For our 2017 Reflections we asked our contributors to write a little bit about their favorite albums from the past year. Here are their choices.

Lorde – Melodrama

by Eric Weck

In an interview with Lorde just ahead of its release, Melodrama was explained to be not, as one might think, a break up album, but instead a piece about simply “being alone.” As someone who has cultivated a survival out of the loneliness that grabs its strongest hold while you are surrounded by others, this concept is something that I have resonated with for as long as I can remember. Pure Heroine struck the same chord for me — it was a young artist’s project which, at the time, couldn’t have possibly been more relevant to my life (especially given the fact that she and I are less than three months apart in age) and ended up getting me through my most desperate moments of the latter years of high school, as well as my eighteenth-year-from-hell.

That being said, I wasn’t expecting much from her sophomore record. Not that I didn’t believe in her, but just that I didn’t know how she could possibly do it. The probability of her creating something that could carry as much weight as Pure Heroine did for me was slim, and I placed my attention elsewhere. I braced myself to be let down by shredding any and all expectations, freeing my body of the fact that, like me, Lorde had grown up, and the days of her speaking for a broken, confused but curious adolescence were gone with the switch of a “Green Light.”

Nonetheless, June 16th came, the album dropped, and I was found dead. Half of a year has passed since its release, and I am caught in a sort of time lapse every time I listen to it. Each time it flows from my speakers, I am struck with the same flood of emotions and nostalgia as that which came with her debut, but this rush has proved bolder, brasher and more beautiful. I hear myself emulated in every ebb and tide of this record and in ways i never thought were possible. Melodrama, for me, stands as a devastatingly intricate portrait of what it means to traverse young adulthood entirely lonely, even when you’re not alone.


by Frankie Peake

BROCKHAMPTON is a creative, energetic, and youthful amalgamation of diverse talent. Though some may refer to them as a hip-hop collective, calling themselves the “Southside One Direction,” the group prefers the term “boy band”. On the second installment of their Saturation Trilogy, Brockhampton continues to inject queer representation and more socially conscious themes into the genre. On “JUNKY”, for example, Matt Champion calls out men who perpetuate rape culture and have a hard time taking ‘no’ for an answer. To those men, Champion asks, “Where’s the respect? Is your ass human? I look you in the eye say fuck you are you fucking stupid?” Earlier on the track, Kevin Abstract shuts down critics for complaining about always rapping about being gay, by highlighting the fact that there simply aren’t enough queer people in hip-hop talking about being queer. As he puts it in “JUNKY,” Abstract, “does the most for the culture by just existing.”

Being gay or queer you often find very little to relate to in the hip-hop genre, and I have to admit that hearing Abstract rap about giving head, Shawn Mendes, and general gay shit on Saturation II is… refreshing. Social responsibility aside though, Brockhampton new album is a well crafted, dynamic body of work that is sure not to disappoint. And be sure to also pick up Saturation III, dropping mid December!



by Natalie Straub

If there’s one thing we know for sure about the elusive Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, it’s that she never disappoints. Upon first hearing MASSEDUCTION, the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh my god, she’s done it again!” But there’s something special about this album, as the inspiration for it was none other than Clark herself. Years in the making, the October 2017 release of MASSEDUCTION came out at just the appropriate time; after the passing of David Bowie and Prince, the world needed to be reminded that the magic of pop and art rock is still very much alive. St. Vincent is here to do just that.

The opening track “Hang on Me” is a slow build up of the action that is to come, a tease if you may. Following up with tracks like “Pills” and “Sugarboy,” this album will have you wishing you were a 16-year-old girl taking New York City by storm with a fake ID and some daddy issues. Clark is an expert at seamlessly incorporating bleak lyrics and themes into catchy, upbeat tunes. But with tracks like “New York” and “Happy Birthday, Johnny,” she also has a talent for writing cinematic songs that have a slower and more deliberate sound.

If you’re looking for a new album to listen to, MASSEDUCTION has a great variety of sounds and content that will keep you hanging on, eager to hear what she’s going to do next.

Blondie – Pollinator

by Esra Abdulrahman

New York City band Blondie has placed a mark on history that few punk and new wave groups from the 1970s were able to achieve. With humble origins as a rag-tag outfit that performed in the Bowery, founders Debbie Harry and Chris Stein penned hits like “Heart of Glass,” “Call Me,” and “One Way or Another,” songs I’ve grown up with and still love today. The group disbanded in the early 80s but reconnected in the late 1990s. Blondie has since released multiple albums and toured the world, playing at sold-out shows and large festivals.

In May, the group dropped Pollinator, their eleventh studio album, featuring the writing of creatives like Sia, Blood Orange, Nick Valensi of the Strokes, Charli XCX, and Johnny Marr. Blondie departed from the electronic sound they adopted in their previous album, but still released a lively and modern selection of enjoyable songs. The singles “Long Time” and “Fun” feature energetic beats, with some electronic elements that complement Stein’s guitars. At 72, Harry’s voice remains strong and defined, and her original bandmates Stein and Clem Burke add the perfect nostalgic touch for long-time listeners. Another familiar voice is that of Joan Jett’s, who appears on “Doom or Destiny.” Jett’s growling pairs well with Harry’s croon over the howl of guitars. The album marries the Blondie of the 20th century and a new group with diverse and young musical tastes. In other words, classic Blondie.

The Mountain Goats – Goths

by Peter Henderson

Over their almost three decade long career, the one thing the Mountain Goats have become known for is their use of the acoustic guitar. In fact, despite their pluralized name, the first six Mountain Goats albums (as well as a plethora of EPs and demos) were recordings on frontman John Darnielle’s boombox, with nothing but his voice and guitar.

That is until the release of 2017’s Goths, a guitarless concept album all about the Goth lifestyle. Though it was a risky move for such a well established band, they pulled off the change in instrumentation cleanly, with many of the songs sounding as full as any song off previous albums. In fact, losing the guitar put Darnielle in more of creative position than when he was latched to his instrument. Each song throughout the album plays with different styles. The stripped down instrumentation also allows for his peculiar vocal quality to become the center of the listener’s attention. Though Goths is a massive, and probably temporary change in direction for the Mountain Goats, it was refreshing and pulled off to perfection.

Iglooghost – Neo Wax Bloom

by Adam Yawdoszyn


Neo Wax Bloom sounds like what sober people think drugs feel like.

Iglooghost’s debut album may be the first release I have ever encountered that is undoubtedly too much. Fitting somewhere between trap, footwork, grime, and drill and bass, Neo Wax Bloom at times feels like Iglooghost just threw all of Britain’s electronic music into a blender and recorded what came out. Seamlessly switching from style to style within every song, the 21-year-old presents his listeners with new motifs at every turn, before quickly chopping them up or just tearing them away all together.

Iglooghost’s incredible ability to cram seemingly dozens of ideas into three minute tracks makes the manic Neo Wax Bloom‘s 41 minute runtime feel like a marathon. The high paced music exhaust ears and leaves listeners feeling like they have just entered a technicolor world of cult-like aliens who speak in colors and have a temporal moment five times faster than our own.

Despite the playful nature of the album, it comes across as clear evidence of its creator’s incredible talents. Still, the work’s nature often makes it difficult to listen to more than once or twice a week. This is not an album for many repeated listens. Neo Wax Album is an album meant to blow your fucking mind, if you let it.