Best Music of 2017

The 60th Grammy Award nominations were announced on November 28, 2017. The Song of the Year and Record of the Year lists didn't include "The Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran. "The Shape of You" was the number-one, best-selling single in 2017, according to Billboard magazine and Nielsen SoundScan. The list for Album of the Year didn't include Sheeran's latest album, ÷ (Divide), which is the second, best-selling album of 2017 after Taylor Swift's Reputation, which isn't eligible for the 60th Grammys but will be eligible for the 61st Grammys.

The nominees for Album of the Year are 24K Magic by Bruno Mars, 4:44 by Jay-Z, Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino, DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar and Melodrama by Lorde.

The nominees for Record of the Year are "24K Magic" by Bruno Mars, "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber, "Humble" by Kendrick Lamar, "Redbone" by Childish Gambino and "The Story of O. J." by Jay-Z.

The nominees for Song of the Year are "1-800-273-8255" by Logic featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid, "4:44" by Jay-Z, "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber, "Issues" by Julia Michaels and "That's What I Like" by Bruno Mars.

The nominees for Best New Artist are Alessia Cara, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels and SZA.

While Sheeran is missing from these major categories, his absence makes way for the majority of the nominees in these four, major categories to be people of color. Last year, a lot of stink was made about the fact that Beyoncé lost to Adele. People pointed out the institutional racism in the music industry and at the Grammys. It's not as bad as the Oscars, but within the past decade, there has been a lack of people of color winning Album of the Year and in the other major categories.

The exception was Beyoncé winning Song of the Year at the 52nd Grammys for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) and Chance the Rapper winning Best New Artist at the 59th Grammys, as well as Esperanza Spalding winning Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammys. Yet, Album of the Year is the big prize that has seen a dearth of people of color or minorities. This year, it seems like a person who is either Latino or of African-descent will be up on that stage with gold in their hands. My hope is that Luis Fonsi is one of those persons. Fonsi is from Puerto Rico and his song "Despacito" already swept the Latin Grammy Awards. The music video for which has gone super viral and was filmed in the beautiful San Juan before Hurricane Maria hit. Fonsi's win would be a win for that American territory in the wake of that horrible tragedy.

Many great music legends passed away in 2017. Among them are the deaths of Chuck Berry and Glen Campbell. Both had new albums this past year. In the case of Berry, his last album was released posthumously. John Denver didn't die this year. He died 20 years ago, but his song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" from 1971, has been used a ton of times in movies and TV shows in 2017. Alien: Covenant, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, Logan Lucky and Kingsman: The Golden Circle all used "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Netflix's Okja, ABC's Kevin (Probably) Saves the World as well as Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return also incorporated Denver songs.

The Magnetic Fields along with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are two bands that win in terms of producing the most content. The Magnetic Fields released a 50-song album and King Gizzard released five albums in one year.

There were a lot of notable re-releases like The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which celebrated its 50th anniversary. Fans of Radiohead's OK Computer, 20 years after the fact, and R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People, 25 years after the fact, got to relive those albums. I didn't care for The Beatles or Radiohead, but R.E.M.'s record is one that I remember and embraced. Yet, when it comes to albums that celebrated anniversaries in 2017, many didn't get re-release. One such to which I was constantly listening via Spotify was Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope (1997). Also, special shout-out to Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle, an album of covers by various artists for the Amazon Prime series, as well as Any Other Way by Jackie Shane, the 1960's transgender, soul singer.

With that preamble aside, here is the list of my favorite albums of 2017.

Best Folk / Country

1. GOODNIGHT RHONDA LEE by Nicole Atkins
2. WRANGLED by Angaleena Presley
3. FROM A ROOM, VOL. 1 by Chris Stapleton
5. FREEDOM HIGHWAY by Rhiannon Giddens
6. STITCH OF THE WORLD by Tift Merritt
8. RULE 62 by Whitney Rose

Best Rock / Alternative

1. HOT THOUGHTS by Spoon
2. TURN OUT THE LIGHTS by Julien Baker
3. WOODSTOCK by Portugal. The Man
4. HALF-LIGHT by Rostam
5. YOU'RE WELCOME by Wavves
6. LA DIVINE by Cold War Kids

Best Pop / Electronic

1. RAINBOW by Kesha
2. FAKE SUGAR by Beth Ditto
3. DUA LIPA by Dua Lipa
4. CARELESS PEOPLE by Charlotte OC
5. HARRY STYLES by Harry Styles
6. YOUNGER NOW by Miley Cyrus
9. RENNEN by Sohn
10. LANY by Lany

Best R&B / Soul

1. MY LOVE DIVINE DEGREE by Cody Chesnutt
2. THE ORDER OF TIME by Valerie June
3. FACE YOUR FEAR by Curtis Harding
4. MEANING OF LIFE by Kelly Clarkson
5. FIN by Syd
6. GLASSHOUSE by Jessie Ware
7. NEW MAGIC by Son Little
8. HUMAN by Rag'n'Bone Man

Best Rap / Hip Hop

1. 4:44 by Jay-Z
2. THE CHIEF by Jidenna
3. DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar
4. FLOWER BOY by Tyler, the Creator
6. BIG FISH THEORY by Vince Staples
7. 1992 DELUXE by Princess Nokia
8. SYRE by Jaden Smith
9. TRIBE by Chase & Status

Best Singles from Non-Listed Albums

1. "All the Punks are Domesticated" by Ron Gallo
2. "Don't Take the Money" and "I'm Ready to Move On" by Bleachers
3. "Telling the Truth" by Mary J. Blige
4. "Shiver and Shake" by Ryan Adams
5. "Wanderer" by Rose Elinor Dougall
6. "Surfin" by Kid Cudi
7. "Right Road" by Nelly Furtado
8. "La Dee Da" by Foo Fighters
9. "Everything Now" / "Everything Now (continued)" by Arcade Fire
10. "Holy (Reprise)" by Jamila Woods
11. "Running" by Hercules and Love Affair
12. "Hold On" by The Mynabirds
13 "Lifetimes" by Oh Wonder
14. "Across the Room" by Odesza f/ Leon Bridges
15. "Baby Come to Me" by Sondre Lerche
16. "Red Sky, Blue Mountain" by Samantha Crain
17. "My Balloon" by Gabriel Garzón Montano
18. "Love is Blind" by Fergie
19. "Don't Say You Love Me" by Fifth Harmony
20. "Keep the Devil Off" / "The Light" by Big K.R.I.T.


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