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Albums Of The Year 2017


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It's Christmas!

Well, nearly. 

Wherever you are, whether you're 'driving home for Christmas' or 'roasting chestnuts on an open fire' there's a chance you'll need some music on in the background... and since Christmas starts in November now, you're probably sick of Mariah Carey.

2017 churned out some awesome albums, and here's a chance to revisit just 20 of the best.

So here it is, our Christmas gift to you... The National Student's Best Albums of the year.

Idles - Brutalism

Brutalism is the rock album the world needs. Covering everything from politics to violence to the current crushing state of society, Idles deliver their message with poignancy and humour; not preachy, but confrontational and articulate enough to cement it as a vital record that will forever paint an honest picture of 2017.

Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life

Wolf Alice returned this year with their second record Visions of a Life, which quickly found itself in the running for everyone's album of the year. Ellie Rowsell and co. manage to smash together rock, punk, indie and pop and take us through the 80s, 90s and present in 46 minutes of essential new tracks.

If you thought My Love is Cool was a great album, then Visions of a Life is simply a ballsier, more confident and matured version of that.

Sampha - Process

Mercury Award winning Process finally brought Sampha into the limelight; his first solo album, having been working prior to this providing vocals for SBTRKT.

His soulful voice combined with electronic beats and R&B vibes touches on fragile subjects such as his mother's death, making an emotional but innovative album.

Queens of the Stone Age - Villains

It's a ballsy move for a huge rock band to work with a pop producer on an album, but Queens of the Stone Age and Mark Ronson's collaboration pays off on Villains. Sure, their discography has always had a certain 'groove' to it but the glossy dancey vibes that come through the veins of this record are irresistable and a risk that certainly paid off.

Haim - Something To Tell You

The Haim sisters' sophmore effort is an eclectic melting pot of soft 70s rock and beaming 90s pop. Nostalgic in its nature and modern in its crisp, clean production; metaphorical in its lyrics and relatable in its themes, Something To Tell You is a California doused exploration of youth.

Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa

2017's big sister, Dua Lipa sticks a middle finger up on her debut self titled album. The theme of girl power runs throughout, with tracks like the chart topping 'New Rules' laying out a set of instructions for girls worldwide to successfully get over their ex, and know their worth in 'IDGAF'.

This pop masterpiece should throw Dua into even bigger and better things in 2018, as she continues to grow and empower.

Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life

Lana moves away from her trademark melancholy, Hollywood-esque style on Lust For Life, where she confronts the issues that dominated her past, opening up into a happier, free version of herself through hazy dreamy pop and luscious visuals.

But of course, in true style, themes of politics and an America in turmoil creep through in the lyrics putting a darker side to the album. You didn't think she'd make a happy record, did you?

King Krule - The OOZ

King Krule groans and growls through nineteen tracks on 2017's The OOZ, making it the longest on this list. Archy Marshall dips his toes into jazz, dabbles in R&B and experiments with dreamy indie in a true genre-smash of an album, albeit a gloomy ride.

Circa Waves - Different Creatures

Circa Waves try their hand at political music making in Different Creatures, taking stabs at shit television, Tories and the state of the refugee crisis. Though well known for their sunshine soaked soft indie rock that gave us Summer staple 'T-Shirt Weather', the Liverpool four piece evolve their sound into darker, more mature rock with a little more depth and turn their teenage angst into political charge.

Caligula's Horse - In Contact

Aussie sensations Caligula's Horse are an epic band, and their album In Contact lives up to the same title. Using its eleven tracks to artsily tell four different stories, they combine elements of rock, metal, folk, jazz and spoken word. Though that sounds like it would make for an album of mismatched sounds and jolty transitions, In Contact flows melodically from track to track creating one kick-ass record.

Loyle Carner - Yesterday's Gone

A rags-to-riches story, Yesterday's Gone is a personal record from Croydon-born Loyle Carner, aka Benjamin Coyle-Larner. The fifteen track debut album poetically covers topics of family, relationships, love for music and lack of money through the mediums of rap and hip-hop. 

Moving away from the stereotypical aggressiveness and cockiness on the surface of rap, Loyle's music is sensitive and articulate, described as 'confessional hip-hop'.

Blaenavon - That's Your Lot

That's Your Lot may have taken five years to make, but it was certainly worth the wait. At only 21 years old, lead vocalist Ben Gregory sings with a mature huskiness that feels beyond his years - in fact, the whole record doesn't feel like a teenage debut but a piece that has been crafted by veterans of the industry.

With this confidence and talent behind them, we can only hope it won't take another five years to release album two.

Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer

Explosive Gang Signs & Prayer is the first grime album in history to reach number one, single 'Shut Up' is platinum selling, every track on the record charted - so you could say 2017 has just been a little bit successful for Stormzy. 

Wretch 32, Ghetts, J Hus, Kehlani, Raleigh Ritchie and MNEK all feature on the album, which is influenced by the likes of Skepta and Wiley, making it a huge collaborative effort and a trophy record for the grime scene, now making it's way even further than ever into the veins of mainstream music.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice

Barnett and Vile bring a new meaning and new faces to the idea of 'Kurt & Courtney'.

Blending the styles of indie rock and Americana/country on Lotta Sea Lice, the duo, who are solo artists in their own right, have created a chilled out album of dreary, smooth vocals to a fun, interesting beat.

Noga Erez - Off The Radar

Though an incredibly interesting and essential protest record that touches on almost everything that needs to be said, Noga Erez still manages to make her music playful and fun - a well needed break from the constant weight of the world, while still paying attention.

Set against her demanding lyrics is an amalgamation of techo, trap, dance, experimential electronic, pop and dubstep sounds, creating an upbeat, boppy first half of the record and contemplative latter half - it certainly makes you think.

Lorde - Melodrama

Hailed across the music industry as one of the best albums this year by miles is Lorde's sophomore record, Melodrama. It's a euphoric romanticised tale of growing up and the art of 'getting over'; but where there is a huge sense of strength, much more than in her debut, she is still able to strip back to show her more vulnerable side, channeling angst and anxiety, which plays a huge part in what makes this record feel so relatable, especially to her millennial peers.

St. Vincent - Masseduction

St. Vincent, guitar goddess, adds another title to her accolades: pop princess. Her fifth album Masseduction is another genre-bender on this list. It's an experimential, artistic record that combines her witty lyrics with a tender vocal but explosive, electronic production creating some of the most euphoric tracks of all the albums released this year.

Satyricon - Deep Calleth Upon Deep

Now on their ninth album, Satyricon show no signs of slowing down, nor their records losing traction. The National Student writer Matt compares this record and the whole heavy metal scene to the horror genre in film: 'often terrifying, vilified or misunderstood by the mainstream, but also secretly able to pump out some of the greatest works that the medium has ever seen.'

Though it is inherently a heavy metal record, combining everything you'd expect from something to be churned out of the genre, there is a distinct rock and roll edge to some tracks on the album that allows it to stand out of the ordinary and into a realm of its own.

Bicep - Bicep

Dance means something different to everyone, but to Bicep, the 90s reign as one of the best eras for the genre, and they pull all the best elements from it into the 21st century on the debut self titled record, blending insanely addictive acid house, trance and garage.

The hypnotic tracks are universal - they can be listened to on the club, on the beach or on the bus home. And while looking to the past for all the best elements of dance music in its prime, Bicep have one foot firmly in the future.

Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Harry Styles' debut album sees the 23 year old break free from the cheese twist chains that One Direction held him down with. Channeling the influence of classic rock gods and goddesses, from Fleetwood Mac to Elton John, Styles has created an album that combines pillow soft sounds with explosive electric guitar in perfect measure, without the sugar sweet coating.

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