A little over halfway through the year, and we’ve decided to take a look back at some of the biggest and best records that have dropped in the past six months. So, without further ado, here are the 5 Best Albums Of 2017 So Far…
5. Stormzy – ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’
It’s hard to believe that this record served as the debut studio album release by English rapper Stormzy; his presence in the business has been one that’s felt weighty for some time now, at least in the UK. A critical darling, the LP sees the artist reflect on his life to-date, appreciative of everything he’s been able to achieve and touching on historical and sometimes taboo topics. That’s not to say his infectious humour isn’t present here; it runs throughout a number of tracks and really helps elevate the record to another level.
4. JAY-Z – ‘4:44’
One of the leading rappers in the business returned a little earlier this year with his latest album, ‘4:44’. Seemingly revealing that he did indeed cheat on his wife Beyonce, the album is again a hugely personal collection that allows the artist to let his fans into his life more than ever before, whilst still maintaining a level of privacy that the power couple have become renowned for. Touching upon his personal life as well as the conflicts that exist in his world of music, this is a reflective and addictive piece of art that has to be celebrated.
3. Lorde – ‘Melodrama’
Finally returning with her second studio album, New Zealand singer Lorde proved that she’s much more than a one trick pony with a collection of songs where every single track is something worth listening to. Writing and producing the record herself alongside Jack Antonoff, there’s a sense of drama and suspense woven throughout the songs here. Lorde has an instantly recognisable, unique vocal ability that ensures the work done here doesn’t go to waste; this isn’t one of those albums you listen to and then throw aside. It’s something you’ll have on your playlist in its entirety for many months to come.
2. The xx – ‘I See You’
As the group’s third studio album, expectation was high when ‘I See You’ hit store shelves. Fortunately, the band had gone above and beyond everything that had come before, delivering an exceptional collection of addictive tracks that allow the listener to feel like they’ve just discovered something new and exciting, whether they’re on their first listen or their hundredth. Released all the way back in January, ‘I See You’ is still an album you can listen to in the present day without feeling like it’s aged at all. That’s one of the most perfect ingredients in ensuring your record is a life-long success.
1. Kendrick Lamar – ‘DAMN.’
Kendrick returned with his fourth studio album this April, delivering his third consecutive number one record in the United States; and deservedly so! On this record, the artist makes no qualms about tackling tough subjects and assuming that the listener is wise enough to take his ideas, interpret them and learn something from his work. Every song here feels like a major project, rather than a piece of a huge puzzle. It catapults itself leagues ahead of anything else that has been released this year, simply because of Kendrick allowing each idea to breathe, rather than flogging it time and time again. Expansive and truly beautiful, this is an album that is sure to stand the test of time.