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Editors choose top five albums of 2017

Story by Dory Smith and Bailey Conklin

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Dory’s Favorite Albums of 2017

SZA | “CTRL”

SZA has been a blessing to my life ever since she dropped “CTRL” over the summer. “CTRL” has been out for months and I’ve yet to choose my favorite song. I can’t even form a top three or five because the album is my life.

I have more clarity on all the feelings that I’ve felt and situations that I’ve been in so far in my 20’s after listening to “CTRL”. You know an album is good when you think “Wow, someone else feels this way too.”

Between relationships, situationships and feeling insecure about oneself and life in general, SZA is able to honestly discuss the rollercoaster ride that many of us, especially women, feel throughout our teens and 20’s. Songs like “Supermodel” and “Love Galore” make me feel empowered while “20 Something” and “Drew Barrymore” bring tears to my eyes.

Outside of my emotional and personal connection to “CTRL”, the album stands out to me because of its diverse genres. Ranging from R&B, hip-hop and pop, SZA is able to display her artistry using different sounds. Rarely do my ears come across music that makes me feel better about life but “CTRL” is a 14-track life lesson.

KENDRICK LAMAR | “DAMN”

“DAMN” solidified Kendrick Lamar as a rap legend. His abilities as a storyteller on top of R&B, trap and pop beats, along with creative visuals, has made “DAMN” his fourth successful album.

Kendrick has always made socially-conscious music. Songs like  “Humble,” “Fear,” “God,” “Lust” and “Love” brought me closer to Kendrick as an artist because he held nothing back. His lyrics are uncut, and honest and help portray positive and realistic messages not only to little black girls and boys who admire him but the entire world.

“DAMN” signifies the importance of using your platform to speak about subjects that matter. Although on “God,” Kendrick raps, “laughin’ to the bank like, ‘A-ha’” he’s able to balance the glamorous side of his success while discussing his personal challenges and issues in society.

Don’t @ me, but without albums like “DAMN” that are both musically appealing and socially relevant, hip-hop wouldn’t be as unique and powerful to the music industry as it’s become over the years. Not many rappers in 2017 can actually rap, let alone impact the world and how people perceive hip-hop music. Kendrick Lamar does both on this record. DAMN.

BLACKBEAR | “CYBERSEX”

In his fourth album and his first since signing with Interscope Records, Blackbear delivers a 14-track compilation of R&B, pop and rap bops for every mood.

The album mixes his previous heartbreaks and his come up with money and fame to give you a unique album. With the help of 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, T-Pain and more, Blackbear delivers a blend of hip-hop and elements of your favorite sad songs.

If you need to feel like a boss with some pump-ups “Gucci Linen” and “Up In This” will be the go-to’s. If you need a late-night jam to think about your ex, “Anxiety” or “Santa Monica & La Brea” will be your top plays.

No matter the fame that comes to Blackbear, he remains true to himself and his vision. While he has continued to evolve his music from his other three releases, he’s stuck to his roots in delivering a moody sound perfect for cloudy days and kickbacks.

Bailey’s Favorite Albums of 2017

MARC E. BASSY | GOSSIP COLUMNS

Despite the people who only recognize the name as a previous opener for G-Eazy, Marc E. Bassy is making a name for himself and he’s yelling it with the album “Gossip Columns”.

From his first EP “Groovy People” in 2016, Bassy’s debut album released in October and is full of catchy choruses and different sounds to keep you listening to all 16 songs. While the album is categorized as pop, the singer/songwriter from the Bay Area incorporates other styles such as R&B into the songs creating what he calls a “homegrown situation.” Must-listens on the album include “Til I Get Found,” “Heroine,” “Let Me Rock,” “New Ting” and “Real One.”

“Gossip Columns” has just the right sound to keep you listening through the fall and into the summer with some truly favorite song staples.

BIG SEAN | “I DECIDED”

Big Sean came from Detroit and made a name for himself in the rap game since his debut album, “Finally Famous” in 2011.

The release of “I Decided” was a major success for Big Sean with hit singles, “Bounce Back,” “Moves” and “Jump Out the Window.” Collaborations with big groups, like Migos, and other artists, like Jhene Aiko, gained him notable hits as well.

Big Sean’s music and style make him stand out from other artists in the industry, but he stays humble and has made fans from across the world fall in love with the lyrics he’s rapped over the years. Hopefully, he doesn’t fall out of the window because he’s on the road to a legendary music career.

Honorable Mentions of 2017

THE CHAINSMOKERS | “MEMORIES…DO NOT OPEN”

From asking their millions of followers on Twitter if they’d be interested in a Chainsmokers album to the release of the finished product in April, the duo has once again given the college crowd what they want with easy-to-remember lyrics and music breakdowns sure to make sorority girls dance on elevated surfaces.

The album includes previous singles “Paris” and “Something Just Like This,” but also gives listeners new favorites including “Break Up Every Night” and “My Type.” While the sounds on the album are nothing ground-breaking, the album does show a new side of the duo with member Andrew Taggart taking up vocals on some of the tracks.

If you need something to throw on during a car ride or pregame, this 12-track bundle is an easy choice.

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