Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2017. Our next list is from Assistant Director of Underwriting and Sponsorship Michael Reed.
2017 was not a good year on this island Earth. Standards of decency were shattered, the threat of nuclear war once again became a plausible outcome of international relations, environmental degradation and science denial became official government policy, immigrants became outlaws, facts fell before propaganda, and the powers-at-be resumed the Bush-era project of criminalizing political dissent. Need I say more? Oh yeah, and Nazis. Nazis became a viable political force again.
One of the often parroted sentiments at the beginning of this year was “With the world going to hell, at least music will be good again.” This statement was thoroughly unpacked and flayed for its indifference towards the suffering of real people at the time, and twelve months in, it is safe to say that this statement was not only arrogant but inaccurate. Many of the hotly anticipated releases of this year, while some initially well received, with only a few months of hindsight, can be slotted somewhere between “Fine, I guess…” to “Meh” to “What were they thinking?” (Sidebar: I’m officially declaring Dead Crosses clown-show-core, trademark pending).
The high profile mediocrity did have its upside in the form of more attention paid to fantastic indie soul, dance, and rock artists, whose releases might have slipped through the cracks in a year where established music press darlings had actually delivered the goods. Even the massive wave of death and doom metal released this year saw some well-deserved mainstream buzz. Bell Witch’s Mirror Reaper inexplicably made it on to the AV Club’s “Best of” list (inexplicable not because Mirror Reaper isn’t a great album [it totally is], but because the AV Club is not typically on the bleeding edge of the metal underground, good on them for digging deep)! Despite some major disappointments, there was still a lot to love about music this year, and I’m positive that many of the albums I discovered this year will be sticking with me for many years to come. These are my top LP picks for 2017.