
- Easy Tiger
- Noise Pollution

Overall Rating: 7.42/10
08. P!nk - Beautiful Trauma

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P!nk's weakest LP since 2003's Try This, Beautiful Trauma, whilst a decent album overall, feels like watered down P!nk. The grit isn't as omnipresent as it's always been, and the material just isn't as gripping as what I've come to expect from P!nk. This is the same lady who, five years ago with The Truth About Love, seamlessly paired the motivational anthem "Try" with the carefree, no-phucks-given "Slut Like You" pop banger, and the emotional "How Come You're Not Here" with the punchy "Timebomb". "Whatever You Want" is as close to classic P!nk as this album gets, though I'm not entirely convinced that I'll be playing that one two years from now. Her voice, though, still sounds great after all these years. I just hope next time she comes with stronger material.

Best Tracks:
- Whatever You Want
- I Am Here
- But We Lost It
- Beautiful Trauma
- Where We Go

Overall Rating: 7.52/10
07. Niall Horan - Flicker

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Juggling folk, pop, and country, Niall Horan bests his 1D counterparts and releases the best 1D solo record to date (let's be real, this will probably be the best solo album of the boys, as Liam is highly unlikely to string together anything cohesive, and Louis may not even push an album out). Straight out of the gate, Niall seems to have found his sound and has settled rather nicely into his niche of folk-pop, though this album, at no point, ever feels dull. Granted, the excitement is frontloaded to the first half, with the emotionally-charged "On the Loose," romantic duet "Seeing Blind," sensual and suggestive "Slow Hands," and honest and vulnerable "Too Much to Ask" - the album's four clear highlights - all appearing by the time you finish track #5. The rest, though, a bit of a downgrade from the early gems, are decent contributions to an overall product that has far exceeded any expectations I would have had for Niall. I think he's off to a great start, and I suspect his best is yet to come.

Best Tracks:
- Slow Hands
- Too Much to Ask
- Seeing Blind
- On the Loose

Overall Rating: 7.65/10
06. Sam Smith - The Thrill of It All

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I've called Sam Smith's music whiny and pitiful, and I've observed how quickly many of his In the Lonely Hour early highlights grew off of me, so the 'hype' around his sophomore release was non-existent in my world. Well, Sam Smith went straight to the church, hired a gospel choir, who he would enlist to accompany him on most of this record's choruses, and delivered some of the best quality soul-pop music of the year. His lyrics of heartbreak, betrayal, and unhealthy co-dependency have been supplanted by topics I care significantly more about: homosexuality, religion, and love from a less-cringe-worthy viewpoint. Obviously, the song that melded all these topics, "Him," was the clear stand-out for me. It is such a massive moment, with a thoroughly powerful message. I sincerely hope it gets a single release at some point. The best songs are lifted by the gospel choir choruses I mentioned earlier, but there's no bad song on this album.

Best Tracks:
- Him
- Pray
- Midnight Train
- Too Good at Goodbyes
- Say It First

Overall Rating: 7.7/10
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Postby JSparksFan » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:12 pm

05. Imagine Dragons - Evolve

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Booming production, well-utilised hip/hop insertions, passionate vocals, and solid, relatable lyrics saw Imagine Dragons deliver their strongest LP to date with Evolve. Admittedly, the singles aren't as strong as that spectacular string of "Demons"-"Radioactive"-"On Top of the World" from their debut effort, but "Whatever It Takes" is right up there with the very best work they've done, and a welcome return to form after the sub-par material of their previous era.

Best Tracks:
- Whatever It Takes
- Believer
- I Don't Know Why
- Walking the Wire
- Start Over
- Thunder

Overall Rating: 7.75/10
04. Ed Sheeran - ÷

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Ed Sheeran made me do something in 2017 that I never envisioned myself doing - checking out a full-length album from an act I'd previously classed as more monotonous than grey paint. His storytelling skills on the record are ace - he makes me care about people I've never met before (his friends, his mom, himself) - and I'm never bored, shockingly, but the album lacks soul for me. They're well-crafted songs, mind you, with a variety of tempos, themes, and sounds to spice things up, but I'm not always convinced by his earnestness. Maybe it's his voice.

Best Tracks:
- Perfect
- Shape of You
- Nancy Mulligan
- Barcelona
- Castle on the Hill
- Eraser
- Galway Girl
- Dive

Overall Rating: 8.05/10
03. Taylor Swift - Reputation

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Well, in a year where - with the absence of so many of my other favourite names - my album of the year title really should have been Taylor's for the taking, regardless of my personal feelings regarding her souring, Taylor doesn't quite deliver that finishing punch with Reputation. At its "Getaway Car" best, Reputation can toe the line with the very best from Taylor's previous LPs, but with some questionable experiments not yielding the desired results (the mechanical failure of "Gorgeous," the still-stuck-in-first-gear "New Year's Day," and the is-she-still-seventeen "Don't Blame Me"), she was locked in a duel with Ed Sheeran for third best, and only narrowly won that one. Overall, this album is better than most artists' best efforts, but by Taylor's standard of excellence established since Fearless, Reputation falls short. It is her weakest effort since her eponymous debut. I know she can do better than this, and I fully expect that she will on her next album.

Best Tracks:
- Getaway Car
- Call It What You Want
- ...Ready for It?
- Look What You Made Me Do
- This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
- Dress
- Dancing with Our Hands Tied
- I Did Something Bad

Overall Rating: 8.053/10
02. Kelly Clarkson - Meaning of Life

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Kelly Clarkson is one of my favourite artists of all-time, with more talent in her pinky than most of these younger acts have in their entire bodies, but one thing I'd always wished I could get from KC is a soul-influenced album. Well, in steps Meaning of Life, as we see the Original Idol explore a sound that we all expected from her when she graduated from the reality show, but only got in minor doses. She doles out Aretha Franklin-influenced ballads in ample supply here, scented with her distinctive aroma, taking you to an elegant dancefloor on the album's highlight "Slow Dance," right before she switches the tempo and gives you the soul/pop/rock jam, rodeo-ready, Texas-sized "Whole Lotta Woman" and the soul/pop-funk bouncy bop "Love So Soft". Despite the switch from a more pure pop sound, she never loses that saucy attitude of hers that I love so much, and because even the most cookie-cutter of the female pop stars (save for one) are throwing their political views into their music, KC shows us which side of the aisle she stands on the Michelle Obama-derived "Go High". Her voice is in excellent form here, the lyrics are well-written, and the fire that Piece by Piece lacked is back. She's said that this is the album she always wanted to make, and you can sense the commitment and dedication in the music. This is how you age in pop music and keep your work fresh. Kudos to Kelly, who very nearly got this #1.

Best Tracks:
- Slow Dance
- Love So Soft
- Go High
- Move You
- Meaning of Life
- Whole Lotta Woman
- Medicine
- Cruel

Overall Rating: 8.23/10
01. Lorde - Melodrama

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And here we have the young lady who pipped Kelly Clarkson out in the end, the disgustingly talented, mature well-beyond-her-years, songwriting genius, Lorde, with her sophomore effort, Melodrama. This album was slated to drop out in twenty-second place, as I'd given it the obligatory single full-length spin, and the privileged revisiting of some of the more outlier tracks, and noted little to no change in my feelings regarding the music. This changed rather recently, right in the middle of this countdown - hence Lorde not being included in the poll - and though it's unprecedented that I change my mind so drastically in the middle of a year-end wrap-up, the quality of this album that I had missed in June - in my defense, I was suffering from chickenpox around that time, so perhaps my judgement wasn't what it should have been - deserved rectification. This album is everything I love about pop music that critics claim the genre lacks. It's exciting, daring, provocative and honest, introspective and vulnerable, and layered with so many nuances and subtleties that I'm sure I'll spend the rest of 2018 decoding the expertly penned lyrics. Lorde's delivery is brilliant, too. She's so comfortable that she's even playing around with the vocal delivery of the lyrics, with intonations, well-placed background whispers, sighs, moans - the full works! The instrumentation is also brilliant - every element feels purposeful, and is matched so carefully with the mood and tone shifts within the songs. Lorde shows that you don't have to take the country-folk route for depth; she's delivering pure pop giants that can compete with the best of Carly Rae's recent output, with lyricism of the John Lennon-level (yes, I'm going that far). This album gives you a complete listening experience without ever feeling overwhelming. Some artists spend their whole careers searching for the right sound, chasing trends in pursuit of 'that' song, and Lorde, at 20, just seems to have it all figured out. Pure Heroine promised much, and Melodrama marks the fulfillment of all the potential hinted at on Pure Heroine.

Best Tracks:
- Sober
- Green Light
- The Louvre
- Homemade Dynamite
- Liability
- Writer in the Dark
- Supercut

Overall Rating: 8.25/10
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Postby Tansike » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:08 pm

20. Demi Lovato - Tell Me You Love Me
19. Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa
18. Lady Antebellum - Heart Break

Ugh... not you listing "Sorry Not Sorry" as an album highlight of TMYLM... it's my least fave BY FAR :oops: :lol: I really enjoy the whole album and it's actually her second best to date for me...
Dua Lipa's debut was solid, though nothing really strong except "New Rules" for me.
"Heart Break" seems kinda underrated. It's a good country-pop-album, love Hillary's voice!

15. Kesha - Rainbow
14. Katy Perry - Witness
13. Shania Twain - Now
11. Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life


Amazing batch, love them all, with Lana's being my favorite one. Kinda sad to see her missing out the Top10 by one spot, as it's amazing from start to finish. Another funny coincidence that you list my least faves again (the A$AP Rocky tracks), but glad to see the brilliant "13 Beaches" on that list.
"Rainbow" and "Now" were a great comebacks, "Witness" was better than many people made it.

10. Harry Styles - Harry Styles
08. P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
07. Niall Horan - Flicker
06. Sam Smith - The Thrill of It All

Looks like we enjoyed the same albums last year as this is another good group for me.
Glad to see Niall above Harry, as "Flicker" is my favorite album by the former One Directioners. Harry's released was really solid too though.
"Beautiful Trauma" got me by surprise, as i love this so much! By far my most favorite album ever by P!nk - "Where We Go" MUST be a single at some point!
Sam's album is not as good as his debut, but some songs keep on growing on me lately.

05. Imagine Dragons - Evolve
04. Ed Sheeran - ÷
03. Taylor Swift - Reputation

02. Kelly Clarkson - Meaning of Life
01. Lorde - Melodrama

Very strong Top5!
"Evolve", "÷" and "Melodrama" are all amazing and belong to my absolute faves from last year as well, while "Reputation" is really strong as well.
"Meaning Of Life" disappointed me a lot at first, as it's my second least favorite album by Kelly... however, some songs keep on appear in my mind lately, despite not having listened to the album for weeks now, so i'll most likely re-visit it soon and i think there's a chance this may grow on me.

Great countdown, with many great albums! :D
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Postby king_oxymoron » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:21 pm

Okay I'm way behind.

First I think you way underrate Demi's album. Think it's so mature, easily her best and not full of noise! On the flip side, I think it is one of Pink's weaker. Dua is middling, Niall believe it or not I've not listened to too much but I LOVE On The Loose, I hope it's a single, I could sing it to you now despite the not listening too much thing,

Pretty solid top five. First thing to say, if you were always anti Ed and now chose to listen and clearly liked it... LISTEN TO PLUS AND MULTIPLY, THEY ARE SO MUCH BETTER. Especially the latter. This is the first time I felt Ed was writing to a predetermined template, though there is still good stuff.

Ah I nearly got the number one. In the same way as Demi, this album is a step up in maturity, it's ace. I love Slow Dance, good pick. I like Lorde album, but not as much.
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Postby JSparksFan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:01 pm

Tansike wrote:Ugh... not you listing "Sorry Not Sorry" as an album highlight of TMYLM... it's my least fave BY FAR :oops: :lol: I really enjoy the whole album and it's actually her second best to date for me...
Dua Lipa's debut was solid, though nothing really strong except "New Rules" for me.
"Heart Break" seems kinda underrated. It's a good country-pop-album, love Hillary's voice!
Conversely, it's my favourite by some margin! :lol: Glad that you enjoy the album, though. Is it second to Demi?

I agree with you on Dua and Lady Antebellum.

Tansike wrote:Amazing batch, love them all, with Lana's being my favorite one. Kinda sad to see her missing out the Top10 by one spot, as it's amazing from start to finish. Another funny coincidence that you list my least faves again (the A$AP Rocky tracks), but glad to see the brilliant "13 Beaches" on that list.
"Rainbow" and "Now" were a great comebacks, "Witness" was better than many people made it.
Pop/trap/hip-hop is an eclectic blend that Lana pulls off fantastically, so no surprise that I gravitate most to those songs.

Tansike wrote:Looks like we enjoyed the same albums last year as this is another good group for me.
Glad to see Niall above Harry, as "Flicker" is my favorite album by the former One Directioners. Harry's released was really solid too though.
"Beautiful Trauma" got me by surprise, as i love this so much! By far my most favorite album ever by P!nk - "Where We Go" MUST be a single at some point!
Sam's album is not as good as his debut, but some songs keep on growing on me lately.
Same here!

Whoa at you enjoying Beautiful Trauma that much! I vaguely remember you saying that a song from it was your favourite P!nk song ever, so maybe I shouldn't be that surprised. Hopefully, she comes back next with with material both of us can enjoy.

Tansike wrote:Very strong Top5!
"Evolve", "÷" and "Melodrama" are all amazing and belong to my absolute faves from last year as well, while "Reputation" is really strong as well.
"Meaning Of Life" disappointed me a lot at first, as it's my second least favorite album by Kelly... however, some songs keep on appear in my mind lately, despite not having listened to the album for weeks now, so i'll most likely re-visit it soon and i think there's a chance this may grow on me.

Great countdown, with many great albums! :D
You should revisit "Slow Dance" if you haven't heard it recently. It's so romantic!

Glad you enjoyed the countdown! Many thanks for following! <3

king_oxymoron wrote:Okay I'm way behind.

First I think you way underrate Demi's album. Think it's so mature, easily her best and not full of noise! On the flip side, I think it is one of Pink's weaker. Dua is middling, Niall believe it or not I've not listened to too much but I LOVE On The Loose, I hope it's a single, I could sing it to you now despite the not listening too much thing,

Pretty solid top five. First thing to say, if you were always anti Ed and now chose to listen and clearly liked it... LISTEN TO PLUS AND MULTIPLY, THEY ARE SO MUCH BETTER. Especially the latter. This is the first time I felt Ed was writing to a predetermined template, though there is still good stuff.

Ah I nearly got the number one. In the same way as Demi, this album is a step up in maturity, it's ace. I love Slow Dance, good pick. I like Lorde album, but not as much.
Glad we agree on P!nk. Seeing as both you and Tansike claim Demi's album is good, I'll revisit it in full and see if I missed anything good.

I'll check out the Ed albums.

Thanks for following, Adam! 8-)
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Postby JSparksFan » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:06 pm

Full Recap

Code: Select all
25. Mary J. Blige - Strength of a Woman
24. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now
23. Kendrick Lamar - Damn
22. Paramore - After Laughter
21. SZA - Ctrl
20. Demi Lovato - Tell Me You Love Me
19. Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa
18. Lady Antebellum - Heart Break
17. Big Sean - I Decided
16. Trey Songz - Tremaine
15. Kesha - Rainbow
14. Katy Perry - Witness
13. Shania Twain - Now
12. Miguel - War & Leisure
11. Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life
10. Harry Styles - Harry Styles
09. Portugal. The Man - Woodstock
08. P!nk - Beautiful Trauma
07. Niall Horan - Flicker
06. Sam Smith - The Thrill of It All
05. Imagine Dragons - Evolve
04. Ed Sheeran - ÷
03. Taylor Swift - Reputation
02. Kelly Clarkson - Meaning of Life
01. Lorde - Melodrama
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Postby UKMusicLova » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:16 am

'Melodrama' is one of my favourite albums of the year, and one of my favourite pop albums of recent years. It's such a strong effort, from someone with a great artistic vision but still with the ability to write a good pop hook!
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Postby Tansike » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:50 pm

JSparksFan wrote:Conversely, it's my favourite by some margin! :lol: Glad that you enjoy the album, though. Is it second to Demi?
Unpopular opinion alert: It's second to "Confident"... :oops:

JSparksFan wrote:Whoa at you enjoying Beautiful Trauma that much! I vaguely remember you saying that a song from it was your favourite P!nk song ever, so maybe I shouldn't be that surprised. Hopefully, she comes back next with with material both of us can enjoy.
Unpopular opinion alert #2: "Just Like Fire" is actually my favorite P!nk song, "Where We Go" comes really close though... :oops: :oops:
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