This is the fourth year I’ve published a top records of the year list. And honestly, making this one was maybe the hardest. I’ve never had a year where my choices have flip-flopped as much as they have here. Even in years prior, my number one was always a clear choice, but this time around it balanced between a solid five records that I would interchange to potentially be deemed my favorite.
I think that stands as a major testament to how good music really was this year (or perhaps how big of a nerd I am). The best part about making this year’s list was how much of a challenge it was, and I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank everyone who had the audacity to pursue a life in music. From the struggling local act to the stadium fillers, thank you for making life so much sweeter for what you do.
I always say personal taste is like D.N.A., in that it’s all reactionary and a reflection of who you are; mirroring what you believe in. One type is never the same as another’s, and what works for one doesn’t apply to everyone, because it makes you who you are.
THE LIST. The List. Everyone has one, so what’s the point?
This past year, I feel like it’s impossible to not have some kind of ranking for what you’re the biggest nerd about, whether it be films, books, comics, TV, etc. It’s everyone’s chance to sound like a know-it-all critic to your friends who look at you (but will never admit to it) to know what’s the best of the best regarding that specific medium; that whatever that person is gonna say is of the highest caliber regarding something they love and you can tell from that twinkle in their eye as they tell you (I work at a bookstore, so believe me, I can spot that look instantaneously now). This is that list, and I am that nerd.
Without further ado, here is part one of two ranking my favorite records of 2017 (and if you haven’t already, also take a look back at my honorable mentions list featuring another 15 records from this year):
We’ve finally arrived at the end of the year; a year in which every lone week felt like it’s own self-contained 365 days. If there was any ray of light in a year filled with nuclear tension, lies, and the loss of respect for many in the entertainment community, it was the great art that 2017 has brought us — particularly in music. This Thanksgiving weekend, before we get to the legitimate two course meal of my 30 album year-end list (albums 30-16 go up next Friday, and 15-1 the week after), I’m serving this hors d’oeuvre, and talking about some of my favorite albums of the year… that unfortunately didn’t make my year-end list for 2017.
Doing this accomplishes a couple things:
1. It gives me an excuse to talk about my favorite records of the year a little earlier.
2. It makes my year-end list shorter than it has to be.
3. It generates hype for what will actually make the final 30.
4. You can get mad at me early for not having your favorite albums in my definitive list.
Hope you all have a good weekend spending time and appreciating the ones you love, and, of course, spinning these albums.
I love Fridays, and not just because it marks the end of the work week or because with it comes the promise of a relaxing and/or thrilling weekend. Fridays also signify the release of new music, and could you believe we’ve already had 26 Fridays so far this year, each with its own exciting batch of new albums to dig into. Below you will find two separate Top 5 lists from Jake and I (Michael), containing what we believe are the best of the best in music releases this year (so far). As an added bonus, we’ve each featured three honorable mentions below alongside the lists, and have also created a 30-song playlist over on the Jet Fuel Jukebox, highlighting our favorite tracks from the year as well. And as always, feel free to check out our two previous Best Of lists from 2016 and 2015.
Jake: 2017 has been one of the most exhilarating years in music. While there may be garbage plaguing radios across the country, many music fans, such as myself, have been able to discover a lot of gems over these past 6 months. We’ve seen many artists make a return from long hiatuses to deliver what many would consider their best bodies of work, while other artists new to the scene have been able to generate interest in their talents. Making this list was so hard; I could’ve honestly changed my order so that any of my choices landed at #1, but Michael gave me a deadline that I had to follow. BUT, I think I got it…maybe.
Michael: Similar to my mid-year list last time ‘round, much of my Top 5 this year is made up of artists I’d either had no knowledge even existed coming into 2017, or artists I knew about but hadn’t ever really given a real shot listening to. Discovering new artists you love is one of the greatest feelings you can experience as a fan of music. There are plenty of albums I was looking forward to this year from plenty of artists I’ve enjoyed for years that have already come and gone, and there’s more to come later this year from old standbys of mine. But the most exciting prospect is discovering even more artists I’ll love in the future. My hope with this post is that from my list I can introduce you to some new artists you’ll enjoy as I already have this year.
It’s been a year in which a week can feel like a year within itself, given the crazy-ass state of our world right now. But we’ve made it to June, and so we are at the midpoint of the year. You know what that means…LISTS! And you’re probably saying to yourself, “But Dan, it’s not the end of the year yet?” Yeah, I know, but why not talk about some of the best album releases so far.
In a year that’s been rife with amazing records, these are my top 15 albums released from January to May. My hope is that a lot of these choices flew under your radar, and that I can do my job properly by presenting you with new music. But if not, then hey, weren’t these records great? I also like the prospect of doing a list like this, simply because it will be interesting to see how drastically this list will change by December. It’s sure to be affected both by upcoming releases and the chance to dive deeper into some albums I previously missed.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, here are a few honorable mentions for y’all:
With the year quickly coming to a close, we here at the Jet Fuel Review Blog have been hard at work crafting some year round-up lists for both your enjoyment and contemplation! Just in these past few weeks, Jake and I updated the Jukebox playlist with our least favorite and most favorite tracks of 2016, and fellow music blogger Dan Fiorio has recently written a two-part series on his 25 favorite albums of the past year (Part 1; Part 2). Now, it’s time for Jake and I to reveal to you our respective top ten album lists.
Jake: 2016…honestly, such a bad year in terms of, well, everything. Actually, music was probably the only redeeming factor in what was otherwise a bleak year. Especially as an avid fan of pop music, 2016 delivered some of the most consistent works in nearly a decade. When it came down to narrowing over 20 albums to just ten, it felt wrong — but here I am. And with nine of the ten albums being from female artists, it seems that women just got pop music right this year. Also, keep in mind that this list has changed about five times within the past week, so this is an ever-changing list. But for the purposes of this post, this is my definitive top ten albums of 2016…as of December 16.
Michael: Whether it’s groundbreaking and experimental, simply a lot of fun, a music legend’s harrowing farewell, or a new artist’s welcoming debut, there were dozens of albums I genuinely loved from this year. Many of the albums I adored this year came from either first-time artists or those I’d never heard of before, making 2016 an exciting year of musical discovery for me. I went back and forth on many of these albums, but I feel good about the list I’ve ended up with. Let’s celebrate the music of 2016, because let’s be honest, there wasn’t much else this year to be excited about. (Also, shout-out to Jake for making that awesome header image at the top of this post!)
Before we present you with our actual lists, we will begin with a quick list honoring the albums that were oh-so close to breaking into the top tens. The lists will be in order from number ten to number one, beginning with Jake’s number ten, then my number ten, then Jake’s number nine, and so on and so forth.
Here we are, folks — the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The creme de la creme; the best of the best. Through streaming services, compact discs, vinyl records, and cassettes (lol), I listened to a countless number of albums this year.
Below you will find my top ten favorites. The ten LPs that made my music nerd heart flutter, made me reevaluate my life, made me do a dance, made me cry, or simply made me say, “Damn, that was really good.” The ten records you should have been listening to instead of complaining about how “music isn’t good anymore” or downloading Tidal (c’mon, you knew [insert “Tidal exclusive” album] was going to be available elsewhere eventually).