Flashflooder’s Top 100 Music Releases of 2017

For me 2017 was the year of streaming and Spotify due to the tragic death of What.cd (RIP) the year prior which led me to discovering and listening to music a little differently than the past few years. While I had more entries on my albums of the year spreadsheet tracker than ever (a good thing by all accounts) I struggled to find and connect with as many groundbreaking albums as I would have liked and in turn had less clarity than usual about what really were the truly standout records of the year. Or maybe it’s more that most all the supposed great albums weren’t all that good or interesting after all? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s just that 2017 was a year of adjusting to things that often don’t make sense and expecting it to feel normal.

My prevailing take away from 2017 was that a lot of supremely talented, highly marketable, and well established bands and artists that we’ve come to expect great things out of put out music that put nicely was not very overly inventive, creative and addictingly different and put more bluntly was largely over rated and over hyped based on pre-existing high expectations.

Imagine if you could somehow create a magical music time vacuum where you could somehow give all the music from the familiar indie and mainstream heavy hitters an attempt at objective criticism by considering their latest work as if it was them releasing their debut album. Would you still feel the same way about their latest release? Would you have even managed to discover them if you hadn’t already connected with some of their past work or be able to easily see that all of your internet friends “like” this hot new artist/band? Really though, take any of your current favorite music artists and think for a second…..is your favorite record of theirs one of their early establishing albums or one later on in their career after they’d hit bonafide headliner status?

Really though, is there anyone out there that liked Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” anywhere near as much as “Kid A”, “Amnesiac”, or “Ok Computer”? Would you ever have listened to Justice’s last two albums if there never was a Cross(†)? Would Arcade Fire even still be a band (much less, selling out arenas) if they started with “Everything Now” instead of “Funeral”? Would Eminem be the revered rapper he is if he initially released the trash fest of “Revival” instead of “The Slim Shady LP”?

For most all sane music minds, the answer to all of those rhetorical questions is an easy no and with the exception of very bad “Revival” (sorry diehard Eminem fans) the latest Radiohead, Justice and Arcade Fire albums aren’t terrible by any means and even have some good or great moments. But you’re kidding yourself if you think you would have listened to or cared about their later works if you weren’t already coming at each with a pre existing affection for the artist and a desire and hunger to re-experience the joys and nostalgia of your early favorite music memories with them in the form of new material. With that in mind I dare say that many of the so called “best albums” of 2017 weren’t much more than popular acts releasing new music. And that’s not necessarily an all bad thing. But it also isn’t an all good thing either.

Packaged in familiar sounds, predictable layouts and currently trending genres, many of 2017’s consensus top albums left me less musically inspired and creatively fulfilled than I’ve felt in other years . Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of quality (and some epicly great) music releases still; but reflective of today’s like-bait instant attention social atmosphere, I’ll go out on a lim(b) and bet that few 2017 albums will long be considered as pinnacle classics and will be remembered as pushing music’s sonic boundaries forward to new places or re-carving old classics in new, refreshing, and unexpected ways.

That being said, if you’ve come this far I sure hope that you keep scrolling on below to my hodge podge of a list and find a thing or two that you didn’t know about and find some audio excitement out of. You might not know where the gems lie but all rocks can be pretty cool in the right light so just dig in and go as deep as you want and can into the musical soil. Hopefully before not too long you’ll be rocking out and wondering why so many people thought that Lorde’s album was so great when there was all this other really cool shit too. For better or worse (it’s a choose your own adventure you get to decide type of thing) I promise that my list is further detached from most of the other critic lists this year than most. So either i’m losing my on to something or i’m really losing my mind.

But since critics are the critics for a reason, you can peruse all the official music opinions on what the best records were in 2017. Metacritic as usual does a solid post showing the top 10 of every notable list out there while (new to me this year) Albumoftheyear.org (aka AOTY) also puts out a nicely comprehensive music year list aggregate which unlike Metacritic actually takes into account votes for albums ranked outside of the top 10 in said critics lists.

Metacritic’s 2017 Music Critic Top 10 Lists
AOTY 2017 Music Year End List Aggregate

Again, there are (as always) tons of new albums to check out if you know where to look and are willing and interested in giving them a chance. While I’d like to say that i have some pretty interesting ones below, you may discover that our tastes are completely different and that you agree with the majority of everyone else and really like all the albums I didn’t list that were so prominently featured in the aggregate lists above. Regardless, do yourself a favor and listen to a thing or two you’ve never heard of and see where it takes you. Maybe, just maybe you’ll surprise yourself. Even if you don’t like surprises. Because really, if you think about surprises long enough, aren’t they really just formal prizes after all?

Or if pictures are not really your thing and you’re really more of a text person…

100. Anthony Naples – Us Mix EP
99. Galcher Lustwerk – Dark Bliss
98. Colleen – A flame my love, a frequency
97. NMESH – Pharma
96. Giraffage – Too Real
95. Joe Goddard – Electric Lines
94. Groundislava – Endless Voyage
93. Bibio – Phantom Brickworks
92. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana
91. Khotin – New Tab
90. Johnny Jewel – Windswept
89. Angel Olsen – Phases
88. DJ Heure – Mechta / Outsider Resource
87. Lapalux – Ruinism
86. Letherette – Where Have All The People Gone?
85. Kölsch – 1989
84. Bicep – Bicep
83. Jon Brion – Lady Bird (Original Soundtrack)
82. Throwing Snow – Embers
81. Moon Diagrams – Lifetime of Love
80. Monster Rally – Flowering Jungle
79. Seb Wildblood – The One With The Emoticon / Familiar Boundaries
78. King Krule – The OOZ
77. Blanck Mass – World Eater
76. Lee Gamble – Mnestic Pressure
75. Toro y Moi – Boo Boo
74. John Maus – Screen Memories
73. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
72. Road Hog – Haul Ass
71. Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder
70. James Heather – Stories From Far Away On Piano
69. Dark Sky – Othona & Kilter/Acacia
68. UNKNOWN ME – Subtropics
67. Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives
66. NxWorries – Yew Lawd! (Remixes)
65. Beach House – B-Sides & Rarities
64. Real Estate – In Mind
63. Gaussian Curve – The Distance
62. Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins
61. Letherette – brown lounge, vol. 3 & vol. 1
60. Mac Demarco – This Old Dog
59. DJ Python – Dulce Compañia
58. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
57. Kara-Lis Coverdale – Grafts
56. Gas – Narkopop
55. Claude Speeed – Infinity Ultra
54. Queens of The Stone Age – Villains
53. Forest Swords – Compassion
52. Mall Grab – Pool Party Music
51. Girlpool – Powerplant
50. Bonobo – Migration
49. Clark – Death Peak
48. Animal Collective – Meeting of the Waters
47. Letherette – EP4
46. Boogarins – Lá Vem a Morte
45. The xx – I See You
44. Laurel Halo – Dust
43. Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson
42. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
41. Geotic – Abysma
40. Sinjin Hawke – First Opus
39. Teengirl Fantasy – 8AM
38. Vince Staples – Big Fish
37. Avey Tare – Eucalyptus
36. Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
35. Actress – AZD
34. Calvin Harris – Funk WAV Bounces, Vol. 1
33. Kelela – Take Me Apart
32. Moses Sumney – Aromanticism
31. Visible Cloaks – Reassemblage / Lex
30. DJ Seinfeld – Time Spent Away From U
29. Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet
28. Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James Mcallister – Planetarium
27. Faye Webster – Faye Webster
26. You’ll Never Get To Heaven – Images
25. (Sandy) Alex G – Rocket
24. Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
23. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid
22. Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference
21. Shigeto – The New Monday
20. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
19. Laurence Guy – Saw You For The First Time
18. Daphni – Fabriclive 93
17. Dauwd – Theory of Colours
16. Aldous Harding – Party
15. Washed Out – Mister Mellow
14. Jacques Greene – Feel Infinite
13. Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
12. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
11. Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology
10. SZA – Ctrl
9. Four Tet – New Energy
8. Lindstrøm – It’s Alright Between Us as It Is
7. Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
6. Ryuichi Sakamoto – async
5. Big Thief – Capacity
4. Sampha – Process
3. Slowdive – Slowdive
2. Ross from Friends – Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes/ You’ll Understand / The Outsiders
1. Yves Tumor – Experiencing The Deposit Of Faith

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