BY: AUSTIN MESZAROS

2016 was an amazing year for music. Some of my favorite bands released new albums last year, so topping 2016 was almost impossible. But 2017 came close. Here are my top picks, in my opinion, for Album of the Year (so far):

  1. CALIFORNIA (DELUXE) – blink-182

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California, the first studio album with new member Matt Skiba, was originally released on July 1st, 2016. However, the Deluxe edition (11 new songs and an acoustic version) was released on May 19th of this year, thus explaining the inclusion on this list. This may be a bit biased since blink-182 is my favorite band, but California DLX is such a solidifying piece of the So-Cal punk band’s heritage. Its been 25 years since the band formed, and they’re still cranking out music while showing no signs of stopping, though now with a few different members. The sound on California DLX is much more mature than the original album, and shows that Skiba can be as dark and daunting as departed frontman Tom DeLonge.

Favorite Song: 6/8

 

2. AFTER LAUGHTER – Paramore

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Returning from a 4 year break, the pop-punk veterans are back with a variation of sound (again). Branching from the more progressive, pop based Paramore (2014), the band experiments with electronic elements and leaves the past behind. Fans of 2006 Paramore may be disappointed, but this album opens the door for future fans. Also, the lead single, “Hard Times”, may be the best single of the year.

Favorite song: Told You So

 

3. DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar

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Being one of the most (if not the most) highly anticipated albums of the year, DAMN. does not disappoint. Kendrick maintains a slight notion of jazz as he did in To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), but also mixes elements of pop and funk. This effort ranks among Kendrick’s best, and I believe it is a solid indicator of his future direction. Lyrical prowess and production mastery dominate this album.

Favorite song: Element

 

4. FUNK WAV BOUNCES VOL. 1 – Calvin Harris

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24. This album has 24 (!!) features. That is an insane number for a studio album, and cements this as one of the best efforts of the year. From commercial hits like “Slide” to undercard songs like “Prayers Up”, this album is solid top to bottom. Harris’ ability to create unique sounds and beats is unparalleled in the music business right now, and the effort put into this album does not go unnoticed. Picking a favorite on this album is hard, because any one of the songs is a contender. With that being said:

Favorite song: Feels

 

 

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