Monday, January 1, 2018

Music Roundup 2017

For my money, 2017 was one of the best years for music in a very long time. Many of my favorite artists released new discs, and I found a few new favorites as well. This past year, I doubled the amount of new music I normally purchase. Trust me, that's a lot of discs! The amazing thing though, is that I liked pretty much everything.

Let me put that into perspective for you. There are years when I go to compile my top ten list and
I struggle to even find ten discs that qualify, as there are usually some big disappointments from established acts or some new artists that have little to offer outside of that one single that made me buy the disc in the first place. So to have a year when I hated nothing and even the so-so stuff is pretty darn good, well, that's pretty special.

The result of all this is that making a top ten list felt nigh on impossible (which is why this is being written at 9:30 pm on January 1st, instead of the week before as I normally do). I wasn't sure how to compile this year's list. Do I base the list solely on artistic merit, on pure emotional impact, or do I try to find a mix that reflects each differing style I listened to? How do I cut life-long favorite artists? Is that one record I listened to a bunch of times in a row really that great or just a different, refreshing change of pace? See? Not an easy task.

So, after much thought and about 15 billion different versions of the list I think I've got it. There are a few records I was sure would be top ten material when I heard them that didn't quite make it, and some that any other year would have definitely been top ten that are nowhere near this list. That's how quality this year's crop has been. So I'll do what I normally do, give you the runners up, the top ten, and then a few shout outs at the end.  Ready? Here goes.

The "Almost Made Its"

Ray Davies-Americana  (It broke my heart to leave this one off.)
Old 97's-Graveyard Whistling (Great band, great record. So  very nearly on the list.)
Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings-Soul Of A Woman (A fitting farewell to a fabulous singer-and you can bet it sounds SWEET on vinyl!)
The Jesus And Mary Chain-Damage And Joy (Dug this one a lot. Great Winter record. Another heartbreaker to leave off the list.)
Mastodon-Emperor Of Sand (Best METAL album I've heard in quite a while. Good stuff.)

Dave's Top Ten Albums Of 2017

10. Paramore-After Laughter (I am shocked by how much I love this thing. Mopey alternative lyrics set to an '80s pop sound that is somehow fresh and retro all at once. Grooved on it for months.)

9. The War On Drugs-A Deeper Understanding  (This is not a record so much as a soundscape. One to get completely lost in. Ethereal, beautiful, driving, and nearly perfect.)

8. Margo Price-All American Made (The best new voice in Americana music, hands down. Not only a great Dolly/Tammy type singer but a quality writer as well. Fantastic.)

7. Foo Fighters-Concrete And Gold (The best sounding Foos record possibly ever. Killer songs, killer production, great modern rock record.)

6. Bash & Pop-Anything Could Happen (From the ashes of The Replacements. Sounds like what would happen if the 'Mats were an alt country band with some Stones and punk rock thrown in.)

5. Steve Earle And The Dukes-So You Wannabe An Outlaw (Steve Earle doing what he does best. Outlaw country at its finest.)

4. Imelda May-Life Love Flesh Blood (What a voice! A record that is both kinda chill and emotionally intense at the same time. So, so great.)

3. U2-Songs Of Experience (U2 does it again. Easily their best in a long time.)

2. Living Colour-Shade (A fierce record for our times. Hard rock meets hip hop, blues, and even a little dub all delivered with mighty grooves and riffs like a Mack truck. Incredible.)

1. Japandroids-Near To The Wild Heart Of Life (A phenomenal record all the way through. I can't say enough about it, and words wouldn't do it justice anyway. Essential indie rock.)

Shout Outs

So may other great records I just couldn't list. Check out the new stuff from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Cheap Trick, Matthew Sweet, Flogging Molly, Squeeze, Alice Cooper...the list goes on. And on. So much great stuff this year!

Alright, that's it. This is the official list although I'm sure I'll re-read it later and think "Man, why what was I thinking? Why wasn't _____ included? Did I really like _____ that much?"  But I think it is a good representation of the year for me.

Looking forward to some more awesome stuff in 2018!!!

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