Sasha's Top 10 Albums of 2017
At Distinction Music Management we realize that not everyone's music taste is 100% the same. Even with this realization you will probably notice that pretty much 99% of all end of year lists are pretty much identical. That's why we wanted to change it up and showcase what we consider each of our top albums of the year. We're not saying they're the best albums, but that they are our favorites and meant the most to us this past year, because who are we to judge one persons art over another's.
First of all, asking me to do a top 10 Album of the Year is like asking me what I want to eat. I have no clue and I love food, therefore, I have a million ideas of what should hit my taste buds. But now you’re in charge of picking, and all of a sudden it’s stressing me out because as annoying as I am, I do have an opinion of what you suggested. I need a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. So you will be getting my Top 10 Albums of the Year, but you also will be diving into my honorable mentions. 2017 sucked, but music helped me through it every step of the way. (Corny right? But I did tell you I was annoying so...)
10. Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 - Calvin Harris
If this wasn’t something you played during summer, you done fucked up kid. Calvin Harris made a funk dystopia with some of hip-hop's biggest stars, and created a path for some of pop’s up and coming artists. This album ranks high on my list mostly because 2017 blew, like really hard. And you know what? Sometimes you just wanna listen to something that makes you feel good. No long brooding tunes, nothing to mull over or deeply pine for. Just feel, and be happy.
9. Chastity Belt - I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone
This was one of the only albums I was looking forward to hearing this year. Seattle’s very own Chastity Belt leaves the jokes aside to tackle vivid thoughts and feelings. Take the song “This Time of Night” lead singer Julia Shapiro takes all of our fears and makes them easier to swallow with Chastity Belt’s gentle guitar progression. ‘I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone’ is uniquely it’s own, speaking truths sometimes we all need to see.
8. Kehlani - SweetSexySavage
Kehlani’s album SweetSexySavage is just that. The colorful album is filled with ballads and bops; you wanna an anthem to pregame with? Boom, listen to “CRZY,” or maybe you wanna be in your feels a little, Kehlani’s got “Distraction” for you. Each song has an occasion for all the different scenarios in your life. Using R&B production with pop lyricism Kehlani molds SweetSexySavage into a millennial classic. Kehlani takes the listener on a journey through relationship ups and downs; praising the hard times in life with the celebratory feats.
7. EP/EP2 - Yaeji
New York City-based producer, songwriter, and singer Yaeji dropped EP and EP2 this year giving House music a shining star, and giving me some of my favorite dance club beats of the year. Yaeji’s melodies against fast paced 808s create an intimate and intriguing space for listeners. Her Korean American identity is at the forefront of every song throughout her lyrics; while reciting hip-hop cadences she touches on the importance of community, identity and culture.
6. Flower Boy - Tyler The Creator
Flower Boy is a beautiful piece, taking on themes of desire and action. Tyler is refreshingly honest during the album, talking about past wrongs, and where the current blunder of growth takes him. Reflection is a key part in listening to this; where are you and where are you going? The complex melodies and whispers of doubt cast a shadow on the thoughts we all have. Do we listen? Or do we ignore those light confessions. Flower Boy also takes pieces from Tyler’s musical past.
5. Third Daughter - Donormaal
Where to even start with Third Daughter…it’s fucking amazing. Take a journey of self exploration and hyphy fun while you listen. Themes of honesty and family are rampant throughout the piece. I dive in listening to this album it’s like she throws her hand out and says “Wanna see what’s in my brain?” and suddenly we get a little intimate look into DoNormaal’s life. This honest approach to lyricism is refreshing especially in Seattle when that seems to be lacking. Not to mention the choices in production highlight some of Seattle’s best producters, Luna God, Joe Valley and Wolftone to name a few. If you're looking for the next big thing, she's been standing in front of you this whole time. Take DoNormaal’s advice, look a little deeper.
4. DAMN. - Kendrick Lamar
What would you like me to say that hasn’t already been said about one of the best albums of the year. KENDRICK. ALWAYS. DELIVERS. ALWAYS. And it’s not just the music that feels cohesive throughout the album, (transitions from song to song are flawless). It's the whole package Kendrick Lamar delivers; it feels as if multiple artists these days have lost out on, or just not put together packages for fans. Kendrick doesn’t disappoint with stunning visual aspects to his music that enhance the album. Now for the music, it transcends. Take “Loyalty” for example...how do we even begin to dissectsomething so beautiful? I want to start with Kendrick’s clever nod of the snake culture that seemed to takeover 2017. Pay homage to the production from Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, Terrace Martin, Soundwave and DJ Dahi. Dive into the lyricism, Kendrick touches on everything from fears of loss of creativity, loss and finding strength in your surroundings.
3. Process - Sampha
If you haven’t listened to Sampha’s Process stop reading this and just go enjoy melancholy tunes filled with unbelievably beautiful vocals. Chances are you’ve already heard his illustrious voice on famous tracks from Drake, Solange, and Kanye West (to name a few.) Process is an intimate look into loss and the roots of oneself. “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano;” is one of those standout songs on the album. “Objects we hold on to can possess are deepest thoughts and know true feelings maybe no one does know…” The album reads like a love letter to yourself and it’s something we should take note on doing. This album helped me turn my trauma into something tangible, and almost precious by acknowledging it. I was given faith and found a soundtrack to take comfort in, I hope this album helps you too.
2. Culture - Migos
Migos came out of 2017 with a goal (GOALS*) in mind and surpassed that. They took their experiences, good and bad (BAD*) and turned those realities into massive hits. All the stories they shared really resonated with youth cultural this year. Thats whats truly to love about ‘Culture’ it’s a piece that teaches listeners about trap music and Atlanta’s (NORTHSIDE*) constant evolving art. You get a sneak peek of what people are feeling and dealing with but remember to celebrate it- even the bad parts. Migos created an album to share with people and that's what music really is about at the end of the day. Taking parts of your life and sharing it. I have a feeling they are just getting started…
1. Ctrl - SZA
The Lord blessed all the bad bitches out there, and gifted us with SZA. We needed someone to share the honest dirty truth with us to let us know its okay to feel like no one's listening, it's okay to ask for more and it's okay to be alone. SZA is any music listeners best friend, she tells you how it really is and she’ll be the first to say “drop his ass”. That attitude and confidence is something I really admire. When I reflect on this album I think of all the time SZA brought complete strangers together belting “Ooh Better day than yesterday...Ooh I just take it day by day...Ooh oh oh...Never hearing what they say...Ooh ooh...I just do it my way” for a second those strangers were my best friends, thats the power of SZA’s music and that's why ‘Ctrl’ is the best album of 2017.
*In ascending order! Want to know why they made it? Let's talk music*
31. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
30. PHOENIX – TI AMO
29. Sylvan Esso - What Now
28. Paramore - After Laughter
27. Angel Olsen - Phases
26. Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life
25. Lil Pump - Lil Pump
24. 2 Chainz - Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
23. AJ Suede - Gotham Fortress
22. Aminé - Good for You
21. Syd - Fin
20. Drake - More Life
19. Lorde - Melodrama
18. Charli XCX - Number One Angel
17. St. Vincent - Masseduction
16. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION 2
15. Future - FUTURE
14. Alvvays - Antisocilaites
13. Thundercat - Drunk
12. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory
11. Smino - blkswn