17 Best Albums of 2017

It’s been a few weeks since I last uploaded a blog post but I’m back now. It’s unlikely that I’ll be posting every week as thinking of new blog post ideas is proving difficult and my free time is slowly decreasing; as A levels and athletics begin take over in the new year.

But anyways, I thought I’d end this year with a post listing what I consider to be the best albums that have been released this year. Seventeen of them to be precise. These are based on artistic content and not popularity. So, if you’re a pop music fan then this probably isn’t a good read for you. I listen to A LOT of albums. I add them to my library weekly when they release on a Friday but these are the ones that stood out for me. I consider some of these albums to be literal masterpieces. I hope that I persuade some of you to listen to a few of them at some point if you haven’t done so already. For reference, I find the majority of my music on Tidal.

Let’s do this in chronological order as listing them from best to is proving too challenging for my indecisive self.

IMG-36081. Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

This album is self explanatory in the sense that there are elements of sweet, sexy and savage throughout. Kehlani entered 2017 with a bang with this debut album and she has demonstrated how hard work really does pay off. The vocal arrangements and production are astonishing. She really put her foot down to claim being the new R&B princess.

2. Sampha – Process

Process is another debut album that I would recommend. I often listen to it when revising as it is somewhat relaxing.

IMG-36113. Stormzy – Gang Sings & Prayers

I first listened to Stormzy’s album with a closed minded perception of him. I now realise that it was a result of the media’s representation of him being unintelligent and unable to make ‘real’ music. However, ‘Gang Sign’s & Prayers’ is artistically exciting and is cohesively satisfying. Stormzy has had a big impact on British music and grime in particular with this album and I am somewhat proud of him for it. I would definitely recommend for people to and give the album a listen.

4. Khalid – American Teen

Despite how commercialised Khalid has become over this year, I have to admit that his album is generally an enjoyable listen. I like how carefree and youthful it is.

Here’s where it starts to get really good…

IMG-36135. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

DAMN, Kendrick really made a genius album this year. The cohesive elements of the album is magical and he continues to  deliver hard bars that are often underappreciated. I feel as though Kendrick Lamar has truly created one of the most clever albums after announcing that it was actually meant to be listened to backwards due to the narrative. I would be very happy to see him take many Grammy awards for it in February next year.

IMG-36146. SZA – Ctrl

Now, Ctrl is one of THE best albums of 2017 and best debut albums that I have ever listened to. I wrote a whole blog post on it here if you would like a more in depth analysis. SZA is what the R&B scene has been missing for years.

IMG-36157. Lorde – Melodrama

I have gone on about this album so much this year, labelling it as the ‘Best Album of 2017’, a ‘masterpiece’ that has a powerful narrative of a breakup and heartache. Of course, I wrote a whole separate blog post on this album which you can find here. I just love the honesty, narrative and brilliance of this album. After being nominated at the Grammy’s for ‘Album of the Year’, I would be so happy for Lorde to take the award home with her.

8. Jay-Z – 4:44

The legend himself, Jay-Z dropped ‘4:44’, exclusively for Tidal customers and the honesty, empowerment and buzz that it gives off is astonishing. I was shocked but pleased with him after revealing untold truths about his infidelity. The mature approach to subject matters of a black empowerment and equality concerning race and sexuality only made me praise him more despite his life mistakes. I wrote more about this album and the messages behind it here.

amine-good-for-you9. Aminé – Good For You

I have a growing love for Aminé, every time I listen to ‘Good For You’. The causal and cheeky feel that he gives off in his debut album can only lift your mood. Its pretty ‘litty’ in my opinion. I wrote more about ‘Good For You’ earlier this year in a blog post here.

10. Daniel Caesar – Freudian

This is probably the most fresh feeling albums of 2017. The cohesive album ‘Freudian’ is a personal favourite in terms of listening satisfaction. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Frank Ocean or Solange Knowles. I am definitely excited to see him and his music career flourish in the future.

IMG-375111. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II

This album had me SOOK on so many levels. The irregular ‘boy-band’, BROCKHAMPTON produce some of the best rap bars that I have personally listened to in terms of originality. I don’t even know how to explain the production and sounds on this album. Just go and listen to it for yourselves, PLEASE. They released three albums this year, part 1, 2 and 3 of the SATURATION trilogy. Part 3 was only released last week! It’s crazy. They will forever leave me mind-blown.

12. Sabrina Claudio – About Time

I would say that ‘About Time’ is another refreshing album that is somewhat relaxing. I look forward to hearing more music from Sabrina in the future.

13. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me

I don’t tend to listen to the big ‘pop’ albums, but after watching Demi Lovato’s Youtube documentary, I felt like I had to go on to listen to her album. The documentary was rather deep at times. For the album itself, it’s pretty good if i’m honest. I was surprised with how strong her voice really is.

IMG-375214. Kelela – Take Me Apart

‘Take Me Apart’ is an album that I would say it up there with ‘Melodrama’ and ‘DAMN.’ in terms of its artistic ability. The album is cohesive and is a personal favourite of mine. Kelela created what I would call a masterpiece here. With it’s ‘breakup’ theme, Kelela goes in hard on this LP.

15. Willow – The 1st

This album is just adorable. Willow never fails to produce good music. Despite it being a short album, I was truly satisfied with the music that was produced.

Don’t judge me but…

IMG-375316. Taylor Swift – reputation

I don’t like Taylor Swift personally but I decided to listen to ‘reputation’ due to it being one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. I was definitely surprised. I have to admit that this is a really good pop album with some great pop anthems throughout.

…And finally…

17. Chance The Rapper & Jeremih – Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama Re-Wrapped

Released literally LAST NIGHT, Chance and Jeremih dropped a surprise Christmas album and it’s amazing. Whenever they collaborate together, they make wonders happen. The R&B sounds that they’ve been able to incorporate into this album are so inventive. Plus, they even got Noname to feature on it.

…And that is my list completed.

It’s interesting that around half of what I would call the ‘Best Albums of 2017’ are actually debut albums. Hopefully this means that the artists are only going to produce even better albums later down the line in their careers. It’s strange that the albums that stood out for me the most this year had themes of love and heartbreak. It must mean that I’m a sucker the emotional stuff. Lol. Anyway, I’m excited for what music 2018 has in the bag for us. See you all in next year 🙂

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Aminé – Good For You (Album Review)

Being the music fanatic that I am, I love listening to new artists. I’m glad that I use a streaming service that suggests music for me based on what I already listen to. Tidal has definitely enabled me to find great new artists such as Aminé himself.

Before listening to ‘Good For You’, I’d never even heard of the rapper Aminé. However, his bright yellow album cover caught my eye whilst searching for new music. I thought that I’d give his album a listen and I can honestly say that I have no regrets. I later learned that ‘Good For You’ is Aminé’s debut album which made me admire his music even more. The album is magnificent for such a ‘beginner’.

‘Good For You’ was released shortly after his debut single ‘Caroline’. He also released a song featuring Kehlani called ‘Heebiejeebies’ which I had seen advertise on social media. Unfortunately, I never thought to explore Aminé as an artist alone until I saw the album cover featured in the Tidal’s app.

The only way that I can describe Aminé’s music is by saying that it’s a cross between Frank Ocean and Chance The Rapper. Two artists that I incidentally love. The sounds that Aminé brings to the table are fun and energetic. His vocals are unique and fit neatly with his production.

I haven’t studied the lyrics of this album much compared to maybe Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ or Lorde’s ‘Melodrama’. However, from what I’ve heard, the album is presented to be something that is well humoured instead of something that should be taken too seriously. Some lyrics are low key rude but with Aminé’s cheeky touch, you can only embrace it. With savage lyrics in the song ‘Wedding Crashers’ it almost makes it laughable. I understand the significant messages in the song ‘Money’ and I am excited to see if Aminé will begin to voice maybe his political views in his music now that he has a bigger platform,

The album isn’t excellent however, it’s one of the best debut albums that 2017 has seen.

After playing ‘Good For You’ a few times, I later watched a few YouTube videos such as interviews of him to gather an understanding of his personality. I think that it’s pretty clear that Aminé is a really chilled, fun but genuine artist that cares for his music. I definitely like the fresh vibe that he gives off.

The important messages behind Jay Z’s 4:44

Disclaimer: I always wanted to write a post about this album but I was unsure about how I was going to set it out. Therefore, I kind of just left it. However, I then remembered how much I enjoyed writing my Lorde – Melodrama album review so I thought i’d just give it another try.

Jay Z, Hova, Jigga, the rap legend is back with his 13th solo album and it carries a lot of meaningful messages with it.

rs_634x789-170306082546-634.jay-z-beyonce-blue-ivy-carter.3617After listening to the album, I realised that the 47 year old businessman had a lot of things to get off his chest. Yes, the biggest shock was that Jay finally confessed to cheating on Beyoncé. He also addresses a few other hiccups in his life that we all wanted answers to. For example, the shooting of his brother, the stabbing of Lance ‘Un’ Rivera and that all so very heated elevator incident with Solange. He even mentions how he would hate for his children to find out that he was ever disloyal to Bey. Despite all of that, i’m only going to talk about the important messages that could benefit others from this insightful album.

Jay gives advice to new and upcoming young rappers in this album. Those rapper that are getting unthinkable sums of money so quickly causing them to be irresponsible with it. He advises them to make investments instead of wasting money on pointless things such as flashy cars. He says “Fuck dying broke and living rich” and he kind of has a good point. It makes more sense to leave money behind for your children. Towards the end of the album is the track ‘Legacy’ he goes on to rap “That’s how we keep Carter money all in the family”.

The Shawn Carter Foundation Hosts An Evening of "Making The Ordinary Extraordinary"Along with sharing financial advice, Jay shows his support to his lesbian mother who had four children  before coming out. He explains how he has no problem with it and that he will love her no matter what with the lyrics of “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love, don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her, I just wanna see you smile through all the hate”. This is something that I think will help tackle homophobia in the black and  hip hop community.

Finally, lets discuss Hov addressing the subject of black excellence. Despite all setbacks of being a black man in America, Jay has been able to achieve many things within his career. From creating thirteen solo albums to being the founder of Roc Nation and owner of Tidal. Shawn has created an empire for not only himself, but also his family. I feel as though Jay has set the bar for major success and it is something that more young black kids should aspire to be doing.

Are streaming sites devaluing our music?

Music has been a massive part of popular culture for generations and children are almost instantly introduced to it. However, the way in which music is being consumed and listened to has shifted over the years. People used to buy their music in stores. They bought tapes, vinyl’s and CD’s. People would listen to music through mainstream radio stations too. The way that music is being listened to and consumed nowadays is completely different. Streaming has now become one of the most popular ways in which people listen to music with over 100 million people now paying for music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. These sites have made it much easier for people to access their music. Along with this, streaming has almost made it effortless for people to explore new music. I personally use Tidal and I know that I would never have found half of the music, genres and artists that I listen to now without it.

Although streaming sites do offer all of these amazing features, many people argue that it has literally ruined the music industry. It makes it difficult for artists to make money from their music as the streaming sites do tend to take a large percentage of their profit along with record labels and other organisations. Many people also say that streaming sites devalues music itself. It has been brought to discussion by artists such as Beyoncé who feel as if people just don’t make albums anymore which is a real shame.

Despite all of this, it has lead to artists and fan bases using social media to communicate and interact. This has been great for new artists who are getting more recognition such as Kehlani and SZA and Khalid. They have been able to build a fan base for themselves without needing to use radio and television promotion which is very costly. Artists and the interaction with their fans through social media sites is crucial in the 21st century. Having a physical copy is very satisfying and is something for you to look after but after all, it is very exciting when you know that your favourite artist is going to drop an album at midnight and you stay up to share your excitement with friends and fellow fans online.

The use of streaming sites and social media combined has definitely made it easy for artists to share their music with their audiences. However, is it making the music too accessible for people?  After all, Beyoncé says the she misses that “immersive experience” and I’m sure that many listeners as well as artists like herself agree.