As the year comes to an end A Bit Of Pop Music presents you the best of 2017. Here are the 20 best pop albums!
20. Shania Twain – Now
Shania Twain was one of the best selling artists of the late 90s and early 00s, but then disappeared from the scene. This year she returned with an album full of personal stories and country-light pop tunes. Her vocals sound more raspy, but also full of personality and she still knows how to drop infectious pop tunes, judging by tracks like ‘Swinging With My Eyes Closed’ and ‘Poor Me’. Let’s hope she does not make us wait so long next time!
19. Nelly Furtado – The Ride
We had to wait a few years for Nelly Furtado to come back and when she did it was not really a high key return to form, but that had nothing to do with the quality of her music. The Ride did not get the attention it deserved, but still it was a stunning album with pure pop perfection. The uptempo tunes are proper bangers while the ballads do touch the soul. Every person that checks out this album after seeing this list is a bonus because Nelly deserves it!
18. Loïc Nottet – Selfocracy
Belgian pop star and Eurovision 2015 top 5 act Loïc Nottet finally graced us with his long awaited debut album and it was even better than I expected. Nottet did not shy away from quirky productions and society-critical lyrics and his voice simply is one of a kind. His brand of expressive electro pop is sometimes subtle and stripped back, but more oftenbig and bold. Something tells me this is only the beginning of what Nottet is capable of doing.
17. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me
Demi Lovato majorly stepped up her album releasing game. Admitted, I wasn’t the biggest fan of singles ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ and ‘Tell Me You Love Me’, but the record offers some great pop moments like ‘Daddy Issues’ and ‘Ruin The Friendship’. She finally offers the more understated vocals we so desperately needed from her. Especially after the disappointing Confident, it was time for Demi to prove herself as a pop star again and she did!
16. Tove Lo – Blue Lips (Lady Wood Phase II)
Swedish sex, drugs and pop star made it to this list with the first part of Lady Wood last year and the second part was strong enough to make it into the top 20 of 2017. This woman has got an incredible ear for catchy pop tunes and pop almost never gets as real and honest as closing track ‘Hey You Got Drugs?’. Pouring your heart out to a pop melody has almost never been as powerful as on a Tove Lo record.
15. Khalid – American Teen
Khalid sure delivered one of the most impressive debut records in quite a while. His smooth and insanely catchy brand of R&B with honest lyrics about his life, sure spoke to a whole lot of (not only) American Teens out there. With songs like the title track and ‘Location’, he proved that he has got what it takes to take over radio. I bet his next album will be even bigger!
14. Miley Cyrus – Younger Now
Miley’s comeback was one of the most interesting artistic reinventions of the year. Gone were the twerking and the tongue and back were the country roots. Breezy lead single ‘Malibu’ was a success, but insanely catchy follow up ‘Younger Now’ and the album weren’t as commercially successful. This is unfortunate as it is a great little record with a cohesive country flair with some vintage touches and heartfelt ballads. Dolly Parton duet ‘Rainbowland’ is one of the cutest things I’ve heard all year!
13. Loreen – Ride
Last year we would not dare to dream we would ever get to hear a second album by Loreen, but it happened! The Swedish pop star changed labels and took matters into her own hands. The album that followed is a beautifully soaring atmospheric collection of songs with deep lyrics about heartbreak and finding your purpose in life. Vocally she has never been stronger, often blending with the arrangements of the tunes. This woman never fails when it comes to her melodies!
12. Paloma Faith – The Architect
Paloma Faith returned to the pop scene with a brave effort to combine politics and pop. Every single track on the record has a significant meaning behind it, discussing Brexit, the refugee crisis and racial profiling. She manages to pack these sensitive issues in big and vivacious pop tunes with a soulful touch. Her voice is as powerful as ever and I am sure this album will continue its legacy in 2018.
11. Kelly Clarkson – Meaning Of Life
My initial reaction after listening to Meaning Of Life was: “YAAASSS KELLY!” She is finally making the music she wants to make and she sounds better than ever. She is making more soulful music these days and God knows that voice owns it with ease. The stories she’s telling are personal and she has never sounded more confident and sassy before. She is one of a number of female artists that finally made the music they wanted to make and we applaud her for that!
10. Harry Styles – Harry Styles
Harry Styles took a big risk with releasing this self-titled album as his first work after One Direction. At least the fans had a soft landing into his new material thanks to the massive arena anthem ‘Sign Of The Times’. His album is inspired by rock, Britpop and singer-songwriter folk and he sells it with passion. His vocals shine and Styles deserves some credit for this mature debut with ‘Ever Since New York’ as beautiful highlight.
09. Taylor Swift – Reputation
Taylor Swift sure had the most talked about comeback of the year and although the reception of her switch of image and more electronic sound was mixed, the sales still went through the roof. it might not be as perfect as 1989 was (then again what is), but songs like ‘Delicate’ and ‘Getaway Car’ still make this one of the best proper pop records of the year.
08. Ed Sheeran – Divide
2017 was the year of Ed Sheeran, no doubt about that. Spotify’s most streamed artist of the year dropped his third album and dropped hit after hit (after hit, after hit). The album effortlessly mixes pop with folky singer-songwriter vibes and some hiphop. Basically every track could have been released as a single and would have become a hit and that means there is no arguing with the pop quality of this record.
07. Anna of the North – Lovers
Norwegian pop act Anna of the North launched their long-awaited debut album. The result was an incredibly cohesive and classy collection of synth pop hits. Anna’s distinctive vocals soar from start to finish, laying down one hook after another. The productions are light and playful, sometimes 80s inspired and sometimes very contemporary. Imagine what happens on a next record when this is what they come up with as a debut!
06. Kesha – Rainbow
Kesha finally broke free from the forces that were stopping her from releasing new music and she chose a more country inspired route. She started off the era with big ballad ‘Praying’ and the album is full of ballsy, confident and powerful anthems. Kesha swings, moves and sounds a whole lot better without the thick layers of autotune. This is the album Kesha wanted to make and we wanted to hear.
05. The XX – I See You
British trio The XX returned to the spotlights in the first weeks of 2017 with their third album I See You and it was their best one yet. The album switches from small and touching ballads like ‘Performance’ towards more electronic power pop like ‘Dangerous’ and ‘I Dare You’. An emotional rollercoaster from start to finish!
04. London Grammar – Truth Is A Beautiful Thing
London Grammar started 2017 beautifully with the release of ‘Rooting For You’ and the album that followed was just as gorgeous. Beautiful compositions, ethereal productions, heartbreaking lyrics and there is Hannah’s voice, so deep and emotive. ‘Hell To The Liars’ is the crown jewel of this record with an impeccable build up. London Grammar passed the test of the second record with a straight A!
03. Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa
When Dua Lipa finally dropped her debut album just before the summer, the initial hype around the UK pop star already died down. But then ‘New Rules’ happened and Dua became even bigger than she was before which was thoroughly deserved as her self-titled record is easily one of the most bop heavy and flawless pop albums of the year. Every single chorus is lit and her vocals are one of a kind. Her massive success is this year’s biggest moment of pop justice.
02. Lorde – Melodrama
Lorde took her sweet time to come up with the follow up to her successful debut, but boy was it worth the wait! First single ‘Green Light’ already showed off this pop star is still at the top of our game and the album that followed is an intriguing confessional about life as a teenager including the parties, the after parties, cleaning up the champagne glasses and wondering what to do when you’re sober. Every single track is a tune and is essential to the story Melodrama is telling. A modern classic!
01. Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life
Lana Del Rey has been consistent with her output, both in style and in quality, but her latest record was a step up. On Lust For Life she experimented more both in terms of her sound and the lyrical content. All collaborations have a purpose and she sings about stuff that is essential in the America lead by Trump. Artists who are struggling with sticking to what they do best but at the same time shaking things up, should have a listen to Lust For Life. This is artistic growth while staying true to what made her a unique artist in the first place. This record is a sign of the times, but will be remembered for years to come.