116+ Albums from Actress to Ziúr: Weird New Pop's Favorite Albums of the Year

Usually, I find comfort in limitations and I'm pretty good at following instructions. But, when it comes to year-end lists, I'm just not myself. So, when Michael Lavorgna asked for a list of five favorite albums, I promptly came up with 75.

And then 95. Then 100. Then 110. Then 116. And then for good measure and to amuse myself, I added a few more things.

I suck at lists. Looking back at this particular list, I regret that my engagement with new jazz, classical, and ambient styles was not what it could have been. In 2017, my interest turned decidedly toward metal and electronic forms before whiplashing back to hip-hop (specifically, trap) and R&B. However, my greatest pleasures were found, as always, in weird new pop.

111 Rule Breakers (in no particular order)

Björk: Utopia
Equiknoxx: Colón Man
Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun
Perfume Genius: No Shape
Hercules & Love Affair: Omnion
Yussef Kamaal: Black Focus
Pallbearer: Heartless
Full of Hell: Trumpeting Ecstasy
Show Me The Body: Corpus I
J Hus: Common Sense
Big Thief: Capacity
SYD: Fin
Karriem Riggins: Headnod Suite
Power Trip: Nightmare Logic
Carmen Villain:: Infinite Avenue
Future: HNDRXX
Elder: Reflections of a Floating World
Xiu Xiu: Forget
Blanck Mass: World Eater
Japanese Breakfast: Soft Sounds From Another Planet
Ghost Bath: Starmourner
Deerhoof: Mountain Moves
Shackleton & Vengeance Tenfold: Sferic Ghost Transmits
Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me
Lee Gamble: Mnestic Pressure
PC Worship: Buried Wish
Katy Perry: Witness
1-O.A.K.: Riding in Cars with Girls
Pyrrhon: What Passes for Survival
Bonobo: Migration
Loss: Horizonless
Drake: More Life
Usnea: Portals Into Futility
Freddie Gibbs: You Only Live 2wice
Future Islands: The Far Field
Chino Amobi: Paradiso
Black Mecha: I.M. Mentalizing
Torres: Three Futures
Artificial Brain: Infrared Horizon
21 Savage, Offset, Metro Boomin: Without Warning
Andrew Weathers Ensemble: Build a Mountain Where Our Bodies Fall
Lil Yachty: Teenage Emotions
Big Brave: Ardor
Dirty Projectors: Dirty Projectors
King Woman: Created in the Image of Suffering
Spectral Voice: Eroded Corridors of Unbeing
Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger in the Alps
Julien Baker: Turn Out the Lights
Princess Nokia: 1992 Deluxe
Bell Witch: Mirror Reaper
Pan Daijing: Lack
Endon: Through the Mirror
Visionist: Value
Laurel Halo: Dust
Couch Slut: Contempt
Monarch!: Never Forever
Ex Eye: Ex Eye
21 Savage: Issa Album
Yellow Eyes: Immersion Trench Reverie
Forest Swords: Compassion
St. Vincent: Masseduction
Kelly Lee Owens: Kelly Lee Owens
Boris: Dear
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement: Ambient Black Magic
Future, Young Thug: Super Slimey
Nosaj Thing: Parallels
Joey Bada$$: All-Amerikkkan Bada$$
Ibeyi: Ash
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: The Kid
Vince Staples: Big Fish Theory
King Krule: The Ooz
Young Thug: Beautiful Thugger Girls
Jesca Hoop: Memories Are Now
LCD Soundsystem: American Dream
Big Sean: I Decided
Alvvays: Antisocialites
Alex Cameron: Runnin’ Out of Luck
Moses Sumney: Aromanticism
Hype Williams: Rainbow Edition
Christopher Willits: Horizon
Tyler, the Creator: Scum Fuck Flower Boy
Benjamin Clementine: I Tell A Fly
The XX: I See You
Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life
Circuit des Yeux: Reaching for Indigo
Mount Kimbie: Love What Survives
Four Tet: New Energy
Angel Olson: Phases
Oneohtrix Point Never: Good Time (OST)
Lapalux: Ruinism
Kelela: Take Me Apart
Big Boi: Boomiverse
Sevdaliza: Ison
Actress: AZD
Sondre Lerche: Pleasure
Thundercat: Drunk
Cashmere the Cat: 9
Ryuichi Sakamoto: async
Gucci Mane: Droptopwop
Mesarthim: Absence
2 Chainz: Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
Cavernlight: As We Cup Our Hands and Drink from the Stream of Our Ache
Tyshawn Sorey: Verisimilitude
Lorn: Arrayed Claws
dälek: Endangered Philosophies
M.S.W.: Hell
Yazz Ahmed: La Saboteuse
Emptiness: Not for Music
Ziúr: U Feel Anything?
Malokarpatan: Nordkarpatenland
Áine O’Dwyer: Beast Diaries
Fave Five of 2017

Aldous Harding: Party
Kendrick Lamar: Damn
Arca: Arca
Jlin: Black Origami
Favorite Reissue
Sharon Van Etten: (it was) because i was in love

Biggest Surprise (tie)
Aldous Harding: Party

Biggest Disappointment (non-political)
Thurston Moore: Rock N Roll Consciousness

Favorite Album Art
St. Vincent: Masseduction

Least Favorite Album Art
Thurston Moore: Rock N Roll Consciousness

Favorite Album Title
1-O.A.K.: Riding in Cars with Girls

Least Favorite Album Title
Thurston Moore: Rock N Roll Consciousness

Favorite Vocal Performance (tie)
Aldous Harding: "Imagining My Man"
SZA: "Supermodel"
Taichi Nagura (Endon): "Born in Limbo"

Least Favorite Vocal Performance
Thurston Moore: anything from Rock N Roll Consciousness

Favorite Rap Performance
Kendrick Lamar: "Doves in the Wind" (SZA)

Least Favorite Rap Performance
If Thurston Moore rapped in 2017, it would go here.

How Did I Forget to Listen to These?
Lorde: Melodrama
Dillon: Kind
Wiley: Godfather
Uniform: Wake in Fright
Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 3
William Basinski: A Shadow in Time
Michael Chapman: 50
Haim: Something to Tell You
Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge: Mount Royal
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Luciferian Towers
ESG: Step Off
Smino: blkswn
Sean Leon: C.C.W.M.T.T.
Nick Hakim: Green Twins
Sarah Davachi: All My Circles Run
Lee Ranaldo: Electric Trim

charlesphoto's picture

Wow, what a list. Makes me feel old. Maybe I do need a streaming subscription!

Would be great to have access to these great lists in a printable format.

Best, CP

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thanks! Music keeps us young! :)

Maybe I do need a streaming subscription!

It would make a great Christmas gift! A good streaming service can lead to a LOT of very fun and satisfying musical discovery.

Would be great to have access to these great lists in a printable format.

You can print this (or any) article by clicking the three dots that are located above the Comments section (to the right of the email button), then selecting the print option. Or, in your browser, you can click File, Export as PDF.

Or subscribe to a streaming service and start exploring right away! ;) Happy holidays!

burnspbesq's picture

Struggling to figure out how Chicano Batman failed to make the list. Even if just for the name, which is the greatest band name ever. And their music is surely weird enough to qualify.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Struggling to figure out how Chicano Batman failed to make the list.

No need to struggle. :) This list is made of the albums that inspired me over the course of the year. I'm sure I missed a lot of good stuff. A couple of people have recommended Chicano Batman, and I've listened to them a few times briefly, but I haven't gotten into them yet. I'll try again. Thanks!

nick's picture

No love for Hurray for the Riff Raff’s “The Navigator”?

Stephen Mejias's picture

A very intriguing release, but I haven't listened to it yet. I definitely want to spend time with it, though!