There was a top 20 and then @danmumbleson released an album on 8 December. So, 20 became 21.

St Vincent – Masseduction

SV

The promo campaign did nothing for me, neither did the outfits, nor a couple of the über-pop tunes, but, fundamentally, behind all the post-modern irony and the major-label production values, this was an old-fashioned St Vincent album in all its glory.

Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life

LdR

Lana Del Rey is one of my favourite artists. A woman who has beaten corporate musicality and has been able to make the music she wants. Respect. Don’t tell anyone, though, but without the collaborations this would have been an even better album.

Ryan Adams – The Prisoner

Ryanadamsprisoner

Maybe it was the Flying V, but from the very first chords Prisoner hit the spot.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound

JI

My gig of the year. But Jason Isbell didn’t just deliver a fantastic show in 2017. He also delivered a top-class album with songs about beating alcohol, managing anxiety, and living in Trump’s America. All the more remarkable when you think that you’d need the first to manage the second caused by the third.

Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface

220px-Manchester_Orchestra_-_A_Black_Mile_to_the_Surface

Truly a mad-cap project. But an album that at a certain point of the year I simply could not stop playing. And it had the effect that all great albums have. It made me reacquaint myself with the back catalogue. Revisiting Simple Math was an almost equal pleasure.

Holy Holy – Paint

Holy+Holy+PAINT

Holy Holy delivered their ‘difficult’ sophomore album with great panache. Better even than their debut, Paint was full of good old fashioned rock songs (but for a modern age).

St Vincent

homepage_large.67094c10

The latest offering from St Vincent is a choir of clangs. A symphony of squiggles and squonks. A bedlam of booming, burbling, belching bass lines. All on a giant, epic, industrial scale. And all conducted, constructed, concocted in a way that generates hook after hook after sing-along hook. In one way it’s a logical progression from Strange Mercy. The same elements are present. This time, though, there’s an undisguised resoluteness of purpose. A hard-headed, lip-biting, eye-squinting desire to deliver something different. And not just something different from previous St Vincents, but something different from anyone else around at the moment. Mission accomplished. The pace of the album is exhausting. “Sweatin’, sweatin'”, she sings on the opener. “Runnin’, runnin'”. The sound is exhilarating. There’s never an minimal minim, or a quivering quaver. And the lyrics are a typical St Vincent mixture of the hilarious. “Oh what an ordinary day, Take out the garbage, masturbate”. And the downright scary. “Pleasure, Dot loathing, Dot Huey, Dot Newton, It was a lonely lonely winter”. Annie Clark has spoken of her desire to make an edgy album. But be careful what you wish for. Things rarely remain on the edge for very long. And in music, today’s edginess is tomorrow’s museum piece. Yet there’s just enough here to keep St Vincent out of the collection of mid-2010s items. And more than that. There’s also one genuine classic. In contrast to the furious fuzziness of the rest of the album, ‘Prince Johnny’ is simply sublime. Harking back to the most beautiful songs on Actor, it’s that moment when the fog lifts and the light shines through, revealing not an urban wasteland but a vast, verdant vista. St Vincent could be Annie Clark’s masterpiece. ‘Prince Johnny’ certainly is.

Pitchfork review

Music OMH review

Pretty Much Amazing review

Consequence of Sound review

The Line of Best Fit review

Drowned In Sound review