2017 music in review: albums that deserve a second spin

January 23, 2018

Eric Friedberg

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    When an artist has something to say, they write an album. This seemed to be the theme of music in 2017.

    We connect with artists through their songs because maybe they bring back fond memories of our past, or help us escape reality. Or maybe we just enjoy tapping along with the beat.

    Although it might be a challenge to figure out what a lyric was really all about, or to truly contemplate your reasoning behind wearing all black in high school, one thing we can easily do is look back on all the good records that were released in 2017.

    Below are a few albums that captured 2017 for the adventurous music fan.


“Life Without Sound” by Cloud Nothings

Release Date: Jan. 27

    The Ohio indie rock band, Cloud Nothings, released their fifth full-length album, “Life Without Sound,” on Jan. 27. This album was produced by John Goodmanson, who is best known for producing for Death Cab for Cutie.

    This time, the band adds a second guitarist to the mix, making “Life Without Sound” one of Cloud Nothings’ smoothest albums to date. It unmasks a softer side to the band and their music, resulting in a more pop-rock tone.  

    But don’t be fooled, the record still explores some darker themes as Cloud Nothings creates songs like “Darkened Rings” and “Enter Entirely.”

    These songs are more of Cloud Nothings’ style, as they incorporate hard-hitting drums as well as capture still shots from their previous guitar centric records, such as “Here and Nowhere else” and “Attack on Memory.”

    “Life Without Sound” is an explosive, ‘90s worthy album that gives frontman Dylan Baldi’s guitar riffs the attention they deserve.


“The Incessant” by Meat Wave

Release Date: Feb. 17

    Another notable album that debuted in 2017 comes from the band Meat Wave.  They released “The Incessant” on Feb. 17, and it seemed different from their previous releases.

    The band approached songs in a chaotic, matured way, structuring songs by ensuring that every guitar lick and drum fill was done with a purpose.

     By listening to the lyrics, you can tell this is a breakup album. The metaphors and wordplay seem to cover up frustrations, while the snapping guitar licks, and sporadic drum fills seem to sum up enough anger for two albums worth of love sick tunes.


“DAMN.” by Kendrick Lamar

Release Date: April 14

    It would feel like a cop out not to put Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” record on this list.

    Lamar’s avant-garde approach to writing lyrics and beats makes the feeling of listening to rap refreshing again. Lamar stayed true to his political beliefs and bleak outlook on society. His stories flow into each other like an anthology of protest songs.

    He changes the tempo and beats on almost every one of his songs, creating a progressive rap album that few have done before.  

    This album is one of the few that I’ve listened to this year that actually feels like an album.

    From the first song on the record “BLOOD” to the last song “Duckworth,” it feels more adequate to listen to songs track by track, as opposed to shuffling them.



“Shakey Graves and the Horse He Rode In On” by Shakey Graves

Release Date: June 30

    Teleporting to a dark cold desert, Shakey Graves’ record, “Shakey Graves and the Horse He Rode In On” is definitely a 2017 contender bound to play somewhere.

    Released on June 30, this album is a two-part, 18-song record that generates honest and lonesome folk songs that manly incorporate singer songwriters, Shakey Graves, vocals and percussive guitar.

    Shakey Graves, also known as Alejandro Rose-Garcia, is most notably known for his one one-man band material, with his percussive guitar and raspy blues folk vocals that result from him alone.

    A simple record that has scratchy iPhone- type recording quality to it, that truly stands out in songs like “Alexander, City Born” and “Doe Jane.”

    The bedroom-tracked songs are all played in a very humble manner, each more accepting of the magnificent unedited glory thaen the last.


“Flower Boy” by Tyler the Creator

Release Date: July 21

    When California-based rapper, Tyler the Creator released his album “Flower Boy” on July 21, he practically gave listeners a personal tour of his consciousness, releasing his inner thoughts about fame, love and sexuality through his interesting and well produced beats.

    While Tyler the Creator’s previous record, “Cherry Bomb,” is more of a record you would want to hide from your mom, “Flower Boy” is poetic and thoughtful.  

     “Flower Boy” has an all-star cast of featured artists, such as Frank Ocean, Jaden Smith, A$AP Rocky and Lil Wayne. These artists have arguably made the album more complete and kaleidoscopic than any other Tyler the Creator record to date.