One thing that didn’t disappoint Us in 2017 was the music. Though Beyoncé, Kanye West and Rihanna didn’t drop earth-shattering projects again this year, there were plenty of other albums we just couldn’t stop replaying. To curate this list of the top 10, Us Weekly combed through dozens of records from the hottest artists in the game. Every genre, from pop to country to rap to alternative, was taken into consideration and each disc was carefully analyzed.
Some great albums didn’t make the final cut (shoutout to honorable mentions SZA, Niall Horan, Chris Stapleton and Vince Staples), while others didn’t even warrant a second listen (sorry, Katy Perry and Chris Brown). But it was Harry Styles who came out on top. See the full list below!
1. Harry Styles, Harry Styles
With his exquisite solo debut, the One Direction standout proved he’s fine on his own. “Sign of the Times” and “Sweet Creature” are evocative of David Bowie and The Beatles, classic sounds beyond his 23 years.
2. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
Damn, indeed. K-Dot delivered blistering narratives on the political climate with empowering lyrics about anxiety and social justice. (Sample: “Parade the streets with your voice proudly.”) Surprisingly, the U2 collab (“XXX.”) worked too.
3. Taylor Swift, Reputation
Meet the new Taylor. For her sixth disc, Swift dropped the breakup anthems and went for adult introspection. She raved about love Joe Alwyn, uttered an expletive and reminisced over “cleaning up bottles” on New Year’s Day.
4. Kelly Clarkson, Meaning of Life
Even 15 years on, Clarkson is still an idol. In her best work to date, the powerhouse vocalist kicked aside her pop-rock vibe, embracing her soul roots on rhythmic tracks such as “Love So Soft” and “Whole Lotta Woman.”
5. Khalid, American Teen
Ten months after graduating from high school, the Texas teen dropped one of the hottest LPs in recent memory. “Location” and “Young Dumb & Broke” have been on repeat ever since.
6. Lorde, Melodrama
The New Zealand native returned to the music scene with a new perspective. With the help of producer Jack Antonoff, she shared her growing pains while dancing on the light-up floor, touring the Louvre and making Us weep.
7. Jay-Z, 4:44
Hov had it all and nearly lost it. On his 13th confessional, he tackled infidelity (“4:44”), hip-hop culture (“Family Feud”) and that Oscars flub (“Moonlight”). Perhaps one of the most surprising moments came at the end of “Smile,” when his mother, Gloria, came out as a lesbian in a poem about living “in the shadows.” Now, bring on that joint album with Bey!
8. LCD Soundsystem, American Dream
Retire? Nah. The Brooklyn rock group disbanded in 2011 and then came back with a vengeance. American Dream is marked by synths, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a sorrowful Bowie-esque closer that is guaranteed to give you chills.
9. Drake, More Life
Some called it a mixtape, others dubbed it an album, Drake himself described it as a playlist. But two things that were clear? More Life is the MC’s best project since 2011’s Take Care, and we’ll still be grooving to “Passionfruit” in the new year.
10. Kesha, Rainbow
Kesha was always the life of the party — after all, she once had a dollar sign in her name. But after an extended legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, she became a warrior, detailing her personal struggles and triumphs on empowering tracks such as “Praying” and “Woman.” Welcome to the real party.