Albums to watch


Kendrick Lamar's Damn tops the Poll of Polls (again)

The ultimate, definitive Best Albums Of 2017

Kendrick Lamar tops the Poll of Polls again, okay? His last studio album topped the Poll of Polls two years ago, this studio album topped the Poll of Polls this year, and his next studio album will probably top the Poll of Polls in a couple of years. Kendrick doesn't just make albums, he makes Albums of the Year, and that's just something we're all just going to have to get used to.

It was the race for second place (shut up, it is so a thing) where it got interesting, with LCD Soundsystem, Lorde and St Vincent all neck and neck. And neck. That's three necks, for those neck-counting. In the end it was Lorde's plateful of SIX album of the year noms that gave her the edge, compared to St Vincent and LCD Soundsystem's two each. It turns out quality beats quantity after all. So that's that settled.

Oh, and if you're a young band, don't go thinking that breaking up, waiting seven years, getting back together and releasing an album like LCD Soundsystem did is the key to success. A quick glance down the rest of the chart's big hitters reveals that Fever Ray's album is the only one on here you could technically call a "comeback", and it's not like Karin Dreijer wasn't busy with The Knife. Nope, hard work and perseverance wins in the end, kids.

After featuring all over last year's Poll of Polls, this year was a tough year for rap albums (shut up, we mean excluding Kendrick, bear with us here). Vince Staples (5th), Tyler, the Creator (19th), Jay-Z (27th), Stormzy (32nd) and Run the Jewels (42nd) are the only rap or hip-hop albums in the top 50. That's only six compared to last year's ten. What does that mean? Probably nothing. Let's move on.

The trend of the last few years of solo artists outperforming bands presses on, undeterred. LCD Soundsystem and The War on Drugs are the only bands in the top 10, a ratio that continues pretty much all the way down the Poll.

Though it's better news for chart topping pop acts. Lana del Ray placed 51st, Taylor Swift (72nd), Kesha (98th), Charli XCX (106th), Haim (141st), The Killers (207th) and Katy Perry (292nd). Okay, not numbers that any of these artists are going to email their mothers about, but considering how rarely chart-friendly pop albums get named in album of the year lists, it's nothing to sneeze at.

On the other hand, sneezing at this list like an allergic person in a thing-that-they're-allergic-to factory (shut up) are The Arcade Fire. They've made a career out of placing highly in these Polls, with Refleckor apparently the 5th best album of 2013 and The Suburbs the very best album of 2010. "How did this year's Everything Now stack up?" you must be asking. Well, here's the answer: 121st. "Is 121st as good as 5th or 1st?" can't not be your next question. Well, it's not as good. This falling away could be the beginning of a trend, as other artists who usually fight for the top in the Poll of Polls slipped a little. The National's drop to 10th isn't as extreme, but is a step lower than they'll be used to. Run the Jewels' first two albums had them barging around the top end of previous Polls, but this year they're only 42nd. Fleet Foxes are 31st and Laura Marling 41st, both artists who've fought for top spot in the past.

Which points to the fact that just because LCD Soundsystem, Lorde, St Vincent, etc all topped the year-end lists this year, they can't take it for granted. All the exceptional artists who made exceptional music this year can hardly rest on their laurels. No siree, there's no free album of the year lunches. Not where these sources are concerned. No way, Jose. Not in the slightest- ah, except for you Kendrick. See you in a couple of years.

And look out for the ADM Report too where we present our own albums of the year.

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  1. 1556 Kendrick Lamar Damn.
  2. 1162 Lorde Melodrama
  3. 1154 LCD Soundsystem American Dream
  4. 1140 St Vincent Masseduction
  5. 938 Vince Staples Big Fish Theory
  6. 930 SZA Ctrl
  7. 828 Perfume Genius No Shape
  8. 676 Father John Misty Pure Comedy
  9. 651 The War On Drugs A Deeper Understanding
  10. 630 The National Sleep Well Beast

  11. 552 Kelela Take Me Apart
  12. 543 Sampha Process
  13. 543 Slowdive Slowdive
  14. 520 Mount Eerie A Crow Looked at Me
  15. 506 Thundercat Drunk
  16. 485 King Krule The OOZ
  17. 476 Fever Ray Plunge
  18. 448 Arca Arca
  19. 447 Tyler, The Creator Flower Boy
  20. 433 Bjork Utopia 

  21. 373 Wolf Alice Visions Of A Life
  22. 372 Kelly Lee Owens Kelly Lee Owens
  23. 364 Richard Dawson Peasant
  24. 362 The xx I See You
  25. 360 Protomartyr Relatives In Descent
  26. 355 Jlin Black Origami
  27. 342 Jay-Z 4:44
  28. 336 Julien Baker Turn Out the Lights
  29. 299 Jane Weaver Modern Kosmology
  30. 292 The Horrors V

  31. 288 Fleet Foxes Crack-Up
  32. 282 Stormzy Gang Signs & Prayer
  33. 275 Algiers The Underside Of Power
  34. 271 Hurray For The Riff Raff The Navigator
  35. 265 J Hus Common Sense
  36. 265 Queens of the Stone Age Villains
  37. 241 Phoebe Bridgers Stranger In The Alps
  38. 240 Moses Sumney Aurimanticism
  39. 237 Big Thief Capacity
  40. 237 Idles Brutalism

  41. 227 Laura Marling Semper Femina
  42. 224 Run The Jewels Run The Jewels 3
  43. 222 Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile Lotta Sea Lice
  44. 215 Brockhampton 2
  45. 199 Paramore After Laughter
  46. 195 Mount Kimbie Love What Survives
  47. 193 Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit The Nashville Sound
  48. 188 Loyle Carner Yesterday's Gone
  49. 188 Priests Nothing Feels Natural
  50. 187 Sheer Mag Need to Feel Your Love

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Sources: American Songwriter AV Club, Clash, Consequence Of Sound, Crack, Drowned In Sound, Earbuddy, The 405, The Guardian, GigSoup, God Is In The TV, The Independent, The Irish Times, The Line Of Best Fit, Mojo, No Ripcord, Q, The Quietus, Loud And Quiet, Mixmag, NME, musicOMH, NOW, The Observer, Paste, Pitchfork, Pop Matters, Pretty Much Amazing, Rolling Stone, The Skinny, Slant, Spectrum Culture, Sputnik, State, Tiny Mixed Tapes Uncut.

To determine the order 50pts are awarded to the album named No.1, 49pts to the No.2 and so on. If any of our sources don't post a numerical list then all available points are shared equally.

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