Ok, I know that 2017 was not a great year across the board for a lot of people. But if you look to the artistic community- the hard working, hard feeling people who put their souls into this stuff that saves all of our lives every year, it's hard not to be inspired. Frequently, these artists are people who spend their year traveling the country/world, helping small scenes and pockets flourish and giving people hope and a sense of community. Sometimes the music is a call to action, sometimes it's an escape. But it's all good, and all necessary, and all wonderful.
I think I tried this year to not just fall into the same patterns I always do, but patterns are patterns for a reason. I ignored big pop albums. I overrated releases by artists I already love, and underappreciated new artists, more diverse artists, artists who deserve recognition. It's also important to reiterate- I know it says "best" of at the top. You can't compare apples to oranges in most of these cases, this is my "favorites". Kendrick's album is the most impressive. Mount Eeerie's is the most meaningful. I'm the kind of guy who gets his kicks largely from long haired white dudes getting a little too full of themselves with guitars, and I think as long as I acknowledge that, it isn't problematic.. This is the place for me to recap what I listened to the most, what kept drawing me back for whatever reason (defensible or not).
Anyway, I hope you find something you like in this list. I provided a Spotify embed of a particularly representative (or more likely, my favorite) track for each of the albums. If, upon looking at this, you think there might be something in my wheelhouse I should check out, by all means let me know!
My rating system is not scientific. I consider two albums and decide which I liked better, and move on. I look at the overall list and drag around until nothing jumps out as incorrect to me. There is no scale, no formula. Most of this music is Americana, Folk, Country, Indie Rock, and Post-Rock (or some combination of those). I'll often rank a mediocre album that falls in that wheelhouse higher than one that doesn't, because it's what I listen to. I try to give a shot to critical darlings, but if their genre or vibe falls outside my preferences, they probably don't show up here. I didn't even bother listening to Father John Misty, I find him insufferable. I should have given Lorde a shot probably. The text of my reviews is often super dumb and repetitive. I use the same words over and over, and don't know enough about music writing to add anything to the conversation. Mostly just a gut reaction sentence to provide guidance. Sometimes I go back and read things I wrote in previous years, and cringe, but it's hard to come up with something to say about your 80th favorite album of the year.