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My Best Albums of 2017 - Harriet Willis

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2017 has knocked out the snobby fangirl in me and got me revelling in the musically diverse society we live in.

Every year we think we’ve been blessed with a number of albums that are amongst the best ever, the ones that will go down in history. For me, 2017 has been an eye opener to the different styles that are circulating our radar, leading to me dipping into a wide range of genres that have either taken the limelight in the mainstream or are bubbling underground ready for 2018.

It’s safe to say, 2017 has let me embrace the fact that loving Harry Styles at the age of 20 is absolutely fine and maybe it’s okay to actually like Big Shaq. The following ten albums represent the most influential albums that have turned me into someone who loves 'a mix, really' - yeah, I've become that person.

Loyle Carner - Yesterday's Gone

Loyle Carner aka Benjamin Coyle-Larner, released what could quite possibly be my favourite album for a very long time.

Yesterday’s Gone is the perfect example of ‘rags to riches’ story that was the base of every rap/hip-hop album from the 90’s. Loyle’s lyrics are homegrown and personal, the complete adoration for his family and particularly his mum is evident through every track.

The ground-breaking single 'No CD' ventures into the themes of having a love for music and a lack of money. His pure talent of poetic rhymes and beats is consistently impressive throughout this debut album.

Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life

Wolf Alice’s second album is bold and brash, literally taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions. 

Tracks such as 'Yuk Foo' unleash the inner grunge, raging Courtney Love-like fire juxtaposed with 'Don’t Delete the Kisses' that bring you back down to earth, feeling all reflective and sultry.

This album explores the diversity of the band, showing you that Wolf Alice can fluctuate between a crazy amount of styles and feelings.

King Krule - The Ooz

After four years since his debut album, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, The Ooz is a 19 track long album, still with the same growling vocals that make him sound like he’s drank and smoked too much but more bass and depth to each track.

When you take a look at his discography, you can see the influence of each of his monikers, bringing together everything he’s dabbled in, into one clean polished final production.

Queens of the Stone Age - Villains

The grooviest. Do I have to say more? This album reboots their groove and funk, bringing back the signature sound that kicked them off, not that they every lost it, it just needed that kick back on track.

It’s quite clear that Mark Ronson’s producer influence helped the overall vibe of the album thrive in a funky sense, following an album that featured people regularly such as Alex Turner, Queens of the Stone Age stripped it back and kept it pure QOTSA, no need for external input this time around.

Billie Eilish - dont smile at me

The 15-year-old, Californian, Pop prodigy released an eight track EP earlier this year that she created and released with her brother.

Her lyrics are sometimes dark, with 'bellyache', for example, the general message is that of murdering her friends and being caught for it, kinda weird, right? Aside from the borderline sinister themes, Billie’s vocals are a crossover between Lorde and Lana Del Rey, clearly establishing that dark-pop element that make her music so alluring and attractive.

Blaenavon - That's Your Lot

This debut studio album by Blaenavon is a breath of fresh air from the indie music scene. Following the general themes of youth and growing up, the distinct, mature vocals of a 21 year old cause intrigue and excitement about this band and who are they.

Having started the writing five years prior to the release, the album has had time to be polished, reworked and perfected for the release and it paid off well.

Tracks such as 'Swans', (written by frontman, Ben Gregory when he was just 16) show off a cinematic approach to music and demonstrate a clear maturity in the album that not most young bands possess.

Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Where to even start. A vision of pure beauty – I’m referring to the album here.

Harry Styles debut, self-titled album channels his influences of classic rock gods and goddesses; Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones to name a few.

His solo work expresses the urges and abilities he was restricted from in the days of One Direction. From lyrics and songs that focus on the politics we’re surrounded by today to more adventurous, double-entendre’s and daring innuendos, he probably wouldn’t have gotten away with back in 2014.

His attempt to be taken seriously and considered an ‘artist’ has turned out successful; he’s done everything he wanted and he’s done it right.

Stormzy - Gang Signs and Prayer

South London Grime doesn’t come much more authentic than Stormzy. Despite the amount of success, Stormzy could easily boast and gloat about where he’s at, he remains humble.

His album, Gang Signs and Prayer shows a much more reflective insight to the artist’s life and the utter appreciation he has for his success through more melodic, singing-styles; that doesn’t rule out the presence of absolute fire anthems such as 'Big for Your Boots' that hit the charts and circulate our heads for days on end.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice

This collaborative album brings a whole new understanding to the title, ‘Kurt & Courtney’.

The combination of these two completely different musical styles of indie-rock and American-country, just doesn’t sound like it would or even should work. Kurt’s dreary yet capturing country vocals are like marmite and Courtney’s talk-singing style somehow work together a hell of a lot better than you’d think.

This album proves that if you have even just a small fraction of common ground you can produce something incredibly interesting and captivating.

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