Top 10 Albums of 2017

By: Nicole Juliette Hetlyn

This year has exceeded all of my expectations for new releases.  Some of my favorite artists put out their third, fourth, or fifth, albums, while I discovered other incredible new artists for the first time. There is no doubt that 2017 was a year of growth, determination, and a plethora of fantastic music.  It was hard to pick a top 10, but here’s my list, counting down to my top album of 2017.


10.  Turn Out the Lights - Julien Baker (LISTEN HERE)
Nashville singer-songwriter, Julien Baker, will leave you speechless.  I discovered Julien late in the game after several people recommended listening to her (and I'm kicking myself in the ass for waiting so long). With a dauntingly beautiful voice and such raw emotion, this vulnerable album will have you feeling all sorts of emotions.  I connected with Julien from the first listen, I still get goosebumps when I play this album.

9.  A Black Mile to the Surface - Manchester Orchestra (LISTEN HERE)
Manchester Orchestra is a band that I started listening to in college.  I was definitely anticipating their fifth studio album, and it did not disappoint.  Andy has the most unique voice - he could sing the alphabet and still get a standing ovation.  This album also features guest vocals from Nate Ruess (The Format, fun.) and Christian Zucconi (Grouplove).

8.  come out. you’re hiding - flor (LISTEN HERE)
2017 was a huge breakout year for flor.  Former members of Sunderland, and a new sound, this Oregon rooted band is back stronger than ever.  I love the ambient pop vibes on this album.  The mixture of soft, pop vocals with catchy melodies are the perfect mixture for a great album.

7.  Skin & Earth - Lights (LISTEN HERE)
Lights is a total badass! She is amazing to watch in concert - she is an incredible singer, plays guitar and keys, and of course has a light show to match her intense performance (you can see some pictures from her winter tour HERE).  This is a concept album, which pairs with Lights' comic book that she created.  You can read more about that HERE.  It's really cool to see an artist dip into all sides of creativity, I have so much respect and appreciation for Lights!

6.  Divide - Ed Sheeran (LISTEN HERE)
I always thought that love songs were tacky, until Ed Sheeran started making music.  If you are looking for an album that will make you believe in love, help you get over an ex, and just fall in love with life and happiness, this is for you.   Every time I see Ed in concert (NYC SHOW), I am amazed at how well he connects with the audience.  Although it is not my top Ed album, it is still an excellent album.  Grab a box of tissues before you give it a listen.

5.  Velvet Face - Half Noise (LISTEN HERE)
If you're looking to have a good time and dance away all of life's problems, look no further!  Halfnoise is one of the bands that I discovered in 2017, and already bumped them up to my top five artists.  I had the honor of going to the Velvet Face RELEASE SHOW, as well as the most recent HALFNOISE SHOW.  I can promise you, these songs are just as amazing (maybe even better) live. Grab your dancing shoes and give this album a listen.

4.  Evolve- Imagine Dragons (LISTEN HERE)
This album is so damn good.  I worked for Imagine Dragons this fall, and I could not believe how incredible they were in CONCERT.  I had the chance to hear their new album live, in full.  The songs have powerful messages, while Dan's killer vocals just radiate through every single song.  The songs are also so catchy, you can't help but to dance and stomp along.  I would also give them the title of best live band of 2017.

3.  All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell - PVRIS (LISTEN HERE)
This album has personally been such a blessing.  It was released right after I went through an ugly break up, and Lynn describes the pain that I went through all too well.  If you're looking for an album that will heal your soul, this is your go to album.  It talks about the ugly parts of heartbreak, as well as moving on and being fine on your own.  I did photos at the CONCERT supporting this album, and I definitely cried hearing Lynn speak the words I was too afraid to say. (Also, check out Mary's REVIEW and PHOTOS).

2.  Lovely Little Lonely - the Maine (LISTEN HERE)
The Maine was my very first CONCERT when I was 17.  This is their sixth full length album, and it is currently tied as my favorite album by them.  The Maine has a very distinct sound; they are good at staying true to themselves.  After being a band for 10 years, they are still true to their pop/rock/alternative roots, yet each album has a distinct sound.  They are also the most humble, genuine guys ever.  This album is a mix of nostalgia, love, and hope.

1.  After Laughter - Paramore (LISTEN HERE)
Album of the Decade (or at least the year) goes to After Laughter!  After a few year of anticipation and a few changes to the line-up, Paramore came back stronger than ever to deliver their most important ALBUM.  I honestly don't think I have connected more with any other lyrics in my lifetime.  This album covers everything from heartbreak, life struggles, depression, ex-friends, and hopelessness.  The dark lyrics are overlapped with bright, funky, dance melodies.  While listening to this album, you can let out all of your sorrows and (in the words of Paramore), "cry hard, dance harder."  Hearing Paramore sing these songs live in CONCERT and exchanging energy to these songs has helped heal in so many ways.  Please, listen to this album.  It will break your heart, but then heal you, and then when you're done crying, you can dance it off.



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