Death, taxes, and end-of-the-year Top 10 Albums of the Year lists.
A lot of the music I listen to is from cartoons or animated movies, but I’m outside doing yard work, inside prepping dinner, cleaning up, or driving to work by alone, I get a chance to listen to some adult music. And my musical inclinations know no bounds – rap, country, punk, hardcore, pop, holiday jams.
Here’s my heavily unanticipated Top 10 Albums of 2017 list – condensed to Top 9 – in no particular order:
V, The Bronx
LA hardcore punks The Bronx, a band whose music has been a staple in my life for well over a decade, are still kicking ass five albums in . This album reminds me of the early Bronx albums despite maybe a bit more melodic at times. This album further cements The Bronx as a band I’ll listen to until I’m old and gray or bald. They are rock and roll, they’re loud, they’re big enough to rock an arena but waaaaaaaay better in a small, sweaty club. Not to mention they’re an awesome dudes.
Modern Ruin, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
English punk rockers FCATR released this beaut in January and I honestly have no idea how I initially heard about it. I’ve heard him before in both his previous bands – Gallows and Pure Love. I got a chance to see them at The Studio at Webster Hall with about 200 others and became an even bigger fan. Definitely not a sophomore slump to their debut album, Blossom. Modern Ruin is personal (“Lullaby” was written at 4am after being woken up by his daughter and being just overall sleep-deprived, something every parent can relate to) and political (“Thunder” refers to the migrant crisis and other headlines of the times). The lyrics might not be cheery and upbeat but this is an album you won’t stop listening to.
Outsider, Comeback Kid
Representing Canadian punk rock from Winnipeg, Manitoba, CBK’s Outsider is the band’s sixth album. It’s heavy and also super catchy. It starts with a bang(er) in the self-titled track, “Outsider,” and keeps the going for 37 minutes with uptempo intensity complete with sing-along and headbanging choruses – see “Hell of a Scene.” It’s by no means front-loaded and is just a fun hardcore album. Yes, fun.
After the Party, The Menzingers
Just a solid album about your ‘younger’ years being behind you by Scranton punk rock band The Menzingers. In a Kerrang! article, vocalist/guitarist Tom May describes After the Party as not having “to grow up or get boring – we can keep on having a good time doing what we love” and that life doesn’t end at 30. Whew! And hopefully for us, The Menzingers decide to keep making music after their fifth album.
Villains, Queens of the Stone Age
Sometimes I find myself limiting myself to the first two tracks on Villains – “Feet Don’t Fail Me” and “The Way You Used To Do” – and for good reason. It’s cool, hip-swivelly, danceable, and totally groovy – everything you’d expect from frontman Josh Homme and QOTSA. Following up their last album, …Like Clockwork, wasn’t gonna be easy, but this album rules (slightly less). And the nearly two-minute buildup to the opening track – “Feet Don’t Fail Me” – is worth the wait.
61 Days in Church, Eric Church
Technically most, if not all, of these songs aren’t from 2017. But this compilation was released this year. On his 2017 Holdin’ My Own Tour, he recorded every song, every night during his 61 days on the road then hand-picked the best ones – originals, covers (including songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dolly Parton, Bob Seger, and more), duets (Ray Wylie Hubbard in Dallas), and songs written on the road – to release. His studio albums have always been, in my opinion, awesome, but seeing him live is next level.
Cities in Search of a Heart, The Movielife
A blast from my past, The Movielife released their first album since 2003, when I was graduating college. Turns out, even after 13 years I still can sing shittily along with each song on their previous albums. Nothing about this album, however, is shitty. Listening to this album shows they haven’t skipped a beat since their last release, Forty Hour Train Back to Penn. The opening track – “Ski Mask” – begins with frontman Vinnie Caruana asking if you “Can find it in your heart to just let me in?” And as much as I enjoy the two bands they formed after the breakup way back when – I Am the Avalanche (Caruana) and Nightmare of You (Brandon Reilly) – it’s nice to have The Movielife back. For now, at least.
Infinite Light, The Flatliners
A late blip on my music radar (thanks Mike), The Flatliners’ have released four records prior to Inviting Light, dating all the way back to 2002. So, with this album being my initiation to the band, I’ll forgo pretending like I’ve been a fan for years. Inviting Light opens gloomily but gets your toes tapping soon enough with “Mammals.” The album slows a bit in the middle, but only for a couple songs, and picks right back up.
How Did We Get So Dark?, Royal Blood
Saw these dudes open for Foo Fighters at Fenway Park in Boston in 2015 never having heard them and was immediately hooked. Slick, heavy, melodic, and dark. Parts of the album, namely “Where Are You Now?,” remind me a lot of The White Stripes, which isn’t a bad thing. I do like their first album – Royal Blood – better, but this album grew on me like a barnacle.
- Few, He is Legend – a crowdfunded album that reminds me of their I Am Hollywood days
- As You Were, Liam Gallagher – part Oasis, part Beatles, an easy album to get into
- Material Control, Glassjaw – always a spot in my heart for Glassjaw despite his vocals being sometimes unintelligible
- Overcast! (20 Year Anniversary Remaster), Atmosphere – #dadrap
- Only Death Is Real, Stray From The Path – politically-driven, fast, loud, aggressive metalcore
- Concrete and Gold, Foo Fighters – it still hasn’t grown on me yet, but I’m sure it will (I hope)
- Pacific Daydream, Weezer – reminds me of the first half of their existence, thankfully