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50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1

30. Propagandhi – Victory Lap
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Seven albums deep, Propagandhi know how to riff. They also know how to write evocative political lyrics. Combine these two qualities and it becomes difficult to craft a subpar record. Seven great albums in a row, Propagandhi have perfected their blast-to-the-face thrash-influenced punk. While peers like Anti-Flag fell flat on their faces after the Bush years, Propagandhi have consistently found fresh ways to keep their politically-charged lyrics relevant — mostly because they strike the listener as a band who actually know what they’re talking about — as opposed to some of their peers who clearly never got past Political Science 101. Victory Lap isn’t their best record, but “Cop Out of Frame” puts a tear in my eye, and “Failed Imagineer” gets me banging my head, which should be enough to crack any best of the year list. –Robert Lowe

29. Slowdive – Slowdive
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Slowdive are a band that makes it all too easy to wax poetic. Their lush and vibrant music is the soundtrack to everything: depression, elation, love — moments of emotional encumbrance which call for the band’s malleable sounds and textures. Slowdive’s triumphant self-titled is, like every album before it, an arresting record full of surprising substance; a mountain built seemingly from nothing. “Slomo”, the opener, features a handful of notes but makes such extensive use of mood and effects that it feels impossibly deep. It’s this disarming complexity through use of layered simplicity that makes Slowdive so endlessly evocative and beautiful. Even more impressive, the band use this approach across a collection of songs that are bursting with variety, yielding a release that feels creative, nostalgic, and unpredictable.

In the end, what we have is a testament to a timeless vision, proving that musical excellence — when it’s this organic and pure — won’t fade, even after 22 years. –Eli K.

28. Iglooghost – Neō Wax Bloom
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Reading the Wikipedia page for Neo Wax Bloom, the debut album from Brainfeeder’s newest, upsettingly young prodigy Seamus Mallagh, you’d be hard pressed to think you weren’t reading some Adderall’d out millennial’s idea of a joke. “It’s a story about a void named ‘Mamu’ and its destruction by two falling eyeballs.” Mallagh’s convoluted, hallucinatory narrative is even more hilarious; an initial listen to Neo Wax Gloom, which sounds like your favorite breakcore record tossed in a blender with 8-bit, hip-hop, anime, a dash of Dexter’s Laboratory and occasionally a glimpse of humanity, seems to confirm this impression. Repeated listens, however, confirm that this is anything but a tossed-off acid dream. Mallagh is a clinical, painstakingly involved perfectionist, sculpting an entirely original record – no loops! – that builds and builds off of itself into a glorious hodgepodge of beats and styles, genres and riffs. The hyperactivity disguises a passion and discipline that is hard to disregard, as much as it wants to turn and twist you around until you don’t know what way is up. Most importantly, it bumps. Here’s to the future. –Rudy K.

27. Disperse – Foreword
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There are two things Disperse did with Foreword that made it so special for me this year. The first thing is that they figured out what Periphery couldn’t manage to do across their entire career in one album: they melded pop and djent (or progressive metal if you prefer) properly, marrying complex, technically sharp compositions with weird upbeat synth melodies and glossy vocal hooks. The second thing is that they reminded me that progressive music is supposed to be progressive, and can be again. For years prog acts have been coasting by with odd time signatures and technical masturbation, in the process dealing more in repetition of predecessors to earn the “progressive” designation than actually doing anything new. Numerous tracks on Foreword feel more like pop songs than metal ones, were it not for the pyrotechnic instruments that range beneath the bubbling synths and choruses they could pass for pop songs outright. On others, Jakub Zytecki genuinely leaves me mind-boggled at how some of the riffs and melodies come together, something I haven’t said about more artists in the last few years than I can count on one hand. In essence, this is a big thank you to Disperse for making me believe that progressive metal can be progressive again. –Gameofmetal

26. Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
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Artificial Brain released the best death metal album of 2014 with Labyrinth Constellation, so expecting excellence in 2017 was a bit of a no… brainer. This time around, however, Artificial Brain have upped the ante with an altogether darker, heavier, and more grounded affair. Infrared Horizon, while not exceeding the lofty accomplishments of its predecessor, still matches the best of the best this year with a deliriously winding death metal album ripped from the vacuum of space. “Mists Like Mercury” veers off into murkier and more atmospheric territory complementing their thematic oeuvre, while “Ash Eclipse” offers some of the most chunky and delicious dissonance the band have ever crafted. It’s a more varied and thoughtful album this time around, whose restraint signifies a band of true masters. If anything, Infrared Horizon sees Artificial Brain go from the most promising act in the genre to one of the absolute best. –Eli K.

25. Fen – Winter
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Considering its massive scope, it’s not surprising Winter continues to reveal itself to me even as I write this blurb. With a runtime nearly matching a feature length film, it’s unrealistic to think you can have it all pinned down on your first listen (or even your second or third). What Fen have crafted here is a gorgeous and abstract slow burner; an album full of massive crescendos and gentle post-rock intermissions. The balanced mixture of black metal and ambiance is tightly woven between the album’s outstanding bookends: “I (Pathway)” and “VI (Sight)”. The former is a scenic, 17-minute medley of genres, while the latter’s atmospheric build-up is nothing short of therapeutic to the ears. Highly ambitious from start to finish, Winter is one of the most massive releases of 2017, as well as a huge leap forward for Fen. When heard properly – in its entirety and with few distractions – it sure as hell takes you to breathtaking heights. –Atari

24. Fever Ray – Plunge
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Sex and gender politics are absolutely nothing new, but 2017 saw popular discourse on the subject reach a fever pitch that for some felt long overdue. As to be expected with anything so thorny as personal boundary and the laws that govern it, the conversation has become exhaustive and combative for reasons that can undermine its purpose: to amplify marginalized voices and their experiences. Bless the timing of Karin Dreijer, because if ever we needed a public reminder that sex can be fun, challenging, and powerful for consenting adults of any persuasion (just as love can be fussy, incorrigible, and elusive), it was now. Politics have always informed Dreijer’s music (writ large on former band The Knife’s magnum opus Shaking the Habitual), and there’s a joyous abandon to which she emboldens her queer perspective in the starkest language, giving thornier dimensions to an electrifying music bed of lasers, robot violins, and scaling, tropic-tinted industrial beats. Were it only notable for its content, but alas: Plunge is a sublime pop record whose compositions act upon the uncomfortable bedfellows that are violence and sex, creating an atmosphere of tense compositions that constantly affirm its standing as body positive even as it grapples with the shame of its ideals (“Every time we fuck we win / This house makes it hard to fuck / This country makes it hard to fuck”). When Fever Ray loosens the grip for pointed moments of pleasurable bedlam, the effect is positively giddy (“To The Moon and Back”). Dancing can be seen as an act of communion, of independence, as a political act, and here is Plunge, an amplified experience to soundtrack it all. –plane

22 (tie). Jürg Frey – Ephemeral Constructions
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Jurg Frey’s latest might be a bit of a tough sell, in the context of an awards season at least. Many albums on this list are simulacra of various scenes, feelings, occurrences (and so on…) in 2017. Glassjaw’s Material Control is a very 2017-y album, reflective not just of the band’s return to form, but what it’s like to be a dejected 20- or 30-something who remembers being an angry, impassioned teenager. Arca’s self-titled is a very 2017-y album, one of constant efforts of evolution, tying the past to the future. Ephemeral Constructions is just… here. Or there. Wherever. It’s hard to analyze it in terms of what it means right-here-and-right-now. It’s indeterminate, and spending too much time asking why it exists — or the thought process being it — is probably a waste of time. Time is better spent getting used to it, achieving equilibrium with the subtle noises: courtesy of Frey on clarinet, Greg Stuart on percussion, and Erik Carlson on violin. The music goes nowhere, just as beautiful scenery goes nowhere, really, unless you yourself go somewhere within. These descriptions are probably all a bit wishy-washy, but in moments where I feel at my most powerless physically – yet most heightened creatively, and exhausted mentally – compositions like these have a way of winning me over. As the name suggests, Ephemeral Constructions builds noises that dissipate shortly after, constantly reminding of the effects of time, but in such a way that it’s not clear whether it’s been one second or an entire day, or month, or year. It’s the sound of letting go. –Tristan Jones

22 (tie). Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
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If Crack-Up is any indication, the members of Fleet Foxes have spent the past six years since Helplessness Bluesmaturing their songwriting skills and overcoming that album’s themes of inner anxiety. Crack-Up is the other side of that coin, a freeing and surprisingly eclectic work of art. The number of instruments played must be close to 100. Diverse instrumentation, classical influences, and grand arrangements make for some of the group’s finest compositions yet. “Third of May”, the two-part “Cassius”, and the gorgeous “On Another Ocean” encompass these ideas in spectacular fashion. The beauty of Fleet Foxes’ music is just as apparent as it ever was, with an abundance of musical flourishes and progressive song structures that make for some of the band’s finest achievements thus far. Here’s to hoping that we won’t have to wait another six years for what the group has in store next. –Ben Kuettel

21. Falls Of Rauros – Vigilance Perennial
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Falls of Rauros’ Vigilance Perennial was, admittedly, a late year find. For all of the metal I’ve heard this year I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to yet another atmospheric black metal record. I mean, look at that name. That album title! It would be like scratching an itch that had already been rendered bloody.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit how wrong I was. Vigilance Perennial is not only a great album but handily some of the best black metal in years. It’s standard, for sure. It’s cold and earthy atmospheric black metal, but elegant in its approach. It’s effortlessly beautiful in ways that other black metal bands try too hard to be; being rich and contextually poetic the way that black metal was always meant. Falls of Rauros know when to use differing tones, using clean melodies in “White Granite”, not for the sake of using them, because they smartly fit the song. Likewise, some of the album’s most biting moments are reserved for “Impermanence Streakt Through Marble”, used to great effect.

Vigilance Perennial doesn’t rely on gimmicks; similarly, it is neither showboating nor pretentious. It’s pure black metal, elegant in its execution and smart in its composition. It doesn’t get much better than this. –Eli K.

20. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
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If Annie Clark was going to be accused of selling out, MASSEDUCTION makes for a tempting target. The requisite song about the empty sun and stars in Los Angeles; the exhaustion and facelessness of “New York”; the team-up with Hot 100 man-of-the-moment Jack Antonoff; the transparent social commentary regurgitated throughout “Pills”. But there’s a reason those are all tried and true subjects, and there’s certainly a reason why Antonoff has been in such demand lately. Paired with Clark’s persistently incisive writing and venomous charisma, it’s impossible not to forgive MASSEDUCTION and its flaws. A hook like “Los Ageless” makes you wonder how St. Vincent isn’t headlining stadiums, while the spartan tragedy of “Happy Birthday, Johnny” reminds that Clark is a confessional songwriter at heart. There’s a sad core behind this pop veneer, the self-doubt of Actor and achingly personal boil of emotions in the best St. Vincent songs taking some of the sheen off. The record ends with “Smoking Section”, a narcoleptic waltz that speaks of death almost like a listicle before resolving into a rousing determination. There will always be a dark core to Clark’s music, unapologetic and open. MASSEDUCTION proves St. Vincent can pretty it up with the best of them. -–Rudy K.

19. Sampha – Process
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Vulnerability is the main draw of neo-soul nowadays, but seldom has it been presented with such finesse and imagination as on Sampha Sissay’s debut album. Dedicated to his mother passing to cancer, Process is not only about grief, but also about coming to terms with success that may distance the artist from his roots. These two themes come together beautifully on the album’s sublime centrepiece “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”. It’s a heartfelt eulogy to his late mother that’s both graceful and raw with emotion, proof that oftentimes less is more. On other cuts Sampha infuses this pristine soul songwriting with electronic production to refreshing effect. Songs like “Blood On Me” and “Under” brim with masterful beat patterns that make them into instant hits, whereas “Kora Sings” sounds like a cross between Bjork and Peter Gabriel, revealing the artist’s slightly more progressive tendencies. There are many facets to this album, but it’s Sampha’s soothing yet passionate croons that link all these songs together. He’s already a refined singer whose voice is equal parts powerful and evocative. As a result, Process is a deeply felt album that’s as dignified as its maker. –Greg

18. Arca – Arca
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First, the voice; a falsetto descending as an alien siren from everywhere: Quítame la piel de ayer.

Remove yesterday’s skin. Arca, née Alejandro Ghersi, is a producer best known for instrumental music with the composure and beauty of stained glass shattered in a Cathedral hall, but on his third proper release, he centers his operatic voice in the midst of the maelstrom. A seasoned artist who has worked extensively with the likes of Björk, Arca’s music has always felt emotionally resonant and raw, a skittering assault on the senses that nevertheless expressed tangible elements of an intangible neuroses. In the improvised lyrical content on Arca, within that absolutely gorgeous arch of his tenor, there is revealed the id of repression, yearning, desire trapped beneath the architecture of this chaos. In a year marked by the burgeoning, congratulatory “wokeness” of its self-aware artists and consumers, here is an album startling in its willingness to cleave open the wounds of its id, to reveal something ugly and unnurtured about itself, to flay its own skin and see the beating heart beneath for what it is. It is an album fixated with a single spotlight as the production absorbs every morsel of air surrounding it, an avant-garde maximalist production with the inclination of darker, more treacherous impulses.  Arca is, simply, beautiful. –plane

17. Glassjaw – Material Control
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Fifteen years in-between, it’d be reasonable to assume that the Daedalean road separating Material Control from Worship & Tribute might have some Head Automatica-sized potholes, but the pummeling onslaught of the album’s opening third – “new white extremity”, “shira”, “citizen”, and “golgotha” – assuages all trepidation. How can you throw caution to the wind when staring down a Category 5 sonic hurricane that’s been brewing for a decade-plus? Daryl Palumbo and Justin Beck show no signs of rust in picking Glassjaw up right where they left off, bringing aboard drummer Billy Rymer (The Dillinger Escape Plan) to amplify the indignation amidst layers upon layers of perpetual dissonance and discord. “golgotha” is a prime example of Rymer’s groove-oriented influence, with copious amounts of frenetic double bass to pace Palumbo’s seasoned shouts. Meanwhile, Beck’s break-neck guitar riffs and solos (see “shira”, “golgotha”, or “closer” for quintessential examples) as well as his attention to detail on bass (“my conscience weighs a ton”, “new white extremity”, “citizen”) are relentless constants on a record that, while certainly rife with Worship & Tribute nostalgia, exhibits an appreciable evolution in sound. At 36 minutes, Material Control compositionally runs like a Between the Buried and Me record, as if it were one gigantic song sporting a handful of transitional cuts (the best being the tribal, Ariel Telford-featured “bastille day” as a harbinger to “pompeii”) that serve as fleeting reprieves from Palumbo’s bellicose shrieks and potent snarls. The record’s production is raw, gritty, and suffocating – sometimes to the album’s detriment – but even when he seems to falter in the mix, Palumbo’s lyrical vitriol permeates from start-to-finish. Short runtime and muddy, uneven production aside, make no mistake: Material Control wasn’t made for earbuds. The only question is not if this record will have any staying power, but if it’ll be another fifteen years before the next one. –Jom

16. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
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The most obvious reference critics make when writing about Adam Granduciel is to Bruce Springsteen; a troubadour of the Northeast, writing songs about people displaced, deposed, and disaffected, made to feel inferior because of structural unemployment and the inevitable breakdowns of their marriages and friendships. In that sense, Granduciel is a balladeer whose narratives speak to the expectation of their geographic location, and to which their excellence can be compared to Springsteen. But it would be more sensible to look at where Granduciel has taken that influence with respect to Born to Run or Born in the USA; The War on Drugs have always evoked nostalgia (again, similar to Springsteen), but don’t have the same mysticism for the ’50s and ’60s that Bruce saw when he swaggered and shimmied with a bluesy, rock and roll fervour. Instead, Granduciel’s childhood was in the free trade USA of the late ’80s, when Tunnel of Love was synonymous with the Springsteen name. There’s no happier precedent in A Deeper Understanding‘s deeper understanding of America, just the unstoppable march toward global integration as soundtracked by synthesizers and a thousand guitar pedals.

In that sense, this is folk music. These are songs about the feelings that Granduciel has for his native Pennsylvania, and for the people that he has met, and the feelings they have made him feel. But he’s also not about specifics: “Strangest Thing”, a standout in a 10-track album of standouts and potential singles, is criminally vague in its depictions of the picturesque and nameless in its references. But that’s almost negligible when, around 3 minutes in, Granduciel begins layering synth upon synth around a beautiful, simple melody. In that sense, Tears for Fears’ “Shout” is a good reference point: pop music made perfect by the wideness and scope of its production, whilst grounded by its brilliant simplicity. That’s the archetype that A Deeper Understanding follows so closely, and what makes it a substantial improvement over Lost in the Dream, itself a fantastic album. In place of movements and sections is a careful progression, lingering on strong hooks in pursuit of the better pop song.

Which, ultimately, is the most Springsteen thing that Granduciel could have done. Though his embrace of keyboards may position him closer to Red Rider, his knack for anthems that hit on a primal and emotional level is in line with Dylan, Young, and any other critically acclaimed roots rocker. To that end, A Deeper Understanding works to position Granduciel further and further away from his forebearers, away from his contemporaries, and into a league of his own: an archetype for modern, synthesized Americana. –Arcade

15. Paramore – After Laughter
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I have never and still do not care for Paramore. I don’t care about Riot! or Brand New Eyes, punky, bratty, overwrote efforts hamstrung by a latent Christianity lyrical theme. I don’t care about the Farro brothers, two members who have at varying times felt threatened by Hayley Williams’ very real ability to leave for greener solo pastures. And I really don’t care that After Laughter, their latest, is a problem for some older fans who feel a certain dedication to the obnoxious and loudly emotional Paramore I learnt to dislike throughout high school and early adulthood. Truthfully, this doesn’t sound anything like the Paramore I am familiar with, and I suspect that will be both a boon and a drawback depending on whether or not you like rawer displays of emotion, or instead prefer ’80s, poptimist pastiche.

For me, it’s the latter, and it’s why After Laughter is 2017’s best pop album. Paramore already have the neediness, bleakness, and introversion inbuilt, and so to apply it to Bananarama and Cindy Lauper theatrics make it that much more of a clean break from the immaturity of their youth. “Rose-Colored Boy” and “Pool”, the album’s unarguable highlights, are the prettiest examples of that; nostalgic synths, funky progression, and lyrical explorations that more or less end up at the image of the perturbed and the unimpressed. By Williams’ own admission, the album’s title references that feeling purposely, an interest in the moment when the ecstasy drains from someone’s face when the joke ends. All of After Laughter evokes that feeling; these are danceable pop songs, but they’re also crushingly depressing songs about crying and wandering aimlessly away from trauma.

In some sense, they’ve picked this all up from CHVRCHES, who in turn most likely picked it up from Jimmy Eat World, who themselves probably play no small part in Paramore’s newer, glossier musical identity. But After Laughter‘s miserable ends — estrangement, depression — feel as real to me as they must to fans of the band’s older material. I can appreciate that fact even as I continue to feel no personal appreciation for the Paramore everybody else loved, safe in the knowledge that even as the method of delivery has changed, this is still essentially the same band as ever. –Arcade

14. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
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“Rilke in one of his letters said Christ
is a pointing,
a finger pointing
at something, and we are like dogs
who keep barking and lunging
at the hand”

—Franz Wright, “The New Jerusalem”

Released six months after and thematically structured around the death of his wife, cartoonist and musician Geneviève Castrée, Phil Elverum’s AKA Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked at Me is a challenging record. Elverum does not care to shield or mediate his feeling of total devastation in the wake of his loss, nor does he register a faith in his own practice: “Death is real / Someone’s there and then they’re not / And it’s not for singing about / It’s not for making into art”, go the first four bars of opener “Real Death”. In the face of the impossible task of keeping witness to the death of a loved one on record, one might reasonably ask why Elverum decided to go through with it at all. I think we should instead look closely at what he did release, because A Crow Looked at Me is indeed a great record — a challenging one, but a great one.

Elverum’s songwriting on this album does not resemble that of his other albums or those of other independent singer-songwriters associated with Mount Eerie. The album plays as a collection of folk ballads — usually guitar, electronic drums, and piano — whose chord progressions have been chopped in half and which are liable to cut out abruptly, formally hinting at their own pointlessness. Elverum avoids moment-to-moment pleasure in constructing these songs and in doing so deflects our identification with the aesthetic elements of rhythm and harmony to a different place, where we can hear more clearly the desperation of Elverum as an artist and as a person, if we were to separate the two at all.

Yet A Crow Looked at Me is not “anti-music” or swallowed up by its admittedly weighty concept. Listen closely to these songs and you will eventually find, couched deep in thought and hurt, fragments of utter beauty — particularly on the electric guitar chiaroscuro of “Swims” and the downward melodic trickle of “Ravens”. Confronting the limitations of artistic practice itself, Phil Elverum has impossibly produced a work of art that gives witness to his late beloved wife and brings the pain of her absence to all of us. –Alex Robertson

13. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps
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Phoebe Bridgers makes music for wide open spaces with nothing inside. That’s how it feels, anyway – in the magnificent first song alone she’s touched on the deaths of Bowie and Lemmy, given a nod to Twin Peaks, and crafted a touching ode to the moments in a relationship that you can’t forget. Before the album’s finished, she’s compared herself to Dahmer, duetted with Conor Oberst, and covered a Mark Kozelek song; on breadth of ambition alone Stranger in the Alps is clearly a force to be reckoned with. Yet at the centre of it is an emptiness, a dead place that the echoes all bounce back to once the songs have run their course. Stranger may strike you as morbidly death-obsessed, and at times that’s true, but at the core is a hollow truth which is never said more plainly than in the brutal chorus of “Funeral”: “Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time / And that’s just how I feel / Always have, and I always will.” –Rowan

12. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
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Tyler, the Creator is growing up. Not in a getting-boring, losing-his-edge way that rappers have been known to do; no, Tyler has found a way to reconcile the two halves of himself and his music. The vulgar motormouth of previous albums is still very much alive on “Who Dat Boy” and “I Ain’t Got Time!”, but his cage is gilded with the brevity and lucidity of Flower Boy‘s production. The context of Tyler’s rise to fame becomes important on the other side of the coin, as we see an anxious young romantic, driven by the promise of human connection; his incredible Tiny Desk performance shows an artist fueled by anxiety but not consumed, channeling his nervous energy into something beautiful. When the two sides meet, when the demon and the dreamer battle it out – see “911 / Mr Lonely”, “See You Again” – what we get is simply some of the best music of the year. –Rowan

11. Brand New – Science Fiction
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I don’t think Science Fiction should solely be enjoyed in spite of the recent accusations concerning lead singer/songwriter Jesse Lacey. It could be – that’s up to you – but, rather, I think it could be considered on account of them, refracted under a new lens: one of disappointment, betrayal, fascination, indifference, or whatever is conjured. In hindsight, past songs like “Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis” feel less like angst-ridden romanticizing and more potent. There’s more weight to evocative instrumentals like “Untitled”. Between you and me, I’ve always kinda skipped that song and “Welcome to Bangkok” when listening to The Devil and God; but, they could be album highlights, all things considered. What might have felt like supplemental experimentation now feels more vital in wordless contemplation. Moving on: Science Fiction is more than a well-constructed indie rock album penned by someone introspective. More accurately, it’s the result of a decade-plus of inner turmoil, growth, and (probably) regret, but never complete atonement or transparency. The overall tone is augmented by the soundscaping talents of guitarist Vincent Accardi and producer Mike Sapone (a longtime friend of the band since the Your Favorite Weapon days).

Upon release, many listeners were astounded that Brand New were able to deliver something so intricate and carefully-wrought in its agony eight years after Daisy; a few months later, it probably makes some sense. Art succeeds on account of portraying what conventional prose can’t (or won’t). As long as there’s something out of plain sight, the intrigue remains, and Lacey has had years to contemplate undisturbed by outside imputations. When he sings of fantasized heresy in opener “Lit Me Up”, we can now see it as coming to terms, illuminating one’s faults bereft of religious motivations. “Out of Mana”, which could be a soundtrack to overcoming challenges amidst depression when you feel like nothing’s left to fuel you, hits a slightly different note. “In the Water”, which some consider to be the band’s unofficial career finale, struggles with internal feelings of inadequacy and meeting the expectations of fans, sort of summing up their M.O.; now, it feels more like a requiem. Proper closer “Batter Up” feels resigned, weary, maybe resentful, but still a bit receptive and hopeful for the future. It’s probably the most realistically helpful attitude going forward, for Lacey and loyal Brand New fans alike. –Tristan Jones

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Jom
12.21.17
See you tomorrow for 10-1!

Mort.
12.21.17
oh boy

DoofusWainwright
12.21.17
Brand New didn’t make Top 10?

That’s made my Christmas

neekafat
12.21.17
"Riot! or Brand New Eyes, punky, bratty, overwrote efforts hamstrung by a latent Christianity lyrical theme"
"“Rose-Colored Boy” and “Pool”, the album’s unarguable highlights"
Who are you and who let you write this.

hesperus
12.21.17
oh fuck yeah 26 to 24

i'm really digging the mixture of albums on the list this year, and the staff really went all out writing excellent blurbs for all of them. especially plane, kudos for that fantastic Fever Ray write-up.

also: Brand New didn't make Top 10? That's made my Christmas [2]

Papa Universe
12.21.17
How come Sowing didn't write the Brand New write-up?

luci
12.21.17
great selection of writers here, looking forward to digging in. shame you put science fiction on the list at all. no, placing it conspicously out of the top 10 doesn’t make it appropriate

hesperus
12.21.17
yeah i really would have preferred that it just be made ineligible for the year-end lists altogether

neekafat
12.21.17
Oh fuck off guys let's not do this again

plane
12.21.17
As for Brand New, that's literally where it ended up based on the votes. We had a conversation about what was "right" to do with the album, but if people wanted to vote for it this late in the year even after everything... well, good or bad, that's a reflection of the crew.

hesperus
12.21.17
fair enough

Papa Universe
12.21.17
I think the reason it's not Sowing who wrote the Brand New write-up is because he literally exploded when the news came that Science Fiction only made it to number 11. Or in other words, the exact same thing that happened to me, when I realised that Benjamin Clementine is only on number 49.
And so help me god if Protomartyr isn't in the top 10...

neekafat
12.21.17
If I was staff it would've made Top 10, js

Papa Universe
12.21.17
You know, you a good kid, neek.

neekafat
12.21.17
No I meant Science Fiction lol

pjquinones747
12.21.17
Bitchin'. Fen gets better and better every time I listen. In the same boat with atmospheric BM, but I've been cramming a ton of it in a matter of weeks, so I planned things out poorly. Fall of Rauros and my AOTY list will have to wait a bit longer.

SowingSeason
12.21.17
"How come Sowing didn't write the Brand New write-up?"
It's a general rule of thumb that we try to vary the writers, meaning that if a staff member gets the featured review for an album during the year, then anyone else gets first dibs at it come year-end feature time.

Sniff
12.21.17
Check 13. Yay or nay?

Xenophanes
12.21.17
As much as I complain about this site I always take solace in the fact that our year end list is one of the more unpredictable and varied out there. I was disappointed how last year turned out (that bad Dear Hunter album and Thrice cracking the top 10–yuck) but this year’s list is all over the place and we didn’t feel compelled to staunch blurb length outside of the top ten. Great list imo

Papa Universe
12.21.17
"No I meant Science Fiction lol"
oh...

GreyShadow
12.21.17
I can't help but think Science Fiction is only not in the top 10 because of the recent events -.-


Anyway, non-ordered predictions
Converge - The Dusk In Us
Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile To Surface
Tyler, The Creator - Flower Boy
Gang of Youths - Go Farther In Lightness
The Menzingers - After The Party
King Gizzard... - Polygondwanaland
Chelsea Wolf - Hiss Spun
The National - Sleep Well Beast
Ulver - The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Elder - Reflections of A Floating World

SowingSeason
12.21.17
^see plane's post, which is accurate. Also, Flower Boy is in this post so can't be in the top 10. Some cool predictions otherwise, though.

Gameofmetal
12.21.17
i just came to see people bitch about Science Fiction lol

GreyShadow
12.21.17
oops, scratch Flower Boy cause it's already here.
Honestly not sure what to replace it with but I hope it's Circa Survive - The Amulet

neekafat
12.21.17
So so glad to see 13 here

Papa Universe
12.21.17
@GreyShadow: but.. but... what about Protomartyr?

neekafat
12.21.17
Search your feelings, Unique... you know it to not be true

Papa Universe
12.21.17
Hope, my freind. Hope and trust.

pjquinones747
12.21.17
I don't think Elder will hit #1 but that's my hope.

neekafat
12.21.17
hahaha pls no

Papa Universe
12.21.17
good fucking god, I misseplled 'friend'

Papa Universe
12.21.17
*misspelled, goddmamit

neekafat
12.21.17
It's the Alzheimer's kicking in :/

Papa Universe
12.21.17
no, i'm just dixlsseecxsic

onionbubs
12.21.17
kinda surprised glassjaw didnt crack the top 10

rooting for the menzingers all the way hell yea

neekafat
12.21.17
I think it'll be Gang of Youths or Manchester tbh, probably the former

onionbubs
12.21.17
probably, tho if the menzos take #1 ill be so overjoyed

onionbubs
12.21.17
oh shit propagandhis here hell yea

neekafat
12.21.17
They don't deserve it :/

Green Baron
12.21.17
I thought this was the one sight impermeable to letting Brand New's album be affected... extremely disappointed to be proven wrong. I don't know who held out, but it would have likely been #1, right?

Voivod
12.21.17
So much metal/non-metal stuff I need to listen to, Propagandhi for instance, great write-ups.

Willie
12.21.17
Brand New landed right where it landed based on the votes. There wasn't any movement up (or down). It's right where the votes said it should be. Personally, I don't think it's all that good. It's better than their last few (although Jesus Christ is still my favorite BN track), but not awesome. I'm only really a fan of their first two albums, though.

brainmelter
12.21.17
Thank the lord brand new and glass jaw didn't make top 10. cool to see artificial brain and flower boy so high

Trebor.
12.21.17
man do I love Phoebe Bridgers

mortifierftw
12.21.17
I'll be happy if either Menzingers or Gang of Youths are number 1, both albums were my favorites from this year

cor22222
12.21.17
Hell yeah brand new no numero uno

Toondude10
12.21.17
Brand New will probably be 1 on the user's list tbh

neekafat
12.21.17
How can you only love their first two lol

macman76
12.21.17
While you guys are all anxiously awaiting our number one, I would like to report that tho l tallied up the scores, I already forgot what album it is

Toondude10
12.21.17
lol

Willie
12.21.17
--How can you only love their first two lol--

Their first one is basically snotty pop punk. Their second one still has some of that in it and isn't as noisy and kind of 'down' as their subsequent albums.

Green Baron
12.21.17
I know that Brand New landed there based on the votes, what I'm saying is that had people not changed their rankings due to the Lacey story, would they have been #1?

Jom
12.21.17
I think it's unlikely. The top seven spots were a bit of a dogfight in terms of point spread. 2 could have been 3, 6 could have been 5, etc.

BlackwaterPork
12.21.17
Nice to see falls of Rauros up there

JayEnder
12.21.17
rooting for counterparts and menzingers

neekafat
12.21.17
I suppose, just a matter of tone I suppose then though I consider their later stuff to be far musically superior

SandwichBubble
12.21.17
Wish fleet foxes made it higher, but I'm glad it made it.

klap
12.21.17
believe it or not more than a few staff ppl here who don't care so much for brand new

Toondude10
12.21.17
I believe it

guitarded_chuck
12.21.17
sci fi over flower boy lol unsubscribed

JohnnyOnTheSpot
12.21.17
tbf i'd give SciFi a 2.5 but alas, there it lies

plane
12.21.17
I got into Flower Boy too late, woulda been top 10 probably with my vote. My b

brosephmcbrah
12.21.17
Toss up between Black Mile and Lightness for that #1 spot. My money's on Manchester.

ZombieToyDuck
12.21.17
I sure as hell hope igorrr makes it to top the 10 the new album is a beasttttt but so far some realy goodies in here!

Dewinged
12.22.17
GreyShadow's predictions are so accurate. I am liking this year's picks.

SteakByrnes
12.22.17
If Lil B - Black Ken isn't #1 I'm boycotting the site

Dylan620
12.22.17
Go Farther in Death Cab for Cutie - "Lightness"

adr
12.22.17
well i like 28,26 and 14 atleast

FadedSun
12.22.17
I pretty much didn't listen to any music from this year.

Divaman
12.22.17
Well, at least there are a couple of albums on this part of the list that I like. Brand New is in my Top 10 (and I suspect it would have been in the staff's Top Ten as well except for the sex scandal). And while I don't love the Paramore album, I at least like it. Hated St. Vincent, though.

Trebor.
12.22.17
I personally didn't have brand new on my list and it has nothing to do with the allegations

Willie
12.22.17
Same. I think people are looking for a conspiracy where there isn't one.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
12.22.17
yeah. we considered excluding from the list altogether, but then opted to let the votes fall where they fell. I didn't include it in my list either and tbh it's like a 2.5/5 record for me. if more of the staff emeritus voted then maybe it would have placed higher, who knows.

Pheromone
12.22.17
cool, glad manchester orchestra are high up if they actually are but they actually are

onionbubs
12.22.17
they definitely actually are yea

Pheromone
12.22.17
yea actually gnarly

SteakByrnes
12.22.17
This just in: Brand New isn't liked by every person on the site, go figure

StarlessCore
12.22.17
most of these albums r baddddd

sixdegrees
12.22.17
not good

onionbubs
12.22.17
lmao someone posted this on r/brandnew and the die hards are super salty

JohnnyOnTheSpot
12.22.17
just checked; not really.

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
12.22.17
He just fact checked your ass.

Toondude10
12.22.17
something tells me that DAMN is going to be in the top 10

sixdegrees
12.22.17
that would be a DARN shame

onionbubs
12.22.17
ye he got me there

idk seemed really pissy to me, but different standards i guess

onionbubs
12.22.17
Vince Staples better be top 10

Toondude10
12.22.17
^ that one is most definitely going to be top 10, maybe top 5

SteakByrnes
12.22.17
Black Ken tho

Winesburgohio
12.22.17
i fuck with separating art from the artists, largely because i mean most of the musicians i like have been pieces of shit in some capacity and I have been a piece of shit in some capacity and weirdly enough it wouldn't have felt honest to remove Brand New's latest from a sputnik list; this is, sputnik after all, and let the votes fall where they may.

also can u bring back the competition where if we correctly guess the top10 we win a Converge t-shirt or something idk i need new clothes. a hat would be nice.

macman76
12.22.17
Maybe we could do a user interview for someone that guesss the top 10

DaveyBoy
12.22.17
"I personally didn't have brand new on my list and it has nothing to do with the allegations"
"Same. I think people are looking for a conspiracy where there isn't one."

Ditto. I'm also a fan of most of Brand New's albums, and this one just didn't resonate with me at any stage. I didn't even think it was the best emo rock album by a returning Long Island band this year!!!

If an LP doesn't get the Treb/Trey/Davey votes, it's unlikely that it makes the top 10.

SteakByrnes
12.22.17
Davey votes are best votes

Darius the Great
12.22.17
Thought 11 would be 1 :O

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
12.22.17
User vote it will be.

Darius the Great
12.22.17
Manchester Orchestra will be 1. Calling it

Atari
12.22.17
Wonderful work everyone

also I haven't even heard the new brand new. I've just never been that crazy about them

Trebor.
12.22.17
I still can't believe people like blandchester borechestra

Wish we could have done negative point

sixdegrees
12.22.17
we have more sputnikmusic staffers than I thought if that album is actually selling

neekafat
12.22.17
Yeah I think negative points should be a thing tbh

Darius the Great
12.22.17
Agreed.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.22.17
fever ray write up is genius


macman76
12.22.17
Negative points would tear us apart, I’m all for it

dbizzles
12.22.17
Some great picks and blurbs. Excited to read about (most) of the top ten.

Rowan5215
12.22.17
best part about Brand New landing at 11 was I could just wing my blurbs because I knew Johnny would draw all the fire

but seriously, great job done by everyone, especially Willie and Jom ofc

Flugmorph
12.22.17
brutalism better be in the top 10 then

Storm In A Teacup
12.22.17
Paramore!! Yes!!!

luci
12.22.17
"'Rose-Colored Boy' and 'Pool', the album’s unarguable highlights"
nah that's arguable for sure

WilliamJ
12.22.17
Happy to see Phoebe Bridgers so high, probably my no.1 pick this year

Toondude10
12.22.17
If Ulver doesn't make top 10....

ramon.
12.22.17
Moses Sumney pls

Jacquibim
12.22.17
I'm just happy Jurg Frey made it, and Johnny's para is ~

Verschtunken
12.22.17
Huh, Fleet Foxes was my hunch for AOTY. Looking forward to see the top-10.

RadicalEd
12.22.17
Glad to see that the sput staff continues to pick a bunch of diverse and interesting albums even if some are lol-worthy in my opinion (30, 20, 15) at least it's not the samey, boring, predictable p4k list. ("Hey we picked 39 R'n'b/trap/pop albums who all sound exactly alike, go migos... oh and for you dirty hipsters some obligatory indie rockers with progressive political lyrics, also kendrick is no.1, byyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeee")

Also

SowingSeason
12.22.17
god I hate p4k

RadicalEd
12.22.17
Sometime way back in 2011 or something I used to like them. But they have almost become a parody of themselves at this point.

coma2rium
12.22.17
that after laughter sound off may be the most pretentious thing I've read on the site in 2017.

coma2rium
12.22.17
"Glad to see that the sput staff continues to pick a bunch of diverse and interesting albums even if some are lol-worthy in my opinion (30, 20, 15) at least it's not the samey, boring, predictable p4k list. ("Hey we picked 39 R'n'b/trap/pop albums who all sound exactly alike, go migos... oh and for you dirty hipsters some obligatory indie rockers with progressive political lyrics, also kendrick is no.1, byyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeee")"

fuckin lol. cause pop cant be good ever. is it hard to breathe up there on that high horse?

RadicalEd
12.22.17
Bruh I love me some pop. I like Carly Rae Jepsen, I like Kelala, I love Janelle Monae, list goes on. Has nothing to do with being on a high horse.

Comatorium.
12.22.17
CRJ is a goddess, agreed. Well then I’m genuinely curious... What’s wrong with those albums?

Atari
12.22.17
I'm very pleased Phoebe Bridgers nearly cracked the top 10. Sampha and Falls of Rauros are quality as well

luci
12.22.17
agree with both those posts coma2rium

RadicalEd
12.22.17
still love u lucid.

luci
12.22.17
you like carly and kelela so we're good

luci
12.22.17
also where the hell is the kelela album?

ultrabluecat
12.23.17
Surprised Lemon Freddy Phantom of the Sky and Weather Diaries is not on the list.

Panzerchrist
12.27.17
Look, I'm willing to admit that that Paramore album was probably one of their best releases, but putting it anywhere NEAR a 'Best Albums' list is laughable. Come on guys.

toocool4pos
12.27.17
Science Fiction not in the top 10 is criminal!

Snake.
12.27.17
not as criminal as being a pedophile tho

Green Baron
12.27.17
I'm more upset about the former

dbizzles
12.27.17
Science Fiction is a 3, but so are at least half of the top ten, imo.

Shredin0id
12.29.17
Science Fiction should be in the top ten, this really bugs me.

iambandersnatch
12.31.17
I feel like a lot of these are very "hip" choices and not necessarily the best from a pure enjoyment standpoint, but hey, opinions. And it's sputnik after all

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