Top Five Albums of 2017

  1. Nadia Reid – Preservation

Without a doubt this is the album I listened to most throughout the year. Folk musician Nadia Reid has crafted an album of such a rich quality that I’m blown away by something new with each listen (been on constant repeat since its March release so that’s saying something). The thought and care that has gone into each melody, each lyric and each performance is remarkable to hear from such a young Kiwi artist. With shades of Laura Marling and Joni Mitchell, and a live act to match, Nadia Reid is destined for great things.

Must listens: Hanson St Pt. 2 (A River), Reach My Destination, Richard

2. Lorde – Melodrama

I don’t think there will be many album of the year lists that Melodrama doesn’t feature on. On first listen I was underwhelmed (I still don’t quite understand the obsession with first single Green Light, I find it dull compared to Lorde’s other offerings), but I persevered because I’d been a huge fan of her 2013 album Pure Heroine. Boy am I glad I did, Melodrama is a dazzling album which presents the mature version of the 21-year-old. Her unique sound is more refined with clearer vocals and her intelligent lyrics are raw and paint a vivid picture in your mind. It’s the sort of album it’s hard to turn off, I always want to listen to it in its entirety.

Must listens: The Louvre, Perfect Places, Supercut, Liability

3. London Grammar – Truth is a Beautiful Thing

The London Trio have once again written an album of songs designed to send a chill down your spine. There is no other vocalist around currently with a voice as pure, or a range as extensive, as Hannah Reid’s. Her vocals are enough on their own to take your breath away (as demonstrated on first single Rooting For You), but when layered with the modern base tracks created by band mates Dot Major and Dan Rothman, they’re utterly brilliant. An album hard to ignore.

Must listens: Hell to the Liars, Big Picture, Trials, Oh Woman Oh Man, Rooting For You

4. Arcade Fire – Everything Now

I’m convinced if you played this album to anyone they would suddenly find themselves in the mood to party. Arcade Fire have simplified their alternative sound a bit on Everything Now, many true fans are angry at them for the more mainstream sound, but I still bloody love it. These tracks are short and sharp with funky beats and hooks that instantly make you tap your feet and groove. The lyrics are still trademark Arcade Fire quirky, the vocals are still sung with the usual intensity and overall it’s just a damn good listen.

Must listens: Creature Comfort, Everything Now, Sings of Life

5. The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful

For anyone who loved The Killers in their Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town heyday – Wonderful Wonderful was one of the most exciting albums to come out in some time. After the first listen I punched the air with joy – my favourite rock band during my teens are back with a vengeance! This album is pop-rock heaven, it is up-tempo, with catchy lyrics and unforgettable singalong style choruses. It makes you want to dance like a mad thing and puts an instant grin on your face. This is fun rock music and listening to it makes for a bloody good time.

Must listens: Run For Cover, Life To Come, The Man

It was hard to pick the best five this year, other notable mentions include:

  • Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog
  • alt-J – RELAXER
  • Lydia Cole – The Lay of the Land
  • Thomas Oliver – Floating in the Darkness
  • Aldous Harding – Party

Song of the Week – God Only Knows

The 'impossible orchestra'
The ‘impossible orchestra’

God Only Knows – BBC Music remake with various artists

I was a happy girl today when a friend sent me the link to the BBC’s recording of the Beach Boys hit God Only Knows. They’ve enlisted an all-star cast to perform the song and it’s accompanied with a beautiful performance from an 8o-piece orchestra. They’re calling it the ‘impossible orchestra’ but it’s anything but impossible, it’s magical.

This song is a legendary tune. The Beach Boys version has always been a real favourite of mine. I’ve always had an amazing emotional connection to it. As it played under Hugh Grant’s voiceover during the first scene of Love Actually I was certain it was the most magical film-soundtrack choice I’d ever heard.

Like any cover, it’s always risky to take on such a famous song, but with such an incredible selection of artists to perform it I don’t think it was possible for them to muck it up. This version of God Only Knows is easily one of the best compilations I’ve ever heard. Count yourself lucky it hasn’t come out sounding like one of those awful performances we see when all the X-Factor or Idol finalists sing together on tele. Instead it’s been put together wonderfully. It’s polished, the vocals are all impressive and follow on from each other well, the backing orchestra is unreal and the video that accompanies it on YouTube is creative genius.

My favourite cameos out of the 27 “ridiculously talented musicians from a wide range of genres” who sing in the song are:

Chris Martin – He can do no wrong in my eyes, his voice shines through and made me wish there was more from him in the song.

Lorde – Wohoo, this Kiwi can do no wrong! She sings with such sultry passion I love it.

Brian Wilson – The original writer of the song…need I say more? Of course he sings it best.

One Direction – I know it’s not traditional of a music blogger to say this, but I love these boys, how could you not!

Paloma Faith – This pop sheila is a rising star, she’s got a powerhouse voice I just can’t get enough of at the moment.

Check out the song and video here, it’ll make your day.