Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Best Albums of 2017

Every year, I compile the year-end music lists published by a variety of news, music, and entertainment blogs and magazines in order to determine a broad consensus of the best ranked albums of the year. I consult a variety of sources of try to capture the wide variety of styles covered by these publications.

I look at the ranking of each list and assign a number of points to each album based on its placement on the list. For placements within the top ten, each album gets the number of points inverse to its position; a number one spot gets ten points, number ten gets one point, and so on. Beyond the top ten, albums receive a fraction of a point, the value of which depends on the album's placement. I start at 0.5 points for spots 11 through 20, going down one-tenth of a point for each group of ten. Once I hit 0.1 points, any remaining albums on the list will receive that value.

Here is the top ten ranking for 2017 albums:

10. Father John Misty - Pure Comedy: 23.6 points (11 list inclusions; 4 top ten appearances)
9. Perfume Genius - No Shape: 25.1 points (15 list inclusions; 3 top ten appearances)
8. Sampha - Process: 26.6 points (15 list inclusions; 5 top ten appearances)
7. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding: 33 points (15 list inclusions; 4 top ten appearances; 1 number one spot)
6. Wolf Alice - Visions of a Life: 33.6 points (6 list inclusions; 4 top ten appearances; 1 number one spot)
5. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION: 49.2 points (16 list inclusions; 7 top ten appearances)
4. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream: 54.5 points (17 list inclusions; 10 top ten appearances; 1 number one spot)
3. SZA - Ctrl: 83.4 points (19 list inclusions; 11 top ten appearances; 1 number one spot)
2. Lorde - Melodrama: 105.5 points (16 list inclusions; 13 top ten appearances; 4 number one spots)
1. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.: 152.1 points (20 list inclusions; 17 top ten appearances; 8 number one spots)

Nothing this year really caught me off-guard. There was, of course, the requisite highly-regarded pop album in Lorde's Melodrama, but the success of that album did not surprise me (I thought the record was incredible). Wolf Alice turned out to be a bit of a sneaker. Though I heard a lot of positive things about their sophomore album, it didn't actually appear on very many lists. On the lists it did appear on - including NME, Q, and Under the Radar - it was generally ranked towards the top.

There were some, relative, disappointments for me. Dirty Projectors had an extremely poor showing for their self-titled album, which was a favorite of mine. I also expected The National, Moses Sumney, and Waxahatchee to have been ranked higher. Kendrick Lamar, however, no surprise whatsoever.

If you're a data geek, like me, you can download my rankings spreadsheet here!

Here are a few more interesting lists!

The Next Ten

20. Tyler, the Creator - Flower Boy: 16.3 points
19. Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology: 17.6 points
18. King Krule - The Ooz: 17.8 points
17. Kesha - Rainbow: 18 points
15. (tie) Khalid - American Teen: 18.2 points
15. (tie) Kelela - Take Me Apart: 18.2 points
14. Big Thief - Capacity: 18.7 points
13. Kelly Lee Owens - Kelly Lee Owens: 19.5 points
12. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory: 21.3 points
11. Fever Ray - Plunge: 22.7 points

Top Ten Albums By List Inclusions

10. The National - Sleep Well Beast: 13 lists
6. (tie) Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory: 15 lists
6. (tie) Perfume Genius - No Shape: 15 lists
6. (tie) Sampha - Process: 15 lists
6. (tie) The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding: 15 lists
4. (tie) St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION: 16 lists
4. (tie) Lorde - Melodrama: 16 lists
3. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream: 17 lists
2. SZA - Ctrl: 19 lists
1. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.: 20 lists

Top Ten Albums (with No Top Ten Spots)

10. Aimee Mann - Mental Illness: 1.5 points
9. (Sandy) Alex G - Rocket: 1.6 points
6. (tie) Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer: 1.6 points
6. (tie) Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds from Another Planet: 1.6 points
6. (tie) Drake - More Life: 1.6 points
5. (tie) Kehlani - SweetSexySavage: 2 points
5. (tie) Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid: 2 points
3. Future - Hndrxxx: 2.3 points
2. Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up: 2.5 points
1. Thundercat - Drunk: 3.9 points

1 comment:

  1. Great lists! I agree with a lot of these. But where is Dan Auerbach Waiting on a Song? It's my favorite album of the last year