fri 20/10/2017

The Best Albums of 2017 | reviews, news & interviews

The Best Albums of 2017

The Best Albums of 2017

theartsdesk's music critics pick their favourites of the year

Five stars for Robert Plant's Carry Fire

Disc of the Day reviews new albums, week in, week out, all year. Below are the albums that our writers gave five stars (listed at the top) or four - the ones they think are a cut above the rest. Click on any one of them to find out why.


Alan Broadbent: Developing Story ★★★★★  The pianist's orchestral magnum opus is packed with extraordinary things

Arcade Fire: Everything Now ★★★★★ A joyous pop album that depicts a world in tragic freefall

Autarkic: I Love You, Go Away ★★★★★ Tel Aviv producer Nadav Spiegel's latest collection is a triumph of head and heart

Brian Eno: Reflection ★★★★★ Slow-motion cascades of morphing tone

Boris: Dear ★★★★★ Japanese noise-mongers mark their 25th year with a masterpiece of heaviness

Cécile McLorin Salvant: Dreams and Daggers ★★★★★ The vocalist and songwriter delivers one of the great live jazz albums

DJ Hell: Zukunftsmusik ★★★★★ Stunning electronic masterpiece from Bavarian techno don

Super Natural, Jim JonesJim Jones & The Righteous Mind: Super Natural ★★★★★ The Righteous Mind’s debut is a punk-blues scorcher (pictured)

John Mayall: Talk About That ★★★★★ The godfather of British blues: still cutting it at 83

Lory D: Strange Days ★★★★★ From Rome via Glasgow, techno boiled down to its most potent essence

Lucky Soul: Hard Lines ★★★★★ The British pop band return with a timeless collection that's perfect for right now

Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White ★★★★★
The cult American singer songwriter tackles the domestic and universal with equal panache

Nick Mulvey: Wake Up Now ★★★★★ Second stunning album from wide-eyed, thoughtful, spiritually-inclined singer-songwriter

Offa Rex: The Queen of Hearts ★★★★★ Olivia Chaney and Portland's Decemberists channel the golden age of English folk rock

Robert Plant: Carry Fire ★★★★★ The endlessly surprising rocker will not go quietly

Tubular Brass: Tubular Bells ★★★★★ Superb brass recreation of a 1970s classic, with added baluphonium



Ben Lukas Boysen & Sebastian Plano: Everything Underneath a tasteful surface lies profundity if you immerse yourself

Beth Ditto: Fake Sugar No longer the Gossip girl, Ditto can still cut it

Binker and Moses: Journey to the Mountain of Forever Prodigious concept album from the brilliant sax-drums duo

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Don’t Get Lost Anton Newcombe’s psychedelic rockers try a range of flavours and come up trumps

IsangCamilla George Quartet: Isang Alto saxist's debut offers a striking voyage of discovery

Cat Stevens/Yusuf: The Laughing Apple The legendary songwriter gives us the album we've been waiting for

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: Diaspora New Orleans trumpeter goes in search of the African-American tradition

Courtney Marie Andrews: Honest Life Arizona country singer breaks through with collection of spare, poetic originals

David Crosby: Sky Trails Crosby and son jazz it up with superb results

Deerhoof: Mountain Moves Multifaceted art punks get slicker still but continue to sparkle

Denys Baptiste: The Late Trane A beautiful exploration of late period Coltrane by the outstanding British tenor player

Depeche Mode: Spirit Essex synth lords on better form than any mega-band on their 14th album should be

Dizzee Rascal: Raskit Pop is out, high-velocity lyricism is in, on a startling showcase of word play

Dreadzone: Dread Times A rousing Dionysiac journey of liberation

Ed Sheeran DivideEd Sheeran: Divide A new grown-up edge to the familiar sound

Elbow: Little Fictions Garvey and co serve up some winter warmth

Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band: Big Machine  Ballads, broadsides and brass from Brit-folk doyenne

Fujiya & Miyagi: Fujiya & Miyagi Easy to get lost in the electro-pop trio's sixth album

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Luciferian Towers
A fine album of defiantly uncommercial psychedelia from the Canadian oddballs

Goldie: The Journey Man A fully-functioning, highly listenable album

Gorillaz: Humanz Damon Albarn's latest adventure is ripe with ear-wakening inventiveness

Hannah Peel: Mary Casio - Journey to Cassiopeia An electronica-infused trip through outer space on the wings of a brass band

Imelda May: Life. Love. Flesh. Blood A rich mix, synthesising Imelda May's multifarious influences

Jabu: Sleep Heavy Bristol's sad, broken soul keys into a new weird R&B

James Heather: Stories from Far Away on Piano Nine piano pieces that announce a new contender

Joan Osborne: Songs of Bob Dylan Covers collection that successfully goes where few dare

Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic Congolese proverbs and exhortations to right living

Justin Adams featuring Anneli Drecker: Ribbons The producer and guitarist’s first solo for 16 years is a journey out of darkness

Juana Molina: Halo Career highlight from Argentina's musical witch

Kasai Allstars & Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste: Around Félicité A film soundtrack of extreme contrasts from the Congolese collective and company

King Ayisoba: 1000 Can Die A punchy, confrontational and insistent wake up call from the Ghanaian musician

semper feminaLaura Marling: Semper Femina The album of the singer's tattoo motto is designed to make you think, but also makes you feel

Lisa Knapp: Till April Is Dead A Garland of May Inventive musical settings hail the folk singer as Queen of the May

Lorde: Melodrama The Kiwi songstress's long-awaited second album ticks all the right boxes

Marc Almond: Shadows and Reflections Thrilling cover versions set from a vocal stylist with consummate taste

Mark Lanegan Band: Gargoyle Mr Bottom-of-the-boots voice’s best album since 2004’s Bubblegum

Mark Mulcahy: The Possum in the Driveway The Miracle Legion frontman's latest solo effort consistently surprises

Mary J Blige: Strength of a Woman Can the hip hop soul survivor settle into elder stateswoman role on album 13?

Mary Ocher: The West Against the People Berlin-based avant-pop songwriter has enough pop to balance the avant

Melvins: A Walk With Love and Death Doom, anger and grot from the still-abiding Seattle grindmasters

Return to OmmadawnMike Oldfield: Return to Ommadawn Uplifting retro-reboot revisits landmark 1975 album

Miles Mosley: Uprising Los Angeles bassist's solo debut draws on the most potent traditions in black American music

Mogwai: Every Country's Sun Scottish stalwarts find the post-rock/electronica sweet spot

Moon Diagrams: Lifetime of Love The Deerhunter drummer impresses with an assured and personal debut

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: Mars The soundtrack at the root of Skeleton Tree

Oumou Sangaré: Mogoya Mali's songbird flirts with a contemporary sound

We Are Millionaires: Pete Fij/Terry BickersPete Fij/Terry Bickers: We Are Millionaires Old-school indie doyens' second album proves their debut was no fluke

Peter Perrett: How The West Was Won One of Britain's greatest, least celebrated songwriters returns after two decades away

Phronesis: The Behemoth Piano trio meets big band for 10th-anniversary celebration

Portico Quartet: Art in the Age of Automation
Post-jazzers revisit their early sound for some laidback grooves

Randy Newman: Dark Matter The hangdog songsmith's latest LP swaps the political for the personal

Ray Davies: Americana A love letter to the USA by the most English of songwriter

Red Axes: The Beach Goths A masterful sketchpad of songs from the Tel Aviv producers

Richard Thompson: Acoustic Classics II A bright and uncluttered journey around the old master's back catalogue, unplugged

Saint Etienne: Home Counties The trio return with an album of shimmering melancholy and poised pop

St Vincent: Masseduction Annie has her cake while shoving great handfuls of it in her mouth

Shitkid: Fish Imaginative, punk-tinted, strange-pop from Sweden

Slowdive: Slowdive After a 22-year gap, does shoegaze even matter? Yes

Super Besse: La Nuit* Top-drawer Belarusian post-punk? You’d better believe it

The Blow Monkeys: The Wild River Eighties pop-soul crew settling into an impressively comfortable groove

The Bug Vs Earth: Concrete Desert Kevin Martin and Dylan Carlson lay down some high-grade uneasy listening

The Jesus and Mary Chain: Damage and Joy East Kilbride’s finest return with their first album in almost 20 years - and it’s a cracker

The xx: I See You Southwest London trio return energised - but is that what they needed?

Tom Russell: Folk Hotel Heading into his eight decade, the veteran US songwriter remains on top of his game

Trombone Shorty: Parking Lot Symphony Blue Note debut brings versatile New Orleans star to the big time

Vieux Farka Touré: Samba The fiery music of a country under threat


I nominate "So much to defend" by folk musician Chris Wood. Hoping you will review it soon.

Seaford Mods English Tapas has been on repeat in my house, car and iPod since its release.

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