The Associated Press through its Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu released their top 10 albums of 2017 and it’s an exciting mix of some big names, and ones that came out of the woodwork to take us by surprise.
And topping the list is the always engaging SZA, who beat big names like Jay-Z and Taylor Swift for the AP’s top spot.
As featured in the Chicago Sun Times, Fekadu’s picks are:
- SZA, “Ctrl”
“As the beat of the opening track of SZA’s debut album played at a concert this week in New York City, the entire venue passionately sang the first two minutes of the song “Supermodel,” and the singer hadn’t even showed her face onstage. And that’s just it — SZA is the voice of this generation.”
Fekadu calls the 28-year-old’s “Ctrl” “a masterpiece about a girl navigating in life — dating, falling in love, dealing with dusty boys, self-doubt, acceptance and more.”
“ Her voice glides over each song nicely as she spits matter-of-fact lyrics and even finds ways to reference the TV shows “Martin” and “Narcos,” as well as “Forrest Gump,” in the songs. “The Weekend” is her at the top of the game; “Broken Clocks” is just as addictive; and “Normal Girl” and “20 Something” prove that SZA is not one of those alternative R&B artists with one or two tricks up her sleeve.”
- Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN.”
Three impressive albums from one artist? Fekadu says it’s a feat.
“There has not been a more consistent act in music in the last few years like Kendrick Lamar. Icon status is “DAMN.” closer than we might think.”
- Daniel Caesar, “Freudian”
Calling the Canadian crooner’s debut album “a beautiful work of art,” Daniel Caesar will make you want to fall in love.
“The Canadian newcomer brilliantly sings R&B songs that echo D’Angelo and hit straight to the heart. “Freudian” is a beautiful work of art.”
- Jay-Z, “4:44”
“So, this SUPERSTAR with a super private wife and uber private life uncovered his most intimate thoughts and life moments — and people were moved by what he revealed. It wasn’t just for the stuff that went on to dominate blogs and entertainment headlines. No, it was Jay’s vulnerability, proving that honesty is what keeps artists relevant, long after they’ve transitioned from being the new hot thing.”
Among Jay’s big reveals in the songs include his infidelity to Bey until Blue came along, and his mother’s lesbianism.
- Taylor Swift, “reputation”
“Don’t be a hater — you know Taylor Swift knows how to craft perfect pop music. “Reputation” is exceptional, especially the songs “End Game,” ”Delicate” and “Dress,” perfectly showing how Tay Tay continues to grow as an artist.”
You have to give her props for always wanting to try something new.
- Sam Smith, “The Thrill of It All”
“Sam Smith’s “Thrill” is a ride you don’t want to get off.” Exciting!
- St. Vincent, “MASSEDUCTION”
“St. Vincent’s fifth album, full of electro pop, glam rock and techno sounds, is an adventurous album that deserves to be heard by the masses.”
Fekadu adds that even when she slows her songs down, like in the picks “New York” and “Happy Birthday, Johnny,” “she’s just as alluring.”
- Miguel, “War & Leisure”
““I’m Luke Skywalkin’ on these haters,” a confident Miguel sings on “Sky Walker,” the first single from his fourth album. And he’s right — he’s barely got competition when it comes to music. “War & Leisure” is just another grand album in his catalog.”
- H.E.R., “H.E.R.”
Gabi Wilson, under her stage name H.E.R., shines brightly on her full-length debut album, writes Fekadu, and dubs the singer a “groundbreaker” in the alternative R&B movement. Give her songs “Focus,” ”U” and “Losing” a spin.
- Haim, “Something to Tell You”
The cool girl sister trio proves still how outstanding they are since their 2013 debut album and heart-pounding live shows.
Fekadu said the three manage to “keep up the momentum on their sophomore release, “Something to Tell You,” highlighted by Haim’s harmonies.”