End of year lists are a great opportunity to discover music you may have missed over the course of the year. But the problem with these lists, no matter their size, is that they also miss albums and they tend to fall into the routine of choosing the same 10 to 20 albums.
This doesn’t mean that those albums aren’t the best or most important albums of 2017. But with thousands of songs, albums, etc. released every year, those lists aren’t going to capture everything great that was released.
Maybe those missing albums didn’t have the big label marketing budget, the performers aren’t already household names, or the music is in a genre repeatedly dismissed by music critics. Whatever the reasons, there are always going to be overlooked albums that didn’t make the cut on those lists.
Below are eight such albums, all very good, all with the possibility of becoming more important and popular with time. If you’ve missed any of these albums, give them a chance, and maybe you’ll find your new favorite album of 2017.
Partner – In Search of Lost Time
Partner have been compared to Tegan and Sara, but they’re like a Bob and Doug McKenzie version of the veteran Canadian pop duo. While both groups have a knack for writing catchy pop tunes, Partner brings a bit of goofiness along with some rock riffs to the table, but they’re not a joke band.
The band’s debut, In Search of Lost Time, is a legit throwback rock album your favorite stoner will love.
Nnamdi Ogbonnaya – DROOL
Chicago multi-instrumentalist Nnamdi Ogbonnaya released one of the quirkiest rap albums of the year. Through layers of beats and synth sounds, Ogbonnaya raps and sings with a goofy confidence about subjects as far ranging as religion and a one night stand.
The result might be too weird for your hardcore rap fans, but it’s one of the best times you’ll have with an album this year.
Protomartyr – Relatives in Descent
The lyrics of Protomartyr’s singer Joe Casey have always been filled with dark allusions to death, religion and the band’s hometown, Detroit. Written in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Protomartyr’s fourth album includes an additional layer of dread, but also may be the most collaborative album from the group leading to a fuller angsty sound.
Jen Cloher – Jen Cloher
Written as therapy to deal with the exploding career of her partner, indie rocker Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher’s eponymous fourth album deals with her doubts about her own career, the then-struggle for same sex marriage in Australia (Australia’s Parliament voted to legalize same sex marriage earlier this month), and thoughts about her own sexuality. It’s an album best enjoyed while reading the lyrics, so you don’t miss anything.
Beth Ditto – Fake Sugar
Five years after the last Gossip album in 2012 (the band officially broke up last year), singer Beth Ditto returns with a solo debut full of slick, soulful tunes. The album doesn’t enter the more punky, riotous territories of Ditto’s previous band, but Ditto’s mammoth Southern voice and pop sensibilities make for a genuinely fun album.
Your Old Droog – Packs
When Your Old Droog first hit the hip-hop scene in New York City a few years ago he gained a following mostly for the fact that he sounds a lot like Nas. On his debut album, Packs, YOD establishes himself as an MC who doesn’t need to be compared to one of the greatest MCs of all-time to be recognized for his own talent.
Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
Metal is an underappreciated genre of its own, and this list could be filled with overlooked albums from a variety of bands, depending on which metalhead you dare to ask. The heavy, proggy nature of Elder’s fourth album doesn’t have a song clocking in under eight minutes that’s great for jamming loudly in your car, or drowning out the boring water cooler talk in your office.
Worriers – Survival Pop
Worriers leader/singer/songwriter Lauren Denitzio (she performs with rotating group of musicians) has created an intensely personal album that also closely speaks to many of the issues, feelings a lot of people are dealing with currently. Survival Pop is an accessible punk album with melodic hooks, and familiar riffs that is also cathartic for the listener.