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10 of the most underrated albums of 2017

Overlooked but undeniably great

Posted by Henry Owens

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There’s no other way of saying it: 2017 was pandemonium. Every week, dozens upon dozens of albums were released, piling on top of each other, so that at the end of every month there was too much treasure to dig through. This can be related to a lot of things; the ever ascending rise of streaming services, the mountains and mountains of bedroom-based musicians reaching new summits of DIY accessibility, and the undeniable sense of impending doom pioneered by today’s politics. But no matter where you point your finger, it’s resulted in a lot of amazing albums flying under the radar and into the abyss of the unsung.

In an attempt to dig through the piles of this year’s amazing projects we’ve have curated a list of some of the most overlooked albums. From melancholy-drenched pop, to punk-soaked experimental hip-hop, here’s some undeniably amazing music that you may of missed or passed over too quickly.


01. Toro Y Moi – Boo Boo

Toro Y Moi has never been one to stick to a particular style. However, with his fifth studio album he returns to the sound responsible for the high regard he is held in. Boo Boo showcases Toro Y Moi revisiting his lo-fi chillwave roots, crafting somber ballads over flurries of nostalgic synth pads, and detuned keys. This album isn’t just a rehash of Toro’s earlier works, as it also finds him moving into territories of experimentalism unfamiliar in his discography. Tracks like ‘Window’ delve into a Twin Peaks-esque style of gloomy, pop, while others like ‘Girl Like You’ found him reworking the sounds of new-wave. Toro’s ability to reinvent himself every album is what makes him the unsung hero of DIY pop music and Boo Boo is a continuation of the legacy he is building

02. Corbin – Mourn

Flashing back to 2014, you may of remember the video for a song called ‘Without You’ by an elusive teenager in a durag named Spooky Black. Well after three years of silence he sporadically dropped his debut album Mourn under his birth name Corbin. Mourn is strung together by a loose concept in which the protagonist builds a bunker in the woods for him and his lover to wait out the apocalypse, a concept that only fuels the enigmatic mystery that is Corbin. The album features Corbin exploring the somber themes of depression, melancholy, and isolation over a soundtrack of obscure synths and anthemic drums courtesy of producers Shlohmo and D33J.

This album is not suited for summer house parties, but it’s emo-tinged black-metal inspired undertones make for perfect companion for the season sadness that occurs in the mid-year cold.

03. Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe

New York Native Princess Nokia’s album 1992 Deluxe displays an undeniable amount of swagger. Ranging from the dark, eclectic sounds of trap and cloud rap, to the vintage charm of 90s golden era hip-hop, Princess Nokia switches from flow after flow, rapping in different vocal tones that possess the same amount of passion. 1992 Deluxe epitomises the big city feel of New York in sonic form with its loud and abrasive sound symbolising the pandemonium of metropolitan life. If you like you’re hip-hop dark and chaotic with elements of the New York golden era emcees do not look past this album.

04. Rina Sawayama – RINA

If you like your pop music colourful, vibrant, and electrifying, do not let Rina Sawayama’s debut EP RINA escape you. Teaming up with experimental producer Clarence Clarity, Sawayama has conjured up eight tracks that are nostalgic, niche, nuanced, and oozing a serious 2000’s pop vibes and ’80s new-wave over an extraterrestrial synth palettes. It’s simple enough to dance to, but obscure enough to get something new out of every listen. Along with artists like Charlie XCX and the PC Music camp, Rina Sawayama’s is redefining the sounds of pop music and taking it in eclectic directions.

05. Ho99o9 – United States of Horror

Experimental group hip-hop Ho99o9 take the “rap’s punk phase” theory to a whole new level. On their debut album United States of Horror the duo blend sounds of industrial, rap, and hardcore music into a gutter concoction. Their combination of distorted, crushing guitars, glitchy synths, and hard hitting bars of angst share more in common with bands like Death Grips than acts like Kendrick Lamar, but there ability to diversify between sounds and styles means that United States of Horror has something for everybody. If you’re looking for something sludgy, sweaty, and swift, United States of Horror is the album for you.

06. Charli XCX – Number 1 Angel

Charli XCX’s Number 1 Angel mixtape is jam-packed with anthems. Ranging from bubbly pop tunes reminiscent of Madonna, to off-kilter imaginings on contemporary music with artists like SOPHIE, Charli showcases why she’s been able to remain such a strong force in modern music for so many years. On Number 1 Angel, Charli is able to explore sounds that’ll please everyone from the casual masses, all the way to her cult-like fan base, and continue to position herself as the bridge between DIY, and mainstream stardom. This mixtape has bangers, ballads, and everything in between. It is essential listening for all times and all emotions.

07. Yung Lean – Stranger

Yung Lean’s third studio album Stranger finds the Swedish sad boy learning to be comfortable in his own skin. The album is a deep dive into a gloomy abyss of melancholy as he questions his artistry, life decisions, and tackles themes such as drug addiction and depression. As the production transitions between lustrous synths and detuned bass lines, Stranger encapsulates the feeling of hiking through foggy mountains or camping alone in a rainforest. Lean himself tags along with you in your journey into the wilderness—as he finds contentment in his lyrics and you find enjoyment along the way.

08. Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives

Love What Survives is a left turn for electronic music duo Mount Kimbie. Gone is the emphasis on building atmospheric soundscapes as they ventured into a new and straightforward realm of experimentation. The synths thump harder, the kick drums are bassier, and the tempo is faster. Love What Survives is a collection of gloom-drenched indie-pop songs, sprinkled in with elements of post-punk and ambient. It’s fast, it’s frantic, and solidifies Mount Kimbie as one of the best acts in modern day ambient.

09. Anna Of The North – Lovers

Anna Of The North’s album Lovers finds the duo approach the cold, distant theme of heartbreak with elegance, and beauty. Vocalist Anna Lotterud wears her emotions on her sleeves as producer Brady Daniell-Smith crafts a soundtrack consistent of airy keys and synths. The record is often sober at times, as the heavenly sounds delve into melancholic territory. However, Lovers is also a celebration of humanity as Anna’s lyrics, along with instrumentals, swiftly transition into moments of pure pop joy. It’s this sort of talent and versatility that landed Anna Of The North a place on Tyler The Creator’s Flower Boy album this year, and why you’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the future.

010. Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls

There’s no denying the fact that Young Thug is an enigma and Beautiful Thugger Girls further extends the mystery of his genius. On a quest to make a country album, Thugger explores the depths of his vocal ability over a series of trap-influenced acoustic guitar sampled hip-hop beats. Ever wondered what Young Thug would sound like on a Bright Eyes song? Beautiful Thugger Girls will put your mind to rest. There’s plenty of passionate, well-written hooks along with random transitions into vocal heights that’ll polarise and inevitably please. Beautiful Thugger Girls is Young Thug’s most ambitious album yet and further solidifies the fact that he’s changing hip-hop in ways no one else has before.

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