Folks I’m back with my favorite- and slowly becoming my only- blog post of the year. But first, we need to acknowledge the elephant in the room:
Francine, happy birthday.
The metaphorical elephant in the room is Brand New’s album Science Fiction. A top album of the year, one of my personal favorites. But it will not be included on this list. And I no longer listen to their music. ICYMI, just give their lead singer and principle songwriter Jesse Lacey’s name a google and you’ll be filled in. Moving on (and getting over). Foreshadowing? Hard to say.
It goes without saying that a lot of music comes out every year and sometimes I don’t have time to really digest every single album. To be honest, I’d probably change 2/3 #1 picks I’ve given in past years. But that’s why some albums that are probably very good, such as Paramore’s After Laughter and Sorority Noise’s You’re Not As _____ As You Think will not be included, the latter because it’s title is just a rehash of Matchbox Twenty’s best album (2002’s More Than You Think You Are, contrary to popular belief of it being 1996’s Yourself Or Someone Like You or the unreleased Long Album Name That Indicates Something Sentimental Is About To Be Sang And Then Rob Thomas Is Going To Yell).
So here it goes. Waiting for attention, my top 10 albums of 2017:
11. Harry Styles – Harry Styles
Who would’ve thought the de facto leader of One Direction would make the best music when they all went in five directions? Actually, pretty much everyone thought that. It was just up to Harry to decide if he wanted to feed off the limp shlong of repressed America/Britain or actually just make a kick ass that had folks comparing him to Bowie. Oh yeah and he’s a hottie. Like real hot, not weatherman hot.
Rushmore – Kiwi, Only Angel, Sign of the Times, Ever Since New York
10. Haim – Something To Tell You
The album cover that I have recreated a myriad of times since it came out. I had high expectations for this after I stood in a foot of water and hurricane conditions to see them and their two drummers play some of these songs at Gov Ball. Even though I still don’t know the difference between any of them I have been able to determine that I love this album. It far outweighs that crap that a certain pop star who surrounds herself with the Haim sisters released this fall.
Rushmore – Want You Back, Little Of Your Love, Kept Me Crying, Found It In Silence
9. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Now that they’ve eaten two W’s in a row, the War On Drugs are not just the band Kurt Vile abandoned. They’re pretty much the new psychedelic masters (come at me, Tame Impala fans) and they’re about to eat a GRAMMY FOR BEST ALTERNATIVE ALBUM!
Rushmore – Strangest Thing, Pain, Holding On, Thinking of a Place
8. The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
Despite the fact that this album legitimately has three expired milk duds of songs on it, there are a few songs that are just so damn good that it makes up for the rest of it. It’s obviously not their best album, a standard we shouldn’t hold the same band that released Sam’s Town to for every one of their albums, but the highs make Bob Marley turn in his grave. This Sunday I will be graced with my third Killers show, and I actually would like to hear the songs that reminds of the 07 Patriots and finding out your heroes may be your heroes, but it doesn’t mean they’re invincible.
Rushmore – Tyson v. Douglas, Run For Cover, The Man, The Calling
7. Neck Deep – The Peace and the Panic
Neck Deep released what is probably the perfect fix for my pop punk fixation. It’ll always be a guilty pleasure of mine, the sound and the whiny voices release a very specific amount of dopamine that causes me to sing like Tom DeLonge and air guitar power chords. This album is really my first look at this band I will be applying the franchise tag.
Rushmore – Where Do We Go When We Go, The Grand Delusion, Happy Judgment Day, Motion Sickness
6. MisterWives – Connect The Dots
MisterWives- the band that will forever be the band that I remind the world I discovered before they even had an album and was on long before everyone else as every silently tells themselves that I’m a douche- did that cool move where they eat a W on the pre-album lead single, but then the albums comes out and 6 songs on the album are better than it. This album also highlights the albums that I blasted and screamed along to on the highway over the summer.
Rushmore – Chasing This, Out of Tune Piano, Coloring Outside The Lines, Drummer Boy
5. Foster The People – Sacred Hearts Club
If I was told I could have any person’s singing voice, there’s a decent chance I pick Mark Foster. I view his voice and his falsetto as iconic. On Sacred Hearts Club Mark pretty much established a support group for people like me who got sick of waking up every day and immediately checking to see how many people died overnight. As such I have established my own Sacred Hearts Club with a couple friends that I invoke whenever something bad happens in my life, which most of the time is just me overreacting to something I won’t care about the next day and would be better of having it out with a chair over.
Rushmore – Static Space Lover, Lotus Eater, III, Doing It For The Money
4. Lorde – Melodrama
This one really took me awhile to come around on. The initial takes of folks saying it was horrible, that Jack Antonoff ruined Lorde, and that it’s the new Pinkerton. It’s like how Eagles fans blamed Sam Bradford and everyone else just took their word for it. The truth is this is Lorde’s best album and it actually made me identify with a pop Queen from New Zealand who I’m six months older than.
Rushmore – Perfect Places, Supercut, Green Light, Liability
3. Bleachers – Gone Now
I wanted to allude to this on the previous entry but didn’t want to give it away. Jack Antonoff did sort of make Lorde sound similar to Bleachers. I just don’t care since I absolutely love Bleachers and this album. You can actually sing the lyrics to Don’t Take The Money over The Louvre, as well as Goodmorning over Liability, and they line up perfectly. Bars and stuff.
As for Gone Now, I am just a sucker for everything Jack does with these Bleachers albums and I buy in to it all. I LOVE the concept of the cover being the picture of him at his funeral, I LOVE the way he repeats phrases on multiple songs such as “I gotta get myself back home soon,” “Goodbye to the friends I had,” “I wanna be grateful,” and “Rolling thunder.” The narrative of the album starting in a dream state, moving to the moment the weight of the world hits you every morning when you wake up, and dealing with your relations to everyone around you and you past and future is executed to perfection. Notice how the literal “goodmorning’s” turn to “goodbye’s” as the album goes on. And the fact that both of his albums now have a song called “I’m Ready To Move On” as the second to last song is just a subtle sentiment that I love: he isn’t. He keeps saying he is, but he knows he isn’t
Want to hear something sad? Sadder than knowing there were dogs on the Titanic? Sadder than knowing Jack used to date Scarlett Johansson and now dates Lena Dunham? It’s that most of these songs that you probably think are about women and “relationships” (ew) are actually about his sister that died of cancer when she was 12 and he was 18 in the same week that two planes were flown into buildings in the city he grew up with. It isn’t petty stuff, it’s real stuff. So in “Everybody Lost Somebody” when he says “There’s a reason I see myself in a million faces,” he’s acknowledging the one thing that connects everyone: loss.
Rushmore – Everybody Lost Somebody, Foreign Girls, Goodmorning, Dream of Mickey Mantle
2. John Mayer – The Search For Everything
A lot of artists have a masterpiece. A lot have two. Not many have three. And I don’t think there’s anyone out there that can write songs for their seventh album, on the eve of their 40th birthday, that universally apply to every listener but are actually deep lyrics and not just general statements like “your finger prints aren’t like any of the other girl’s.” Pull up the lyrics while you listen to the album closer (or listen closely I don’t care) and it may redefine the way you look at every relationship with every person in your life. But also listen to the rest of the album too 😀
Rushmore – You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me, In The Blood, Rosie, Never On The Day You Leave
Side Note: It seems apparent at this point that John rather slyly references Katy Perry, who might as well be given royalties for this album’s existence, on the song “Emoji Of a Wave” when he sings, “Oh, honey.” How I Met Your Mother fans should understand.
1. Panic! At The Disco – Pretty. Odd.
Yeah if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you listen to the podcast as well so maybe this isn’t as funny the second time.
Rushmore: Behind The Sea, She’s A Handsome Woman, From A Mountain In Between The Log Cabins, I Have Friends In Holy Spaces/Northern Downpour.
Haha yeah good one John so basically bump everything up one and that’s the list! Reminder:
2014 – Weezer, Everything Will Be Alright In The End
2015 – New Politics, Vikings (redone, I’d pick Frank Turner’s Positive Songs For Negative People)
2016 – Modern Baseball, Holy Ghost (redone, I’d pick Moose Blood’s Blush)
2017 – John Mayer, The Search For Everything
This was a tough year. I started with 40 albums but I think I knew which 10 I was going to pick. So until next year I’ll leave everyone with my honorable mentions/finals cuts section. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
Foo Fighters – Concrete & Gold
Beck – Colors
Queens of the Stone Age – Villains
Seaway – Vacation
Spoon – Hot Thoughts
New Politics – Lost In Translation
Charly Bliss – Guppy