Hello. My name is Steve and I’m a music junkie. It’s been zero minutes since my last fix.
Truth be told I’ve been kinda obsessed with music since I was about 9 years old. I’ve never been interested in sports so, as kids, my friends and I would spend our spare time hanging out listening to albums and literally counting the days til the next concert. Back then our music tastes were limited. Lots of 80s metal and hip-hop. We’d listen to albums by AC/DC, Motley Crue, Beastie Boys and Guns N Roses repeatedly, studying the lyrics and plastering our bedroom walls with posters. I’d save my dinner money from school so that I could buy the new Jane’s Addiction album on the day of release, cycling from school into town and then home to stick it on the turntable. Every album was an event and I would indulge myself every time.
But that’s not how it works in 2018.
Now we can check out almost every album the instant it’s released. Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and others make it so easy to listen to whatever we like, and it only costs a small subscription fee. I listen to so much music and care about good quality sound, that I’m subscribed to Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music, although Apple is mostly for Beats 1 radio shows. I prefer Tidal for its sound quality but Spotify has a better interface and has some albums that aren’t on Tidal. Spotify is also better for sharing playlists with other music fans.
But I’ve recently realised that all this access to music has had one definite downside to my enjoyment of listening to the bands and artists I love. Whereas back in the 80s I’d listen to Violator by Depeche Mode til I pretty much wore it out, now I’ll get excited about the new Beck album, listen to it a couple of times before spending hours listening to new music just in case I discover a band I’ve missed. I’m not spending time getting to really know albums inside out like I used to. I’m listening to so much good music, but I think I need to make an effort to spend most of my time with GREAT music. I actually don’t think there’s enough time to listen to music that’s just good. And I have a job that allows me to listen to tunes all day long unless I’m out shooting. Sam Hurd even listens to music on headphones when he’s shooting a wedding reception. I’ve considered doing the same. Especially when I’m at a wedding where the DJ plays Despacito!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about what my favourite albums of 2017 have been. I always take this list far too seriously, to be honest, and I have listened to almost every album that made any Best Of 2017 list just in case I missed something amazing. Like the Jordan Rekai album for example. I don’t always agree with the albums in those lists of course. I struggled to get into the LCD Soundsystem album despite it topping so many lists, and I genuinely can not listen to Father John Misty!
One other thing that has changed dramatically over the years is that my taste in music has expanded more and more. There are almost no genres of music where I can’t find anything I love. I’ve yet to hear any ska music I like but feel free to offer suggestions. I love a lot of alternative, metal, acoustic, electronic, indie, hip hop…. the list goes on. And I now have a system that makes the albums I’m listening to sound even better. It all just fuels my addiction.
So I think this year I’m gonna stop chasing new music quite so much and spend time with the albums I truly love. Just like the old days… Some of those albums will be played on vinyl. Most will be streamed via Tidal. But I’ll be spending more time with them. I have no doubt it’ll be time well spent.
So, if you’re interested, and I really hope you are, here are my favourite albums of 2017. In rough order. But that changes weekly. I’ve kept the heavier stuff separate cos so many people would find it unlistenable. I know my tastes can be a bit weird. I like it that way 🙂 My love for atmospheric black metal has really developed recently with bands like Iceland’s Auðn making stunning soundscapes that evoke the landscapes the band evolved from. But then I’ve loved the Rose Cousins album, which is pretty much as far from metal as you can get. It all depends on what I’m in the mood for. And if Evelyne’s in the house with me!
Please take time to check out any artists in these lists you’re not familiar with. You may stumble across your next favourite album… And if you have Spotify, I’ve compiled two playlists of my favourite music of the year. And yes, that is a Harry Styles song you see!
Favourite Albums of 2017 (excluding the really heavy stuff)
1. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
2. Noah Gundersen – White Noise
3. The National – Sleep Well Beast
4. Ryan Adams – Prisoner
5. Beck – Colours
6. The Bronx – V
7. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps
8. London Grammar – Truth Is A Beautiful Thing
9. Rose Cousins – Natural Conclusion
10. Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life
11. Four Tet – New Energy
12. Jordan Rakei – Wallflower
13. Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface
14. Rise Against – Wolves
15. Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude
16. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
17. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
18. Elbow – Little Fictions
19. St Vincent – Masseduction
20. Quicksand – Interiors
Favourite Metal & Hardcore Albums of 2017
1. All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal
2. Code Orange – Forever
3. Ulsect – Ulsect
4. Auðn – Farvegir fyrndar
5. Cursed Earth – Cycles Of Grief
6. Helpless – Debt
7. Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven
8. Pilorian – Obsidian Arc
9. Employed To Serve – The Warmth Of A Dying Sun
10. Violet Cold – Anomie
11. Sun Of The Sleepless – To The Elements
12. Axis – Shift
13. Sect – No Cure For Death
14. Fit For An Autopsy – The Great Collapse
15. Pallbearer – Heartless
16. Der Weg einer Freiheit – Finisterre
17. Godflesh – Post Self
18. Full Of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstacy
19. Converge – The Dusk In Us
20. Myrkur – Mareridt
And if you think I’ve missed an album in 2017 make sure you let me know. I need to feed my addiction!
Happy New Year to anyone who read this whole post. Make it a good one. Cheers! While you’re listening to those playlists you could always check out my Best Photos of 2017 post 🙂