Our Five Favourite Albums of 2017

The Heads of Music at AIR3 round up their top 5 favourite albums of the year, with suggestions from the rest of the AIR3 crew.

2017, as a year, may have been a disaster in many areas, but we think one way it shone was through the the quality of music that was presented to us as the months passed. We’ve not only heard some amazing new releases from popular bands but also some material from bands we’ve been very happy to discover for the first time, which has made our jobs as the host of the new music show very interesting to say the least. We’ve loved being Air3’s Heads of Music, and we look forward to 2018 and all the amazing interviews we’ll get to broadcast and share. However, as the music of 2017 has been especially enjoyable to listen to, it makes choosing our top 5 albums of the year especially difficult, but thankfully (with assistance and suggestions by other Air3Radio Members and some of our listeners) we (somewhat successfully) have managed to condense our favourites into a top 10. We hope you enjoy our little review and we hope you have an amazing 2018.

William & Carrie

William’s top 5

Number 5: Is This The Life We Really Want? – Roger Waters

As one of our Air3 Members pointed out and suggested, Music industry veteran and Pink Floyd Co-Founder Roger waters released his first studio work in twelve years this year. With instrumentals which chillingly mix acoustic guitar, piano and synth, and lyrics which are as powerful as they are spooky, I think i’ll leave it to Air3 Member Aaron Fincham to describe why this album rocks my socks.

“Waters’ first solo album since the 90s presents a mainstream helping of his usual political music. His writing is on its usual top form with it’s insightful commentary, every song having something important to say. Whether you agree with him or not, it’s refreshing to hear someone who’s presenting a view that has some genuine understanding behind it. With haunting strings and a slow deep bass throughout, the production of the album gives a strong sense of the bleakness that Waters is trying to convey.”

Number 4: Rainbow – Kesha:

Another suggestion from the ranks of Air3, Kesha’s Rainbow is an experience to be sure. To say that Kesha has been through a lot throughout the years prior to her new album would be a massive understatement. Five years after her last album, after dealing with both harassment from her producer Dr. Luke as well as Rehab, Kesha has returned not only with a new sound, far removed from the electro-pop feel of her previous albums and instead taking inspiration from a variety of different genres (All implemented especially well), but provides excellent commentary on ideas of letting go of one’s past, ideas of self-worth, and self-empowerment. Both the context behind Rainbow, the lyrics, and the instrumentals make it, as our head of Production and Treasurer Daniel Wright describes, “full of raw emotion”, and an album that’s very much worth your time.

Number 3: Flower boy – Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, the Creator to many, might not seem like the sort of person to be labeled ‘Mature’. Seemingly unable to be approached by critics without mention of his history of controversy, from allegations of homophobia and misogyny, to his abrasive twitter, Tyler, to many, could be viewed as childish. However, I feel it would be criminal of me to label Flower Boy anything but mature. Tyler, in Flower Boy, touches upon topics such as romance, identity, and his own sexuality with razor-sharp care and attention. With expertly flowing lyrics which provoke especially striking visuals, production which expertly switches from chilled out grooves to intense trap beats whilst still maintaining a consistent flow, and features which give each track their own flavour and energy, Flower Boy is a wonderfully crafted experience, clearly displaying Tyler, The Creator’s musical chops in his best album to date, as the multitude of people who recommended this album to us will surely attest to.

Number 2: Eraser Dust – Yotam Perel

I think it’s a crying shame that very few people are aware of the existence of Yotam Perel, Israel based animator and musician, because he is, to me at least, one of the best singer songwriters out there. His most recent album, Eraser Dust, is a wonderfully bittersweet dive into concepts such as the challenges of romance, the dying of friendships, and the difficulties that come with introversion and self-doubt, utilising melancholy, raw vocals, soft, simple, yet charming instrumentals, and wonderfully expressive and vivid lyrics. Everything about the album just oozes feelings which, whilst especially sad, come with a beauty and charm that makes the tunes wonderfully easy on the ear, and leaves the listener introspective, emotional, yet, at least for me, incredibly warm. If you want to listen to something that’ll get your tear ducts flowing and your thoughts running wild, Eraser Dust will do the trick with ease.

Number 1: High Visceral {Part 2} – Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Whilst I love music which makes me think and perhaps leaves me a little emotional, there’s nothing better than music that just sweeps me off my feet, completely immerses me in it’s sound, and just makes me feel absolutely brilliant. High Visceral {Part 2}, is an album that not only absolutely rocks my socks, but has tracks to compliment almost any mood I’m in. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (a band with probably the strangest name I’ve ever seem) not only seem to be complete experts in psychedelic rock whilst only being in the music scene for a couple years, but have made an album that is an absolute milestone in the genre. The guitars are so visceral and vivid you could almost reach out and grab them, the ghostly, majestic vocals sweep you up in the surreal and strange imagery effortlessly, and drum beats and rhythms that constantly maintain the tone of every song and make each track engaging. It’s absurd to me that the album maintains all of these traits regardless of the tone of each track, with the high-octane rock tunes being punchy, powerful and explosive, whilst the chilled, groovy tracks are absolute ear-candy, leaving every single track unique, yet still maintaining the consistent flow throughout the album. If you enjoy rock, psychedelia, or music in general, I highly recommend getting comfortable, listening to the album, and getting swept up in it’s magic.

Carrie’s top 5

Number 5: Anywhere But Here – The Black Aces

Anywhere But Here is the second album from Australian rock band The Black Aces. It’s an amazing follow up to their first album Shot In The Dark, and their first since being signed to Off Yer Rocka Recordings. The second album is always a challenge for a band; you have the difficult task of trying to create something that is on parr with the first album which got you an audience. This is especially tricky for unsigned bands who work ridiculously hard to build an audience and then have to work equally hard, if not harder to keep that audience interested. I was pleasantly impressed with Anywhere But Here as a follow up, I will not lie, I always start out listening to albums with the expectation that some songs will be exceptional and some will be scraping a pass, however this was not the case with The Black Aces. Every song was amazingly structured, and while you could clearly hear the bands influences in the music, it was definitely more than just a cheap rip off. All together I was thoroughly impressed and I look forward to hearing more from the band in the future.  

Number 4: How Did We Get So Dark – Royal Blood

This album was suggested to us by one of the Air3 Radio members. When we were working out who would cover which albums, I thought: ‘Royal Blood, this’ll be easy, I’ll take that one, I have definitely heard of them, got this in the bag.’ I was wrong. The bands brand of melodic rock really makes for easy listening, that is, if you’re not trying to review it. To begin with the music itself, with it’s heavy bass, grand electric guitar riffs, and haunting vocals, it really provokes a wonderful sense of atmosphere, which complements the depressive, vivid lyrics. That’s the word I would use for this one. Vivid. Even after writing this I feel like i’ve not done it justice. You need to give it a listen to really get a feel for it, because, for me, whilst writing about it was not an easy task, it is an amazing album, and I am now a big fan of Royal Blood, no question.

Credit to Matthew Roud for his input.

Number 3: The Saturation Trilogy – Brockhampton

A lot of bands this year have been on a complete roll when it comes to consistent releases, and Brockhampton is definitely keeping up with that trend. Releasing three albums this year, all consistently diverse both lyrically and musically, both able to blast you out of your seat with it’s intensity and entrance you with great melodies, I felt it near impossible to choose only one out of the three. So I’ve cheated and chosen all of them. Give these albums a listen yourself and I guarantee you’ll struggle to pick a favourite out of Brockhampton musical Trilogy. They’re all that equally good.

Number 2: After Laughter – Paramore.

After Laughter is a very different change of pace for Paramore. It’s taken a side step away from the bands typical genre of early 2000s grunge and towards a more pop punk sound. This being said, it is an amazing album. There’s no lack of catchy melodies and guitar riffs that have you dancing in your seat (whether you can dance or not). This, layered with emotional vocals, creates a kind of 80’s synth vibe. I feel like sometimes bands try to add too many layers to songs, which can make it feel cluttered, but After Laughter has a very stripped back and simplistic sound that allows the listener to just sit back and hear the meaning behind the songs. The lyrics themselves really shine a light into the mind of singer Hayley Williams and provokes a discussion about mental health and anxiety. That’s an amazing thing to be able to do, as its a topic that is very commonly avoided. The fact that the band have succeeded in making something that is not only enjoyable to listen to but also makes listeners think deeply is nothing short of amazing.

Credit to Daniel Wright for his input.

Number 1. Okay – AS IT IS

I know this album inside out, and it means so much to me. But for the purpose of this review I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure why it means so much. Maybe its because it talks about depression and anxiety and what it feels like to be scared to put your worries on other people. I think I find comfort in the word of these songs, telling me that it’s alright to not be okay some days or any day if that’s what you want to do. But there’s also hope buried in these messages. Take the song ‘Patchwork Love’. I only recently listened to this song in depth, but I am in love with the phrase ‘I know that all you love about me is who i used to be’ which may sound kind of depressing, but to me it’s about letting go of the stuff in your life that didn’t make you happy, and the people who still expect that stuff from you. This is a theme that I feel is repeated throughout the album as a whole, which is a really positive message to be conveying to younger fans of this type of music. I really hope the band continue to make music that inspires people to think about themselves in this way, it’s important that people, especially young people, know that it is alright to feel this way and it’s important that they are given a voice.

Honorable Mentions

Relaxer – alt J

Revival – Eminem

Gang signs and prayers – stormzy

The Afterlove – James blunt

No mountains in manhattan – Wiki

Another Light – Red Vox

Every Where is Some Where – K.Flay

Orc – Oh Sees

Article By William Harmar & Carrie Graham

Thoughts? Opinions? Stipulations?