The Weeknd – My Dear Melancholy
Earl – Some Rap Songs
The Internet – Hive Mind
Freddie Gibbs – Fetti
Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth
Kali Uchis – Isolation
5. Pusha T – Daytona
Daytona is probably Pusha’s best project to date. Produced by Kanye, this album is filled with heavy beats and sick bars. With a short 21 minutes, Pusha and Kanye made the most out of the album and delivered one of the best projects this year. When it comes to Lyricism, few in rap’s history could content with Pusha. Sure folks argue that he talks about drug dealing in nearly every one of his songs. Yet his opening lines in ‘If You Know You Know’ capture’s everything America has come to love about rap, that brag-audacious, self-made man with flashy trophies. Then you have Kanye on the production, the beats from the music seem like something from Kanye back in his prime. It’s trap beats mixed with old school hip hop instrumentals. Pusha is a rapper whose legacy has been secured by his music. And Daytona is another excellent album that proves why Pusha is one of the greats right now in hip-hop.
4. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
This is a raw album, musically and emotionally. This album is filled with great songs, with fantastic, honest, heartfelt lyrics, great singing, and some refreshing humor, specifically on “Palace.” The lyrics on ‘GFC’ are heartfelt and raw but have plenty of John’s signature wit on others. The prime example would be from ‘Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All’ where Tillman goes into detail about his thoughts, “Does everybody have to be the greatest story ever told?” Though “GFC’ may not be Tillman’s best album, compared to his earlier works. It’s still filled with great songwriting, catchy tunes, and a personal message from the artist himself.
3. Jon Hopkins – Singularity
Pure ambient Bliss. ‘Singularity’ is the follow up every fan would hope for. It’s larger; it’s denser; it’s quicker. Hopkins created something magical in this album, it starts off with unnerving, distorted tones creating a disturbing atmosphere before charging into a welcoming, spiritual, sound. The ambient sounds transition into some catchy riffs that are filled with layers and sweet beats that will put you in a trance. It’s impossible to pick out an individual highlight off this album because the whole album feels like one giant song and you could easily get lost in the music. ‘Singularity’ keeps on building and building in its tunes and before you know it, the album ends and you want to listen to it all over again.
2. Idles – Joy As an Act of Resistance
I found this album late in the year, but my god I can’t stop listening to it. ‘Act of Resistance’ is an album that is filled with many emotions. It’ll have you laugh, make you feel melancholy and at times have you on the edge of your seat. More importantly, this is a punk album that explores current politics going into England’s Brexit and Trump’s America. The lead singer brings an intense voice in his lyrics hailing his blood brother as a beautiful immigrant in the song ‘Danny Nedelko’ while celebrating his ‘mongrel’ upbringing in ‘I’m scum’. The band’s aggressive compassion against the far right along with their catchy hooks and intense sound will have you putting this album on repeat.
1. Sleep – The Sciences
It’s been nearly twenty years since Sleep released their last album, the infamous, “Dopesmoker.” And by god, they have arguably outdone themselves. Since the band’s breakup, lead singer Al Cisneros created ‘Om’ while guitarist Matt Pike made ‘High on Fire’. The original drummer retired and since their reunion Jason Roeder, drummer of ‘Neurosis’ stepped in to play drums. And what we got on this album was an enormous sound of destruction.
Al weaves melodic bass-lines through each song, Matt brings in crushing riffs while Jason pummels his drum set to no end. The band has moved forward and have matched the quality of their previous output on Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker. Since ‘The Sciences’ release, I still can’t find one weak segment or a bad track on this album.
With tracks like “Marijuanaut’s Theme” and “Giza Butler,” the band is fully aware of the sheer silliness of weed/metal culture. Yet the band makes it work, they’re able to giggle at weed culture all while saluting the herb’s spiritual capabilities. This type of music could quickly descend into self-parody or come off too serious. Sleep somehow manages to find a middle ground in the music, almost like a superhero such as Batman or Ironman. The whole idea is silly, but when you watch those movies or read the comics, they’re just plain awesome.
The Sciences is a remarkable achievement, nodding to the band of past while continuing to move forward with their music. The musicians are now grown men attempting to achieve a new sound in metal through their music, and delivering the best stoner-doom record I’ve heard in a long time.