The 25 Best Albums of 2017
The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
Reports of the album’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Although streaming has solidified as mankind’s predominant means of music consumption, no amount of EPs, playlists or looped loosies will ever replace the sonic experience of a singular artist or ensemble locking in to craft a sustained, coherent body of work. As we look back over 2017, it’s clear that we’ve just experienced an amazing year for rap, and for music in general. This year we have seen an underground sound birthed in the Bronx some 44 years ago (give or take) officially recognized as the world’s most popular music. In the year that just passed, we were blessed with new classics from two grandmasters of the art form and watched regional masters all over the planet release outstanding long players. AAnd they just keep coming. Just last week, Buffalo, New York’s Conway the Machine dropped his long-awaited G.O.A.T., which appears to be every bit as grimy as we had been led to believe. With that caveat, here are the best albums of 2017. Dive in.