Schae Beaudoin, Life Editor
2017 saw some powerful releases. Lorde’s “Melodrama” details heartbreak and all the coping mechanisms (some not so healthy) that come with it. Through the eerie “Writer in the Dark” to the party-stomp of “Perfect Places,” Lorde takes listeners on an emotional rollercoaster through the devastation, joy, longing and maturing she’s experienced.
SZA’s long-awaited debut “Ctrl” also gave a fresh feminine perspective to the Top 100 charts. Top Dawg’s first lady channels Beyonce “Lemonade”-levels of honesty and raw emotion with songs like “The Weekend” and “Normal Girl” and R&B hasn’t been the same since.
Charli XCX’s “Number 1 Angel” flew under the radar. The fun, weird pop mixtape features dance tracks with top-notch production with carefree lyrics about love, drug use and hook ups.
It’s impossible to talk about 2017 without mentioning Post Malone. The singer/rapper’s debut “Stoney” dropped at the end of 2016, but Posty really flourished in 2017. “Rockstar” has spent eight consecutive weeks (and counting?) at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts. Bolstered by the success of singles “I Fall Apart” and “Congratulations,” Post Malone has some eager fans waiting for his upcoming release, “Beerbongs and Bentleys.”
Teddy Craven, Campus Correspondent
The last (or the first) verse from Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” is the best hip hop verse of the year. It is almost 3 minutes long, making up the entirety of “DUCKWORTH.” but never sounds drawn out and every line feels necessary. With this verse, Kendrick tells the story of his two father figures, his actual father “Ducky” and his professional mentor Top Dawg.
The verse weaves the backstory of these two men and how they managed to, as Kendrick puts it, “process and digest poverty’s dialect.” Top Dawg chose the life of gangbanging and selling drugs, while Ducky worked at a local chicken joint, giving free biscuits to the likes of Top Dawg to avoid any problems. The highlight of “DUCKWORTH.,” and “DAMN.” as a whole, is the hypothetical at the end of the song where Kendrick questions the fate, or luck, involved in his rise to stardom, “Whoever thought the greatest rapper would be from coincidence?/ Cause if Anthony (Top Dawg) killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin’ life/ While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight.”
There is no one else in hip hop mining so deeply in their own psyche while also making commercially successful music and “DUCKWORTH.” is a perfect example of how Kendrick Lamar manages to pull it off.
Daniel Cohn, Campus Correspondent
It’s safe to assume that your favorite album of 2017 should, at the very least, be something you would enjoy listening to. For me, that wasn’t the case. My favorite album this year was gut-wrenching, melancholy and I’ve only been able to listen to it in full three times without breaking: Mount Eerie’s “A Crow Looked at Me.”
In short, this album is about death. Specifically, the death of Phil Elverum’s (the man behind Mount Eerie) wife Genvíeve from pancreatic cancer. This line from the opener “Death is Real” says it all: “When real death enters the house, all poetry is dumb/When I walk into the room where you were/And look into the emptiness instead/All fails.” There isn’t a part of this album that’s happy. There isn’t a shimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s pure brutality, denial and venting set to minimalist acoustic guitar and not much else. It’s barely even music, really. It’s poetry at its most despairing point, and it’s the best album I have heard this year.
Kanthalina Andreus, Campus Correspondent
Tons of albums were on the radar for 2017 and many were from new artists. The Grammy nominations failed to recognize many of these artists and focused mostly on this year’s earliest releases. In doing that, they missed a gem of an album from a very talented vocalist, Sabrina Claudio. Claudio’s first album “About Time” was not just an album to me. It was an experience.
The writing was raw and resembled poetry. Claudio is ushering the music world in a direction that focuses less on chart ratings and more on true artistry. She draws not only from her personal experiences but from that of those around her. Claudio’s experiments with her sound make it difficult to accurately label her into one genre. Evolving from posting covers on YouTube to releasing a successful EP and a beautiful album, Claudio has been making strides. “About Time” is a project that shows evolution through storytelling. She has received praise from both fans and her fellow musicians including Grammy Best New Artist nominee Khalid. The album is meaningful, raw and easily the best album I’ve heard in a while.
Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Teddy Craven is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Kanthalina Andreus is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.