Thursday, 21 December 2017

Robyn's Top Ten Albums of 2017

I realise that absolutely everyone is going to say this, but it really has been a fantastic year for music. It felt like every few weeks there was another album to get excited about, and I listened to more new music than ever this year (shout out to Colin for being that wonderful person who gives really great music recommendations, and to everyone at CPRW for a great year of writing and talking about music!) When putting together this list, I included the albums I kept coming back to throughout this year. The ones that stuck with me and from which I couldn’t bear to be parted.

10. Seafoam by Kamikaze Girls

As I shamelessly confessed in my review of this album, I was drawn to Seafoam primarily because of its gorgeous album art. This may have been the shallow lure that pulled me in, but it’s the dark and vibrant melodies – biting and broody at times – that really captured me. I think the album works best together as a whole, but I would occasionally come back just to listen to ‘Berlin’, ‘Teenage Feelings’ and ‘Deathcap’. This is a fantastic first full-length from Kamikaze Girls and I can’t wait to see what the band do next.

9. Inviting Light by The Flatliners

It’s hardly surprising that the new Flatliners album is on my list, since the Flats are probably my all-time favourite band (if such a thing could ever exist). Although many fans didn’t enjoy this album as much as the band’s earlier material, I love the glowing and luxurious melodies on Inviting Light. The songs are beautifully crafted and characterise some fantastic developments in the Flatliners’ sound.

8. The Knife by Goldfinger

This is a little gem of an album, boasting an amazing collaboration between the pop punk royalty of Mike Herrera, Travis Barker, Philip Sneed and, of course, John Feldmann. It quickly became one of my go-to running albums because every song is so fun and catchy, and I never found myself getting bored with it halfway through. The album is equal parts nostalgic and new, and really delivers on the SoCal pop punk sound than many of us grew up on.

7. Unfrightened by Hateful Monday

I’m sad to say that I’d never heard Hateful Monday until one fine day when Colin suggested their new album to me. Unfrightened immediately grabs your attention with a fantastic song about the joy of being a ‘punk rocker’ and listening to music that makes you feel alive. The album doesn’t let up after this, delivering some really outstanding melodic punk jams. One of my best finds this year.

6. Outsider by Comeback Kid

I really enjoy Comeback Kid’s brand of hardcore punk, and I think they’re definitely one of the best live acts that has ever come to South Africa, but I didn’t really get into their previous album Die Knowing. Outsider promised so much leading up to its release, with three great singles and some awesome collaboration with other Canadian artists, but it could still have fallen down as a full album. Thankfully, the band delivered a deliciously heavy record that I have been able to listen to again and again since it came out.

5. Survival Pop by Worriers

This new album from Worriers showcases some truly outstanding song writing, primarily from Lauren Denitzio. I love this album for the way in which it marries intense honesty and a willingness to explore difficult subject matter with a fun and engaging sound. Denitzio offers some perspective on problems and experiences that are not often dealt with in punk, like struggling with self-acceptance and discrimination. I found Survival Pop to be a welcome and joyful blast of fresh air.

4. Warriors by Bad Cop/Bad Cop

Warriors is an exuberant feminist powerhouse of an album, boasting three amazing vocalists and a ton of edgy hooks. What I really enjoy about this album is that it not only offers amazing feminist anthems like ‘Womanarchist’ and ‘I’m Done’, but that there are also songs which are much more raw and introspective like ‘Broken’ and ‘Amputations’. This is an album to get up to in the morning; an album to help you dust yourself off and start again; and, an album to make you feel happy and not so alone.

3. Victory Lap by Propagandhi

I am that rare thing: a punk fan who has not always been totally in love with Propagandhi. It’s strange, perhaps, but I’ve never really vibed with Propagandhi (at least, not in the way that everyone else has). That is, until now. Victory Lap will rightly feature on a ton of top ten album lists this year because it is so damn good. There was no possible way I could resist the amazing song writing on this album. Every track is stellar, but it’s probably ‘Adventures in Zoochosis’ that really stands out to me as a uniquely beautiful and stirring song.

2. Leonard by Deforesters

When I reviewed this first full-length album from Deforesters back in February, I loved it from the first listen and proceeded to gush about it and listen to it all year long. ‘The Topiary Animals are Telling Me to Do Terrible Things’ is my absolute jam, but the whole album is fantastic from beginning to end with lots of great hooks and rousing gang vocals. The guys in Deforesters also just seem like really lovely humans and I hope that some time in my life I’ll get to see Deforesters play live, because this record promises so much sing-along enjoyment.

1. After the Party by The Menzingers

I love early Menzingers and I love later Menzingers and everything in between. I was so damn excited for this album and it just gave me everything I wanted. I have literally sung along to this album in my car for days on end. It is perfection, and the only album I could have possibly chosen as my top pick for 2017. Not only are the songs pure Menzingers magic, beautifully combining narrative and emotion so that I find myself having all the feelings, they also work together as a cohesive meditation on life after the ‘party’ of your 20s and the reality of facing life after 30. As I contemplate the implications of my own 30th birthday, less than a month away, I need this album more than ever.

This end of year list was written by Robyn Pierce.

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