Happy new year! Here we are again, at the beginning of yet another Top 31.1 2017 was an exciting year for me, personally (I married my lovely wife in August, and together we have a beautiful daughter who was born in October).
Politically, 2017 felt like shit. It helps to think there have been many much worse years in American history, but it’s hard to keep that perspective when those worse years all came before I was politically aware.
Musically, the year felt muddled and off. There are many albums I discovered and enjoyed (well more than the 31 I’ll feature here), but overall it feels like there were no amazing albums in 2017. Part of that surely has to do with how busy I was personally, and how terrible things were politically. But I think it also has to do with how I discovered and listened to music. My Apple Music account allowed me to look at all the new releases every week and add any album to my active 2017 playlist, resulting in 111 2017 albums ending up in my music library (which is about 50% more albums than I typically listen to in a given year). That’s a lot of music to absorb in one year (3.7 days worth of music, to be exact).
I’ll be paying attention to my listening habits in 2018 to see if how I’m discovering and listening to music is affecting my opinion, or if the muddle lies in other, currently unknowable factors. I did manage to arrive at 31 favorites for the year. In some ways it was much easier to compile the Top 31, since I had so many more albums to choose from. And there’s even a #1 album. But first, we need to get through the 30 other albums I loved this year. Let’s get started, shall we?
A Moment Apart by Odesza
First up is an electronic duo out of Seattle you’ve probably heard of: Odesza. These two guys who met at Western have made quite a name for themselves in the past five years, going from obscurity to #3 on the US Pop chart in that short time. I hadn’t paid much attention to them or their two previous releases, but A Moment Apart caused me to sit up an listen intently.
The album has a few stellar guest appearances (including Regina Spektor). The song above, “Across the Room” features Leon Bridges, whose own album was #2 on the 2015 Top 31. I recommend watching this nice little documentary about the making of that song. A Moment Apart is fantastic from start to finish. It works best as background music, but beware: you’ll soon find yourself annoying the person next to you with your toe tapping toe and bouncing up and down.
And there we are — another year’s Top 31 is underway. I look forward to talking and listening with you over the next month as we count down to #1 together. Please share your own favorites when you can — I’d love to talk about them and compare with you.
1. In case you missed my note at the beginning of December, the Top 31 got pushed out a month this year (and will begin on January 1 in every future year). I’m glad I made this decision, as it allowed me to enjoy the holidays without concern about getting the next day’s post out, and to enjoy all of 2017’s music for the full year. But this also means I need to accommodate the last two months of 2016 that didn’t end up in last year’s countdown. So for those paying attention at home, this year’s countdown actually covers 14 months of music, from November 2016 through December 2017.↩