Listen to the four best albums I’ve heard this year

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Many bands have come out with good albums in 2017. Here is a list of some of my favorite albums from this year.

The Orwells – “Terrible Human Beings”

Indie rock newcomers, The Orwells, have been making a splash in the rock world with their latest album “Terrible Human Beings.”

Forming in 2009 while the members were still in high school, the band broke through with their 2014 album “Disgraceland.”

The album has an explosive opening with the single “They Put a Body in the Bayou,” a rhythmic and layered track that helped them gain traction in the indie-rock scene.

Another single was “Buddy,” a short punk song featuring fantastic drum work from Henry Brinner and engaging lyrics from singer Mario Cuomo.

My favorite track on the album is “Black Francis,” a head-bobbing garage jam with a chorus that you can’t help but sing along to.

The album ends on a barn-burner of a track, “Double Feature.” Over seven minutes in length, it features a memorable bass line and Cuomo’s trademark psychedelic lyrics.

The Orwells are setting a much-needed example for the rest of the rock world.

Sweet Baboo – “Wild Imagination”

Sweet Baboo is a Welsh act run by Stephen Black, who has released albums under the pseudonym frequently since 2006.

Black’s specific brand of folk-pop has yet to gain traction among a wide audience in the United States, but I personally love it.

His latest release, “Wild Imagination,” was great. It is filled with catchy hooks and charming vocals.

The first single was the song “Badminton,” a beautiful and atmospheric track featuring Black’s talent for creating textured pop music.

A favorite of mine is the song “Pink Rainbow,” featuring a disco groove and a catchy bass line.

Another notable song is the title track “Wild Imagination.” The vocals and synth on this track mesmerized me.

“Wild Imagination” is simply sweet.

The Mountain Goats – “Goths”

Released in May, “Goths” is the most recent release by the indie-folk band The Mountain Goats.

Led by vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter John Darnielle, the band has been known for compelling stories and instrumentation consisting only of an acoustic guitar since the cassette-only release of their debut, “Taboo VI: The Homecoming,” in 1991.

The band goes through a style change on this album. With there being no guitar, most of the instrumentation being done is with piano and woodwinds.

As for lyrics, “Goths” is a concept album about growing up as a goth.

The album opens with the dark and expansive track “Rain in Soho,” When comparing this to his early songs recorded with a boombox, the difference is mystifying.

He discusses pushing away the outside world on “Wear Black,” fear of acceptance on “The Grey King and the Silver Flame Attunement,” and name drops several goth legends, such as Andrew Eldritch, Robert Smith, and the band Gene Loves Jezebel.

The album ends with the song “Abandoned Flesh,” a perfect finale.

The theme of the album can be summed up nicely with the following line: “But for the most part, however big that chorused bass may throb, you and me, and all of us, are gonna have to find a job.”

Kendrick Lamar – “Damn”

Kendrick Lamar was called the best rapper alive after the release of 2015’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” and listening to his newest album “Damn,” I find it hard to disagree.

The album was released on Top Dawg Entertainment in April to critical acclaim.

The first proper track is “DNA,” an intense song that talks about growing up in Compton, Calif., his inner demons, and his authority over the rest of the hip-hop world.

The second biggest hit for the album was “Loyalty,” which features the pop star Rihanna.

This is my least favorite of the tracks. It feels much less mature than the rest of the album.

The next notable song is “Element,” which has very profound lyrics on how Lamar feels the public misrepresents him.

Undoubtedly, the most notable track is “Humble,” a brag-rap song with a catchy, piano driven trap beat.

The song is basically Lamar telling someone to “sit down” and “be humble,” but it could also easily be interpreted as the rapper telling this to himself in the face of stardom.

One song that I am a big fan of, despite the fact that it was not a big hit, is “XXX,” which features the rock band U2. Lamar’s lyrics talk of America’s political weaknesses and Compton gang violence. U2’s featured verse is subtle and well-used.

With this album, Lamar proves himself as one of the most important faces not just in hip-hop but modern music.

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