25 Favorite 2017 Albums

img_20171207_120045_516890228710.jpgI don’t usually make this list, but last year I was listening to a much more diverse list of albums than in previous years, and apart from discovering the work of artists like Lisa LeBlanc, Oxmo Pucchino and Alain Bashung, and listening to an indecent amount of Sondheim musicals, I was also listening to a fair variety of music that came out in the same year.  The list below isn’t of course some kind of firm canon. Xiu Xiu’s new album could have been on the list, John Moreland, Colter Wall and the Secret Sisters all published excellent country albums last year.  Big Thief’s Masterpiece was, indeed, a masterpiece. Neil Young’s latest archival release Hitchhiker was pleasant and enjoyable. There’s a new German band called Faber, whose album Sei ein Faber im Wind scratches an itch I have. I mean, this list could have looked different. I have not listened to the new Björk album; it should probably be on here. So there’s something transient to this list. Nevertheless, I kept fiddling with it over the past hour and have now settled on its current shape. I like this. This is what I liked last year.

  1. Perfume Genius – No Shape
  2. Arca – s/t
  3. Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights
  4. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
  5. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
  6. Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
  7. Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
  8. Lorde – Melodrama
  9. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
  10. Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy
  11. Sampha – Process
  12. Zugezogen Maskulin – Alle gegen Alle
  13. Migos – Culture
  14. Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
  15. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 3
  16. CupcakKe – Queen Elizabitch
  17. Moses Sumney- Aromanticism
  18. The Mountain Goats – Goths
  19. Bedwetter – Volume 1
  20. Mark Eitzel – Hey, Mr. Ferryman
  21. Wiley – Godfather
  22. J. Hus – Common Sense
  23. Glassjaw – Material Control
  24. Playboi Carti – s/t
  25. Khalid – American Teen

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Something you investigate when everybody’s asleep

Stipe: Yeah. Now I think I can tell, listening to your music–this is just me as a fan, but also having done it for 31 years–I can see that you’re not a dark person, but I can see the darkness in there.

Hadreas: I’ve learned that that’s something you investigate when everybody’s asleep. You know what I mean? [laughs] Like going through my day, I try not to bother people with it, and plus it’s not like it’s always right underneath and seasoning everything that I do. I don’t know, some days it is, but–

Stipe: Yeah, but there’s a toughness, a real toughness there that I really admire, I have to say. I mean I think it makes the music. It adds another depth and another level to what you’re doing lyrically. And also melodically and the presentation, like the production that you do and blah blah blah. I’m not blowing smoke up your ass, but I mean that’s the thing with music, is that one projects oneself onto the work of someone else and it becomes yours.

Michael Stipe interviewing/talking to the wonderfully magnificent Mike Hadreas, also known as Perfume Genius (check out a live version of his songs Hood and Normal Song and of his song Dark Parts and the official video of “Hood”). Click here for part 1 of that interview. Click here for another interview on Q TV, where he also performs stuff from his first album.