2017 was a great year in music, movies, and reading. Here’s a review of my favorites from this year. I have included data gathered from my frequented sites and created lists of my own discretion, from the final week of December 2017. I wrote a similar list in 2016, so here goes 2017:
I still listen to way too much music.
My Top Albums of 2017
This year was another incredible year in music. Anyone who says otherwise wasn’t listening. Rather than try to rank my favorite albums or what I believe to be the absolute best albums of this year — two endeavors that would be nearly impossible and not worth the toil — I am ranking the top five most impactful albums for me personally in 2017.
5. Tyler, the Creator — Scum Fuck Flower Boy
I’m a longtime (conflicted) fan of Tyler, and in many ways this album is a well-needed change of direction for the artist.
4. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit — Nashville Sound
Jason Isbell is one of the better artists straddling the line between rock and country, and seems committed to breaking Steve Earle’s statement that country music coming out of Nashville these days is hip hop for people who are afraid of black people. Isbell’s new album builds upon his previous solo album, Southeaster, in a way that works.
3. Sampha — Process
God… I don’t really have too many words for Sampha’s new album. Listening to it is an absolute pleasure and I’m so glad he’s blessed us with Process.
2. Emperor X — Oversleepers International
Emperor X, a band with a cult following and a larger network of folks who know that song he wrote after watching Dune, hit the ground running on this album. It’s full of rambunctious, fast-talking, and dynamic songs with a bit of social commentary thrown in.
1. SZA — Ctrl
SZA wins this year. This album was not only beautiful, but cutting. It contained numerous songs that I found myself singing and playing all year long, and
Honorable mentions: Khalid, Joji, Arcade Fire
Best concerts I saw in 2017:
I’m still going to several concerts a year, and those that I really enjoy are ones with high energy and positive vibes. With that noted, here were my favorite three concerts from this year. I would recommend seeing all of them if given the opportunity.
3. Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper, I am convinced, will never NOT make my list of best concerts in a year. Last year, it was the Fox. This year, an arena.
2. Diet Cig
A year after Diet Cig took my #1 spot, they’re still strumming along in my favourites of 2017 as well . Again, full of energy and setting a positive environment. Things I appreciate in a concert.
1. Future Islands
Notable others (in no particular order): Daddy Issues, Arcade Fire, Dua Lipa (two times), HAIM
Favorite Music Videos of 2017
There were SO many good music videos this year. Rather than describe these videos, I’ll let them speak for themselves.
3. Mashrou’ Leila — Roman
2. Taylor Swift — Look What You Made Me Do (Lyric Video)
1. Gorillaz — Saturnz Barz
Honorable mentions: Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Charli XCX
Artist of the Year: Joji/George Miller
Joji (George Miller/Pink Guy/Filthy Frank) has been a true highlight of this year, musically and aesthetically. His transition from Filthy Frank’s brilliant but gross millenial canon to a beautiful, ethereal new visual EP, in tongues, marks the coming-of-age of another great artist.
The new EP, though, was not the only EP/album released by George Miller/Joji this year, as he also released not only a long album under his Pink Guy character, but a wonderful set of remixes featuring accompanying images in the PINK SEASON: THE PROPHECY visual EP.
Not only has he been incredibly industrious and exceedingly diverse in what he’s released this year, but the music coming from Joji has been of superior quality. 2017 was graced with his productivity, and I hope 2018 and 2019 can see similar additions to what looks to be a great start to his serious discography.
I listened to a lot of music on YouTube and Soundcloud this year, so my minutes dropped on Spotify. However, Spotify does really cool stats aggregation at the end of the year, so here are mine:
For a more comprehensive list of my favorite Spotify songs, here is a playlist of my top 100 tracks.
I love movies. Beyond just discussing in person, this remains the best system for my writing on them. Here are my top three movies this year:
3. Disaster Artist
Disaster Artist is a critical humanisation of Tommy Wiseau in a way that feels realistic. The dramatisation was entertaining and the storytelling was pretty on point. Plus, the re-enactments of scenes of the Room were incredible.
This is one of the most underrated films, I am convinced. The animation was gorgeous and some of the scenes have an exquisite attention to detail that should not go unnoticed this year. Some of the story is a little predictable, but overall it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking and just a really good film.
1. Get Out
This film was brilliant and I am so excited for what Peele has coming up for us in 2018 and 2019. Get Out was discussed at length in reviews and social media at the beginning of the year, and I have rewatched it a few times since seeing it early in the year. It gets better with each viewing.
Here are the books I read in 2017, ranked by the score I gave them (via GoodReads):
According to Goodreads I read 28 books for 5210 pages this year.
Articles of 2017
Most of my reading during the year is actually not books. Here are some of my favorite pieces from 2016:
5. Where Millenials Come From by Jia Tolentino
Where Millennials Come From
Imagine, as I often do, that our world were to end tomorrow, and that alien researchers many years in the future were…
4. The Case for Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution by Jason Schulman and Tristan Sloughter
Member Opinion: The Case for Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution
(Allyson Neville-Morgan/Flickr) Note: Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an…
3. All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go by Amber A’Lee Frost
All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go | Amber A'Lee Frost
I did not anticipate how the death of the radical British writer and theorist Mark Fisher would haunt me, but I am…
2. The New Working Class by Gabriel Winant
The New Working Class | Dissent Magazine
Our Summer issue is just a week away. Take a look inside, and subscribe by Friday for 20% off. Gabriel Winant &squarf…
1. The Scourge of Self-Flagellating Politics by Angela Nagle
Thank you for reading this far. Here is a list of my favorite things I wrote this year. A key thing I’d like to highlight/self-promote is the MilitiaWatch publication I started here on Medium at the end of last year. Two of the three things I really liked that I wrote are hosted on it.
Militias and Militant Groups at #UniteTheRight: Buffer Zones and Street Clashes
On August 12, Charlottesville, Virginia was set upon by a mix of far-right groups including Nazis, Neo-Confederates…
On a militia in Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia: A Test Case for Links between Trump Support and Militia Activity
In a previous article, I briefly explored some changes in tone following the election of Donald Trump and the…
On volunteers joining Kurdish-led forces in Syria (update coming soon):
It’s been a wonderful year for music, movies, and reading and in this regard I cannot wait for 2018 even given the not-so-optimal political and social developments this year.