ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
The end of the calendar year is always a favorite time of mine for multiple reasons: 1) Mariah Carey makes her annual financial and social comeback, 2) the general festiveness of it all, and 3) year-end lists.
I find it quite difficult to believe that publications have enough gumption to claim that one specific album or single/song was the “Best of the Year”. Personally, I don’t think I had one favorite album, I had multiple. Guess what, I am a moody gay and I have moments of different needs. Sometimes I want to go to the gym and listen to super-fun good-times music. Sometimes I want to cry at home while cooking or cleaning; a spiritual cleansing if you will. Sometimes you need to belt it out. Sometimes the albums released in 2017 don’t compare to the albums released in 2016, and 2016 should win the tally again.
Here are my Top Albums of “2017”:
- BETSY – BETSY: I don’t know if I could place this at the top – remember, this list is a list of my “best” albums of the year. BESTY is a European English beauty with both talent and brains to match. Formerly having worked with some high-end fashion house, looking at BETSY’s album artwork and social media accounts makes much more sense. Frankly, the styling is perfect and comes off as powerful. The voice is my only concern: is it real, is it forced, does she really want to sound like a modern-day Cher? SO MANY QUESTIONS. However, when listening to the album, you can’t help but get wrapped up in the bombastic production of songs like “Last Time We Danced”, “Wanted More”, “Heavy Head”, and my absolute hopeful and brilliant favorite “Waiting”. It hasn’t taken off the way I believe it should, which confuses me. She co-writes all her own music, her live performances are strong, she has a major-label backing, and she has her hands dipped in high-end fashion houses. I think it is a case of wrong-single at the wrong-time or LONG ASS ALBUM ROLLOUT (half the album contains material dating back from 2016). She also sounds like Clare Maguire did in 2012 which could also be a problem, but I keep trying to ignore that. It’s a quick and fulfilling listen. (I am obsessed with it. It’s also way better than Clare). PS: release Last Time We Danced immediately! XO
- JESSIE WARE – GLASSHOUSE: I am a biased lover of all things Jessie Ware. Half of her Tough Love album played during the dinner serving at my wedding, and I’ve seen her live and can confidently tell you she is so grounded and absolutely talented, it’s soul-shaking. Glasshouse is a continuation of her sound. She is so smooth, she covers love and its many facets so well. I do truly believe that this is her best and most cohesive album. I do not believe there is one “dud” on the album; however, I can’t get into Slow Me Down. “Thinking About You” takes me to a place I never thought I’d go to, it’s constantly on repeat (FYI it’s a song about her newborn, but I don’t have one of those so I just listen to it and think about my love). “Alone” “Midnight” “Finish What We Started” and “Selfish Love” are simply captivating. Captivating is essentially the word that best describes this album. It is so cozy, but it’s interesting. Frankly, many critics didn’t get into the album, and would probably say I am a boring person because I stan for Jessie as much as I do; however, I truly appreciate her talent and the way she communicates her feelings.
- Severely overlooked masterpiece of 2016, still relevant in 2017.: EMELI SANDE – LONG LIVE THE ANGELS: There are no words to describe how disappointed I am in the human race for voting for Trump and overlooking this album. Emeli is talented. She writes her own lyrics and music. She can out-sing 99% of the world. Her music is real, it isn’t about insignificant things like party, booze, drugs and sex (granted I know we need these songs for the rare moments of decreased inhibitions), but it is about relationships, sex (the loving kind – GA ref), and life as a 20/30-something who is going through real shit. Every single song on the album will take you to where she wants to take you. Masterpiece. End of story.
- TAYLOR SWIFT – REPUTATION: reputation (as stylized by grammar queen TS) came out at an interesting time in her career. She was being called a Nazi-WhiteSuppremacist-TrumpLover for not speaking out about politics while promoting her music (which I actually love – this is another topic for another day but I want a popstar, not a political queen – music is an escape for me and I prefer to not have it mixed in with my politics – ESPECIALLY MY POP MUSIC). Reputation also came out while I was listening to the LA Times’ Dirty John Podcast. Needless to say, the latter is what made this whole album rollout oddly eerie. “Is Taylor Swift a Dirty John?” is all I kept asking myself while listening to the amazing tracks “I Did Something Bad”, “Don’t Blame Me”, “Look What You Made Me Do”, “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”. My main issue with the whole is that she sounds extremely detached – it’s almost void of any emotion. She sounds jaded, she sounds over it. Granted, I’d be over it too, but what I loved about Old Taylor (she’s dead and can’t come to the phone) was the vulnerability of her voice – she emoted everything she sung like she believed it. Granted, vindication may not be a vulnerable emotion to emote; however, “Call it What You Want” and “New Year’s Day” don’t even sound as “sweet” as they should. The album is best listened to when you’re working out and trying to “rage”. I have purchased Ticketmaster Verified Fan Tickets for the Chicago concert – so clearly, I am still a brainwashed Swiftie. It’s definitely a departure for Swift. It’s an overall enjoyable and interesting listen. It’s definitely one of the best, and creative, as far as popstars go.